Sunday, July 29, 2007

You are cordially invited

Since I'm going to be in Memphis later this week, I thought it might be a good idea to get together with some of my fellow bloggerati (my favorite new word, by the way). If you're reading this and are or will be in the Memphis area this Thursday, the cordial invitation to lunch extends to you. A couple of copious commentators have committed to convene, and I'd like you to join us.

All right--I'm sorry about all that alliteration. It's a weakness.

Anyway, we'll be getting together at Huey's on Germantown Parkway this Thursday, August 2nd, at around 11:30 a.m. Personally, I tend to take my time at lunch, so if you can't get there until noon, I probably won't have gotten around to ordering yet.

See you Thursday.

--Mike

48 comments:

Karen said...

Hey Mike,

Any chance you can put your hunger pangs on hold until about 2 pm? I'm working parttime this week due to getting over my surgery 2 weeks ago. Do you think you'll still be there at 2 if you don't want to change them time? Am I invited?

karen

bepatient said...

I am planning on coming by for a bit, don't know how long I can stay but I will at least pop in for a bit!

solomon said...

Man, I'd love to stop by but I'm on the west coast this week.

How about a rain check?

WatchingHISstory said...

sickofthelies

You said on the closed forum: "So Steve Gaines continues to hide behind the pained explanations of crazy women and young women, neither of whom care about the chidlren, but are in awe of the power of this man. It makes the women feel " special" by defending the man with the power."

Now tell me why you can't understand that the same thing applies to Adrian Rogers. Your words, "crazy and young women" created an aura around AR that made it impossible for a young adult man go to his pastor and confide in him about his father.
Luke 12:48 "..to whom men have committed much of him they will ask the more."

Will these "crazy women" ever go to God and the victim and ask for forgiveness? Or will they ignore the truth and ban anyone who discusses it?

Sorry Mike to intrude on your site but I can't discuss this on the closed forum.

Charles Page
Collierville, Tennessee
(901) 861-5077

Mike Bratton said...

Karen, we've been praying for your recovery. By all means, I would suspect some of us will be lingering over lunch, so give it a swing.

Keith, consider yourself rain-checked.

Charles (may I call you Charles?), not to worry. However, you really do need to stop blaming Pastor Rogers for the way other people treated him.

As I've said more than once on this blog, and particularly in the most recent thread, personal responsibility begins at home. "I know I can't talk to him because of thus-and-such" is not at all the same thing as "I tried to talk to him, but was rebuffed." If someone blames their personal inertia on someone else, that's irresponsible behavior.

On another note, I'm more than a little bit "sick of the invective." Surely I'm not alone in thinking that the tactic of referring to those with whom one disagrees with insults such as "crazy," and presuming to know their hearts and motives, has worn thin to the point of transparency?

--Mike

Cakes said...

You're in luck, Brat-man, cause thursday's me birthday (1962), and I'm taking the day off to be a total slug. And those Huey burgers are to die for, not that I've been to the one on Germantown(?)(!).

If bepatient's there, we'll have to arm-wrestle.

Next time, venture into Midtown, we'll crash a Gay-oki bar and sing show tunes--not that I'm gay or anything.

Cakes said...

"Surely I'm not alone in thinking that the tactic of referring to those with whom one disagrees with insults such as "crazy," and presuming to know their hearts and motives, has worn thin to the point of transparency?"

No, but to whom do you refer? Because both sides (and yes Mike, your blog constitutes the haven of the anti-NBBCOF and the central context of its regulars) gravitate towards emotional appeals (both pro and con), endless cycles of insult and reprisal, barbed-labels and incendiary monologues (as opposed to constructive conversation).

Folks that believe in the wonderful gift of words, that take some care and responsibility for communicating clearly and concisely, opens the door to exchange and perhaps finding some common ground. As a parent and a devoted family man, I don't presume that Mike Bratton is ok with Gaines' failure, just because he doesn't seek the same consequences. No one should be villified as condoning it--that is speech that is useless and hurtful.

But equally, it is disconcerting that little constructive discourse can come from you guys until you stop throwing stones and acknowledge that they have a legitimate concern, not much organization, the same human frailties we all exhibit, and are doing what they think is right by their character.

Start by just saying something nice, without caveat.

Nobody listens to me, I'm wasting my time.

WatchingHISstory said...

Mike call me Charles

I hope that you were not implying that I was calling anyone "crazy"
I was replying to SOTL refering to "crazy women" and trying to appeal to the context in which she was using it.

I agree with you as to the use of insults in discussions.

However, Mike, I cannot let go of the 'opinion' that AR was not aware of the aura that was created around him and the future consequences that would create.

I am comming to see the impact of the kind of celebrity status members grant to pastors. I believe that these members will share in the blame for the shame of the victim and will give account before God for much of the mess that was left to SG.

Dr. Bill Loney said...

To whom it may or may not concern:

I was very much looking forward to the nbbcof bowling party and now it seems I will also miss the "bratton burger bonanza". This just makes me (sic).(I'm still trying to figure out how to use (sic))

You see, when one goes and reveals personal information about themself on a blog(s), they must be prepared to reap the consequences(or rewards).

It seems the CDC caught wind of my 'meat-borne ism' immunity, and last night I was snatched from my futon and whisked away in a black van. Because I was blindfolded for the entire drive, I can only suppose that we are in Atlanta, as I believe that is their official headquarters location.

However, I am not a big complainer, and I must say that this little white room with no windows and a big mirror is not that bad. I have a nice bed, a computer, and a mini fridge stocked with...you guessed it, tainted meats(I'm in Loney heaven!). The guy over the loudspeaker advised me not to eat 'all' of it so as to save room for tomorrow which is 'poorly cooked chicken day'(can hardly wait!). In one ear and out the other though, because as long as the buffet is open I'm going to be buffeting. I haven't seen anyone for nearly the entire day, except for the white lab coat clad guy and the two burley orderlies who held me down as he took blood samples and did a vestigial
tail(s) biopsy.

Well, there's a couple of really 'rare' t-bones and a nice pink pork chop calling out my name, so later.

William T. Loney, MD

PS...this whole ordeal kinda reminds me of that episode of 'Cheers' when Norm got a job as a beer-taster

bepatient said...

Sol, as a response to your post on the last thread about SB.

I think many of us predicted (and yes, that means we got out our tarot cards and let SG shuffle them first) that eventually some of these folks would start to turn on each other when they had finished fighting with the rest of us and BBC.

The shame of it is, there are so many who have left BBC that have done it in a Godly and respectful way without causing more harm and those that are most vocal are giving those people a bad name.

bepatient said...

cakes, Surprisingly, the Huey's out in this hood is just as good as the one as the one in Midtown. I have some friends that live in Cordova and they would insist that we drive to Midtown every time we went to Huey's. They are hippie types and I finally reasoned with them that they were NOT helping the environment much by using up all that gas to get the same food we could get around the corner.

WatchingHISstory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WatchingHISstory said...

David Brown

I also posted this on Christa Brown's website.

I am not a theologian (armchair maybe) nor a scholar. I am an unskilled laborer who loads freight in containers for aircraft.

I am a seeker after truth and want to understand especially Christian truths.

Your cause is especially important as you are dealing with a problem of gigantic proportion.

I want to understand throughly the concept of forgiveness. Jesus said: "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses."

We bear the image of the earthly, that is we see through a glass darkly, because of our personal sin.

We shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Scripture is clear that we shall observe the punishment of the wicked. Luke 16:23 We will have a righteous view of the wicked's punishment

Here on this earth we don't have a righteous view because of our own sinfulness.

(if you could see the torment that your pedophile priest experiences - if he remained unrepentant) My belief is that if we could see into the future the torment we would cry out for mercy for our trespassers (your pedophile priest) on their behalf and we ourselves will receive forgiveness from Christ for our sins.

Tell me what you think and please don't hide behind the skirts of victims (I say that respectively)

Charles Page

Junkster said...

WatchingHISstory said...
I am an unskilled laborer who loads freight in containers for aircraft.

This is an uncalled for and hateful attack! How dare you come here and spew forth such an untrue and vile accusation! Everyone knows that the the industrious and virtuous workers at our local air freight transportation company are highly skilled professionals -- to refer to any of them, including yourself, as an "unskilled laborer" is an outrage!!!!!

solomon said...

bepatient,

I'm really sad that all this is happening. I'm in San Diego, and yet wherever there's an internet connection there's no escaping the fight.

I ventured back 'over there' today, and I saw where a blogger calling himself 'bbc 11yrs' tried to reason with them. He made the simple statement that Jesus is able to save anyone, and was assaulted just like you and I have been. Not assaulted because his statement was wrong (no one dared to cross that line) but for daring to disagree.

Do you think theres any hope for resolution? I've actually considered visiting other churches, but Haywood's disgraceful trash has made me realize that every Baptist church in town has been affected. Wherever I go I'll meet someone I know, and they'll congratulate me on 'seeing the light'. That's not why I'm thinking of leaving, I just want a place to take my family to church without hatred and anger.

I read a few of the 'end times' posters over there, too. I used to think they were off the mark, but I'm honestly starting to wonder. Matthew 13 says that the world will end in fire, and James wrote "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." I honestly have to wonder if maybe that was the fire Jesus was referring to.

I've gone to church my whole life, I met CC (Mrs. Solomon) in church, and my girls have been in church since they were old enough to leave the house.

But we're living in a different world now, and I have to wonder if the church as we know it is gone. Maybe it's time to let it go.

Junkster said...

Dear Dr. Loney,
You are getting close, but the proper usage of "sic" would be so-ly and like thus:

"This just makes me (sic) (sic).(I'm still trying to figure out how to use (sic) (sic))."

Got it?

bepatient said...

Solomon,

Churches are imperfect, but they are all we have! Someone else I know was torn about leaving, simply because they couldn't take all the "drama" but you just can't let it get the best of you. It doesn't matter if you go to a church of 100 or 100,000- if you want to find this type of stuff, you don't have to look hard.

WatchingHISstory said...

junkster

thanks for the passionate complement! my fellow laborers and myself thank you

I remain industrious and virtuous

Charles Page

WatchingHISstory said...

junkster

I ask my highly skilled twin brother to respond to your response and he said: "She removed a statement from it's context, thereby changing the meaning of the argument." He said: "She maintains a material fallacy of reasoning by vicious abstraction. Often she makes statements like this by simply altering and droping the context. She emasculates the statement and distorts the meaning."

I told him I thought that I would just wait for David Brown to respond.

Tim Greer said...

Mike,

I'll do my best to drop in for a Huey burger. This is the Wolfchase area Huey's, right?

Tim

bepatient said...

Hey, I have a jam packed day tomorrow, and I don't know for sure yet that I can sit and have lunch, but I will stop in and say hello at the very least!

WatchingHISstory said...

Luke 16:22-26 (New Living Translation)
22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.

When the righteous die and finally bear the image of the heavenly they will display a cold callousness, feeling no sympathy for the wicked. The wicked will realize an awful awakeness and realization of their need. A need that wil go eternally unmet. An unimmaginable tormet. Their tormented cries will be met with cold indifference.

Here on this earth we bear the image of the earthy. Our personal sin blinds us to righteousness.

Those who trespass against us treat us with a callous indifference. We cry out in pain and distress and we are met by the turned head. Like the tormented soul in hell we cry for the safety of our children as we try to protect them.

How presumptuous for "Christians" to act callous toward the plea of the innocent.

It makes me wonder if there maybe a place in heaven designated for these to dwell: heavenly slums where they will sit and watch the humble here on earth live in ease and splender. Many of these so called "celebrity preachers" deserve such a place if it does exist. Yes, there will be tears in heaven and our heavenly Father will dry them and say, "now quit your crying."

If this is mere speculation then it should at least make us ponder how we as Christians treat each other! It should remove all questions as to why sinners treat us with cruelty.

Karen said...

Mike,

I'll pop by about 2 and see if y'all are still there. Don't wait for me if you're bored by 1, ok?


Solomon,

If you're still in San Diego, make sure to go to Anthony's Fish Grotto and Rubio's Fish Tacos and Hodad's Burgers in Ocean Beach for me, ok? I sure miss SD!!!

karen

michelle mann said...

Hi guys - I just talked to my brother, and he confirmed that he will be at Huey's on Germantown Parkway (near Wolfchase) at around 11:30 today. He is looking forward to meeting everyone...and Karen, he says he's not sure if he can hang around till 2:00, but he's going to try!

I wish I could come, but I am absolutely swamped. Please come to the blog after lunch and let everyone (me!) know how it went!

Enjoy your lunch!

Karen said...

Hi Michelle,

If he's there, great - if not, that's okay too.

k

Junkster said...

WatchingHISstory said...
my highly skilled twin brother ... removed a statement from it's context ... maintains a material fallacy ... emasculates the statement and distorts the meaning.

Did I get that about right? :)

heh heh heh

Junkster said...

Mike,
How was Huey's? Wish I could have been there. I actually had other lunch plans, but they fell through, but by then it was too late to rearrange my work schedule to get to that part of town from where I work (in Collierville). Oh well ... mebbe next time ...

Junkster said...

WatchingHISstory said...
When the righteous die and finally bear the image of the heavenly they will display a cold callousness, feeling no sympathy for the wicked. The wicked will realize an awful awakeness and realization of their need. A need that wil go eternally unmet. An unimmaginable tormet. Their tormented cries will be met with cold indifference.

I don't know if that's speculation or not, but I can see where the passage could support the idea. It's certainly something to think about. I've been asked before how we could enjoy heaven if we knew that some of our loved ones were in hell. My response is usualy that we will see things, including God's just penalty for sin, very differently when we see them from God's perspective. If I'm ever asked that again, maybe I will point to this passage of scripture.

solomon said...

I wonder, is it possible for us to nominate cakes for the nobel peace prize?

And Karen,
Honestly now, did you ever really finish a Hodad's cheeseburger? If so, how long did it take you?

Karen said...

Solomon,

I didn't say FINISH the burger; just eat one in my honor! :) Or if you're willing to drive, you could get a double animal at In and Out burger, but let's not get nuts! :)

As for Huey's I showed up about 2:15 and Mike and Cakes were still there chatting. Even though I've known each of them in "real life" for some time now, it was a good reminder that there are flesh and blood people behind the blog names and they have feelings just as you do. I think we're all guilty of letting the anonymity of the internet get the better of us sometimes so it was nice to reconnect with real live people.

karen

gmommy said...

Karen,
Did Cakes get to tell MB that I am a nice ol gmommy and not a threat to anyone??? :)

So good that both "sides" were able to meet and share and have a pleasant experience. Thanks to Cakes and Padroc and to Mike!

Karen,I know you are always sweet to everyone and already knew MB...glad you are getting around well!

Karen said...

gmommy,

Thanks for the nice compliment! I wish I could have gotten there earlier to see everyone.

karen

Memphis said...

To Cakes, Padroc, and MB: I had a great time a huey's the other day, was nice to sit down and put a face to a "screenname", anyways, thanks for the invite Mike.

Memphis

solomon said...

You know, I was greatly encouraged by some of the posts on the NBBCOF Friday. After I had all but given up hope, I almost believed that God's grace was finally shining through.

But after reading some of the posts today, I've given up. After 'Rowdy Lynn's' condemnation of his friends' wedding (it's possible to go without a formal invitation, you know) to aslan's victorious gloating that Ken Reich is leaving our children, to SOTL's pathetic hateful outlash of the day, I've had it. I don't know who people like mom4 and gmommy are, but I won't expose my family to them anymore. If these are the people who occupy the pews of the 'church', count me out.

Mike Bratton said...

It was quite an honor to see so many of you this past Thursday, and to see how much we were in agreement with regard to so many different things. One thing that was brought up is at the foundation of Keith's observations:

solomon said...
You know, I was greatly encouraged by some of the posts on the NBBCOF Friday. After I had all but given up hope, I almost believed that God's grace was finally shining through.


Hope is never a bad thing, when it's properly vested.

But after reading some of the posts today, I've given up. After 'Rowdy Lynn's' condemnation of his friends' wedding (it's possible to go without a formal invitation, you know)

Maybe it was a rowdy-free wedding, and out of friendship, they didn't want him to sacrifice even for an hour something so integral to his personality?

Did he actually speak to his friends about the lack of an invitation? You know, face-to-face? I understand it's a novel concept, but I say step out there and try new things! ;)

to aslan's victorious gloating that Ken Reich is leaving our children,

When people are obedient to God's will, He is ultimately the only one who gets the victory. Knowing Ken, he's no doubt going where he's led; just as with Jon, there can't be any antagonism involved.

to SOTL's pathetic hateful outlash of the day, I've had it. I don't know who people like mom4 and gmommy are, but I won't expose my family to them anymore. If these are the people who occupy the pews of the 'church', count me out.

Keith, I'd appreciate it if you'd send me an e-mail with your phone number in it, or let me e-mail you mine. I'd like to talk to you in depth about the worldview that is discouraging you. I would also suggest you hook up via e-mail with my friend Padroc; ol' Pedro had some encouraging things to say Thursday specifically about the issues you raise.

Yes, all sorts of people shine the pews of Christian churches--and every one of them is someone for whom Christ died. Now is the time to love people in spite of themselves; God loves them, God commands that we love them, and God commands that we assemble together as His church.

Though I have a friend who suggests church discipline is long overdue at Bellevue, until it is implemented there is no other option but to speak the truth in love to them. And, to remember that God loves us when we are unlovely.

--Mike

Junkster said...

Mike Bratton said...
Though I have a friend who suggests church discipline is long overdue at Bellevue, until it is implemented there is no other option but to speak the truth in love to them. And, to remember that God loves us when we are unlovely.

Perhaps church discipline is in order ... but I doubt the congregation or leadership is likely to bring the pastor before the church for it.

Mike Bratton said...

Junkster said...
Mike Bratton said...
Though I have a friend who suggests church discipline is long overdue at Bellevue, until it is implemented there is no other option but to speak the truth in love to them. And, to remember that God loves us when we are unlovely.

Perhaps church discipline is in order ... but I doubt the congregation or leadership is likely to bring the pastor before the church for it.


Ha, ha.

You made a funny!

(stops to catch breath from guffawing)

Seriously, though, I didn't think I had to be more specific, but I will. My friend was referring to all the people who've spent roughly a year now (both those who do so psedonymously and those who do so self-servingly) ignoring Scripture and attacking personally the people who serve in Bellevue's staff and leadership--his opinion was that they should be introduced to the concept of church discipline.

Sorry we missed you at lunch.

--Mike

Memphis said...

Solomon, I feel the same way you do anout some of the posts, but I have a solution for you to try. A. Do not read it. or 2. Skip over posts by certain people (which is what I do when I read the blog)

I highly doubt that anyone would say the type of things you reference in person (which is another thing all together) but if when you read the blog, there are certain people that I just skip over.....some of them I can already tell you what they are going to say or that they are going to argue about, or about what new dirt they might have found. (Still waiting for details on something that was broke on the blog a few months ago!)

If you really look at the posters, I'd say only a few of them actually attend BBC anymore or ever have, but that is the openess (sp?) of the Internet isn't it??? :)

It is unfortunate in a way, because they have a right to voice their opinions, but they lose that right with me when they post with anger. I can honestly say that there are 2 posters I will not even read their postings at all.

Karen said...

Hi Mike,

Glad you made it back home okay. As far as church discipline, I've said all along that it will have to be "a total God thing" (ain't I spiritual?):) to fix the Bellevue mess. Do you think that God is working out the mess by leading Bellevue's strong leaders away from Bellevue? When you look as the number of wonderful Godly men who have been led away from Bellevue, how can you not draw the conclusion that this is God's discipline for Bellevue? You may not agree with me and that's fine, but I'm having a hard time not drawing that conclusion. God really is good though - I can't see how Jim Whitmire would have ever left Bellevue for 1st Baptist Jax, but I do see how he can leave an interim position at GBC for a full time position in FL. Max Brunson was at 1st Baptist Dallas when Jim left Bellevue, so I totally see God's hand in that situation.

My word verification is egohhd (ego head!)

Mike Bratton said...

Karen said...
Hi Mike,

Glad you made it back home okay. As far as church discipline, I've said all along that it will have to be "a total God thing" (ain't I spiritual?):) to fix the Bellevue mess. Do you think that God is working out the mess by leading Bellevue's strong leaders away from Bellevue?


I realized that there would be a mourning period after my family and I moved to the Birmingham area, but you all must be strong and faithful... :)

When you look as the number of wonderful Godly men who have been led away from Bellevue, how can you not draw the conclusion that this is God's discipline for Bellevue?

Because, quite frankly, it's a subjective conclusion, and a premature one at that. And it works from the errant notion that God "leads away" instead of "leading to."

You may not agree with me and that's fine, but I'm having a hard time not drawing that conclusion.

Here's the thing, Karen--truth is objective. If you're speaking the objective truth and I'm not getting it, it's incumbent upon me to come around to the truth. By the same token, if the objective truth is something other than the conclusion you're drawing, you should be less fond of your conclusion and more fond of the objective truth. It simply isn't a question of who agrees with whom, but rather what the truth of a matter is.

God really is good though - I can't see how Jim Whitmire would have ever left Bellevue for 1st Baptist Jax, but I do see how he can leave an interim position at GBC for a full time position in FL.

Bellevue had, and still has, a mandatory retirement age. As much as anything, that precipitated Dr. Whitmire's departure--though he is still Minister of Music Emeritus.

Max Brunson was at 1st Baptist Dallas when Jim left Bellevue, so I totally see God's hand in that situation.

Sometimes His work is easily discerned, but in other instances a good deal of time must pass before God's activity in a situation can be discerned.

My word verification is egohhd (ego head!)

Are you sure that wasn't supposed to be High-High-Definition Ego? :)

--Mike

Karen said...

Mike,

You said,

Max Brunson was at 1st Baptist Dallas when Jim left Bellevue, so I totally see God's hand in that situation. (Karen's correction-it's Mac, not Max)

Sometimes His work is easily discerned, but in other instances a good deal of time must pass before God's activity in a situation can be discerned.

And what would this situation be?

As to your "leading away" vs. "leading to" comment, isn't it the same as "half empty" vs. "half full"? To be lead to some new ministry, don't you in turn have to be lead away from your present ministry (notwithstanding the wet behind the eyes just out of seminary dudes)?

And finally you said:

Here's the thing, Karen--truth is objective. If you're speaking the objective truth and I'm not getting it, it's incumbent upon me to come around to the truth. By the same token, if the objective truth is something other than the conclusion you're drawing, you should be less fond of your conclusion and more fond of the objective truth. It simply isn't a question of who agrees with whom, but rather what the truth of a matter is.

To which I say: "Huh?" Isn't truth just truth? There's nothing objective about truth - it's truth or it's not. When I did something bad, my mom never asked me for the "objective truth" - she wanted to know the truth, not my personal spin on the truth. Since I said "huh?" above, I think I may be misinterpreting what you are saying, so please enlighten me.

Karen (grabbing another hanky to dry my tears that Mike is now in AL) :(

larry said...

solomon,
You've got email.

I read on the previous thread "Dr. Bill Loney" addressed the matter of blog comments acheiving their intended effect. He asserted that blogs are different from the old chat rooms because the responses on a blog are carefully measured and well thought out. Ideally yes, in real life, no. Many inexperienced bloggers shoot straight from the hip with no forethought whatsoever.

Blogs are great when used properly. This is from an article I read:

At their best, blogs offer an unparalleled opportunity for Christ-seekers to engage in rich and varied conversation, personal accountability, and thoughtful reflection. In any church, one is likely to find people of relatively similar beliefs and backgrounds. It can be more difficult to find others who will challenge your mind-set beyond the bubble of your current understanding. With online community, you can easily find people who will stretch you beyond your present knowledge and belief structure. Another beauty of online conversation is the ability to engage in it at one's own pace. To consider and either deny or accept any belief in a face-to-face conversation can be overwhelming and rushed. The opportunity to approach and walk away, to carefully formulate and consider your beliefs without someone standing there anticipating your answer (and their refutation) is an enormous aid in becoming a well-rounded and critical-thinking individual.

In spite of the almost limitless opportunities for dialogue, blogs have their own unique risks:

One of the more interesting aspects of online journaling is the stark reality that most authors present. Something about typing your thoughts and life into a keyboard strips away the masks and pretension we often carry around. Self-disclosure, so rarely found in everyday conversation, occurs almost frighteningly often in blogs. This could be helpful or unhealthy. It is hard to deny that there is a great need for authenticity and consistency in our self-expression. However, a question looms: At what point does this self-revelation become too much? Certain aspects of one's life ought to be evaluated only in private or in the presence of a close companion. Online journals present these private discussions to the world.

Keith, there's a reason that the things you read on the blogs are so different from your experience at church. To some degree, we all wear masks in our relationships. However, when we're sitting alone with our computers it's much easier to express our frustrations and disappointments with one another. There's no denying it, the greatest pain and suffering is caused by people, and it's usually by people we care about. Nonetheless, these are exactly the same people you used to worship with.

I saw you mentioned 'Rowdy Lynn.' I used to go to Sunday school with him, and I never knew anything about him because he's very shy around others. I never would have known anything about how opinionated he is if not for the blogs. Now that I know him at a deeper level I don't especially care for some of his thoughts, but who's to say whether or not that's a bad thing? Would it have been better for us to have a shallow relationship that would eventually fell apart because we're different people?

Here's my point, Keith. The people you meet on the blogs are generally closer to authenticity than the people you've met on Sunday mornings. Judging from some of the posts from the people reaching out to you, it looks like your friends are here.

My invitation to come to church with me is always open, but don't overlook even one person God has put in your life. Even if you only know them by the screen names 'bepatient' or 'memphis', their prayers for you are of greater value than all the treasures of the earth.

Be blessed, brother!

bepatient said...

Speaking of bepatient....

Sorry I couldn't make it to lunch. I just couldn't cram one more thing into my day! For all of you that reside in Memphis (unless you are going to be around again soon Mike), would you be interested in doing it again sometime?

I will probably be missing quite a bit until the fall- we have a first birthday party in few weeks (yippee!) and then a first family vacation with our expanded family!


Solomon, if you heard the sermon from Sunday, SG mentioned that when things get tough you can't just quit the ministry and go sell insurance.... well, that is what a family member of mine did- he was a pastor (who now sells insurance) and won't even go to church since none of them "do" it right!

We don't always get it right, but I bet your wife and kids don't either- and you stick with them anyway. As far as I am concerned, you make a commitment to the church when you become a Christian, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer...

maybejustmaybe said...

Please count me in if there's another lunch -- I wasn't up on the blog last week and totally missed this one! I would have loved to have met everyone.

Jim McKee said...

Wish I could've been there.

Though, given the subject matter, I definitely would've been the proverbial "fish out of water" (and just think, I don't even LIKE fish!). But still, it would've been cool just to hang out, grin, and eat mozzarella sticks.

How are you, Mike? Long time, no see/talk/whatever. Found you through a Google search (although, technically speaking, you weren't really "lost", LOL)... Finally got over my brain-gas and searched on "Mike Bratton" instead of "Michael Bratton". Like Taco Bell says, you gotta think outside the bun.

;-]

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