A Short Detour To Explain Why We Write Heaven On Wheels
No good deed goes unpunished if you’re a writer…
As many of you know, I have been a writer (professionally and as an avocation) for almost twenty years. During that time, I found it necessary to learn humility and check my ego at the door. Why? Well, as the writers at newspapers and magazines found out well before the electronic age, nothing can stir up anger in a reader other than having an opinion that is contrary to theirs.
At one point in my writing career, I was on the staff of a major website where Apple (the tech company, not the fruit) was our primary topic. It was common to have hundreds of thousands of readers for late-breaking news articles or editorials about new products, which meant that the potential for offending someone unintentionally was great.
Criticism is fine. Even when I was writing in an area where I did have expertise, someone might know more about a subject than I did (especially if the commenter was an employee of Apple or supplier, passing along an anonymous tip) and I was grateful for the feedback.
Sometimes I would write product reviews that were not well received if I personally didn’t like certain aspects of the product design, implementation, or user interface. I learned quickly to temper my less-than-perfect review scores with caveats like “some may like this feature, although it annoyed me greatly for the following reasons…” Sure, that was weaseling out in some respects, but it cut down on the number of negative comments from those who somehow felt that my reviews were specifically targeting them.
There were a handful of readers who were what we called “serial critics”. They’d appear out of nowhere and start peppering the comment section with diatribes about everything. These were always targeted at one author at a time, and usually culminated in a note to our editor-in-chief that “you should fire this person immediately!” It never worked at the websites, and it certainly won’t work here since we’re volunteers and we run the place…
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So, what prompted this trip down memory lane? I just thought it was time to remind some people of our mission statement: “Daily Inspiration and Insight”. We sincerely hope that we’re providing both — inspiring devotionals with a healthy topping of insight into Bible verses.
Neither Barb nor I have any issues with getting comments from readers. As I’ve mentioned before, we are not trained theologians or ministers; we are both in love with God and His Word and wish to pass along our unlearned interpretations along with more scholarly commentary to encourage others to study the Bible. Our favorite commentators, oddly enough, seem to be Calvinists. That in itself has caused consternation with certain readers, and there are also those who seem to think we’re criticizing specific denominations. We’re not.
We are, first and foremost, Bible-studying disciples of Christ. If we feel that certain denominations might need to focus more on the Gospel and salvation rather than liturgy and ceremony because those activities are not discussed anywhere in the Bible, that’s our opinion. You are welcome to have your opinion as well!
We don’t expect everyone to agree 100% with everything we write here — remember, we aren’t experts. If you take issue with something we’ve published and want to speak up, all we ask is two things: 1) don’t make it a personal attack, and 2) don’t send us an email — instead, please stimulate discussion by using the comment tool at the bottom of every post. And remember… the Substack publishing platform hosting Heaven On Wheels is free to use and open to everyone, so you too can become a published author!
What brought on this somewhat defensive tirade? One reader and serial critic who has taken on the task of disliking everything Barb writes (the style of which is flavored by a career of technical writing) and is now targeting both of us. Although we love getting the Good News out to as many people as possible, if we’re causing you heartburn, you can always unsubscribe.
God’s blessings on all of you, whether you’re a fan or not. It’s all about Him, not you and me.
We’ll put, Steve. Keep up the good work. You guys are an inspiration in a world that too often is filled with negativity and despair.
Ron, that was a much-needed boost and the perfect thing to say. Love ya, man!