SoulCafe serves up a varietal blend of conversation, ideas, culture, and community for members and friends of Region 1 of the ELCA.
Within the groups you’ll find plenty of opportunities for conversations on both light-hearted and serious topics. We’re deeply committed to the quality and tone of those conversations and hope you will be too.
Three very important points about participating in the SoulCafe.org community:
You must be a registered user of SoulCafe.org in order to post.
- It’s not enough to be an ELCA member. (Sorry.) But registering is quick and easy, and we promise not to be nosy. Your name and e-mail address are all the personal information we require, although we’d love to learn more about you if that’s OK.
- You must be age 13 or older to be a registered user. In the meantime, we hope you’ll read along!
- These terms may be updated from time to time, so be sure to bookmark them for future reference.
When you post a comment:
- Be thoughtful. Be relevant. Be creative. And, above all, be kind. Let’s show the world that it’s possible to engage in complex, nuanced conversations and act like Christians at the same time.
- Focus on the issue, not the person. As Lutherans, we can (mostly) agree on the basic tenets of our faith. But when we’re talking about potluck favorites or politics, common ground may be a little harder to come by. Especially when you disagree with someone else, keep your tone respectful.
- Keep your comments on topic. If you post a comment that has no bearing at all on the original topic, we may delete it to keep the thread on track. It’s a matter of respect to the original intent of the conversation.
- We will remove any content that includes obscenity, ridiculing, bullying or a threatening tone. Those decisions will be made at the discretion of the moderator(s). We’re Lutherans, for crying out loud. We shouldn’t talk like that.
- Don’t pick fights, and please resist the impulse to fight back. Jesus said it best: Turn the other cheek. (However, if you see something that violates these guidelines, be sure to report it using the Report a Problem link at the bottom of every page.)
- No one is the spelling or grammar police. Ye who has never been terribly misguided by "spell-check", misplaced or left out a word, or ended a sentence in a preposition cast the first stone. 99% of the time, you can figure out what someone is trying to say. Repeated mentioning of and/or correcting of others' spelling or grammar will subject you to exclusion from the community.
- WRITING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IS THE SAME AS YELLING! Yes, you can yell in cyber world too. Remember, Soul Cafe is a sacred space - you wouldn't yell at someone in church. No one likes a yeller, real or virtual - it's rude and annoying. Be creative in how you express yourself.
- We will not tolerate hate speech of any kind. Period. It’s one thing to criticize a particular government or organization for their positions on an issue or their actions (or lack thereof). It’s something else all together to attack people because of their skin color, gender, religion or sexual orientation. We’re confident that you can tell the difference too.
- We will remove posts that are clearly spam or attempts (either subtle or overt) to solicit goods and services. If you have something to sell, there are plenty of places on the Internet to do so. SoulCafe.org isn’t one of them. If you spam, you’ll immediately lose your posting rights.
- We will remove any content that makes us legally liable. This includes, but is not limited to, copyrighted content posted without the permission of the author.
- Don’t post personal information (e-mail addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, etc.) about you or anyone else. The exception to this rule is if you want to invite someone to a public event or to worship at your congregation. Then by all means, give them the address!
- Opinions expressed by bloggers, writers, and commentators do not necessarily express the opinions of the ELCA churchwide organization, Region 1 synods, or their respective staff.
If you violate the guideline …
We hope we never have to make this kind of decision. And before we do, we’ll send an e-mail so you know where you crossed the line. Losing your privileges will not come as a surprise, and we’ll offer you an opportunity to make things right.
Most important of all, decisions we make as moderators to edit or remove content are never personal in nature. Nor are we trying to take control of how conversations develop or where they go.
What we are trying to do is support the presence of a lively yet safe and sacred online destination where we hold each other accountable for what we say.
Our sincere desire as moderators is to benefit and support the entire SoulCafe.org community. If you have questions about our intentions, send us an e-mail.
Before you submit a comment:
When you decide to add to the conversation, keep these thoughts in mind before you click on the Submit button:
- Am I saying something new on this topic, including new factual information or an insight that hasn’t yet been expressed?
- Will my comment move the conversation forward?
- Is my comment more about soapboxing or myself than adding to the conversation?
- Am I being picky/splitting hairs/arguing for argument’s sake?
- Is this something I’d want my favorite Sunday school teacher to read?
If you see an issue on the site (e.g., a technical difficulty like a broken link or someone behaving in a manner unbecoming a Lutheran), tell us about it by using the Report a Problem link at the bottom of each page.
Although we try to be as actively engaged as possible, we cannot be everywhere within the community at all times. It’s just not humanly possible.
We appreciate your partnership!
If you want to include a link:
We’d rather hear from you, not your links. However, if a link is relevant and adds to the discussion, it’s OK to include it.
- Links to the home page of your Web site or blog will not be permitted. If you have more to say, post a link to a specific destination within your site, and make sure that link is on topic.
- Links to commercial sites are not allowed; soliciting goods or services is not permitted.
- Mislabeled, misleading or unidentified links will be treated as spam.
- Links to offensive material are NEVER permissible. That includes content with profanity or inappropriate, defamatory, blasphemous or explicit language, graphic violence or pornography. It doesn’t matter if the author had good intentions in sharing this content, e.g., “We need to raise awareness about this issue.” Remember, we are an intergenerational site, and your links should be suitable for any reader age 13 or older.