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.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Critical Mass

(Apologies for anyone who thought there was a pun in the title related to Pope Benedict...)

From time to time, I'm prompted to review the activities of what goes on at the curiously-named "New BBC Open Forum." When considering the group's activities, there are some facts worth remembering: It isn't new, it isn't in existence for the benefit of Bellevue Baptist Church, and the actions of its leadership and membership show it to be the polar opposite of an open forum. Consequently, the name seems odd to a number of people who stumble across it--sometimes because I link to it, sometimes because they've Googled it up, and sometimes because it's recommended to them by others who enjoy rabble-rousing as a pastime.

To be clear, I love their members with the love of Christ and I pray for them regularly, just as their major targets (the leadership of Bellevue Baptist Church) do. However, as with any emotion-driven group, the Closed Forum (as they have been more accurately labeled) has allowed any legitimate concern they had in the past year to ferment, pungently overpowering any hope for productive, constructive discourse by allowing bitterness to become their main product.

I keep a link to their blog for purposes of balance, so that anyone wanting to learn more about the recent problems at Bellevue can have another viewpoint, such as it is. But with the recent buckets of bile being tossed around their site, I may have to reconsider it. I've quoted their antagonism in previous articles, but some of it has reached new depths. Consider these few examples, quoted thusly and like so:

(These first few are from an individual who self-identifies as a grandmother)

I don't know whether you are evil or mentally ill and don't care.

Either way, you are a disgrace.
No wonder you defend SG and other FALSE TEACHERS.


Thanks for showing us exactly what a false teacher looks and sounds like.....your arrogance is right up there with gaines....
go kiss the mirror and get your fix.

In Texas, people like you make nice fish bait.

(Note the obtuse death wish there. Does (or did) one of your grandmothers speak that way? But I digress. This next one's from the, um, "moderator.")

You only illustrate with each succeeding comment just how ignorant you are, and it provides comic relief for the blog, so I have no reason not to publish them.

(Moderation, indeed! And hold onto your funny bones for this last one...)

I was just doing a little brainstorming(hold the sarcasm, smart alecs), and I penned down a possible compilation of my presidential deacon staff.

OC- head of security
AOG, Eke.- bible stuff and whatnot
SOTL- public relations
Nass- valet parking
Gmom- catering
Socwork- social work
Junk- puns and jokey phone messages
Lin- death threat laison
concerned- watercooler talk coordinator
mom4- leisure suit picker outer
cakes- long word letter writer

More positions will come available as I make them up, so send me your resumes...(all positions pending the signing of a Loney loyalty/confidentiality oath)

Yes, a group whose members love to toss out death threats and death wishes gets a hearty laugh out of it, too! Ain't bitterness grand?

Ahem... If you, for some reason, wanted to read more, my apologies. I really don't have the stomach for much of the hatred in the Closed Forum these days, just as I have little tolerance for Savaging Bellevue's front-page link to the story of a small, independent church in Michigan exercising church discipline on an elderly member of its congregation. The problem is that Savaging Bellevue used one of its Enquirer-esque headlines with no mention of that church's location, affiliation, or anything else that would dissuade a casual visitor from thinking the story happened at Bellevue.

It would be great to communicate my concerns privately, but they've long since shuttered themselves in--it's been awhile since any e-mail of mine to anyone with the Closed Forum or Savaging, er, "Saving" Bellevue, or Integrity Does Count (But Only For Others) was deemed worthy of a response. Actually, it's been over a month since the last responses, and longer than that since any of the contrarian "leadership" deigned to respond.

Now, I understand that this article will likely be greeted with something other then genuine thoughtfulness by those in the center of those aforementioned contrarian groups. But I'm the sort of optimist who believes, as a Christian, that God will mediate and reconcile any dispute within the body of Christ if we will just let Him! In recent days, I've read remarks from people in the anti-Bellevue camp who seem to be under conviction that their comrades may be going about things the wrong way; reading and ruminating upon some of the very same types of remarks I've quoted above made those people rethink how they do what they do, and even if they should do it at all.

So don't tell me there isn't any hope for them, because there is. And I'm all about hope, because Jesus is all about hope.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pope Benedict's fallability

I'll let you read the original press release for yourself.

Done? Good.

Did you notice anything that made, well, no sense at all? Any fundamental problems that glow in the dark? Any extra-Biblical qualifications for the presumed exclusivity of the Catholic denomination of Christianity?

This mini-article is more a of a starting point for discussion--so, if you're of a mind to do so, let's discuss.