Friday, November 03, 2006

Sniper fatigue

The recent (ongoing?) unpleasantness precipitated by some members of Bellevue Baptist Church seems to be subsiding; at least, the shrillness of the personal animosity has been toned down.

In any organizational disagreement, and sometimes when an organization is running smoothly, there are those who engage in what can be called rock-tossing, bomb-throwing, or sniping. These are the people who, for whatever reason, anonymously attack those with whom they disagree on an issue under the pretense of speaking to the issue. People who snipe generally run on raw emotions. Thankfully, over time, those emotions can wind down, and most people who play the role of "sniper" do not take the time to groom understudies. As Pastor Rogers used to observe, if an individual doesn't sign a complaint, that complaint cannot be taken seriously.

No doubt this subsiding is the direct answer to prayer--the prayers of both the people who are aligned with the unfortunate, anachronistically-named "saving Bellevue" group, as well as by the church body as a whole. When the disagreements contract back within the church walls, it will be far more difficult for the snipers to lock in on a target, and virtually impossible for them to express themselves anonymously. And when people take ownership of their remarks, those remarks are almost always tempered. At that point, we may begin to see resolution.

Occasionally, those of us who don't believe Bellevue to be in dire straits are accused of "marching in lockstep," "drinking the Kool-Aid," or other such nonsense meant to imply unquestioning compliance. Personally, such is not the case; as a matter of fact, I don't know that I've met anyone at church who would fall into that category. I do know that when most people have questions or concerns about something at church, they ask them as directly as possible, rather than sprinting to the nearest website or reporter.

If your concern regarding Bellevue has been addressed, but you're not fond of the answer you've received, you do have the choice of going elsewhere, but I would advise against it. I've been at Bellevue since the Midtown days (though not consecutively), so I have personally had more than one occasion where (gasp!) I disagreed with something going on, either with an individual, a class, or church-wide. Is that motivation to leave? Not in the slightest, or at least it shouldn't be. As Christians, if our church affiliation isn't motivated by where we need to be, rather than where we need to leave, perhaps we should revisit just why it is we are where we are.

One of my favorite playwrights put it this way: "Don't think of it as leaving here... think of it as going there." If you need to go there, go there--but if you aren't led to go, you must stay. God has a marvelous way of working things out.

--Mike

EDITED TO ADD: Or, perhaps it was all the calm before an unnecessary storm.

4 comments:

A_Peasant_in_the_Pew said...

Mike. During the discussion about Bellevue, I have chosen to be anonymous. I know, according to you, that makes me a "sniper". Well Mike, I am not a "sniper" but I have chosen anonymity because I fear for my family and myself as to how we would be treated by the Power Players at Bellevue if my identity were exposed. I know that I am not alone in how I feel. You quoted Dr. Rogers.... "As Pastor Rogers used to observe, if an individual doesn't sign a complaint, that complaint cannot be taken seriously." Mike, I loved Dr. Rogers and respected him probably more than anyone I have ever known, but even Dr. Rogers could make mistakes. He was not God and every word that he spoke wasn't necessarily gospel. (Gasp!) You see, that is what happens when we worship men instead of God. We begin to think that they are beyond reproach. Pastors are human beings too, and even "God Called" pastors can be lead astray. Pastors should be held to a higher degree of accountability than the parishioners. And that is what this whole discussion is all about ....accountability. Some people don't seem to like that. I wonder why.

notonlyamemberbutsomuchmore said...

Mike,

I don't know if you have been to the BBC Open Forum blog lately, but I think your link to it discredits you. I understand the link to the savingbellevue site, but the BBC Open Forum has become very hateful. It is not about the issues.

I ask that you consider delinking it. Also, I know this is moderated, so I ask you use your judgment as to whether you post this comment or not.

Mike Bratton said...

notonlyamemberbutsomuchmore said...
Mike,

I don't know if you have been to the BBC Open Forum blog lately, but I think your link to it discredits you. I understand the link to the savingbellevue site, but the BBC Open Forum has become very hateful. It is not about the issues.

I ask that you consider delinking it. Also, I know this is moderated, so I ask you use your judgment as to whether you post this comment or not.


I appreciate your viewpoint, and I have, more than once, considered doing what you ask. However, the reason I link to the Forum is the same reason I link to the so-called "saving Bellevue" site--transparency.

It's one thing for some guy to criticize bad behavior and ask that it stop; it's quite another to see that bad behavior firsthand.

--Mike

Mike Bratton said...

A_Peasant_in_the_Pew said... And that is what this whole discussion is all about ....accountability. Some people don't seem to like that. I wonder why.

Just so I'm clear--you wonder why other people don't go for accountability, but you can't sign your name to what you write?

Why is that again? Oh, yes...

I have chosen anonymity because I fear for my family and myself as to how we would be treated by the Power Players at Bellevue if my identity were exposed.

What, precisely, do you fear?

--Mike