Using Your Online Presence for Bad
Most days I am pretty proud to be a digital marketer and and have an online presence; even if it is comparatively small compared to the individuals I plan to discuss in this post.
As a woman in leadership for over 20+ years now and a strategist to some of the nation's best loved brands in that 20 year time frame, I have always attempted to use my influence as a woman, leader, marketer - digital and traditional - for good. Today I witnessed a really ugly version of someone using their online presence for Bad - and I felt compelled to comment on it.
Proverbs 31 Ministries is a not for profit organization whose description reads as follows:
"Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ."
Now, I am in no way affiliated with Proverbs 31 ministries, other than, at times, I utilize their resources to supplement my bible study and time in the Holy Bible, the word of God.
The women leaders in that ministry, according to the 2015 annual report, (referenceable at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/p31misc/2015-proverbs_31_ministries_annual_report.pdf)
are reaching over 3.6 million women to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Now I don't know about you but that's a LOT of women who are actively seeking information about Jesus Christ and finding some support from this ministry for areas of their lives where they need help.
This week, Lysa TerKuerst used her social media audience to share some devastating family news about the demise of her 24 year marriage which was quickly responded to by Jeff Maples at Pulpit&Pen.org.
While I respect both Jeff and Lisa's right to express themselves via the written word and I'm all for the First Amendment, as a woman, and especially a working woman, I was so offended by Mr. Maple's words that I had to exercise MY first amendment rights and create this blog post.
Mr. Maples was commenting on the news of the impending divorce action in the TerKuerst household. As if the situation is not tragic enough in itself, Mr. Maples went on to write:
"However, the biggest problem I see leading up to this is Lysa’s prominence in the Christian speaking circuit. She is a preacher who whores herself out around the country at speaking engagements."
Whores herself out around the country at speaking engagements? REALLY MR. MAPLES? On what planet does that seem like an OK thing to say about a working mother and wife? Would you want someone to speak that way about your wife, your mother, your daughter?
I don't care if you agree with Lysa's ministry, her mission, her personal life, or her politics. Using YOUR platform to call her a whore, and further degrading all women who work or travel or do whatever is beyond reprehensible in my book.
There are an awful lot of working mothers and wives who get up every day and go do a job because they have to; not because they want to circumvent their responsibilities as wives or mothers. There are a whole host of women who have made LARGE and SIGNIFICANT contributions to our society - in ALL fields - and I am pretty sure EACH and EVERY ONE OF THEM would join me in saying "we don't appreciate the reference here!"
In the "old" days, Mr. Maples could have written his article, published it in a newspaper and a select group of people would see it. If someone packaged it up in a clipping and sent it across the country to their relative or friend, it may have reached a broader audience. In today's digital world - the written word can be seen by anyone, anywhere in a matter of a button click.
STOP and USE your head folks. And try to use your hearts too. We do not need to be a MEAN society. We can agree to disagree, without disparaging an individual, or a group of individuals - like working women.
My heart and my prayers go out to the leadership of the Proverbs31 ministry team, to Lysa TerKuerst and her husband and family, and also to you, Mr. Jeff Maples, as I would like to believe your passion about the situation at hand may have clouded your judgement in the choice of words and the characterization that your comments insinuated.
As I read some of the comments from women who came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior because of Proverbs31 Ministries and I talk to other women who enjoy some of the materials that they have provided - I believe their mission is serving a purpose. That purpose may also include sharing personal information so that the transparency that comes with that helps someone else understand that just because you are a woman in ministry, it doesn't mean your life is "perfect" - we all have problems from time to time, at home, with our husbands, our children, our jobs and in the world in general - and our 'GO TO" resource ought to be getting down on our knees and communicating with the great healer himself, God.
I appreciate anyone who uses their platform to proclaim the gospel and the truth of the Bible in an attempt to lead others to Christ (including Pulpit&Pen), but I just can't help but believe that Jesus wouldn't take part in this age of "digital-shaming" our brothers and sisters in Christ. And as a working woman, I think most of us who have to would appreciate not being referred to in such an inflammatory manner.
I end this by saying as I think back to the story in the Bible of Jesus and the adulterous woman (John 8:1-30). We do not know what Jesus wrote in the sand that day - the Bible never reveals it. What it does tell us is that he says to the crowd in verse 7,
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."
I like to think that if Jesus was writing in the sand today about the words written by Mr. Jeff Maples about Lysa TerKeurst - he would write "EPIC FAIL". In a world where we are besieged by the negative, let's use our power for GOOD to encourage each other.
I encourage each of us - to use our influence, our platform, our words to edify each other. Our children are watching.