Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Something has recently dawned on me.

And by "recently," I mean about ten seconds ago.

Does anyone passing through this little corner of the Internet think, for a moment, that President George W. Bush needs to sit down for a serious one-on-one with Cindy Sheehan? Mrs. Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq, actually received personal condolences from the President; after their meeting, she had nothing but nice things to say about Mr. Bush. Fast-forward a bit, and she's camping out in a ditch near the President's Texas home, "protesting" the war effort and opining about virtually anything and everything else. Fast-forward a bit more, and she's purchasing property in Crawford under false pretenses so she can more easily hector President Bush, still using her son's coffin as a soapbox.

Mrs. Sheehan's tactic (and the tactic of those surrounding her) is to make her own self the issue.

Unfortunately, that same tactic is being employed by Mark Sharpe And Friends.

Let me quote Mr. Sharpe, thusly and like so:

I feel compelled

The question asked was in reference to Mark Sharpe's request

(There's that talking-about-oneself-in-the-third-person business again. Mike Bratton just hates that...)

I'm not sure how much he knows about the situation because I've not talked to Jim Barnwell and Jim Barnwell has not talked with me.

Unless someone who knows has told him, he has no idea of the efforts I and many other deacons and members have done to discuss these issues in a private manner instead of openly before the church in this public setting.

(A church, just for the record, is a private setting--not a public one like, oh, say, the Internet.)

That doesn't sound like reconciliation to me.

My heart is grieved

I plead with the administration

I plead with the laymen who are in leadership

This is the most disturbing part of the whole anti-Bellevue business: The issues raised are playing a weak second fiddle to the individuals doing the issue-raising. See for yourself, the next time you visit, how their own page titles look to you (emphasis mine):

Deacon David Bishop Letter to Pastor

What steps has Steve Gaines taken to reconcile with Mark Sharpe?

Mark Sharpe asks Steve Gaines to resign.

Honestly, there are no legitimate "sides" to this business. The idea is that those of us who are Christians are, or should be, on the Lord's side; if we have disputes, then someone (or everyone) involved is out of alignment with God's will for that situation.

When the people took to the Internet, the newspapers, and the television, actually "saving Bellevue" got lost in the shuffle of interviews and pronouncements. It was taking a figurative stick, and drawing a figurative line in the figurative sand; publicly calling those at Bellevue who disagree with your viewpoint "cowards" and "the Mafia," among other things, are polarizing, line-in-the-sand statements.

Only with a real sadness can such a viewpoint be identified not as a desire to save Bellevue, but as anti-Bellevue. Pardon me for getting personal, but I'm sick of seeing it. The "Saving 'Saving Bellevue'" blog has, for whatever reason, shut down; it would be nice to see follow suit. I'd much rather report and/or opine about any of the thousand other stories zipping through the air these days--but as long as that site keeps churning along, this one will offer alternatives.



Anonymous said...

Mike my man

You have hit the nail on the head this time. This is what God wants. All blogs concerning our Church must be shut down, including this one. Then and only then will God open his Church for all Christian to settle the differences. Be a Godly man and plead with the other blogs to follow suit. Then our Church will heal.

Good Job.

Mike Bratton said...

If I may, this isn't a "blog concerning Bellevue."

It's a blog.

I'll be happy to write about other things. Trust me.


Anonymous said...

Choice 3
"Please, may this thread (Commercial appeal poll) be copied to:

choice 2 blogs

choice 1 blog"

Anonymous said...


You gonna comment on this back and forth exchange?

Mike Bratton said...

Since you asked, I will.

Brother Phil got it right.

Young Mr. Manning's response was to run the standard anti-Bellevue playbook: Disparage the individual and make veiled threats.

No surprises.


Anonymous said...

Did you read all the letters, Sounds like to me Bro Phil spoke out of turn and is trying to say forgive me. And Josh did not do what you said, here you go again Mike

Anonymous said...


You guys just don't get it. Do you not see that you are amateurs compared to Josh Manning and he has gained more respect after Weatherwax letters than he ever had. Do you have a problem with the truth? Looks like to me PW lied in his first letter and admitted it in the next. You and are now following the pattern that our Paster started. You better watch out or people will start holding the tithes for God until SG and Jamie are fully exposed. Its all about the money now and Steve caused it. Yeah he knows the Bible but so do you and so do I.

Mike Bratton said...

Whoever you are, perhaps I wasn't specific enough. Yes, I read everything in the exchange.

If you don't agree with the young man, you're lying. And you should "bite your tongue".

Questioning the behavior of the "saving Bellevue" folks? Why, that's labeled an "attack."

Check how young Mr. Manning winds up the exchange: "...had we been sitting down at a table, you’d have throw lie after lie at me and then placed your fingers in your ears and hummed a tune as I defended myself to you. How dare you accuse me of depriving others of a fair hearing when I never did and when you have done just that in black and white. How small is your consideration for the truth or for hypocrisy itself?"

Straight out of the one-page "saving Bellevue" playbook.

And speaking of personal disparagements: "Here you go again Mike"? Where did I "go" in the first place?

Am I going to have to make people start registering with real first (and last) names before they can post comments here?


Mike Bratton said...

Oh, Mr./Ms. 11:38 a.m. Anonymous, that one deserves a full post in response!


john 16:33 said...

>>>>Am I going to have to make people start registering with real first (and last) names before they can post comments here <<<<

Well, there is no way to know if they would just register under fake names. It would however be quite nice if posters at least had to register a unique "blogger" name so we could tell one "anonymous" from another.

I vote for registered users only. We won't know who they are but at least we can tell them apart. :-)

back to lurking. peace out.

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