Thursday, April 26, 2007

For your viewing and listening pleasure

Folks, I don't watch American Idol. At all. Ever. But last night, they did something impressive, and paired up two great singers (one of them is my all-time favorite, and you can guess which one) for a landmark duet.

Please, go watch it. Right now. Here. It's good stuff.


EDITED TO ADD: Yes, yes, copyright issues have been raised, and that link is no longer active. However, the more fascinating thing is how the Elvis/Celine duet was produced in the first place. If you're interested, there's analysis here.

And I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but the copyright wasn't exercised until recently. I leave the broken link as testament to the fact that it was available, until the holder of the copyright exercised it--as is their right, something that seems to elude some people. As someone with more than a passing interest in both radio and television production, however, the how'd-they-do-that link holds more interest.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Warning: Obscene Language

After reading this observation from the previous thread (quoted thusly, and like so)...

bepatient said...
I try to steer clear of the Closed forum but occasionally I pop in to see what is going on and I skimmed through and saw a comment that SG is the "head demon".

...I went for a stroll through the Forum linked in the list to your right, the one innocuously named the "New BBC Open Forum", but which is more accurately known as the "Closed Forum" for its lack of hospitality toward those who do not line up with the anti-Bellevue sentiments fermenting there. (I would have preferred to make these observations in an e-mail, but it's been a long time since the Forum moderator deigned to respond to one.) Don't take my word for what goes on there, though--here are some recent examples, beginning with the aforementioned "head demon" reference.


Oh, yes. Quoted thusly, and like so:

The demons have been loosed on BBC, with the head demon, SG, directing them.

Matt 18 only works with believers who have actual fruit. It does not work with people who are deceptive...professing christians with no fruit.

I described what is happened at BBC as "voodoo".

Are any of you Christians? You certainly are not showing the fruit of a believer!

The leadership at BBC has many similiarities as the brutes in Jonestown. Matter of fact, many of the members at BBC have decided to stick their brains in their pockets and allow SG and his band of thugs to do their thinking for them, just like the people in Jonestown.

The Antichrist should put BBC on his list to visit right off the bat. SG has prepared his flock to usher in the antichrist. No doubt they will give him a standing ovation, if they haven't already.

Have these remarks been deleted? Have those who posted them been reproved?

No, and no. There are occasional calls for a calmer tone, but they (obviously) go unheeded. Keep in mind that repeated calls for a more civil discourse do get reprimanded, but denying the salvation of professing Christians, comparing Bellevue to a non-Christian cult, and insisting the Antichrist will feel very much at home among the "demons" there are the coin of their bitter realm. Their remarks are not only untouched, but encouraged.

Nevertheless, and just as with the so-called "Saving Bellevue" site, I leave a link to the Closed Forum in the list to your right. But be warned--the Forum is a place loaded with obscenities and filth. Strap on your hip waders before you enter, and take a long, hot shower after you depart.

It doesn't have to be that way, though. Once again, I beg those who participate in the Forum, in the name of Jesus, to repent of their mindset and their actions. They do nothing to heal, and do much to harm.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Your point is not well taken

The National Enquirer-esque headlines are a regular feature of the deceptively-named "Saving Bellevue" website, and one of the more recent ones continues the tradition. I quote thusly, and like so (yet without the large font): "Parliamentarian and Pastor Barry McCarty's church in Texas, Valley View Christian Church split in 2004. The off shoot (sic) is Cornerstone Christian Church He (sic) was the Parliamentarian for our March 25th Business Meeting."

Get it? See, Dr. McCarty had a church split under his watch. So, he must be part of an effort to make Bellevue split, right? Why, of course!

Well, no.

With regard to the so-called "split," it wasn't much of one. Dr. McCarty became Valley View's new pastor, about 150 people flared off to follow Valley View's old pastor preach at a Dallas hotel, and Valley View was just left decimated--with only 1200 people left to attend their church. Granted, an 11% drop in membership is nothing to sneeze at, and none of us is privy to just what level of acrimony was present during those members' departures, but according to the National Enqui... um, sorry, the so-called "Saving Bellevue" reference, no one needs to know anything else about Barry McCarty other than that his church split.

A couple of things to consider here:

1) Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't at least one group in the past splintered away from Bellevue to form its own church? I have yet to read a condemnation of Ramsey Pollard on the so-called "Saving Bellevue" site for presumably mishandling his pastoral duties to the point that members broke away to start what is now known as Second Baptist Church in Memphis. To be clear, I don't know that Pastor Pollard ever necessarily mishandled his pastoral duties--my point is that "Saving Bellevue" should either be consistent, or remove their latest attempt at gossip-mongering.

2) Dr. McCarty has been the Southern Baptist Convention's parliamentarian since 1986. If you'd like to read an extensive article on the man, Baptist Press has one here.

3) Since you probably didn't follow that link, here's a sample from it. As you read it, see if anything sounds familiar about it--quoting thusly, and like so:

Preparing for his first convention, 1986 in Atlanta, McCarty studied what had happened the year before in Dallas. He said that while some of the points of order offered were well-intentioned, they stymied the convention’s deliberative process to the point he suspected that some messengers were raising the points to “confuse and frustrate the chair.”

“The thing I remember most about the convention in Atlanta was that they threw everything at us, including the kitchen sink,” McCarty recalled. “It was pretty obvious to me that people who were opposed to the president had found that in the point of order they had a way to harass the chair.”

McCarty said he gave Stanley a legitimate way to dispatch such points in quick fashion: “I recall one thing I had taught Dr. Stanley that became his favorite expression: ‘Your point of order is not well taken.’ But when someone raised a legitimate point of order, we took immediate corrective action,” said McCarty, who noted the 1986 Convention had an unusually large number, between 60-70, points-of-order raised.

4) Dr. McCarty was a personal friend of Pastor Rogers'; in addition to serving as SBC President in 1979, Pastor Rogers served as SBC President in 1986 and 1987 with Dr. McCarty as parliamentarian. As he noted in the recent business meeting (and as is obliquely referenced in the aforementioned Baptist Press article), Dr. McCarty treasured his friendship with Pastor Rogers. Perhaps some in attendance missed that reference?

Now you know more than "Saving Bellevue" evidently wanted you to know about Barry McCarty, the incredibly well-qualified parliamentarian who served Bellevue during the March 25th business meeting. Why do you think that none of this information made it onto that site?


EDITED TO ADD: Apparently, there's nothing that the so-called "Saving Bellevue" folks won't bootleg. I see today that they made a very poor recording of Mark Dougharty today, which continues a trend of surreptitiously recording people and events. Why? From whence comes their compulsion to keep unapologetically breaking these types of laws over, and over, and over, and over again? I mean, I half-expect to see bootleg copies of 300 and Meet The Robinsons for sale on their site!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just when I was looking forward to writing about something else...

An anti-Bellevue blog is closing.

No, not that one. Or that one. Something previously titled "Bellevue Baptist Church - OUR (sic) True Story," now re-titled as "From Bellevue Baptist Church to the World...." evidently intends to shutter its publishing.

And I'm sad to see it go.

The author (or authors) of that blog missed (or ignored) the point of my interaction with them, as you'll see in their most recent article. Normally, I would've responded on that blog, but for whatever reason I "may not comment with this account," according to Blogger.

You Finally Win

You hypocrites and brood of vipers, you win. How 'bout a round of applause, no?

Let's keep in mind that "brood of vipers," in particular, was a phrase Jesus employed when speaking to those opposed to Him and His mission. It's informative to the rest of what "Don" has to say.

After receiving a record setting amount of email, most which were completely absent of anything Christian, and after the way other bloggers who have been kind to our cause have been treated, we are pulling this blog down - mostly for legality's sake. Can't elaborate on that now, though.

But when you are able to elaborate, by all means feel free to use this venue to do so.

All day we collectively received calls from "minister friends" and from "concerned people" whose choice phrases cause those of us contacted to believe solely otherwise. No matter what Steve Gaines says, harassment is never a good thing on any level, and bullying never wins out in the end.

So you don't think that your choice to single out two Bellevue staff members and call them racists, then reference the alleged "countless deacons and bible fellowship teachers and lay leaders who make awful racist remarks on the ball fields, out fishing, and in public" was a good one after all? Because your anonymous remarks were just what you claim to detest--they were harassment, and they were bullying in nature.

Congratulations, Mr. Mike Bratton! How happy you must be now that you get your way, since you are so vehemently against anyone who wishes to pose their opinion.

Now you've moved from harassment and bullying to outright lies.

You DEMAND that they tell their names or that they show their faces or you paint them out to be liars and evildoers.

Where? When I wrote this to you? Quoting myself thusly, and like so:

"Either put the weight of your reputation(s) behind your accusations, or refrain from making them."

And like so:

"Your 'reputations' are of precisely zero consequence until you publish your names with your accusations. Is that elementary point so very elusive?"

And like so:

"As a friend of mine once reminded me, if someone won't sign his or her name to his or her complaint, that complaint is worthless."

I never suggested that your charges against Bellevue staff were necessarily "lies" or that you were anything resembling "evildoers." I asked you to sign your name to your complaints. Now, the things you've said regarding me were absolutely lies, and I encourage you in the name of Jesus to apologize for them and repent of them. But I was attempting to give you the benefit of the doubt. Since you post no e-mail address, and since I cannot post to your blog, I have no option but to correct your misstatements here.

While you win the battle by us pulling this momentary blog down, you have proven a point that is about to be made known to the entire world ........

Let me ask a question I've asked for months now: Where is the Biblical precedent for broadcasting the presumed private sin of another to the world at large?

And you definitely will get to see our faces in the very near future. See, what you have always failed to realize and what you clearly cannot see because of your ego that is in the way (and let me say this not just to Mr. Bratton; this I speak to all of the pro-Gaines crowd who use the bully pulpit for their own promotion and personal gain) is that SHEEP ARE HURTING AND SHEEP ARE DYING AND THEY PERISH FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND YOU HAVE IGNORED THEM FOR THE LAST TIME. (And yes, there are those close to the pastor who are gaining personally from their "squashing" of these sites and comments, but more on that at a later date.)

Interesting. We're getting into "threat" territory now.

You have allowed them to lay bleeding by the wayside, by beating those who simply look for answers. You attempt to destroy those who question things that are clearly not Scriptural and you attempt to make them a laughing stock before your peers. You continue to beat them and blast them into a faux submission, and only when you stand before the Lord - only then will you see the thousands who now lie broken and stranded in the path.

You want control, not restoration. You want power, not fellowship. And it sure seems like for the time being, you have it ...

One hundred eighty degrees incorrect. Those whom you and yours attack mercilessly are people, from my experience, who desire fellowship and healing. They are far from perfect, as they would be quick to admit, but their orientation is one of openness and commonality.

So I implore you, have your fun for now. I promise you, and this is the very sad part, that it will be short lived. We went to the people who were at fault, and we were rejected - wouldn't even listen. We then took a group of godly people to confer about the problems, and still nothing. We tried to take it to the church - and were promised our day - yet still, nothing. And I want to say that how anyone can say that the opposing viewpoint had a chance at all of being heard at the "business meeting" is completely out of their mind. Period.

Since we don't know who you are, there is no way to objectively validate your statements. Did you go to the people at fault? Who knows--you're anonymous.

And again, the contrarians had their opportunity, and fumbled it. Just as you have.

So, now we will take it to the people. All the "facts" you accuse us of not having, all the things you say aren't real hidden behind a blog screen name, and all the things I am absolutely certain that you all have ignored because you liked your position ... all is going to be made known. And you are going to realize that you have been very, very wrong.

If so, I'll be the first to admit it.

Too many threats have been levied against too many people, too many "rights violations" have been incurred by too many innocent bystanders, and too many federal laws have been either bent and/or broken by the current leadership - and finally, there are those who are listening. The most sad thing is that the "church" is the one who chose to ignore it's own in this matter... now the matter is being taken up in the only place where people will listen, and act.

And you can control no one's behavior but your own. To date, you, whoever you are, haven't exactly acquitted yourself with élan.

Thank you to every one who listened, who prayed and is praying, and who has never been afraid to speak up. May God bless and keep you as you continue to stand for what is right.

Please keep us in your prayers and keep your eyes open. This is all we can say for now.

No matter what anyone may think, we all trust and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.

I haven't seen anyone question your salvation--though that is a favorite tactic of those who share your viewpoint. Why, you even opened your article by doing just that.



I had hoped that "Don," and whoever else was working with him in publishing, would understand the responsibility required in making the accusations found in that blog--namely, to sign one's name to one's charges. And more than just a first name, obviously. For reasons known only to "Don" and his presumed colleagues, this responsibility has not registered.

And I'm sad to see that.


EDITED TO ADD: Thankfully, we seem to have a sort of apology for the previously-quoted remarks. You can read it here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What is a "real man"?

A little distance is a wonderful thing.

Having been caught up in the joys of both serving in the Memphis Passion Play and of moving to a new home in a new city, I have been blessedly distant from both the childishness that currently permeates the Closed Forum and the disregard for law that is the calling card of "Saving Bellevue." My prayer is that I will be able to address other areas of interest (which I expect to do soon), but I would be remiss were I to neglect observing how both anti-Bellevue groups are operating these days, in one more effort to encourage them to repent of their behavior.

First, the nonsense ironically known as "Saving Bellevue" has pushed the boundaries of the ridiculous to new depths. Last week, I sent them an e-mail; since I've yet to receive a response (which is, unfortunately, typical), perhaps sharing its contents with you might encourage a response. This is the text of my April 7 e-mail, quoted thusly and like so:

I would've written sooner, but we've just now finished the move to Birmingham. As I try to catch up, what do I find at your site? Why, bootlegged IMAG video of the business meeting. Care to explain why a group such as yours--a group so very, very interested in "integrity" and "accountability"--seems willing to break the law with regard to copyright infringement on a regular basis?

You folks really have to stop this. I'm concerned about you, and about your circle of associates. In the name of Jesus, I ask you to put aside your bitterness, because it is blinding you to the wrongs you are committing; you and yours have long since become known only for what you are against, and not at all for what you are for. Consider that Easter Sunday would be a good time to renounce your old behavior and put your efforts toward constructive work for the cause of Christ. At the very least, I encourage you to attend whatever church you'll attend tomorrow without carrying a video camera.

Appropriately, the videos they bootlegged off Bellevue's IMAG system have been removed by YouTube, but the response of "Saving Bellevue" is telling. Rather than taking responsibility for their own illicit behavior--and while displaying a continued, disturbing predilection for unrepentently breaking the law where copyright issues are concerned--their sole response is "This is censorship."

No, this was violating YouTube's Terms Of Service. And breaking the law.

Integrity counts? When--only when it's someone else's?

Secondly, the clique ironically known as an Open Forum has taken to baiting the men of Bellevue who don't buy into their bitterness by insisting they aren't "real men." A few make the assertion, and the rest affirm it. Obviously, such immature, schoolyard taunts have been the coin of the Forum realm for awhile now, but rather than dismissing the taunt, I felt led to address it.

At the Closed Forum, one finds that a "real man" is someone who thinks destroying a church is a good idea. According to the observations and rah-rahs of their few-but-proud (apologies to the U.S. Marine Corps), real men "are not afraid to stand up and speak out. They put their names on the line to protect the church and preserve the truth."

Interesting that the majority of the men who participate in the anti-Bellevue movement do so behind pseudonyms--except for the few who'll provide both their first and last names to television producers.

(The same observation applies to the "Saving Bellevue"/"Integrity Does Count" hybrid. One can only find out the IDC membership after joining--for a fee, of course. So, according to the Closed Forum, IDC is anything but "manly.")

And how have anti-Bellevue sympathizers "protected" or "preserved" much of anything? We've seen them, as a group, fumble every chance to maturely speak to the issues that are supposed to drive them; equate their brothers in Christ with Fascists, the Mafia, and Satanists; and make un-Biblical pronouncements regarding who is--or is not--a Christian. What we haven't seen is concern for the church body as a whole or the meekness, the strength under Christ's control, that would allow them to speak up about an issue without defaming others.

Real men, and real women, are up to that task. So, what do you say, IDC-ers and Forum-ites? Will the discourse of the playground be your only legacy, or can you leave the taunts, bitterness and antagonism behind you?


EDITED TO ADD: For those few who make up what's left of the Closed Forum "regulars," thanks for stopping by and browsing. From what I read, your collective seems either unwilling or unable to take up the challenge and put the playground mentality in the rear-view mirror. It's at once telling and heartbreaking.