When Explaining Your “This” in a Follow-up Comment Defeats the Purpose

[From the archives.]

Defeating the Purpose

I read a post the other day where one of the commenters wrote a single word: This.

That same commenter then immediately posted another comment to explain that by using the single word This she meant not that she had ever gone through the same experiences the original poster had gone through, but that the original post resonated with her. Fair enough, but explaining This in a follow-up comment tends to defeat the purpose of using it as a single word comment in the first place, doesn’t it?

So I started imagining how it might be similarly appear in comments on various blog articles:

  • Article on cigars as an instrument of fellowship among younger Christians. Comment:

This.

Follow-up comment:

By “This” I meant not that I am a young cigar aficionado. Rather, I meant that freedom in Christ must be carefully exercised so as not to bring disrepute on the name of Jesus, nor to flaunt our privileges so as to cause needless dissension in the body or cause immature believers to question their own choices in their walk with God or become legalistic and judgmental in their relationship with more mature believers.

I also meant to echo Sigmund Freud’s sentiment that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  • Article on the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on the likelihood of Southern Blacks to cooperate with Union troops. Comment:

This.

Follow-up comment:

By “This” I meant not that I have ever been a slave in the Confederacy and so understand their response to President Lincoln’s decision to issue the controversial proclamation, nor that I have ever been a Union soldier fighting in that war. Rather, I meant that the strategic importance of the proclamation is instructive for America today in determining our role in foreign internal conflicts, allowing us to consider what effect such official declarations might have on the participants on various sides of the issues.

Plus I really Like Abraham Lincoln.

  • Article on the correlation between parents spending time with their children and the ability of those children to experience security in their home life and in interactions with society at large. Comment:

This.

Follow-up comment:

By “This” I meant not that I am a parent, nor that I have any recollection of my childhood whatsoever. In fact, when it comes to society at large I admit that I am a complete outcast with neither the desire nor the ability to understand what other people mean when they speak of having a relationship with anyone, let alone with their parents or children.

I only came to this website because I thought it had Dairy Queen coupons.

Speaking Plainly

William Penn, a religious and political leader in colonial America, said:

Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end  of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.

I think a number of present-day politicians and religious leaders could learn a thing or two from William.

The Bible makes clear that we are to speak plainly, too. As Jesus said, yes and no are each acceptable ways to express oneself. (Matthew 5:37.) His brother James reiterated this point as well. (James 5:12.) Short and sweet.

Do some things require more words than others? Sure. There’s a difference between a brief parable such as “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33) and the rather lengthy Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:3-7:27.)

But in each instance Jesus said what he meant. As his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), we should do the same.

I might even have to explain my This comment once in a while to do it.

***

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7 Responses to When Explaining Your “This” in a Follow-up Comment Defeats the Purpose

  1. Pastor Bob says:

    Two things:
    1) The “follow-up question” is better understood, how many heard an explanation for this?
    2) Could this be biblical support for KISS (Keep It Simple Silly)?
    “The Bible makes clear that we are to speak plainly, too. As Jesus said, yes and no are each acceptable ways to express oneself. (Matthew 5:37.) His brother James reiterated this point as well. (James 5:12.) Short and sweet.”

    Blessings!

  2. JYJames says:

    With the “This” comment, I read what the comment person is calling attention to, and then form my own opinion. My reaction may or may not agree with the “This” person. However, I took a look at their recommendation. Works, in its own fashion, IMHO.

  3. Muff Potter says:

    Great post Tim. I remember an English prof. (God rest her and may she awake to a goodly inheritance in Olam-Ha-Ba) I sat under many years ago who had this admonishment:
    “Never spend 3000 words on something for which 300 will do nicely…”

  4. Heather G says:

    So one person uses the “This” comment in a completely ignorant way. But…
    THIS can actually be a very powerful comment. It just basically says: the person above me said exactly what I would want to say, so there’s no point in me writing another comment, but just pointing out and emphasizing what the other commenter already said.

  5. Pingback: When Explaining Your “This” in a Follow-up Comment Defeats the Purpose — Tim’s Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another | Talmidimblogging

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