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