Dear Mr. Knox:
Your words about the tone of disagreement in Baptist life are
appreciated, as were your warnings prior to the BGCT meeting in
Amarillo encouraging messengers to “behave.”  We always need those
kind of reminders.

I am a little bit disturbed, however, by the fact that bloggers always
seem to get lumped together as a bunch of angry, disgruntled
individuals who seem to have nothing better to do than to use
cyberspace to be critical.  Some bloggers do make that choice, as do
some editors of Baptist-related newspapers, but it is a far cry from
all, or even a majority of us.  It isn’t fair to paint everyone with
the same broad brush.  It only takes a few minutes to read what is
written to see that there is a difference.

I started my blog a year ago, mainly because, as a church staff
member, I do not have the pulpit every week, and there are things I
wanted to share with the people in my own church, as well as friends
in other churches where I have served before.  I realized that a blog
does become personal, and writing about events I attended drew me into
contact with bloggers who write about things in which we have common
interests.  I noticed my blog appearing on the “blogroll” of others.
The ultimate blogging experience was to walk into the opening session
of the Baptist Conference on the Holy Spirit at Cornerstone Baptist
Church in Arlington last spring and to be welcomed at a table with
five other people whom I already knew well, but had never actually met
in person.  I’ve had the same experience at the BGCT, since that, too,
is a personal interest.

The ability to disagree and dissent is a cherished Baptist principle.
The pastors and missionary personnel who worked in Arizona, where I
grew up, instilled a deep loyalty to and appreciation for Southern
Baptist cooperative mission work in me, as did the professors at the
Baptist college and seminary I attended.  I was taught that
contributing meant not just with money, but with prayer and with time
as well.  It’s not just the few who always wind up on the trustee
boards, or committees, or working for the state or national convention
that have an interest in what happens.  Blogging now opens a door for
those of us who are not “insiders” to express our opinion, offer our
suggestions, and perhaps, in so doing, will provide perspective and
perception that a small group of leaders might not otherwise hear or
see.  Personally, I always strive to govern my writing with the
gentleness and respect that the Apostle Peter tells us is the key to
our reputation with outsiders.  I know many other bloggers who do the
same.

Advertisements

About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

3 responses

  1. Ellis Orozco says:

    Lee:

    I think Marv Knox’s piece was excellent. His wisdom and prophetic voice are much needed in the fast paced life we all live. The field of ethics has always struggled to keep up with technology, and the blogosphere is proving to be no exception.

    I think Marv was crystal clear about the biblical and ethical standards that any Christian publisher (blogger) should consider. He communicated that with his usual grace and salient wit.

    I’m not sure which bloggers he had in mind when he wrote the article, so I make no claim to speak for him … but on the whole, I would NOT put you into that category. I only say “on the whole” because I haven’t read everything you have written.

    Lee, I disagree with your call for Marv to NOT lump all bloggers into one category. In fact, I think he was wise in not naming any one particular blogger. Marv is calling for a high ethical standard for ALL bloggers. He has every right to so. Many bloggers are acting as “watchdogs” or as “prophetic voices” or as “accountability partners” for those in various leadership positions across the denomination. And that, for the most part, is a good thing. But who’s watching you? Who’s holding the bloggers accountable? With this editorial … Marv Knox is. And thank God for that!

    Lee, you said, “The ability to disagree and dissent is a cherished Baptist principle.” And I agree with that … but dissenters must be held to a biblical standard in the way they dissent.

    You said, “Personally, I always strive to govern my writing with the gentleness and respect that the Apostle Peter tells us is the key to our reputation with outsiders. I know many other bloggers who do the same.” And I know many who don’t. The credibility problem you (and others) have is that even while you are holding denominational leaders to a high biblical standard, you say virtually nothing to other bloggers who are wallowing in ethical mud and slinging it with abandon. Why don’t ya’ll ever call each other on the carpet, when one of you obviously steps over the line? It happens all the time and there is a deafening silence from the blogosphere. Actually, worse than that … ya’ll compliment each other on the fine work ya’ll are doing.

    When you act to hold others accountable to a high biblical standard you do well, but don’t squeal when someone turns around and does the same to you. Marv, as a professional Christian publisher, is simply and prophetically holding up the biblical standard and saying, “If the shoe fits …”

    I, for one, thank him for doing that.

    blessings,
    ellis

  2. Lee says:

    I believe, if you will read what I have written, and if you will read comments I leave on other blogs (without being specific at this point) you will find that I do call other bloggers to accountability for what they write. Even in that, I try to do it with the graciousness that I believe sets a good example, and in a way that makes it effective. Frequent scolding generally results in being turned off.

    This is still something of a new phenomenon in Baptist life. The reaction to it has been, at least to me, somewhat surprising. I completely agree with you, Ellis, that bloggers need to be held accountable, and that we need to adhere to Biblical standards of behavior in our writing. I think that our accountability should be to God, and I believe that there is a level at which we can hold each other accountable. I think those who read the blogs will contribute to that as well. It is my desire to be completely credible. You yourself have contributed to my own accountability by posting your comments, which are always well thought out and respectful, even in disagreement. My comment section is always open and never edited, and that, too, is accountability.

    Ultimately, I am responsible for my own actions. I agree with what Marv said, and as a blogger, I believe I adhere to what he was suggesting. I do not consider myself to be a “watchdog” or a “prophetic voice.” I am a grass-roots Southern Baptist, a church staff member who has been in the no-man’s land between the guns of both sides of the Baptist war, on at least two levels. I just wanted Marv to know that there are some bloggers out there who are different than his characterization suggested.

    Ellis, I appreciate you.

  3. Ellis Orozco says:

    Lee:

    Thank you for your gracious reply. You addressed the issues with strength. I appreciate your thoughts and opinions, and I value the responsible way you approach this powerful medium. My prayers are with you.

    blessings,
    ellis