Pete Philips wants a lighter touch
The good bits of the paper… point out the responsibility of blogging and using social media. Confidentiality is a requirement. Libel and slander and defamation and harassment - see yesterday’s postings - are a reality within the world of blogging. But if people are blogging or tweeting like this, then its likely they are emailing like this and talking like this - in other words the issue is not social media but values. Jesus had it dead right: it’s not what goes into someone’s mouth that defiles them but what comes out (Matthew 15:11). If the values are not right, then however much we legislate, all we will do is create more sinners!
I have read the report and can see that it is very much the sort of policy my employer has for staff and we subscribe to without any difficulty at all, I think too that the important thing here may be that it is for paid employees of the church more than rank and file members. I do wonder how you could possibly police or enforce these guidelines should they become rules and while people may say they are just guidelines there is always that possibility especially if they are being interpreted by a jobsworth!
Not that there are any jobsworths in Methodism, eh FP?!
Given that here in South Africa there are many connected with the MCSA (clergy as well as lay folk) who are quite vociferous online, seldom shying away from robust debate about various issues, I wonder how we would feel if the MCSA were to put forward a document similar to that currently under discussion by the MCGB? Would we view this as censorship or good practice?
Every organisation I have ever been involved with (which includes four corporates as well as bodies ranging in diversity from The Welsh Male Voice Choir of South Africa, Toastmasters International, and the Scouting movement - and, of course, the MCSA) has, somewhere in its constitution or rules, a requirement that its employees / office-bearers / members may not do anything to bring the organisation concerned into disrepute - and this is a reasonable requirement.
The question, though, is this: When organisations get things wrong - and this is bound to happen in all organisations from time to time - where is the fine line between “speaking out” and “bringing the organisation into disrepute”? I have found that the more open the lines of communication are within an organisation, and the more the “top brass” are available and willing to listen to people’s views, the less there is reason to air one’s grievances on a public forum.
Lunchtime Update: Matt Wardman weighs in