3 Rules for Troll Handling

No Trolls Allowed

Ah, internet trolls. They can be found in their natural habitat all over the world wide web from the comments sections of YouTube, Reddit, and CNN to Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition. If you’ve ever spent any time online, you’ve probably come across one which is why I found this article by Emily McFarlan Miller over at the Her.menuetics blog so helpful (and humorous!).

As a Christian, engaging (or not) with internet trolls requires us to realize that there’s a person on the other side of that keyboard and we are called to treat them as Christ would. That’s why Emily’s advice is so good.

Here’s her three tips with a little snippet of the explanation she gives for each point:

1. Thou Shalt Not Feed the Trolls

The first commandment of the Internet is this: “Don’t feed the trolls.”

The reasoning is simple. If the intent is to make people angry or otherwise disturb them, the way to shut it down is simply not to respond. And certainly, there are Proverbs that speak to the futility of answering – or not answering – a fool.

2. Thou Shalt Not Troll

Our response to trolling, Harrington suggests, begins with our own online behavior – removing the digital plank from our eyes, so to speak.

For Jones, deciding how to respond to Internet postings begins with checking herself, asking if this is somebody with whom she normally would engage. Sometimes the seminarian tries to take the interaction offline, a tactic she learned about a year and a half ago when she was shown the same grace.

3. Love Thy Trolls

But even when a person is trolling, Jones said, “they’re still a human being. They’re still a person Jesus is crazy about. … It sounds cheesy, but it really does boil down to loving that person – am I being kind to that person? And it can be real hard to do on the Internet.”

It’s the Golden rule: Treating others on the Internet the way you would want them to treat you, even on your snarkiest, most impulsive of days.

There’s a lot more explanation over at Her.menuetics, so be sure and go read the whole thing.

The Stupidity of Bitterness

Ken has another great post over at his Relational Wisdom blog about bitterness. He starts it off with this blunt, but completely accurate, statement:

Indulging in bitterness is one of the most stupid things we ever do.

and then continues to explain why it’s so foolish for us to dwell in bitterness:

How stupid is it? Well, think about it this way.

Imagine that someone stabbed you in the arm with a knife, leaving it there. After he flees, you stare in horror at the knife, then in agony take the handle in your other hand and pull it out.

After a moment, you impulsively stab yourself again. With your own hand and by your own choice. You do it again and again, day after day, week after week. It’s one of the most self-destructive acts you could ever do.

But that’s exactly what bitterness is.

People betray us, lie to us, gossip about us, fail to support us. It hurts. It hurts badly. It’s like they’ve stabbed our hearts with a knife.

All too often, rather than turning to God for grace to respond to the wrong with wisdom and forgiveness, we choose to indulge bitterness. We keep thinking about that wrong. We play it like a video in our mind over and over. We stab ourselves with the sharp memory of the incident, feeling the pain again and again.

How familiar does this sound? It seems that bitterness is so common that even if we’re not dealing with bitterness in our own lives, someone close to us certainly does. Ken offers this great advice for anyone struggling with bitterness:

The key to getting rid of bitter memories is to get my focus back on God. In the terms of relational wisdom, to become more God-aware and God-engaging. How?

First by remembering that bitterness in my heart grieves my Father’s heart … which I never want to do.

Second, by thanking God over and over for all he has done for me through Christ … especially for the countless times has forgiven me for disobeying and hurting him.

And third, by asking him to fill me so full of his grace and love that I naturally imitate him as I respond to those who have wronged me.

It really is worth the time to read the whole thing and mediate on it a bit using the provided reflection questions.

What God Intends for Good

By Dale Pyne, CEO of Peacemaker Ministries

As many of you may be aware, Peacemaker Ministries has experienced some challenging times over the past few years. While we’ve been blessed by countless testimonies to God’s reconciling work around the world, we’ve also faced significant staffing and financial changes—including the transition of our beloved founder, Ken Sande. During this time, we have been forced to ask hard questions and make hard decisions. But we have returned over and over again to the great and precious promises that bring us hope: God is ever faithful. God is with his children. God is always good.

The story of Joseph (in Gen. 37-50) has been a particular encouragement to me during this season of change, and I hope it will be to you as well.

Remember young Joseph—an innocent 17-year-old boy who foolishly boasted about his dreams and naively ignored the jealousy of his brothers… who suffered mightily… who enjoyed unprecedented honor… and who one day would rescue from starvation not only his family, but an entire nation.

That good story? The happy ending that we all love so much? It took two decades to unfold. To say that Joseph’s path was bumpy is quite an understatement. During the dark time of his life, it would have been reasonable for Joseph to question God’s goodness, but he never did. In fact, at the story’s culmination, when Joseph’s brothers feared his retribution, Joseph told them not to worry because even what they intended for evil, God intended for good (Gen. 50:20).

Take note of this: There is not one thing in the sequence of Joseph’s life that could have been eliminated without changing the end result.

Take any of Joseph’s trials away from him, and he would not be there twenty years later to rescue the kingdom and his family. Take any of Joseph’s suffering away, and we would not be the blessed recipients of one of the most powerful testimonies of forgiveness in all of history. Joseph’s story reminds us that God writes our life plan, not us. And that plan is to “prosper us and not harm us; to give us hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Friends, I encourage you to compare the story of Joseph to the story of Peacemaker Ministries and also to your own story as well. Has everything gone well? Have we faced no inconveniences, failures, or setbacks? Of course not. You can probably say the same thing.

Here’s our common struggle: We are a culture that wants all to go well. We want to get our way and not be inconvenienced. We want what we want to happen, and we want it now. And if we don’t receive it, we complain and even doubt God.

But how are we called to respond? Do we trust in God’s plan? Do we remember his faithfulness and goodness? Are we patient in affliction and long-suffering in our trials? Do we grieve with hope?

I can honestly tell you that the Peacemaker Ministries family is grieving over some of the recent changes. But we are also rejoicing because we know that God alone has the plans for us in His hands. Whatever he wills, it is for our good. And as James says, we are to “consider it pure joy” (James 1:2) to persevere through our trials.

So let us rejoice as we move forward into the future together, arm in arm—remembering and celebrating God’s faithfulness, presence, and goodness! Because we know that God will use every situation and every struggle we face to get us exactly where he wants us to go. So let’s all look at our challenges like Joseph did and remind ourselves once again—God intends these things for good.

From the Board: Introducing Dale Pyne, Our New CEO

 By Karen Strong, Chair, Board of Directors

Some news is just too stupendous to keep quiet! So we’re blessed to make a wonderful announcement.

After a thorough search, the Board of Directors has selected Dale Pyne as our new Chief Executive Officer.

The Board specifically looked for a seasoned, mission-focused, strategic and results-oriented, Christian executive leader. We also sought someone with the skills, personality and sensitivity to maximize the gifts of Peacemaker’s talented team. In Dale, we found all these things undergirded by a mature faith and a passion for peacemaking.

It takes a very special kind of leader to come after a founder, especially one as respected and well-known as Ken Sande. We believe Dale is just the right person to build on the solid foundation that Ken laid, and lead Peacemaker Ministries into its next era. Ken recently shared this about Dale:

“I am grateful that God has called a man of this caliber to lead the Peacemaker team. Dale has impressive gifts and experience, but most importantly, he has a deep love for Jesus and a passion for relying on the gospel to reconcile people and transform relationships. There is no question in my mind that God has called Dale to lead Peacemaker Ministries forward into a new season of vital and fruitful kingdom work.”

What specifically does Dale bring to Peacemaker Ministries?

He’s a seasoned peacemaker. Dale brings with him rich experience—he is a Certified Christian Conciliator who has done coaching, mediation and arbitration professionally in both Christian and secular settings for years. His reputation and effectiveness as a mediator led to his appointment by the Idaho Supreme Court for family mediations and child custody disputes. In addition, Dale has coached and mentored pastors and Christian leaders in building a culture of peace.

Dale serves in this way because the gospel is deeply rooted in his heart.

“Unless and until we are reconciled to the Father through Jesus Christ, we cannot experience true reconciliation with each other. Above all, Peacemaker Ministries points conflicted people to the gospel, the foundation for peace in a broken world.”  ~ Dale Pyne

He’s wired for leadership excellence. By gifting as well as experience, Dale is a leader who sets the right goals and both motivates and equips others to success in meeting them. He’s contributed to corporate success through organizational leadership training and consulting with top leaders in a wide variety of industries. Colleagues and clients consistently describe him as collaborative, trustworthy, effective and motivating, attesting to his wisdom, personal integrity and humility.

He’s skilled in building successful organizations. Dale’s business acumen and leadership track record indicate his readiness for the challenges and opportunities facing Peacemaker Ministries. His experience includes having grown a business from a $1.9 million annual budget to nearly $10 million in two years, and other instances of record-setting, healthy expansion. He’s a continuous learner and understands the importance of good analysis to grasp present realities and set achievable goals that energize an organization for sustainable growth.

For Peacemaker Ministries, the desire to grow is not a quest for temporal accolades. It is connected with the very mission God has given the Church—and the needs are vast.

“It is my great honor to serve as CEO for a ministry that is inseparable from the gospel. This is not a ministry of human creation that we simply ask God to bless. God calls us to join him in his mission to reconcile the world to himself and to exhibit that by being reconciled to one another.” ~ Dale Pyne

I’ve given but a snapshot of the man God has prepared to be our new CEO. In future editions of Reconciled, you will see Dale and the ministry in action. But at this wonderful moment, please join the Board in praise and thanksgiving to God for his provision of just the right person for this time.

“Terri and I are honored and humbled. I am committed to serving with a surrendered heart, the best God has given me in talent and experience, and openness to all things that are possible through Him. We are clear about our calling and rejoice, seeing God’s hand in the big and little things as we move forward. This is a time for renewed hope and great opportunity; I am convinced that exponential growth and ministry impact are a part of Peacemaker Ministries’ future. Words cannot convey the enthusiasm I have for this new time in our lives.” ~ Dale Pyne

Peacemaker Ministries has an exciting future—and it’s already underway! We are blessed by your partnership in this mission and urge you to take it to the next level with us.

Peacemaker Ministries Announces Selection of New CEO

Dale & Terri Pyne

The Peacemaker Ministries Board of Directors is very pleased to announce the appointment of Dale Pyne, from Sandpoint, Idaho, to the position of Chief Executive Officer for Peacemaker Ministries.

Dale and his wife, Terri, feel a strong sense of God’s hand and call in the decision to come to Peacemaker Ministries. They share a passion for Jesus Christ and a commitment to God’s Word; they’ve been active in their local church, disciple­ship small groups, and various ministry outreaches.

Dale is a seasoned peacemaker who received his conciliator certification from the ICC at our recent conference in Denver. He has years of experience mediating and arbitrating professionally in both Christian and secular settings, involving family, government, community, and churches. He’s also been a mentor/coach for pastors and lay leaders. Dale is both a leader and a learner; God has gifted him with a love for people, spiritual discernment, discipline, drive, and wisdom.

He has an extensive business background, having founded and developed multiple successful organi­zations. He consults in organizational leadership with Fortune 100 corporations and nonprofits, with special expertise in executive leadership and Board governance. His early corporate career was with Harley-Davidson, where he co-developed the highly respected Performance Consulting Program and was a top-performing district manager and Harley dealership owner.

A graduate of Indiana Wesleyan, Dale has done graduate work in organizational leadership at Gonzaga University and is currently working on an M.Div. through Wesley Seminary. Dale and Terri are richly blessed by their boys, Joshua and Shane, and their wives, who are both named Sarah; the two couples live in Indianapolis.

Dale has a pilot’s license and a Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do. He describes himself as a lifetime lover of all things motorcycle.

Peacemaker Ministries Founder, Ken Sande, adds this about Dale:

Dale and I have connected deeply and enthusiastically, and I am grateful that God has called a man of this caliber to lead the Peacemaker team. Dale has impressive gifts and experience both in the corporate world and as a mediator and Christian conciliator. Most importantly, he has a deep love for Jesus and a passion for relying on the gospel to reconcile people and transform relationships. There is no question in my mind that God has called Dale to lead Peacemaker Ministries forward into a new season of vital and fruitful kingdom work.

Please join us in welcoming Dale and Terri to the Peacemaker Ministries team!

Help Us Choose Our Tagline!

Peacemaker Ministries is developing a ministry ‘tagline’ – a concise way of informing people what we do and sparking some interest. Because of the nature of a tagline, it’s limited in its ability to unpack anything too deeply—being only one phrase, it is very much a sound bite.

Examples you may be familiar with:

“Just do it” (Nike)
“Building healthy churches” (IX Marks)
“Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name” (Compassion Int’l)
“Helping families thrive” (Focus on the Family)
“On the journey to true financial freedom” (Crown Financial)

We would be delighted for you to help us and give your input as we evaluate some potential taglines!

In order to do this, please complete this survey. Please give us your candid first impression—don’t dissect it too much. Most people are able to complete the questionnaire in less than 10 minutes. Your response and any comments will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

Thank you in advance for participating in the survey!

Photos: Ken, Rick and Lapinsky in Baltimore

Staffers Ken and Rick joined Certified Christian Conciliator LaPinsky Phillips in Baltimore over the weekend for a Project Bridges conference on Saturday. The conference was called “Managing & Resolving Conflict: Biblical Strategies for Christian Leaders.” It included the following topics:

  • Session 1 – A Vision for Building a Culture of Peace (Ken Sande)
  • Session 2 – A Passion for the Gospel (Ken Sande)
  • Session 3 – Pastoral Leadership (LaPinsky Phillips)
  • Session 4 – Personal Peacemaking (LaPinsky Phillips)
  • Session 5 – The Blessings of a Peacemaking Team (Ken Sande)
  • Session 6 – Four Steps Toward Building a Culture of Peace (Ken Sande)
  • You can learn more about Project Bridges here.

    Clearance Sale on CCEF Booklets

    CCEF BookletsOur friends over at Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation recently updated their line of topical counseling booklets that we carry in our bookstore.  As a result, we are selling the discontinued booklets at a clearance rate of only $1.00/each! (The new ones will be $3.99/each.)

    Topics range from God’s Love to Worry to A.D.D. to Conflict.  They are great tools for applying biblical principles to many situations encountered in life and are useful in counseling (or conflict coaching) situations.

    These are only available while supplies last, so hurry and place your order today!

    Introducing Three New Bloggers

    You may have noticed lately that most of the posts around here have been originating from Molly. (Thanks for keeping us going, Molly!) Well, that’s about to change. I’m pleased to let you all know that we have three new bloggers here at Route 5:9: Jonathan Boll, Annette Friesen, and Bethany Amman. Each of these colleagues of mine comes with a unique perspective on life and peacemaking, and I think you’ll be blessed by what they have to share.

    Jonathan is a proud new dad and is active in the youth ministry and peacemaking ministry at his church. He’s been working at Peacemaker Ministries in one form or another for close to ten years, and he now oversees our Human Resources and Operations here at the ministry. HR, even at a ministry, can get pretty sticky, and we are blessed to have his considerable gifts and gracious personality serving here. Welcome, Jonathan!

    Annette has been working at Peacemaker Ministries for several years, and she handles most all of the initial requests for help with a conflict that we get here. She has a wealth of true wisdom, and personally, I think she’s one of the most indispensable members of our team. You may also recognize her as the mom featured in a People Magazine story that we mentioned here last year. Welcome, Annette!

    Bethany has only been working at Peacemaker Ministries for a couple years, but she has plunged right in as the coordinator of our training events. She has a great writing style (WAY different from mine!), and I think you’ll all be challenged by her perspective as she represents the “younger crowd” in our churches today. Welcome, Bethany!

    You will learn more about them as they post (just click on the name below the title to view their brief bio), but I just wanted to briefly introduce you to these friends and colleagues. You can look forward to hearing from each of them in the coming days. I know I will!