Aaron Blumer, site publisher of the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron (SI) has reacted to articles at my obscure blog SI: In the Iron Skillet and criticism of SI various threads at this blog. See this commentary, and this commentary and for example consider the following edited excerpt,
Last night a preacher sent me an e-mail advising me of this recent quote at SI, from one of its leadership, “SI is not trying to redefine Fundamentalism or doctrine.” Is he kidding or incredibly naïve? Since its inception SI has been trying to castigate and redefine Fundamentalism (with Kevin Bauder taking SI’s lead in these efforts) and furthermore make fundamentalism compatible and tasteful for the evangelicals whom SI heaps lavish praise on. One guest at my blog asked, “Even if SI gang tackles certain people, aren’t they just acting like so many have in the past?” SI moderators have historically and certainly do gang tackle participants with whom they have issues. The fiasco with Dwight Smith over the “Doc” Clearwaters Letter to Kevin Bauder being among the most recent. From 2009 SI moderators and Blumer piling on John Himes who tried to address Kevin Bauder’s unprovoked attacks on John R. Rice and Bob Jones, Jr. So, YES they act like so many in the past the very attitudes they denounce. The problem is: SI does not even realize that they (moderators and some vocal members) have become the very thing they decry and detest from Fundamentalism’s past.Aaron Blumer has reacted to the legitimate criticism coming from various sources to the obvious bias and other verifiable issues with SI. Not unexpectedly he does not disclose vital facts that would be problematic to his team and site. Nevertheless, I have two articles, among many more, that detail with archived material from SI, verifying legitimate criticism that Aaron understandably does not want to fully disclose to what is left of SI’s membership and advertisers. I encourage you to, among other examples, carefully read,
Blowing the Whistle on the SI “Referees”
Gratifying Responsiveness of SI
In 2009 Blumer did cook the membership books to his advertisers when he opened the current SI 3.0. He was willfully and wrongfully claiming 4,000 members, with several hundred active, that he knew he did not have and could not produce in June 2009. He was, however, claiming these figures to potential advertisers. Only after I contacted him, drove home the point that he was misrepresenting the true membership count did he reluctantly revise his claims to a more accurate number. Blumer, in his words, “updated the page with more precise wording,” after I explained to him that his misrepresentation of the membership count is commonly known as “cooking the books.” His update was not “more precise wording,” it was more honest wording.
You will also note that Aaron did describe SI as site, “with 4,000 members who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.” The “ little switcheroo misquote” obviously is his own and I am happy to be able to refresh his memory of how he did describe SI. That was verbatim how he defined SI, but again responded to me and changed the wording when I pointed out to him that the statement was accurate and verified who and what SI is for, which is conservative evangelicalism.
Incidentally, in his complaint piece he states, “‘3.0’ does not have members and never will.” Well, I'm happy to refresh his memory again. The quote above about his “4,000 members,” those are his words that he posted at the current SI 3.0! Plus, in the comment threads under the name of every participant is an icon. Go to SI and hold your cursor over any of those check mark icons and you will see this word appear, “MEMBER.” Furthermore, when a member quits SI, his icon (half moon) is changed to “former member.” Aaron, SI 2.0 and 3.0 have always had “members!”
I would encourage the few current or potential advertisers who feel strongly about Fundamentalism to consider if SI is the best place to invest the resources God has entrusted to you. SI is a site that frequently allows for, promotes, and its leadership happily joins in on, the redefining, castigation and besmirchment of fundamentalism. SI, furthermore, heaps lavish praise on the so-called “conservative” evangelicals and can barely tolerate legitimate criticism of it’s star personalities or fellowships. Is this the kind of site that deserves to be sustained with financial support from fundamentalist institutions?
To any fundamentalists who still has their membership with or participates at SI: I understand that you feel you may be posting for the lurkers, posting to represent what the best of fundamentalism has to offer. That is very noble and primarily why myself and others used to participate at SI putting up with the moderator’s bias, shrill complaints and gang-tackling. There comes a time, however, when you have to consider whether or not you can post at a site that does not cherish the fundamentalism you do and instead of building up fundamentalism redefines and besmirches it with impunity. Pastor Brian Ernsberger finally had enough of SI and publicly quit last week. See, SI’s Deplorable Moderator Actions Run Off Another for details.
If it were not for a few of you left at SI their discussion threads would nearly grind to a halt. Presently if it were not for Blumer and a few of his moderators staying very active in the threads, SI’s threads would surely grind to a halt. So, to those of you who have considered, but not yet quit SI: Is commenting there, keeping its threads active the best use of your time; is that the best way to redeem the time?
Here is the real irony in Blumer’s current complaint piece about the legitimate criticism of SI. In virtually every issue I’ve raised with Aaron, some of which he references in his complaint piece, his reaction to my addressing him resulted in his making changes to the site or its descriptions.
FWIW, twice I offered to buy SI from Aaron. Once when he was trying to raise operating funds in 2009, the first offer was right after I quit SI in June 2009. I offered to give him everything he paid Jason Janz for it. My offer was declined. Too bad, I had a solid business plan for SI.
Incidentally, on Tuesday, September 7th, there will be a new article appearing at my primary blog In Defense of the Gospel. The article is from another pastor who recently quit SI and he will detail, with examples, why he quietly left. They are irrefutable examples of the bias that is routine at SI and has been from its inception.
If there are any readers who have also quit SI and would like to share your experience you may e-mail your story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if it is brief you may post it in this thread.
For an additional critique of SI see, I Had to Ask: “Does This Sharpen Me?” For example,
Increasingly, the threads are filled with intimations of “serious doctrinal error” hurled toward fellow fundamentalists, while the compromise and errors of Conservative Evangelical personalities are glossed over as praise is lavished on their ministries, as in a recent series of articles by Dr. Kevin Bauder.... If homogeneity was their goal at SI, they have very nearly accomplished it.... I find that SI is not a place that welcomes my viewpoint, nor is it a place that holds the Conservative Evangelical camp to the same standard it holds my “camp.”*This article is reproduced at Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet, where you can read several more articles on SI.