Tribalism And Irony

This came over the transom this morning:

I heard about your recent comments concerning the Grace Community Church service and the “social distancing”. I would ask you keep your comments to yourself unless you’re willing to opine about every “worse than covid” diseases and conditions that routinely kill more folks. Otherwise your comments are seen as nothing more than cheap shots. Learn some some things prior to opening your mouth next time. Thank you.

He has “heard” that I wrote something about GCC but he has not read what I wrote. Apparently (and remarkably) he was able to find me but not the article in question. Does this handicap our intrepid correspondent? Not in the least. Without having read the article about which he writes, he urges me to “learn some things before opening” my mouth— generally good advice but amusing in this context.

This morning, however, I am more than bemused. I am concerned about the well being of his sense of irony.


    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

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  1. I’ve read it, Dr. Clark — and I appreciated what you said. 🙂 Ah, this crazy world we live in……

  2. Woke Reformed? Perish the thought. Although that may no longer be an accepted idiom . . .

  3. I think the kid who contacted you will get in trouble with mommy for being mean to someone on the internet. Maybe the person will be grounded and not be able to play video games for a week. Seriously, someone needs to grow up. John MacArthur of all people (love him or otherwise) doesn’t need someone to defend him.

  4. Dr Clark, I have just looked up “Transom” on Wikipedia and Google and cannot work out what the medium was on which you received that message. Please, what is a transom in the context in which you used the word? Is it something like a Tannoy, or a social media platform? or something you put between your teeth to engage in transom dental meditation? Please elucidate!

    • It’s an Americanism:

      over the transom
      North American informal offered or sent without prior agreement; unsolicited: the editors receive about ten manuscripts a week over the transom.”


      tran·som win·dow | ˈtran(t)səm ˈwindō |
      a window set above the transom of a door or larger window; a fanlight.

  5. I think that this saying has a nautical basis.

    The transom is the back of the boat, the part that is perpendicular to the water. This is where an outboard motor is attached. Thus, “over the transom” refers to a wave that comes over the back part of the boat, which is almost always unexpected.

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