Mike Cope's blog

Friday, October 29, 2004

This is the last morning of the "Together Conference." The sessions have been enjoyable, but the really important part is the relationships that are forming. I was especially glad to meet a couple guys from a healthy church near where I grew up in SW Missouri. They apparently followed the "build it and they will come" philosophy somewhere eight miles north of Joplin, MO. Now their congregation has 2400 people, made up largely of converts. The official split of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches was in 1906. Now as we approach the hundred year anniversary, many people on both sides are saying, "That's a split that never should have happened." Some might say that we're not speaking for them. Fair enough. But we're saying that a few people decided this a hundred years ago and THEY WEREN'T SPEAKING FOR US. I'm especially thankful that in these two gatherings (a smaller one in June and this larger one at Grand Prairie) there have been supportive people from ACU, Pepperdine, LCU, OCU, and Lipscomb. And, of course, there have also been supportive leaders from Ozark Bible College, Cincinnati Bible College, Milligan College, etc. This is by no means the only place a unity movement should go. But it's a good place to begin. We have the same family roots. As always when we find ourselves together at an event, Leonard Allen and I snuck off to catch up on each other's lives. For years, he and Darryl Tippens were a big part of my support system (as I suppose I was part of theirs). Always good to reconnect. Leonard wrote the best book of my lifetime in Churches of Christ: The Cruciform Church. Many of you probably read it a long time ago. But his new book Seeing the Unseen is also pretty incredible. Don't miss it! - - - - I'll be home tonight. It's the annual crosstown rivalry, and we'll be in W4, row 20 . . . as always. - - - - Did you know that John Kerry said he can't wait to take the country back from church-going people? Or that he (or President Bush, depending on the e-mail) said his favorite verse is John 16:3, thereby showing his real biblical ignorance? Neither is true, but you wouldn't know it from the e-mails that people have forwarded to me recently and that have been printed out and passed along to my wife at school. Why are Christians passing around such obviously false things about George Bush and John Kerry? It seems to me that we ought to take the time to check on these internet rumors. But it's just so easy to hit the "forward" button and participate in the spreading of lies. There are several places on the internet where you can check most of these. One of my favorites is Snopes. Pretty good search engine. (E. g., type in " Bush John 16:3" or "Kerry church-goers.")


  • factcheck.org is another good site. It equally debunks both sides rhetoric.

    By Blogger Ed Harrell, at 10/29/2004 05:46:00 AM  

  • whats Leonard Allen's new book called again? isn't it about the Trinity? i thought Seeing the Unseen was Joe Beam's book.

    By Blogger c, at 10/29/2004 05:48:00 AM  

  • Just a heads up... I've seen printed copies of e-mails composed of pieces of your blog entries, which were diced into context-less bites. The dishonest creator of this e-mail then took unfair and inaccurate shots at the bites. I'm guessing you're used to being misquoted for that purpose, but IMO, the e-mail is just as bad -- maybe worse -- as sending those stupid political e-mails.

    Christian. Yep, that's what THAT is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/29/2004 07:44:00 AM  

  • I think this is a God led thing that brings us together, my only concern is that the distance between the traditional churches is getting farther apart.

    By Blogger happytheman, at 10/29/2004 08:01:00 AM  

  • I think this is a God led thing that brings us together, my only concern is that the distance between the traditional churches is getting farther apart.

    By Blogger happytheman, at 10/29/2004 08:03:00 AM  

  • Mike, thanks SO much for the part you are playing in this call for unity. With every fiber of my being I want to shout AMEN to your comment about "they weren't speaking for us"!! Fences CAN be good things, but I'm quite capable of buiding my own fence and setting my own parameters to help me walk in the steps of my Savior! Also, please know that there are folks like myself from other Universities who would have liked to have been there and support what you are doing, but could not be there because of conflicts in schedules. Please keep us informed and update us on other conferences like this one so maybe we can plan ahead to be there.

    "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one" "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" Quotes from God in the flesh from the Gospel of John

    By Blogger David U, at 10/29/2004 08:04:00 AM  

  • So many thing to comment on here.

    First--I completely agree with the STUPID rhetoric out there about the candidates. I immediately erase them!!!

    Secondly, I am so jealous that you're at the conference. I could not agree more with the quote, "But we're saying that a few people decided this a hundred years ago and THEY WEREN'T SPEAKING FOR US."

    Take good notes.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 10/29/2004 08:28:00 AM  

  • I just received an email that John Kerry threw a 2 hitter for the Sox in game four of the World Serries and that the Red Sox actually swept the serries against the Cardinals? Is that true? Of course that same email said that next week you and Max Lucado are meeting with the NAACP and Common Sense and trying to bring those two back together and that Brandon Scott is moving back to Abilene to be the worship leader at Highland.

    Crazy huh?

    I just forwarded it to a gajillion people.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 10/29/2004 08:35:00 AM  

  • My mom and one or two of those who may be voting for the "wrong guy" on Tuesday get anonymous flyers in their boxes at the Christian school where they work. A young teacher gets harassed by an older male teacher for her political leanings. Are we living in the McCarthy era again? Are my parents going to get a knock on the door Monday evening?

    Gosh. Shape up, people.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 10/29/2004 09:00:00 AM  

  • The amazing thing is that I have only gotten one such e-mail this election season. Either people have gotten the message on my feelings on absurd e-mails, or (and more likely) my e-mail address is not as popular as yours. Either way, there is plenty of fodder in what these guys really do say to make unnecessary any desire to embellish things. Good post. Although, notably absent was any remark about the Cardinals. Sorry, man.

    By Blogger Val, at 10/29/2004 10:03:00 AM  

  • tsk tsk. That Quile.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 10/29/2004 11:45:00 AM  

  • I was saddened to see that my college was not in the list of those striving for unity at the Together Conference.

    By Blogger Vkls, at 10/29/2004 12:42:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    I commend you and others for going to or hosting the together conference. As you said, you all can not speak for all of us as well. I don't know why the split, all I know is that my time should be spent teaching others about Christ. If the Christian church is doing that, Great! I think you were taking another cheap shot at the Christian universities not in attendance. Big Deal! When you leave this conference you will go back to your same building just like the Christian church did. You will be written up by some of our brothers for attending. You will stir the pot, that I thought Jesus is the one to do so. I know I will be attacked by those not wanting to see both side. But I hope you see my point. Thanks Soldier of the Cross

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/29/2004 02:31:00 PM  

  • Does anyone else think it's funny that Mike may be "written up" for fellowshipping a religious group that (on most issues) is actually MORE conservative than the non-instrumental COC's?

    A piano does not make one a liberal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/29/2004 02:48:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    The conference sounds great, it's good to see these things happening.

    As to the emails, it seems if it's an email or politics, gossip is allowed for Christians. If it's an email about politics, you can even get a freebie on slander.

    By Blogger James, at 10/29/2004 08:19:00 PM  

  • I think Leonard's new book is Things Unseen: Churches of Christ in and after the Modern Age. (Close to Seeing the Unseen, which is the title of a book by Joe Beam) You can find info about Things Unseen at Leafwood Publishers.

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 10/30/2004 06:37:00 AM  

  • I wasn't trying to be anonymous, but it was the only way I could get in. I am new the blog thing! Anyway, I too was at the conference. Seeing as our congregation, coc, is looking at merging with a christian church, we thought it useful to go. I can say on this side, I redeemed a lot from attending. One of the most useful, realizing life is not about me. The only disappointment in the conference is the still unknown, "put your finger on it", purpose of all this. But I see that as the God part of the whole thing. In trying to tell my coc preacher b-in-law what all this is about, it became apparent that most are expecting a huge merger. At the conference it was emphasized that is not the purpose. I tried to tell my b-in-law that but cooperation was the only word I could come up with to describe the actions of all this. Why are we so afraid to cooperate with others? Even I find myself at times scared to continue because I don't know the future. Control is what it is usually called and I am learning bit by bit how to give up that control. Thank you for the things you had to say at the conference and I hope to see the whole purpose in the near future.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/30/2004 07:12:00 AM  

  • The lies posted on weblogs and in mass emails (on both candidates) are atrocious, no doubt.

    Seems to me pretty obvious which candidate supports Christian principles, though.

    One is for the right to choose whether or not we can kill unborn children. The other is not.

    One is for allowing gays to form civil unions and the other is not.

    One is for appointing Supreme Court justices who will uphold prayerless schools, abortion, gay rights and the complete separation of church and state. The other will appoint judges who will uphold the principles of Christianity.

    For a Christian, the choice is really very simple.

    Los Angeles, CA

    By Blogger Bo Farmer, at 10/30/2004 08:48:00 AM  

  • Concerning the unification issue, it just seems to me that Satan has done very well at organizing a unified front for his purposes while the followers of Christ have become so fractured by fighting one another that our front is much less than strong, unified and effective. As York says in "The Jesus Proposal," we often get so wrapped up in "one thing" (an issue like how we worship or something comparable) that the real issue is neglected. I am encouraged by the discussions I am hearing and am glad to live in this exciting time. Oh, and Mike- sorry about the Cards...

    By Blogger Val, at 10/30/2004 09:29:00 AM  

  • Yes, Joyce, that's the title. UNSEEN THINGS. Thanks so much for that. Well, whatever it's called (and I read it before it had a title), it's wonderful material. I would encourage everyone to get it and digest it. It might be easier to locate with the correct title. :)

    Thanks to those who offered their sympathies about the Series. The team with the best record in baseball this year just sort of fell asleep. But it was still nice to be back in the World Series!

    By Blogger Mike, at 10/30/2004 12:23:00 PM  

  • Since the vast majority of African-American Christians (liberal and conservative) will vote for John Kerry, it makes me nervous when someone says, "This is a simple decision for Christians." It's always hard for us to take off our contextual blinders, isn't it?

    By Blogger Mike, at 10/30/2004 12:37:00 PM  

  • Hey Mike! Dane here. Since I'm an intruder in your blog, anonymous seemed as good a name as any for me. As I've read the comments about the Together conference and the unity effort, my heart has swelled with joy. I cannot express how pleased I was with our time together. I know this is just one more step in the process, but it was a step I was involved in, and that makes me so happy! Thank you for your help in making this time great. Hey....I learned something about you guys...you dance! :-) Wow!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/02/2004 10:27:00 PM  

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