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The Apology We Should Have Seen from Jared Wilson

UPDATE: Jared posted a genuine apology and removed the original post. I really appreciate what he said and accept his explanation for leaving the original post up for a time. Thank you Jared.

I have been thinking a lot about Jared Wilson and wondering what he really thinks, in the privacy of his thoughts, about his blogosphere-infamous post about sex and submission (the post has now been taken down). I don’t know why he chose to ignore the push-back and why he did not apologize, retract, or rewrite.

I want to believe the best about him. I want to believe that he loves God, the people in his church (he is a pastor), and the people who read his blog. I want to believe that he is truly heart-broken over miscommunicating in such a painful way on a most intimate topic. I choose to believe, even if he never says it in public, that this is what he would say.

Dear readers,

I have made a terribly hurtful mistake in my most recent post. I chose words that triggered painful memories of past (or present) abuses. I used phrases that didn’t communicate what I intended –- that in fact communicated exactly the opposite of what I intended. The message many of you got was not the message in my mind and heart when I wrote. While it was an honest mistake, that doesn’t change the reality that my words caused some of you pain, anger, and confusion. It grieves me deeply that something I wrote has hurt anyone, especially in such a vulnerable and sensitive area.

Please forgive me.

My response has been slow because I’ve was completely caught off guard. I should have said something sooner, but this was the last thing I expected and it took some time to really understand and accept what I had done. I do not yet know the best way to express what I had originally intended. I am still absorbing all that has been said here. I am considering the advice of others who understand what I was trying to say and at some point, I will either edit my words and repost them, or I will remove them permanently.

Sincerely,

Jared C. Wilson

//

If you write or speak for long, you will miscommunicate. It’s part of the process. I often hear from readers (friends, family, and random strangers) that what I thought was the most clear, well-articulated essay ever hurtled them in a completely different direction than I intended.

Words mean something. In a perfect world, they would have objective and clear definitions that we all know. Instead, we bring our personal baggage and unique connotations to words and phrases. This can spin ideas into an infinite number of directions, none of which were envisioned by the author.

One of the tasks of a communicator is to learn which words are clearest for the most people and use those. The hardest part about this is that we learn it through trial and error. You and I both get it wrong, discover we’ve been horribly misunderstood, and try again. Sometimes, we hurt people, and we must apologize and make it right. I’ve had to do this, and every blogger I know who has written more than a few posts has had to do it too.

I wish that Jared (and Doug) Wilson had acknowledged this and made a simple gesture. I know I would have understood and extended grace. I still will. It isn’t too late. It is never too late to admit we’ve been wrong and to ask for forgiveness.

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Comments

  1. A very brave post, friend. I appreciate the grace you’re offering here…
    Kelly Sauer recently posted..Image-Ine: Ireland Up CloseMy Profile

  2. Love this. Grace is the message you are communicating.
    Kelly @ Love Well recently posted..Orphan Summit : Transracial AdoptionMy Profile

  3. Powerful Christian men do seem to prefer machismo flexing and peacock feathers to a humble and gracious apology, but only one resembles the strength and servant leadership of Christ.

    You’re right, it’s never too late.
    suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} recently posted..convertedMy Profile

  4. Michelle says:

    So I read his follow-up, (and the original post since I was clueless about the whole ordeal. (Can I blame this on an oncoming cold mixed with a great dose of Fibro. Fog?!:)

    Here is what the poet (Doug Wilson) said in an attempt to clarify his original meaning:

    “Penetrates.” Is anyone maintaining that this is not a feature of intercourse? “Plants.” Is the biblical concept of seed misogynistic? “Conquer.” Her neck is like the tower of David, and her necklace is like a thousand bucklers. “Colonize.” A garden locked is my sister, my bride. C’mon, people, work with me here.”

    Now, as a person who is both poetic and yet takes much of the Bible as black and white, am I the only one who sees that there is a reading into those last two scripture references; especially since it is poetic in nature and not meant to be commands or precepts for us to follow?!

    I do find the book he is talking about to be very offensive since God has a lot to say about keeping our minds and hearts pure. And he did give a warning in the beginning of the article (probably after the damage was done) that those who were abused or violated would probably find it offensive. But no, there was no apology, nor do I think he sees a misuse of God’s Word or that their is an offense on his part.

    But, since I AM pretty black and white, I take offense when someone goes above and beyond the scriptures. I don’t see “conquer” or “colonize” when the New Testament is speaking of husband/wife relations. He uses very graphic words to describe such a sacred, intimate act, and that troubles me.

    Even if he meant these words to be used in the best way possible and did not mean to twist God’s idea of biblical submission into something abusive, I, too, find them to be so, as my heart breaks for so many who are abused and mistreated.

    I believe in biblical submission wholeheartedly and I have seen so many women treat their husbands with disdain and disrespect in the name of having an egalitarian-styled relationship. But what I am reading in those words goes above biblical submission because it’s not what the scriptures teach.

    I appreciate your grace-filled post, Joy and as always, you give me much to think about, and apparently to comment on! My apologies for the book in comment form!

    • I have zero interest in reading 50 Shades of Gray. I don’t need those ideas in my head to take into our bedroom!

      You’re right — the warning was added later, after quite a bit of outcry. He never responded to the questions people asked about other passages of Scripture that describe marriage relationships in terms of neither spouse owning their own body. Nor did I appreciate his insinuation that people who were offended didn’t have good reading comprehension. I do get that some people are bound and determine to twist a person’s words. But when that many people misunderstand the same way, you HAVE to go back and take another look. You have to acknowledge that there was a breakdown and people were hurt and you contributed to that. I hope that someday he will.

  5. Very true words. personal baggage colors a lot of what is said, written, read and interpreted. Both as writers and readers, we tend to read life (and the opposite sex) through a template formed over time. A large part of this is unavoidable. There is a wisdom balance between “speaking your mind” without regard for how your words might be interpreted and never saying anything for fear that something (anything) you say can be twisted and misinterpreted and used as a bludgeoning axe against you. It is also true, Joy, that those of us who use words for a living will, in the course of many, many talks, blogs, sermons, etc, be careless and unintentionally offensive. It is equally true that we can be meticulously careful/prayerful in our word choice and still be unintentionally offensive. That’s nature of human communication. It is the responsibility of the maturing believer to extend grace and believe the best when hearing or reading, and it’s the job of that same maturing believer to ask God to help him/her to be wise with the choice of words and spirit of his/her words. It was gracious of Jared to respond the way he did in the apology above. And I trust Rachel will understand and accept without bitterness. Both parties should learn lessons from this. Somewhere along the way, something you or I say will upset someone. We are not God, and cannot know every past life detail of our listeners so as to avoid offense. But we can tune our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit in grace and love, and then be confident that, though unintended, as imperfect humans we will make mistakes. I’m glad that this incident has some healing in its story line.