1. Always be ‘nice’. It’s absolutely essential to be perceived by the listeners in the room (real or virtual) that you are a really ‘nice’ person. Keep in mind that ‘nice’ to some people might be totally offensive to others. In a group of 10, 8 ‘nice’ votes to 2 ‘not nice’ votes is a really good score! 10 out of 10 ‘nice’ votes is a bonafide miracle.
2. Smile a lot. That’s hard to do sometimes, especially face-to-face, if your bunions are killing you or your acid reflux is kicking in. Smiling is always easy in ‘virtual’ conversations though, because you can use those little “Smiley Faces’ and fake everybody out. Smile even when you are talking about serious matters (like ‘sin’). Smiles always work and can even be very profitable (Ask Joel Osteen)!
3. Always talk about the soft spoken,’nice’ Jesus, and never talk about the ‘other’ Jesus, who mentioned hell a lot, called certain folks a few choice names, and turned over a table or two, and even had the nerve to tell people to ‘repent’ of their ‘sin’.
4. Speaking of repentance, don’t go there. If you do, remember it’s always connected to the “S” word, which is an even worse word to use and guaranteed to cost you ‘nice’ votes.
5. If the conversation absolutely requires using ‘uncomfortable’ words, water down the meaning. For instance, use ‘mistakes’ instead of sin. You can make them completely inoffensive by adding ‘spiritual’ sounding concepts. Example: “We all make’mistakes’, but that’s OK, God understands!”
6. Never ask hard questions, like “What IS the gospel?”, or “Does God hate anyone?” at least if you intend to answer them biblically. If the intent is to consider all answers equal and congratulate everybody in the room for their deep insight, go ahead and ask them.
7. Avoid at all costs ‘messy’ doctrinal topics. If someone else in the room brings one up, preempt any arguments with warnings against divisiveness, even if the topic goes to the character and nature of God. Example – predestination. Better yet, forget about doctrine altogether.
8. Have a variety of ‘caveats’ that can be used to precede anything you say or write that might possibly offend someone. Example: “I might be totally wrong here, but Romans 3:11 says NO ONE seeks God!” Have a lot of them handy, and never use the same one twice in a row.
9. Never suggest that a passage of scripture might not mean what it is always used for. Example: Everyone ‘knows’ Revelation 3:22 is about Jesus knocking on the door of a sinners heart even though Jesus is actually knocking on the door of a lukewarm church.
10. Above all, NEVER take a stand on anything even if it’s the exact text of a passage of scripture! It might be true, but actually taking a stand signals to all the postmodernists in the room (which might be everybody but you), that you are an intolerant, arrogant know-it-all who is forcing his ‘personal opinion’ on everyone else.