The Anonymous Note

I’ve been leading worship in one form or another for about twenty years. I’ve also spent roughly the same amount of time working in information technology. One thing that both of these roles have in common is The Anonymous Note.

The Anonymous Note is exactly what it sounds like: a missive, usually critical, left unsigned with no hint as to its origin. It is as maddening as it is unhelpful.

One big problem with The Anonymous Note is that it shuts down any chance at dialog or understanding. A great example comes from my days on the front lines of the Worship Wars, which was a busy time for The Anonymous Note. An unsigned note found in a church mailbox simply said, “What’s wrong with The Old Rugged Cross?”

The implication was clear, as was the writer’s intent. The problem was that their chosen method of communication was designed to shut down conversation rather than foster it. I mean, had they asked me in person, I could have told them what was wrong with “The Old Rugged Cross.”

But since it remained anonymous, all it did was frustrate and create bitterness.

And that’s just one problem with The Anonymous Note. Ryan Egan has listed several more problems in his post Give Me Criticism, Just Tell Me Who You Are, At Least. He writes:

Some anonymous notes can be genuine, relevant criticism that needs to be addressed. However, when an anonymous note is left on your office desk, even if it’s valid, it’s very difficult not to take it as a right hook to the face, especially after a season of feeling discouraged.

Go check our Ryan’s post for more, and please, for everyone’s sake, no more anonymous notes!

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