Friday, March 13, 2009

Follow-Through on AiG/Spurgeon/John Holzmann/Mark Looy discussions

One of my readers here wrote to me wondering if, following my last post concerning Mark Looy and AiG, I had left any possible means for Mark and me to work out our differences:
If a person or organization does you public harm, is there any process by which they can come to you in private, to work things out? . . . What would it take for a person to communicate with you in private, with confidence their communication will be kept private by you?
Three things hit me immediately as a result of his questions.
  1. If Mark has any interest in coming to some kind of mutual understanding, I want to work toward that end.
  2. I want Mark to be able to feel free to come to me in private and know his private communication will be kept private.
  3. I need to apologize.
As a result, I wrote Mark a letter and, among a whole lot of other things, wrote the following. This was "up top" in my letter to him:
Honestly, when I read your letter in which you requested that we meet soon--as I think my follow-up letter at least implied ("I feel badly that I didn't reply to your suggestions about meeting face to face, nor to your gracious offer of hospitality if I'm ever in the Cincinnati area (or can arrange to get there!).")--I really missed that request and certainly didn't understand it as any more than what I have said: a statement of personal preference, not any kind of expectation on your part. As you said, "Let's try to meet soon." And, "I hope this can be arranged soon. . . . I truly hope you can tour our museum one day soon . . . and communicate face to face as opposed to web postings and emails."

So I want to apologize for having misunderstood--and, as a result, for having completely overlooked--your expressed desires and hopes and/or your intentions in expressing those desires or hopes. I completely missed these things. Will you please forgive me for that insensitivity and failure on my part?

I would like to ask your forgiveness, too, for my emotional outburst following your response to my email and post. At this time, I don't believe the content of my reply was improper; but, certainly, the tone could have been far more gracious. And for that, too--for my failure to honor you in my manner of speech and in my tone--will you please forgive me?
I sent that letter late last Friday evening. Mark replied on Monday.

I was away at a conference all weekend . . . through Monday evening. And I have been heavily preoccupied with other matters. So I didn't get around to writing back to Mark till this afternoon.

I believe it is appropriate for me to note that Mark said some things in his response that I found quite encouraging. And, truly, I am encouraged.

As far as our correspondence itself, I wrote back to him,
I want to keep our correspondence, here, private, in an attempt to honor your preferences; however, I sense I need to make my apology to you more public because the faults I have admitted to you privately impact my audience as well as they do you. I believe I need to make my apologies public in the same way that my faults were public. And so I intend to post at least one more statement on my blog that will address what you and I are doing right now. I have no intention of revealing any secrets. But I do think I owe my readers an open declaration of my perspective on what I believe I have done wrong to date and what I am (and we--you and I--are) doing . . . i.e., discussing these matters privately in hopes of some form of reconciliation.
I "just" thought it was appropriate that you--my readers--should know what is transpiring.

Mark and I are talking. And I think we are making some progress.

Thank you.
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