The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #36577   Message #506157
Posted By: Joe Offer
13-Jul-01 - 10:40 PM
Thread Name: Dear Joe Offer et al
Subject: Prayer and Healing Threads
Lighthouse, I sympathize with the baby and the family, but that's not the issue. I realize that many of you who are new don't recall the last controversy we had about all this, back in 1999. Click here for an example. The person who started the "family in pain" thread admits that she doesn't know the family that was involved, but yet the thread generated all sorts of expressions of sympathy for her and everybody else. This same person started a thread last week because her sister's dog got lost and later was found, and yet another thread a few days ago because she's been having trouble with her children. I wonder what her children would think if they knew what she had said about them on the Internet.
The person who started the prayer request today isn't one who regularly starts such threads, but neither does the person seem to be very closely related to the child. If the person were a parent of the child, then expressions of concern and sympathy or whatever would be quite appropriate. If the person mentions the sad situation in the course of another discussion, that might certainly be appropriate. I don't question the seriousness of any of these situations - what I question is the practice of using a Mudcat thread to solicit prayers or healing or whatever. What is does is make a serious situation into a chain letter event, and I think that's just shallow sentimentality.
I think we should save our sympathy for the people we know - they're the ones who can benefit most from it. Sympathy for strangers is sterile, safe, and empty. You can do it with cut-and-paste, if you like, but does it really mean anything? Wouldn't it be better to visit a sick friend and spend a good amount of time with him or her, not just a cursory courtesy visit?
I'm not unfeeling. People who deal with me in person say I'm very sympathetic. However, I am opposed to the use of Mudcat for chain-letter healing and prayer threads for strangers. It cheapens things that should be thought of as serious situations, and I think that's deplorable.
-Joe Offer-