The Prophetic Spirit and the year of the Tyger.

It is a new year. Time to turn the corner. Time to regain confidence in our vocation as Episcopalians and Anglicans. Time to move on.

The matter of a failure of nerve.

The Episcopal Church has for too long suffered a failure of nerve, one that has been costly to its missionary efforts and its ministry in a suffering world. I have explored some aspects of that failure in other essays, notably, A Fourth Way and Courage and the Plow. At the close of "Courage and the Plow" I stated, concerning the failure of nerve,

"That ailment, I suggest, is that the Episcopal Church is sick at heart because it longs for an easier, surer and safer time. But no dosage of ancient orthodoxy or modern interpretation of faith will deliver the cure for that longing. Indeed what we long for in that longing is death disguised as life.

If we are to set our hand to the plow, our hands and hearts must take courage in God's presence, always both present and going before us giving us clues of the Way. The only cure for what ails us is to renew our confidence in the plowing, in the belief that with all its struggles, God is working a new thing, and at the same time the oldest thing of all, the making of creation. If in God we are a new creation, then why are we surprised to be called beyond our old confidences into new life? I believe, as Anglicans, that our recovery is in practicing what Professor Fredrica Harris Thompsett happily calls Courageous Incarnation.

The suffering that comes of giving up all that surety and safety is real, but, as Paul says, "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." So it is time as the writer of Hebrews admonishes to lift our drooping hands and strengthen our weak knees. It is time to set our hand to the plow."

I wrote those essays in 2000 shortly before and after the General Convention. Now, ten years later I want to revisit the matter of a failure of nerve and the possibility that of The Episcopal Church has begun to acquire a new sense of itself and a new vitality.

For what it is worth, and it is not worth much, this year is the Chinese "year of the tiger." But at least it reminded me that I wrote an essay in 2005 following the General Convention of 2003 dealing with the dynamics of the Prophetic Spirit as understood by William Blake and reflected in his poem, "Tyger, Tyger, burning bright..." The essay was published by The Witness Magazine on line as "Tyger!" Anglicanism and William Blake.

I reprint it here because I believe it speaks to the present moment in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Tyger! Anglicanism and William Blake.

The prophetic spirit and the 2003 general convention's disputed decisions

There have been demands that the Episcopal Church give an accounting of itself before the bar of that strange yet beautifully elusive entity called the Anglican Communion. These come primarily in the form of the request for a rational theological justification of General Convention's consenting to the election of Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire and for that same convention's passage of legislation affirming unbroken community with those dioceses and clergy who have gone on before the rest and blessed same-sex relationships.

Contrary to some critics' suggestion that such theological work has not been done, a good bit of theological conversation has taken place and considerable debate has been engaged. Edifying essays, books and discussion resources have been produced. More are likely to come.

But there has been a widely felt and deep dissatisfaction with the results, for no amount of reasoning by those who voted for these measures or approved of them and by those who voted against or disapproved seems able to persuade across the divide.

This may simply mean that the disputed matters are not subject to resolution, or more implausibly that the key propositions that would convince one side of the truth of the other have yet to be found. But another possibility exists, namely that the arguments have taken place in an artificial context, in a court established by those dissenting from the majority opinion, and that the assenting majority have simply allowed themselves to be drawn into a conflict unrelated to the values out of which they formed their decisions.

As one who took part in the 2003 Convention and voted with the majority in the disputed pieces of legislation I believe many of the deputies and bishops who voted in favor knew precisely that this was a momentous break with the past and that it challenged the theological thinking that heretofore had held. I believe many of us were quite aware that these resolutions were not at all business as usual – the same dull round. Contrary to those who charge us with acting foolishly and with abandon, many of us saw our decisions as small movements towards a future to which we are being drawn, drawn by the light of Christ.

The assertion that the majority opinion of General Convention on any given piece of legislation reflects, even dimly, the mind of Christ, the light of Christ, is not to be taken lightly. Legislation seldom has that weight. Yet I believe the tenor and weight given the decision-making, and the careful discussions that proceeded the voting, are indications that we knew full well that finding the mind of Christ was precisely the issue. If these decisions reflect an effort to know the mind of Christ, its proponents are accountable to that mind, and not finally accountable to the workings of previously established theological understandings. It is not judged by the past, but by the future when all things are revealed.

It is the contention of this essay that these two decisions of General Convention are indeed attempts to reflect the mind of Christ in the matter and are to be judged as prophetic in intent rather than systematic reflections of a known science, in this case theology.

This essay takes its title from William Blake's poem, “The Tyger,” which begins:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forest of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

(p. 109, The Portable Blake , Viking Press, N.Y., 1946, hereafter referenced as TPB)

We Anglicans are deep in the forest of the night, and the disputed actions of General Convention seem much like the Tyger burning bright, but sensed with terror by those of us sharing the comfort of the fire with the forest all around.

And surely, we ask can of these actions, as we do of the persons the subject of the legislation, as did Blake of the Tyger:

Did he smile his work to see,

Did he who made the Lamb make thee? (p. 109, TPB)

Are these decisions regarding ordination and blessing in some final way the work of the same One who caused the Incarnation? And are the ones to be blessed?

William Blake: Poetic and Prophetic

William Blake is no one's idea of an easy poet. He is not theologically manageable. He informs on difficult levels and from a seemingly wild agenda. Yet his insights are at times profoundly Anglican, and I believe he is a prophet for our times as much as for his own.

In a highly condensed argument published in 1788 titled “There is No Natural Religion,” Blake concludes the First Series (or Argument) by stating, “If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character, the Philosophic and Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again” (p. 77, TPB). He ends the Second Series by saying, “He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only, sees himself only. Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is” (p. 78, TPB).

The “Philosophic and Experimental” are closely related to the typology of the discussion that is currently taking place in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Much of the argument between those dissented from the legislation and those who assented consists of charges by the one that the other is doing bad theology, and the other that the first is ignoring matters of justice. But both are stuck in what Blake calls the ratio: the limitations of modernity in which theology and practice both are bound to the empirical world, to the world of the senses.

“The clear sense of scripture” is no less a matter of dogged empiricism than is the clear sense of right action. The reality is that there is nothing empirically clear about either scripture or right action, save for the dogmatic assertions of “orthodox” theology. The plea that “we be reasonable,” and that we provide a rationale for our actions are derived from this sense that something is only justified if it “fits” the ratios we have come to believe constitute sound philosophic and practical theology.

The reason, then, why the arguments for and against the justification of the actions of General Convention do not satisfy is because they are based on the false premise that the arguments for the new can be encompassed in the typology of the arguments of old. Put simply, why should we expect that new insights into the matters of Christian living be judged by the “same dull round”?

In another short essay, “All Religions are One,” Blake warns us all, “As none by traveling over known lands can find out the unknown, So from already acquired knowledge Man could not acquire more: therefore an universal Poetic Genius exists” (p. 79, TPB). This Poetic Genius “is every where call'd the Spirit of Prophecy” (p. 80, TPB). It is this Spirit of Prophesy that under girds the argument for doing a new thing in the theology and practice of the church, and the appeal to that Spirit is our only real defense, if defense we must have.

The better argument before the world, and certainly before the member bodies of the Anglican Communion, concerning the actions of General Convention 2003 is perhaps this: What we experienced and responded to in General Convention was the universal Poetic Genius working its way through our decisions, and the validity of our actions must be judged, not by their conforming with the various opinions of biblical theologians and social activists of the moment, but by the extent to which these actions concern the affirmation of a new insight in the Spirit of Prophecy.

Invoking the Spirit of Prophecy

When we look at the two controversial decisions made at the convention, they do not seem on the surface to concern matters of prophetic utterance. They are viewed as matters for rather more traditional discussions concerning the received faith and church order. The marshaling of evidence for these actions being within the permissible boundaries of the received faith and order or outside those boundaries has occupied the energies of these days, often to the delay of attention to other matters of significance and concern. Still, the constant demand of the detractors of the actions is for those who acted by approving to justify ourselves.

To the extent that we who voted for the actions of General Convention feel the need to justify ourselves by the reasoning of the church's constructs regarding public, private and ecclesial morals, to that extent we will fail to satisfy either our opponents or ourselves. There can be no return to reuse the old wineskin. What we did will rip the hardened leather open.

Anglicans, both in the U.S. and worldwide, believe that the matters of consenting to the specific election of Bishop Robinson and the passage of a compromise piece of legislation regarding the issue of same-sex blessing carry important consequences. They do, but not for the reasons supposed. The actions themselves were entirely normal for a General Convention. What was not normal was the thought that they signaled some new understanding. The real issue, then, is whether this something new derives from the Spirit of Prophecy, for if it does its justification is not to be found in a better argument before the bar, but rather in the bold proclamation that God is with us.

I believe that when we who voted for these resolutions come before the Anglican Communion for scrutiny we ought not attempt to justify ourselves on the basis of received theology, biblical or otherwise, but rather ought gather our strength and support from the One source who calls us to do a new thing.

Blake says, “The Religions of all Nations are derived from each Nation's different reception of the Poetic Genius, which is every where call'd the Spirit of Prophecy” (p. 79-80, TPB). We find ourselves in the Episcopal Church in the United States living out the Spirit of Prophecy in ways different from that found in some other parts of the Communion (other ‘nations'). If our decisions were claimed to be about issues of universal right or wrong, we might well be damned, but they are not. Our decisions should be thought of as the result of the reception of the prophetic spirit, whose fullness is known in the End, and not now.

One can see the danger, of course. By focusing our justification forward into the hands of the Spirit of Prophecy received, we might be accused of denying that the theology or moral law of the past has no merit. Such an accusation did not leave Jesus untouched. The New Testament witness recalls that he was accused of discarding the Law and the Prophets. The New Testament is not clear about how the church actually dealt with that accusation, for Jesus, while among us is reported to have said, “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). But, referring to the Christ at the end of time, The Revelation of John reports, “He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new'” (Revelations 21:5). By the time the Revelation is written, the church seems to have been more interested in God's future and its formation than the past and the regulations that sprang from the old dispensation.

What is at stake here is whether or not the General Convention in these actions was in reception of the Spirit of Prophecy. To deny that it might be so is to take away any hope we have that the church will move beyond “the same dull round” which condemns and does not give life. The answer to the demand that we present ourselves at the bar is to either go believing in our hearts that we have been receptive to the Spirit of Prophecy or to stand condemned for having made the decision without warrant, for without the faith in the presence of the One who pulls us forward into the light there is no vision, and finally nothing new at all.

Revisiting the matter of an agenda for Anglicans and the matter of Poetic Sensibility: in 1998, I suggested in an article that an agenda for Anglicans in the 21st century might include the following:

  • Anglicans ought to practice a mutuality that does no violence and that is not arrogant. We must practice incarnational awareness, seeing in others and in all creation the presence of God.
  • Anglicans ought to practice compassion that does not avert the eyes, but sees the suffering, and in that responds with the heart of Love. We must practice compassionate presence.
  • Anglicans might serve the faith well if it were to become a community of poetic sensibility.

By an agenda of “poetic sensibility," I envision Anglicans as having a Christian vocation to understand the Word, biblical and otherwise, and compassionate action, from a poetic standpoint, in which we expressed their meaning in ways that open our imagination to the new world for which they are the signs. The poetic sensibility is vital to the project of carrying the Good News in Jesus Christ into a world beyond the edges of western enlightenment thinking, in which the same “dull round” of theological debate continues ad nausea.

For us as Episcopalians and Anglicans, in the forest of our night the Tyger burning bright has come: action beyond the edges of rational biblical theology has been engaged. With small hesitating steps, the Episcopal Church moved beyond the dance of rationality and into the prophetic and poetic moment. It is, I would suggest, our agenda, and perhaps our vocation.

We may not indeed be in step with others in the Anglican Communion. But the vocation to poetic sensibility can be a source of strength even for those who disagree with the decisions we made. If the Episcopal Church can manage to get out from under the feeling of being ashamed, or scared, or nervous about it, we can be the light we are called to be, knowing that the answer to the question, “Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” as it regards the Episcopal Church, its collective action in General Convention, and its gay and lesbian members blessed in relationship and ordination, is YES.

The Episcopal Church is a vocation within the Christian community, it is part of the Anglican Communion, we are Anglicans, and we are, even in our most Tyger moments made by the one who made the Lamb. The confidence that such is the case has been missing of late, but it is returning. This year will be a year of the Tyger, a year of prophetic sensibility hopefully for the Anglican Communion as a whole, but surely for The Episcopal Church in its witness in the Communion.

But such confidence will come only if we live into something of what I pointed to in the 2005 article:

  • Anglicans ought to practice a mutuality that does no violence and that is not arrogant. We must practice incarnational awareness, seeing in others and in all creation the presence of God.
  • Anglicans ought to practice compassion that does not avert the eyes, but sees the suffering, and in that responds with the heart of Love. We must practice compassionate presence.
  • Anglicans might serve the faith well if it were to become a community of poetic sensibility.
The first of these is parallel to something I mentioned in an article on Christianity and Hinduism, where I wrote,

"Mahatma Gandhi wrote that the matchless way to attain self-realization, is renunciation of fruits of action.That's the core center around which the Bhavagad Gita is woven. The self-realization attained is our participation in incarnational living. We live incarnationally to the extent that we both work to act with justice, compassion and stand in the truth as it is given us and are willing to live even as God does among us in Jesus Christ. Even Jesus did not call down the forces he might have in order to guarantee the results he wished.

So the Gita and Gandhi suggest, do what we do with the deepest reverence for truth, for life, and for justice possible, but do not be overcome by attachment to the desired end. We must learn to let our "yes" be "yes" and our "no," "no." Everything else, for example, having "our way" will eventually become an obstacle to enlightened action."

The second of these, regarding the practice of compassion, is central to our missionary efforts in the world. The varieties of ways in which we exercise this compassionate gaze will vary with the times, but I would suggest that our failure of nerve as a missionary community will only be overcome as we practice compassion by being with and for the world, and not simply there to change the world. Good ol Karl Marx might have suggested that changing the world is a greater task than it, but I would suggest being with the suffering of the world is more difficult than change, more gracious than the understanding.

When the Great Commission is preached, let us learn to preach the matter of making disciples. Disciples are no better than their teachers. If we teach right doctrine but do not practice compassion, what good is it? No, we ought to make disciples by practicing "being with" the suffering of the world. We can do this. If Episcopalians as Anglicans do this then all the other matters will work their way out. If we don't it doesn't matter how orthodox we seem, we will have lost ourselves in the arguments of this age, and we will drown in the sea of dispare.

Concerning the third, Anglicanism as a community of poetic sensibility, I believe the way forward concerning the Anglican Covenant, relations with Anglican communities not part of the Anglican Communion (which by the by might at some point include this or that current province of the Anglican Communion), and all other matters of ecclesial and ecumenical dance, is best found in our willingness to find in every one of us a sense of the poetic call to prophetic voice. All our sacraments point to that prophetic spirit, all our best preaching proclaims it, all our poets live into it. They all point towards a unity that is not about conformity or sameness or even coherence. They point to a unity that is first seen in God's compassion towards us in Jesus Christ. We are one not because we all have the same vocation and task, we are one because God has already done for us what we cannot do for ourselves - made us one in God's compassionate gaze.


  1. That's beautiful!! I have the same vision, ... but where I live in central Florida, the vision (much like the old South) is always on the past.

  2. Amen, Mark. Bravo! Your words seem so right and true and well - prophetic.

    David G., it doesn't matter where you live. Hold on to your beautiful vision. Don't let it go.

  3. It's tough to think about the future with a membership that's about 2.5% 25 and under and a median age of 58 (and rising).

  4. Beautiful post, great call to strap on one's sandals and move on.

  5. William Blake is the perfect embodiment of all that is Episcopalian. When he wrote "sooner murder an infant in its crib than nurse unacted desires" he was proclaiming TEC's moral philosophy. So bravo, Mark. You picked the right hero for the cause - it just isn't the cause of Christ.

  6. I linked you at FB. I'm SO glad you are home - and this post is one of the reasons why.

  7. @anonymous george...that's an inexcusable perversion of Blake's meaning.

  8. Beautiful and prophetic! I believe there are many of us who feel it is time to move on.

  9. "Inexcusable perversion. . ."

    It's what conservatives accuse us of while actually raising it to an art-form themselves.

    "orthodox christianity" will leave as it's sole contribution to theological understanding how to slap the hand of God away from self and everyone around them.

  10. If Moral Virtue was Christianity,
    Christ’s Pretensions were all Vanity,
    And Cai’phas & Pilate Men
    Praise Worthy, & the Lion’s Den
    And not the Sheepfold, Allegories
    Of God & Heaven & their Glories.
    The Moral Christian is the Cause
    of the Unbeliever & his Laws.
    The Roman Virtues, Warlike Fame,
    Take Jesus’ & Jehovah’s Name;
    For what is Antichrist but those
    Who against Sinners Heaven close
    With Iron bars, in Virtuous State,
    And Rhadamanthus at the Gate?

    --William Blake, "The Everlasting Gospel"

    Blake may not be orthodox (not that he cared), but here he's right.

    Every time I walk past the courthouses in Foley Square in New York, and past St. Andrews with the inscription "Beati Qui Ambulant In Lege Domini," I think of this line from Blake:
    "Prisons are built with stones of Law, brothels with bricks of Religion."

  11. "What we experienced and responded to in General Convention was the universal Poetic Genius working its way through our decisions, and the validity of our actions must be judged, not by their conforming with the various opinions of biblical theologians and social activists of the moment, but by the extent to which these actions concern the affirmation of a new insight in the Spirit of Prophecy."

    Who is this "Spirit of Prophecy," and how does one know what "the Spirit" is saying?

    This essay is elegantly written, but I kept thinking of Romans 1 as I read it - particularly Romans 1:18-22. Scripture to "progressive Christians" seems to be a reservoir of useful stories and images, to be used as may best further a vision that has come from somewhere else.

  12. Mark, I really like the stuff in your essay about compassion and being with people in their suffering. I think this is significant, and am glad you say it. But "tiger" is hardly the symbol for that. I tend to think of tigers as those who inflict suffering, not those who are there for people in suffering. (And unfortunately there are plenty who perceive TEC as an inflicter of suffering, and I don't think you would want to reinforce that image.) "Tiger" strikes me more as a symbol of aggression, not courageous compassion. I'm glad it is not the Tiger of God who takes away the sins of the world.

    Also, I am profoundly perplexed about your contempt for ancient Christian traditions, while you embrace other ancient traditions such as Chinese astrology and the poetry and heterodox opinions of William Blake (a truly great poet, but hardly a great theologian or Christian teacher). It seems that "Christian" is more the issue than "ancient" for you. Is there really nothing at all in the whole of orthodox Christian tradition (in its broadest sense, including Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox) that can provide a source of inspiration, so that you have to turn to these other ancient sources? Who exactly are we supposed to making disciples for again?

  13. To Hiram,

    It seems to me that conservatives always want to draw thick, black lines around both God and the Bible and stand around loudly proclaiming that both God and the Bible end precisely *there* at the limit of conservative understanding. If progressives err, at least it is on the side of believing that God has no limits and does not fit neatly into the outline of what humans are capable of understanding. Whether or not progressives are correct in our understanding of what God wants us to do in the world, the fact remains that we are doing our flawed human best to understand God's will, just like conservatives are. Is your commitment to a conservative p.o.v. only comfortable if you can tell me that I'm wrong?


  14. Devon, we conservatives know that God is larger than our understanding and that all the truth about God cannot be contained in the Bible. However, we are convinced that the Bible is "God-breathed;" it has its origins in God's will and purpose and so accurately conveys what we need to know to enter into a relationship with God and to grow in living a life that pleases and honors him. The Bible is not simply a record of what people have thought about God, especially after having had spiritual experiences - rather, we conservatives believe that the Bible is God's Word, written.

    There has to be more to God than we can understand, or ever will be able to understand. Nevertheless, what is beyond our knowledge and understanding is not less than the Bible, nor is it other than the Bible. What lies beyond is consistent with what God has revealed. Otherwise, God could be a spiritual con man, giving us pretty ideas to attract us to him, and once we have given ourselves to him, devouring us and inflicting pain beyond imagining.

    In one way, I do not give a rip if you agree with me or not. It does not affect my relationship with God, for that is founded on Jesus Christ and what he has done, and is doing, for me and for all who have entrusted themselves to his mercy and care, whose number is legion and who are "from every tribe and language and nation," as Revelation says in 7:9.

    But I am concerned at another level, and that is because if what I believe is indeed the case, then there are those who will hear the "progressive gospel" that requires no repentance and no mercy, but rather simply (this is, I know, unduly broad, but it seems to be the gist of what I read) that one be a good Democrat who prays and who is involved to some degree with "social action" of some sort.

    God certainly wants us to help others, and biblical Christians have been doing that for the entire life of the Church - in the first century, it was Christians who rescued abandoned babies whose parents had decided that they were not fit to live, and who raised them with all the love and care they would have given their own children. And the early Church gained respect because amid the sexual chaos of pagan society, it emphasized sexual restraint and the goodness of marriage and of complete faithfulness within it.

    So what concerns me is that there will be people who will hear the "progressive gospel," continue living a life in rebellion against God, but think that they are in fine shape - only to find in the end that God allows them to remain in rebellion (and its resulting misery) forever. And, it is likely, to experience many distresses in this life.

    The whole truth about God is far larger than anyone can comprehend, just as the truth about me is far larger than my dog can grasp - but that does not mean that what my dog knows about me is wrong, or that it is inconsistent with all that I am. God is certainly more than what he has revealed about himself in Scripture (which of course contains what he revealed about himself in Jesus Christ) but he is not less than or other than what he has revealed.

  15. Oh, Hiram,

    See, here's the thing: Why do you all always assume that Jesus is less important to me than He is to you? Or that I am less compelled/anxious/joyful/intense than you in my relationship to mercy, repentance or the Bible? Or that Mark is, or any of the rest of us? I believe the Bible is God-breathed, just like the rest of Creation. I know, however, that it was human-written,that God did not stop breathing, and that the Bible, no matter how God-breathed, was human-written and human-constructed over thousands of years and by hundreds of hands and minds. I also know that only one human being has ever been a perfect reflection of God's intention, identity, nature, and that that One Person came into being as a result of developing (not changing, developing) relationship between god and creation. So why would I regard the writers of God's Breath in the Bible as more perfect reflections of Divine Intention than the rest of us? I also know that that one perfect person was Himself complicated and elusive (often intentionally--He does an awful lot of "figure it out yourselves, guys" with the apostles). I also know that we have figured out that a number of things that were acceptable in biblical times (slavery, the grotesque subordination of women) are not justifiable in a Christ-centered universe. Indeed, Christ Himself seems to have been at considerable pains to break down the gender structures of His day.

    None of us is in "fine shape," and that sort of complacency is as rife, I suspect in ACNA as in TEC. It's a human thing, not specifically a progressive or conservative thing, and not even a specifically religious thing. We all want easy membership to some annointed club or other. And I don't, per se, "give a rip" about whether you agree with me or not, either. I give a rip about the compulsion to demonize each other. It's destructive. If ACNA & co. want to go build a new body within the Anglican Communion, fine with me. Just stop demonizing me as an excuse for it. It shouldn't need excuses, it should have reasons. If it needs to make enemies out of other Christians in order to exist and feel righteous, then it is, by definition, not righteous. I have a very great faith that God will sort us all out without any help from us. I don't think it's our business to be spending our time in this life assuring ourselves of our own salvation, rather that we're supposed to be listening very hard to God, in action, in prayer, and in reading God's Word. What ever happened to the three-legged stool of Anglican belief--tradition, scripture, and reason? If ACNA is your way of doing/pursuing those things, fine. God's blessings be upon you. The Gospellers didn't agree about everything, why should we? You are, presumably, not going to start telling Methodists or Lutherans that they're not really Christian?

    As for the matter of the 39 Articles (to respond ahead): surely you aren't claiming that catechisms are God-Breathed? If they were, then they'd be scriptural, yes? They're a distinctly human invention, and absolutely subject to human context, history, and failure. If not, then who's to say that the 39 Articles are any more valid or prescriptive than the Baltimore Catechism?

    pax, Devon


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.