Monday, July 23, 2007

To my Anonymous Commenter

My friend wrote a 5 page article for the LA Times about his lost faith, and posted it on his blog.,0,532432.story?coll=la-home-center

Twenty readers commented, including me. I talked about my own faith, which is a much more positive experience than his has been. In my several-paragraph response I included this comment:

...The Pope himself came out last week and told the world that the only way to salvation is through the Catholic Church, when actually, the words in the Bible say it's through belief in God. ...

The last-week's news story I referred to in that comment came from here:

"Faithful people from Tacoma to Tulsa to Tijuana took notice this month when the Vatican reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church as the only path to salvation. Pope Benedict XVI’s stance that other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches had the potential to divide."

Here's the link for that article.

So I was pretty accurately quoting the article. Nevertheless, Anon got really mad and mean and wrote me this:

Anonymous said...
Hi Jenny, just wanted to let you know that your comment on Tri Geek Dreams on "what the pope said last week," is just flat-out wrong. You left the Catholic Church for reasons you probably can't even define or defend -- except in ignorance. Stick to talking about exercising.
3:55 PM, July 23, 2007

So, Dear [not actually] Anonymous:
In all my posts and comments, I write my own opinions. I am not asking you or anyone else to adopt them. So cheer up! It's OK for you to have an opinion different from mine - lots of folks do... even the Pope! You didn't need to hide behind what you obviously hoped was anonymous.

Which I guess now you get to know that I have sitemeter. So you hadn't read the news story. Big deal - no need to go Anon and get mean. You didn't need to call me ignorant on my own blog.
So you can either apologize for being a weenie, or I can "out" you. ;-) ... or should I just publish the Google Map that came up with your IP address ? ... or should I take the high road? Decisions, decisions.

By the way, my children go to a lovely Catholic school, where 60% of the families are Catholic. So lots of our friends are Catholic. Regardless of what the Pope said, I still like them, and they still like me. My kids attend Catholic Mass once a week. I only stated my comment [about something other than exercising] when Kahuna invited me (and the rest of blogland) to know his soul, and comment as to how we felt. Believe it or not, pretty much all of us triathletes have thoughts outside of exercising. ;-)

Just wondering, though... did you also leave Kahuna a mean Anon comment?... I mean he had a LOT of things to say! Or did you just pick on me for some reason?


TriJack said...

way to stand firm jen...

that must suck to need to slam others, even moreso to do so anon...

you know the troupe and i love you!

IronJenny said...

Love you too! I'm glad you didn't get eaten by a bear the other day.

Alex said...

You have the right to say whatever you like, as does your commenter, but it's cowardly to hide behind "anonymous." Take the high road. They're not worth the response. :-)

Ryan said...

My name is Ryan.

No need to "out" me. I live in Orange County, California. I joined the Catholic Church in 2002, after growing up Lutheran.

I read Kahuna's article this weekend and actually felt quite sad for him. I thought about sending him an email with the scripture, “Let us run with patience this race that is set before us.” I thought it appropriate, but I noticed he was be bombarded with opinions and commentary.

What angered me about your comment was your total misrepresentation of Catholicism and your certainty that you were right. You sound righteous. You wrote, Unfortunately, Christians like me jump into a pool of faith with other Christians, and a few "fakers" always seem to be lurking in the pool with us. You just have to sort them out, and if they are actually the lifeguards of the pool, you have to go to another pool.

You also misrepresent priests, most of whom are decent, holy men whose vocation is to help their parishioners worship God. You wrote: I wish you would interview one or two of the thousands of decent pastors who preach the actual words and true love from the Bible, in addition to corporate "priests", con-artists, criminals, and their cronies. It would make for a more balanced story.

And although you claim to have the whole and correct and untainted interpretation of the bible, I would like to know who gave it to you. Does your pastor have it? And why is his interpretation different than many other protestants and non-denominationals? If they’re all different, who is really correct? How are we supposed to know? If the bible is so easy to understand and the Holy Spirit helps all of us understand it and interpret it, why are there so many different churches teaching different messages?

Certainly, you are correct, many Catholic Churches don’t have bibles in the pews. We get the bible every day, at every mass, from the altar: Every mass has at least THREE readings from the Holy Scriptures: usually one from the Old Testament, a psalm, and a reading from the Gospel. On Sundays, we usually have four readings. Each mass is also sprinkled with words and prayers from the Holy Scriptures. Take a look at a mass and you’ll see a glimpse of the book of Revelation: robed clergymen, candles, incense, manna, chalices, Sunday worship, the Holy, Holy, Holy, the Gloria, the Sign of the Cross, the Alleluia, the readings from scripture, and the “Lamb of God.”

You are correct in your opinion that catholics (and Christians) aren’t perfect. You write, You are so right that there are horrible people hiding behind "religion"; and there are horrible people who will defend to the death, their cohorts. It's dispicable. No doubt. My pastor says that "organized religion" can spoil the message. Coming from a formerly Catholic/ high Episcopalian family; and having watched some of those televangelists, I agree.

There are horrible people everywhere. Some days I’m horrible – I got angry at you today. But I bet, if you’re honest, the same kind of people you find in “other” churches you could also see some days in your own self – we “organized religions” don’t have a monopoly on horrible.

Everyday I hear people misrepresenting the Catholic Church. For the most part, no one stands up and defends her. The Catholic Church is to blame for much of this – they didn’t teach the bible and make it accessible, and they don’t teach the faith and the traditions so we can pass them on or at least explain them to someone who doesn’t understand.

What you see as mindless, pointless blather and counting beads I see as something entirely different and whole-hearted and faith-filled and beautiful – all pointed towards God. It’s what’s in our heart that matters.

The biggest difference between you and me, however, is that you’ll notice I didn’t attack any other church or denomination or decision to live out faith. I can point to the catholic church and say this is why I made the decision I made. I don’t need to point out in any other direction to say, “don’t go there and don’t go there and don’t go there.”

Because let’s face it, if we look hard enough, we’ll find plenty of reasons to not go anywhere.

Jumper 2.0 said...


Nice of you to show yourself. However after carefully re-reading Jenny's post all I see is defensiveness from you. I do not see any misrepresentation of the whole Catholic church, I see disagreement with what the pope said and I see disagreement with experiences she has had. And Jenny did not keep those poor experiences to just Catholicism as well. I think that you need to take a close look at why your reaction is so defensive.

Righteousness? How is anger against the crimes mentioned righteousness? How is anger against those that are suppose to be like Jesus righteousness?
I don't think that word means what you think it means!

KC said...

jenny - love your blog and admire your athleticism and zest for living! :)

Nancy Toby said...

You carry yourself and your faith with class and dignity, and you're an inspiration to many others. No need to answer back any defensive jerk.

And that comes from a diehard agnostic. :-)

IM Able said...

It is so sad that Ryan would ignore the obvious response -- to apologize for the rancor in his message to Jenny. He mentions the inappropriate nature of his response, but only as a way of further defending his own righteous indignation.

Perhaps Ryan has a point to make that is valid or useful, but I have a difficult time looking beyond how he presents himself. Unfortunately, an opportunity for actual dialog -- and perhaps learning -- was lost because he chose to respond to another's opinion as a child would -- with name calling and insults. That's a shame, as I'm enjoying reading people's responses to Kahuna's article.

21stCenturyMom said...

Dear Ryan,
That but up your butt belongs to you and you alone. Own it.

You have grossly misrepresented Jenny while quoting her all the while.

I hope you can resolve your issues soon - they are clearly not sitting well with you.

Smooches to you, Jenny

IronJenny said...

Dear Ryan -

Funny you mentioned that verse... that's what I had written on my forearm in magic-marker at IM Zurich last month! ... at least until the sunscreen and sweat smeared it up... but the Bible says "perseverence", though, not patience. ;-) Just in case you want to read it yourself, it's Hebrews 12:1...

I, too was deeply saddened that Kahuna has only met criminal Christians of (of any denomination). But his article was mostly about the Catholic Church and he mentions a Mormon example, too. How come you're not blasting him? How come you're not blasting all the other commentors?

I haven't read many articles about Protestant pastor child-rapists, though, truthfully. Would you send me some?

About my feelings toward Catholicism or the Episcopalians ... I'm not being righteous, I just know how I felt and what I saw when I was there, so that's what I represented in my post. That's all. That's all I ever said, too. And let me repeat that that's only my personal opinion.

I am very, very glad you love it where you worship. About a third of my friends love it there, too. The bottom line is that Jesus loves ALL of us, and he wants us to know him and love Him back and if we follow his words and his example our lives on Earth will be fuller and happier. My belief is that is true for all of us, not just members of a certain denomination. Again, just MY belief.

The reason there are so many denominations is because people are different, and interpret the Bible differently, and find comfort believing in different ways, and sometimes people need to exclude other believers to make their own belief have meaning. And I guess that's OK. You disagree with me, and that's OK, too! But I'm not hiding behind what I though was a secret identity, calling you names on your blog and disrepecting you personally.

I didn't say all the fakers were Catholic - not at all! Re-read that.. there are "fakers" in pools of every denomation. They are the wife-beaters that one of the other commentors related to, and they are the bishops who defend rapists and villify the children who were violated. If the priest at your parish were a rapist, would you defend him? Perhaps. But I wouldn't. If my current pastor were a rapist I wouldn't defend him either. Not a chance. I can't see Jesus defending rapists at all, but you are right that I don't KNOW that.

One thing that I SHOULD have clarified is that I wished that Kahuna would "interview one or two of the decent pastors OR PRIESTS" who do beautiful, loving work in Jesus' name. Obviously there are plenty of good priests. Catholic Charities is one of the finest philanthropic groups around.

I stand by my quote of what the Pope said. Did you read the article now that I linked it for you?

And I am free to disagree with him. Read John 3:16 yourself. That will explain why I disagree with the Pope on Salvation. No need to blast me on that.

You say in your "don't out me" comment that:

And although you claim to have the whole and correct and untainted interpretation of the bible, I would like to know who gave it to you.

Can you show me where I said that?

You seem really angry. I'm sorry your life is like that.

Sincerely, Jenny

Tri Mom said...

Jenny- You continue to inspire me on both my athletic and spiritual journeys. Thanks!

Iron Girl Nyhus said...

Well said IronMomJenny :)

Alex said...

Wow, there is a lot of "heat" in this debate. I can tell that all of you are probably very great people, and with some strong convictions. When I read Kahuna's article, it struck me as a telling of his personal journey of faith - not intended to persuade others to follow his path, but to find their own. I have my own journey of faith, having been at times violently discriminated against in the name of religion. In the end, we are the people we convey to the world. We can show love, compassion, friendship, understanding, and tolerance, which are all components of popular spiritual belief, but are also components of being a good person outside of a spiritual sense. I respect people that have strong convictions highly, as long as they can tolerate the convictions of others as well. I would bet that everyone that has posted on this thread has a personal understanding of what it means to be a good person, and tries to follow that path to the best of their ability. This makes us all much more like than apart, not to mention that most of us have a similar love and dedication to our sport, our families, and our communities, which brings us further together. Maybe I'm way out in left field here, but we're not all that different. Why can't we respect each other?

Professor Steve said...


Thanks for your kind words in your comment on my blog posting.

And, no, I wasn't offended by anything you wrote. I am a protestant guy, and don't hold the Catholic church in any higher (or lower) postition than any other church.

Bottom line for me: how are you and Jesus doing? Everything else is frosting we can haggle over if we want to.

Ryan said...

First off, I didn’t say “don’t out me,” as you claim. I said there was no need to “out” me. I was more than happy to tell you who I was when I was in an appropriate place to do so.

I would like to know, however, how it’s morally acceptable to allow anonymous comments on your blog and then threaten to “out” a person who disagrees with you.

Hebrews 12:1 is translated a few different ways. The translation I gave you was from the King James Version – read it here of course, I appreciate your permission for me to read it myself. I know you don’t think anyone reads the bible, after all, that’s what you wrote to Kahuna. Let me assure you, I read the bible.

I haven’t “blasted” Kahuna for what he wrote because he had to report on the worst of the worst in religion. It’s no wonder he was left empty. The crisis in the catholic church has been disgusting and distressing, but to use this as a straw man to attack the entire church (and many others use it to attack Christianity on a whole) is also wrong. We had a priest taken from our parish because of one accusation and I believe many bishops and cardinals should be excommunicated because of this disgusting mess. To point to this and use it as a straw man to attack the entire church, however, is intellectually weak – and sadly, increasingly common.

Let me get to the specifics:
Denominations and interpretation – you write, “The reason there are so many denominations is because people are different, and interpret the Bible differently, and find comfort believing in different ways.”

This is not supported in the bible. One example: 2 Peter 1:20 states, “scripture is not a matter of one’s own interpretation.” In fact, your definition describes perfectly the problems with a lack of authority in interpreting scripture and the possibility of doctrinal errors and differences in interpretation – hence 20,000+ protestant churches.

As to what the pope said: although I appreciate the link you offered, I have read many versions reported by the media and I had many conversations with non-catholic friends on this issue. I chose to go to the Vatican website and read exactly what was written on the topic, unfiltered. Yes, this is a hard saying (see John 6:60), however, it is not as you interpreted it, and it is not as the media interpreted it.

The pope didn’t say that salvation is found only through the Catholic church. Here’s one part: “It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.”

Certainly, there are aspects of the entire document that many will be unhappy with; however, none of this is new from the Catholic Church’s perspective. It’s old teaching brought forth to clarify internal church interpretation.

Also, I would love to read your version of “The Pope on Salvation.” From the catechism (what the church believes and teaches): 178 We must believe in no one but God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.179 Faith is a supernatural gift from God. In order to believe, man needs the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. 619 "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3). 620 Our salvation flows from God's initiative of love for us, because "he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (1 Jn 4:10). "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Cor 5:19).

Now, no one has yet to respond to me on the merits of my arguments. I have been called angry, a child, a defensive jerk, and so on. You yourself threaten to “out” me and patronize me by offering for me to read Hebrews 12:1 – because, apparently, your bible is the only correct interpretation – even though I quoted from a protestant bible.

I came here to challenge your attack of the Catholic Church and your lumping the church in with televangelists and “organized religion,” which yes, makes me angry, because I believe you do not know the truth of the catholic church.

That you would personally attack an entire group of people and then use that group as a defense because, “lots of our friends are Catholic,” just boggles my mind.

“Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:15

Iron Girl Nyhus said...

Enough already! :)

IronJenny said...

Ryan, be truthful - you are quoting me on things that I have not said!
Please, like Alex says, allow people to follow their own path.
Your posts are revealing a lot about yourself as well as your path, and maybe you should re-read yourself.
I wish you well.

IronJenny said...

Ryan, one last thing... you said:

"We had a priest taken from our parish because of one accusation"

One is too many.

Ryan said...

I wish you no ill will. I ask you, however, to show me where I have put words in your mouth.

I haven't made a thing up. It's all here in black and white. And I doubt you would talk to your "catholic friends" with the same level of disrespect.

I don't know you, and you don't know me. Maybe my blog will enlighten you. You'll see pretty quickly, I am neither angry nor defensive -- I am quite blessed, as are you.

TriJack said...

some serious talking going on - so... how about a little joke? no no, i'm not bashing preachers, or preachers who race horses, or nuns who show their ass... it's all for fun...

A preacher wanted to raise money for his church and on being told that there was a fortune in horse racing, decided to purchase one and enter it in the races. However at the local auction, the going price for horses was so high that he ended up buying a donkey instead. He figured that since he had it, he might as well go ahead and enter it in the races. To his surprise, the donkey came in third! The next day the local paper carried this headline:


The preacher was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the race again, and this time it won. The paper read:


The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the preacher not to enter the donkey in another race. The paper headline read:


This was too much for the Bishop, so he ordered the preacher to get rid of the donkey. The preacher decided to give it to a nun in a nearby convent. The paper headline the next day read:


The Bishop fainted. He informed the nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey, so she sold it to a farmer for $10.00. Next day the headline read:


This was too much for the Bishop, so he ordered the nun to buy back the donkey, lead it to the plains where it could run wild and free. Next day, the headline in the paper read:


The Bishop was buried the next day.

21stCenturyMom said...

Yeah for humor, Jack.

And Ryan - I meant 'bug' not 'but'. I still say you need to own your own anger and stop trying to blame Jenny. Jenny is so righteous and shiney and bright that I, a pinko, commie, atheist, leftist hippie adore her. And as far as I know she forgives me. And that's in the Bible, too.

Let your light shine, Ryan.

IronJenny said...

Love it Jack! Humor is a good thing.

Bye, "Ryan".

So anybody still watching the Tour de Frauds? (he-he...) I wish I could stop loving cycling, but I can't! Dope or no dope I still love it. I can't help it! Somebody save me!!!!

Comm's said...

Oh posts and comment threads like this can be such a jolt.

Never met or read Ryan's stuff so can't speak to his heart but...

I have spent time and fellowshiped with Jenny and she indeed has a heart that is pure and straight with Christ.

I am proud to count her as a friend, someone whom I can talk to and listen to, and her power comes from being a light of the Lord and bringing that light to others in a way that few people I know in the church can.

God Bless you Jenny.

Shelley said...

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything..forget where I read that, but I like how you stand up for what you say!!! I just know that in the end..we'll all be UNITED..:-))

Nytro said...

seriously... where the hell have I been?

this "ryan" character... is he at all aware that many wars are due to a "my god is better than your god" philosophy?

yea... i think that's what god wants... us going around killing each other... and preaching from whatever holy book we're putting on a pedestal.


Julia said...

Mmmm, interesting thread. I could probablys say something interesting since I live smack in the middle of Catholicland and get the full Vatican news on television every day.

I will say that seeing such positive people as Jenny (rather READING such positive people as Jenny!) does have me take a second look at where she gets her inspiration from.

Ryan said...

Jenny, I sent you an email last night and I want to make sure you get it:

Our conversation yesterday has been weighing heavily on my heart. While
you can see I am obviously passionate about the Catholic Church, my behavior
was not acceptable -- especially to a fellow believer.

I joined the Catholic Church the same time the Kahuna was going to -- 2002.
I'm certain I found my home. However, my journey to the church wasn't
without turmoil and questions of faith. A very, very good friend of mine who
happens to be a non-denominational Christian pretty much told me I was going
to hell if I joined the Catholic Church. While this was hurtful and I think
hateful, I followed my heart. The two of us barely speak today -- and we
can't discuss anything about faith even though we both believe that Jesus is
our savior...and all the other BIG truths.

Anyway, it's not worth it. I am sorry. I hope you will accept my apology.


IronJenny said...

Thank you, Ryan! Please accept my apology for what sounded to you like Catholic bashing. That really was not my intent.
I replied to your email, too. ;-)
I checked out your blog and your daughter is beautiful! A little angel indeed.
Visit often... we talk about all kinds of stuff here!
p.s. Keep posting the kid pictures... those are always my favorite. I love watching other people's kids grow.

Tri-Geek Kahuna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.