Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

One of the talented women of our church has been asked several times to write for a magazine owned by the Gospel Advocate. She was invited to write again for a spring issue, which she did. But then word came back that her articles were no longer welcome because she's a member of Highland. The Gospel Advocate has the right to do that, of course. They can decide which churches meet their standards and which don't. But honestly, Highland isn't exactly the whacky church they might think. (Besides, what happened to congregational autonomy?) The funny thing is that the Gospel Advocate was my original publisher. An editor from there heard some of my sermons at the College Church in 1985 and asked if they could put them in a book. So a couple books came out that sold quite well. My thinking has changed a lot through the years, and I hope it continues to as God keeps shaping me, but the things that might offend the Advocate are things I thought the whole time I preached in Searcy: that there is a much wider communion of saints than Churches of Christ, that women have been called to share fully in their talents and gifts, that a cappella music is an amazing gift but not necessarily "God's way." - - - - We had a great planning session in Nashville Sunday evening and yesterday morning to get started for next fall's Zoe conference. What a creative bunch I get to hang around!


  • It does make you wonder what part of the gospel they're advocating ....

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 1/31/2006 04:49:00 AM  

  • Mike, you bring up an interesting point about congregational autonomy. When I read "religious porn" as you have dubbed some of these publications and they criticize specific churches, that question always enters my mind. Why do we all have to look absolutely the same in order to fellowship with one another? The same people who cry that we are not a denomination treat us as though we are.

    By Blogger Kent, at 1/31/2006 05:01:00 AM  

  • I know somebody affiliated with "Wineskins" who might be looking for some good articles. I'll get back with you.

    If that doesn't work out, there's always "Spiritual Sword"!

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 1/31/2006 05:02:00 AM  

  • There was at least one ministry job we didn't get because of our connection with Highland. I counted it an honor.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 1/31/2006 05:15:00 AM  

  • Mike, sadly this publication will eventually close as they are closed minded.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 1/31/2006 05:49:00 AM  

  • Are tickets on sale for next fall yet?

    By Blogger Ed Harrell, at 1/31/2006 05:55:00 AM  

  • No tickets yet. :) But I'm very excited about our guest resource person who'll be joining us for the Nashville and Fresno conferences. More later . . . .

    By Blogger Mike, at 1/31/2006 06:11:00 AM  

  • Mike, lets start her a blog so she can publish all her works for the world, the entire body of Christ!
    She'll reach a much larger audiance than she ever would at GA., and its growing more every day----
    I'm reading a great book on blogging:Naked Conversations, "blogging is word of mouth on steriods"

    By Blogger Homer, at 1/31/2006 06:12:00 AM  

  • It is difficult to understand how minds can be closed so tightly after reading such a wonderful love story, the Bible. Now, the even more difficult thing, especially for me is, now how can I fold them back into my primitive understanding of grace? I guess people live according to their convictions, I know I do. And I am pretty sure there are times when someone would look back at me and think, "Good grief he is stubborn..."

    By Blogger Logan and Katie Brown, at 1/31/2006 06:12:00 AM  

  • When I was 16, I lived in Montgomery, Alabama. I took a job in Nashville for the summer to help a family with their kids. I was incredibly blessed going to Bellmont Church of Christ. It was a great summer...I saw Loggins & Messina on their last tour together... a handful of us went over to Don Finto's house to visit with 2nd Chapter of Acts..They even got around the piano and sang for us..I rode horses in Percy Warner park..but going to Bellmont and listening to Finto preach and being with a church that was just so into each others lives was the highlight. I returned to High School at Alabama Christian High. I went there because my Mom was asked to head up a Nursing School at the college. Well, here I was sitting in Bible class and my teacher starts talking about Bellmont. It was really bothering me and I raised my hand and asked him if he had ever been there. Of course, he hadn't, then I proceeded to well, share my feelings. This was my first encounter with this ugly ugly stuff. It was a disillusioning experience for someone who's entire life seemed to be falling apart but somehow in Nashville, at Bellmont, I experienced a different side of God. The loving accepting God that I so needed.
    Shame on Gospel Advocate.

    By Blogger Beverly, at 1/31/2006 06:19:00 AM  

  • Has Wineskins asked one of their contributors to submit an article? Just a thought.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/31/2006 06:23:00 AM  

  • Come on, give, give . . . who is the resource speaker?

    DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) certainly must have a category for this kind of thing.

    My thinking has long been that many of the psychological disorders find their origins in deviant religious beliefs (i.e. the Taliban)

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 1/31/2006 06:31:00 AM  

  • It's a sad, sad day when WHAT you say and the truth of it is LESS important than where you attend church services. From the git-go, the worst persecution has come from the inside, hasn't it?

    We may not have a central headquarters, but our fellowship functions in many many ways as other denominations do. If it walks like a duck, acts like a duck, and sounds like a duck.......pretty good odds it is a duck.

    Our pride won't let us admit and accept that fact.

    By Blogger David U, at 1/31/2006 06:47:00 AM  

  • It would be REALLY EASY to use this as an opportunity to blast the coC (and even the specific capitalization of coC!) ..................................................

    (a cup of coffee later)

    As a fomer coC member in Iowa, reading this blog has always reminded me that "the church" is different as you travel the country. Down south, you don't like the coC that you're at, you go find another one more to your liking (it might be just a couple of blocks away). Up north, where one or two coC's exist in a 50 mile radius, if you don't like it, you leave "the church" alltogether. Whether north or south, this coming and going isn't what God had in mind.

    Those still in "the church" don't understand those who leave, and label them as deserters (perhaps even questioning their salvation). Those leaving are often emotionally drained and spiritually empty, hoping there is more to church than what they've experienced before. This is especially true for those who have been labeled as "liberal" or "progressive," for any number of reasons.

    It's been said many times in recent years ... the movement that was designed to end all movements, has itself become a contentious bunch of little movements. What holds the broad movement of the coC together now is tradition -- not love, or the gospel, or saving the true lost (as opposed to "saving" your instrumental brother). As tradition continues to go by the wayside, so will the churches of Christ as a broad movement. That's just my opinion, and I don't state it as a positive or a negative, just an inevitability.

    So much more to say ... but this is Mike's blog.

    Don't mean to offend, so I apologize if I have.


    By Blogger Brian, at 1/31/2006 06:48:00 AM  

  • The Gospel Advocate is neither.

    By Blogger mark, at 1/31/2006 06:51:00 AM  

  • I'm with Keith, what part of the word "advocate" arre they embracing??

    By Blogger DJG, at 1/31/2006 07:13:00 AM  

  • Mike, a cappella music may not be necessarily "God's way" but at least it is "our kid's way"

    What's that you say?

    It is not a huge hit with today's teens?

    They don't all have their ipods filled with the hippest a cappella tunes?

    Your kidding me!

    You mean BST is not more popular than fity cen or Green Day?

    Get right out of town!

    Next thing you'll tell me is that God actually hears the prayers of women!

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 1/31/2006 07:19:00 AM  

  • A year ago, I would have agreed with Brian that our movement will eventually die out. That was before I met the folks at Kairos (www.kairoschurchplanting.org)and Renovatus (www.renovatus.com). These are folks who value the traditions of searching the scriptures, the spirit of what Barton W. Stone was aiming for in a unity movement. These are folks who say that the churches of Christ will die out if we don't start planting churches, but that if we do plant churches that are culturally relevant, not only will we not die, but we'll grow and thrive and find out what's important in the process.

    Exciting days are ahead and the foundations were laid by the likes of you, Mike. At the time, we just thought you were cool, but you and Diane knew that you were laying the groundwork for some broader thinking. (and for the day we would actually let our hearts get involved). You knew it would be painful but you were willing to go through the pain for the sake of what was on the other side. I think we're getting closer to the other side.

    When we were in college, Edwin and I visited a great aunt in Texas. We went to church with her and heard the "why we're the only ones who have everything right" sermon. Afterwards, you had to walk out past the preacher to get out. My 80 something year old aunt told him, "My daddy preached that sermon when I was little a hundred times. I'm just glad I lived long enough to know that I am saved by grace." May more and more learn the same thing. And may we who know it remember that others are too.

    By Blogger Patty, at 1/31/2006 07:23:00 AM  

  • David -

    You've asked a good question. I can say that in the years Rubel and I were editing Wineskins, we did ask people to write who represented a much different perspective.

    But to make the illustration more parallel, I think you'd have to ask, "Would we refuse a good article from someone because of the church where they attend?" I can't imagine it.

    We would welcome an article from Neil Anderson, the chairman and publisher of GA (and, actually, the publisher of a couple of my books), or from his son, Kerry, the president of the company.

    There might be themes that don't fit the spirit of Wineskins. (Note that I wouldn't have expected this magazine to publish an article from my friend if it had been on a theme that they didn't endorse.) But we wouldn't turn down articles because of where someone attends church.

    By Blogger Mike, at 1/31/2006 07:24:00 AM  

  • Oh dear! My heart is so heavy reading this, Mike. When will we in the CofC fellowship accept and understand that unity is of Spirit and not uniformity of procedure. Much like 'tomato - tomahto' and just a useless, imho.

    I fear we have given Satan a good foothold in our hearts when we act in a separatist manner, such as this of the GA.

    Our sister at Highland may be fortunate that it wasn't someone she loves and admires that's been so harsh with her. In my case, it was a beloved missionary & family from my Mexico City era that withdrew fellowship from me because I told them I'd become part of a church home that did not, horrors of all horrors, sport the name Church of Christ over the door.

    Why do members of our own family hurt us so deeply? PTL for forgiveness, that we can release that hurt to God and are then able to pray for wisdom and understanding for our opposing brethren.

    If our hearts are heavy when we hear of this type of action, imagine what our LORD must feel. He died for all of us and we argue about minutae in His name?? It makes me think of the hymn O, Sacred Head . Why can we not center our hearts, energies and minds on Him, rather than poking at each other?
    Please LORD, heal Your people!! Amen.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 1/31/2006 08:05:00 AM  

  • I did not grow up C of C, but I married into it! Even though I don't have alot of the baggage that some have, I was handed the scripture about women keeping quiet pretty early in my C of C career. It did not shut me up, it made me question everything even more. I prayed every day for God to change the hearts and minds of our body. He did, some people had to leave for the changes to happen, but the changes are happening. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS!!! HONEST, QUESTIONING, but still loving one another prayers.

    Don't fret, every denomination (yes CofC is one!)is going through the same changes. Being relevant, drawing people in requires a church to be real. People who are lost are looking for the real thing and I don't mean coca-cola.

    May we win people by the Jesus in our hearts not the sign on our post!

    By Blogger janjanmom, at 1/31/2006 08:12:00 AM  

  • Ummm...I am feeling bad about saying, "Shame on the Gospel Advocate."

    By Blogger Beverly, at 1/31/2006 08:46:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Ryan, at 1/31/2006 08:52:00 AM  

  • Now what is happening? Is slamming the Gospel Adovocate the Christian thing to do? Do we have the WHOLE STORY?
    How sad that we are so quick to judge when we may not have all the facts.

    By Blogger waters86, at 1/31/2006 08:57:00 AM  

  • Mike - I had honestly never heard of Church of Christ before I came to Abilene. I've been a Christian for five years and had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Honduras this last summer with a group from a Church of Christ here in town. All the horror stories I had heard since I got here made me kind of nervous and it got worse when I found out I was the only "non Church of Christ person" going.

    The trip was an amazing success and I couldn't have asked for a better experience on my first mission trip. The people showed me unconditional acceptance, and I never heard a word of the us versus them dialogue. They taught me a huge deal about love and unity in Christ.

    Just thought a positive story from an "outsider" was fitting...

    By Blogger Ryan, at 1/31/2006 08:57:00 AM  

  • Last night I received an e-mail taking me to task for some of the things I've been preaching about, things like women's roles and a capella music. The writer of the e-mail explained that we were given rules for a reason and they were not meant to be broken.

    He then cited I John 4 in stating that "God loves those who keep His commands."

    Not only did I have trouble finding that particular translation, but I really enjoyed that he used a text that talks so much about God's LOVE to back his argument about God's RULES. I wonder how he feels about verse 15: "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God." Yikes.

    I am continually challenged to love and be loved, but praise God that He makes it easier every day.

    (By the way, if you don't think I'll be pumping a certain sister of mine for "guest resource" info at our meeting today, you are sadly mistaken.)

    By Blogger Thurman8er, at 1/31/2006 09:08:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    This is my first post so be gentle. I’ve been lurking for a couple of months and I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog.

    We knew each other at Harding as a fellow Knight and Bible Major. Even with a family history in the church of Christ, I came to Harding as a political and religious liberal. As a teenager sitting at the feet of Stanley Shipp and an opponent to the Vietnam War, I certainly didn’t fit the mold at Harding. So in my early days I was a vocal opponent of the church’s political militarism and neo-Pharisees.

    I have grown somewhat more conservative in my own unique way but certainly haven’t given up all of my youthful beliefs.

    What I did learn at Harding was to respect those deeply spiritual searchers who reached opinions contradictory to my own beliefs. I was amazed that Andy Richie could co-exist with Bros. Bales and Benson.

    I also learned to value open dissent and debate. We are a poorer church because we do not air and debate our differences. We need not be pugnacious, judgmental or mean when we debate but we must have freedom to differ. As a church and as a movement we must love and respect those who we deeply believe are wrong.

    Mike, I can’t share some of your conclusions but I respect that you remain in the battle. I am saddened at the condition and direction of the church. We still fight over little things like innovations in worship while ignoring the fact that as a church we bear little fruit.

    We need more advocating the gospel rather than advocating a position.

    By Blogger kcmotormouth, at 1/31/2006 09:29:00 AM  

  • do you know Dave Jenkins by any chance? I'm trying to track him down ever since I stumbled across his and Jana's blog from last summer about moving to Rwanda. I'm doing research on missionary and humanitarian involvement in Rwanda, and left them a comment on their blog, but that post was from last July. Any help would be terrific! Thanks!

    By Blogger Audrey, at 1/31/2006 09:30:00 AM  

  • Just a quick addition to what I wrote earlier .... It is not the movement of the churches of Christ that is important. It is Christ that is important. The denomination can rise and fall in membership from 1.6 million, to 2 million, to 1.8 million, whatever .... What does it matter?

    What matters is what Jesus defines as having significance -- that His disciples love God and love each other, to the point that it defines a disciple unlike any other attribute.

    When the general population outside AND inside the churches of Christ try to describe "the church," "love" probably isn't the first word that rolls off the lips. Nor is "grace." "Truth," however ...

    By Blogger Brian, at 1/31/2006 09:30:00 AM  

  • As we're roasting the Gospel Advocate over an open spit, I'd like to remind everyone that our dessert at this dinner-on-the-gorunds may be a large slice of humble pie. To some people, everyone who's posted here would be counted among the very closed-minded conservatives we're barbecuing.

    Some here wouldn't want an atheist to write an article in Wineskins. So you say, Well that person doesn't believe in God. But some would object to a Muslim writer. So you say, Well that person doesn't believe in Christ. But some would object to a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness contributor. So you say, Well that person doesn't believe in only the Bible as the written word of God. But some would still object to a Catholic writer. Or Greek Orthodox. Or someone from an anti church.

    All of us have boundaries that seem too restrictive to some. GA is considered too liberal by many, yet it may count women leading worship as one of its boundaries, thus eliminating Highland members from contributing. But Highland's unwillingness to allow women to preach or serve as elders seems old-fashioned, if not misogynistic, to others. Food for thought.

    Bon appetit.

    By Blogger Grant, at 1/31/2006 09:50:00 AM  

  • I have encountered something similar because of the particular congregation in Amarillo that I call my local Christian family. My heart goes out to this woman that she would experienced this. I am particularly saddened that GA would take it upon themselves to police and standardize an individuals' Christianity based on the community of believers they worship with. I can't think of one congregation anywhere - conservative, traditional, or liberal or progressive or missional or emergent or of any particular denomination or non-denomination that doesn't have a mixture of good sinners, bad saints, and a piece of doctrine that somebody somewhere doesn't agree with.

    When will we learn that it's not about the congregation, the sign on the door that says church of Christ; but it's about becoming the true and living and breathing CHURCH of Christ. That's where all the hope and the power is. The only power in the sign on the building is what it takes to light it up.

    [I don't know what audience she writes to - but there's a great new magazine coming out for women in March called Radiant put out by Relevant Magazine people. And there's another magazine out there for women called Shine that I have a Baptist friend who is a regular contributor.]

    By Blogger Melanie Morales, at 1/31/2006 09:53:00 AM  

  • I would be curious to see a comparison of number of regular readers of GA compared to the number of regular readers of this blog, and the trendline increase/decrease over the past year.

    By Blogger Thunder Fan, at 1/31/2006 10:05:00 AM  

  • What's scary to me about all of this is that you now have para churhc organizations like publications, christian schools and christian colleges, deciding which churches are kosher and which are not. I understand that a christian school in Nashville basically "de-listed" some churches. Since being a member of the CoC is a requirement for employment, several faculty members were forced to choose between their job and their church.

    What will we have next? "Truth squads" interrogating Elders and preachers? Will churches start geting formal certifications from publications and schools? I fear that these folks have opened up a whole new can of worms!

    By Blogger Joel Maners, at 1/31/2006 10:10:00 AM  

  • You have to look at both sides of the coin on this one to truly understand this thinking even if one doesn't agree with it. So I guess I will play devil's advocate on this one.......Would Highland want some one coming into their church telling the people that they can't use musical instruments or even have woman serving openly in church? Probably not, I know I would be disappointed if it came down to that, but whether we like it our not we our judged by what we believe. From what I understand the Gospel Advocate is highly conservative and I have to say even I would be surprised to find a writer from a more progressive church giving their thoughts to this magazine. It is almost like Focus on the Family advocating singleness instead of marriage.

    By Blogger GITCHA, at 1/31/2006 10:11:00 AM  

  • All right, Steve. Tomorrow I'll announce the guest resource person for the next Nashville and Fresno conferences.

    By Blogger Mike, at 1/31/2006 10:33:00 AM  

  • Sounds like a winner, Mike.

    By Blogger Grant, at 1/31/2006 10:35:00 AM  

  • Ditto ACU35...........
    Again, how sad we are slamming a publication openly on a christian website.................
    this is just what we complain others do about Highland
    in Christian love,

    By Blogger waters86, at 1/31/2006 10:44:00 AM  

  • When I was in High School, (a Church of Christ School), our choir sang after services at one of our "supporting churches." I felt blessed and honored when I was asked to sing a solo. When the time came, I stepped forward and began to sing. I couldn't help but notice that a few people got up and left. WAS I REALLY THAT BAD? I finished my solo, and moved on. After the program, an older man walked up to me and said, "I will be praying for you." I simply said, "Thank you." Then he continued, "You know that you are living in sin, right?" I think the look of shock provoked him to continue. "You are a beautiful young woman, with a beautiful voice, but you have no business singing by yourself in front of all of these men. You taught us, and the Bible says that is wrong." With tears rolling down my face, I left the building.

    That was a very painful day for me. It has been 20 years since that happened, and I can recall the feelings as if it were yesterday. HOWEVER, it is one of days in my life that I am most thankful for.

    That was the day that I asked the question for the very first time, "Do I want to worship a family that promotes unity, love, grace, and the promises of God or do I want to pretend to worship someplace that I can judge, point fingers and be narrow-minded?" That day changed my spiritual journey in a HUGE way, and for that I am thankful.

    I am sorry that your friend can't share her ideas with the GA because of where she attends church. I am betting that God will open doors all over the place for her to share her writings for more people to be reached.

    Sorry for taking too much space.

    By Blogger Conni H., at 1/31/2006 10:44:00 AM  

  • I've got $20 that says that Ann Coulter is one of the Zoe presenters next year.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 1/31/2006 11:09:00 AM  

  • Am I missing something? Didn't the GA reject the author because she worships at Highland--not because of the subject matter of the article?

    By Blogger Vkls, at 1/31/2006 11:19:00 AM  

  • Mike, are you ready for the GA to come pounding on your door for this post? Just thinking out loud...

    Oh, and you may be interested to know that in two days I'm going to be working for a former Harding classmate and social club member of your's-Brent Rogers. His connection to you was supposedly part of the advantage for me taking the job. The congregation I'm joining in Japan has a progressive view of women's role in church services, so I'm happy to say that my Bible degree from ACU will come in handy.

    By Blogger TKP, at 1/31/2006 11:37:00 AM  

  • To lighten the day...

    WARNING: What you are about to read is an attempt at humor. If you think faith can't be funny, please stop reading now and divert your attention to the more serious topics .

    With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy of "Redneck" joke fame, you might be

    a member of the church of Christ.... if....

    * If you know exactly what song is there when you're asked to turn to # 728b.

    * If you could recite the books of the Bible before you could even read them.

    * If you know the first and third verse of nearly every song.

    * If you actually know what a "ready recollection" is and have been thoroughly "guide-guard-and-directed" all your life. (If you're really a member, you know
    that "guide-guard-and-directed" must be followed by in closing prayers with, "and-bring-us-back-at-the-next-appointed-time.")

    * If you think "progressive" refers to those in the church who want a sound system and PowerPoint.

    * If you can actually read shape notes.

    * If you recognize any of these ministers by first name alone: Landon, Reuel, Prentice, Rubel, Norvel, Flavil, Furman or Batsell.

    * If you think your chosen pew is "sacred" and no one else should sit there.

    * If you think the Bible questions on Jeopardy are way too easy.

    * If you decide which Bible translation to use based on how Acts 2:38 reads.

    * If you immediately reach for your wallet when you hear the often quoted phrase, "Now, separate and apart from the Lord's Supper . "

    * If "chosen frozen" refers to your early worship service that resembles a old country church 50 years ago, and "happy clappy" describes your late service that the chosen frozen are deeply concerned about.

    * If you know all the words to all the verses of Trust and Obey.

    * If you've ever ridden a JOY bus. (And, of course, you know that JOY stands for "Jesus" first, "Others" second and "Yourself" last.)

    * If you've ever carried your Bible in an empty casserole dish.

    * If you brought that casserole dish to the last fellowship meal and the main ingredient in it was cream of mushroom soup.

    * If you have ever heard a rambunctious young child yelling, "Pray for me! Pray for me!" as his mother whisked him down the aisle to the foyer.

    * If you've ever wondered what Ebon Pinion or Ebenezer was.

    * If you think the term "church of Christ humor" is an oxymoron.

    * If you've ever heard an announcement at church about a missing puppet.

    * If you think the Christian Chronicle is way too liberal.

    * If you think the Christian Chronicle is way too conservative.

    * If you've ever prayed for those "who-are-sick-of-this-congregation."

    * If you've never been to a church that wasn't named after the street it was on.(this only applies when more than one church exists in any given city)

    * If you've been to a wedding or a funeral where "the invitation" was offered.

    * If you've stood for 13 verses of 'Just As I Am' with the last stanza sung softly.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 1/31/2006 11:43:00 AM  

  • Whoa, Nellie!! Your stepping on my ancestors toes now, Bro/Preacher Mike!! Have Wallace blood coursing through my veins. And "Racoon" John is a distant uncle of my Dads. Go figure.

    I am once againg growing to love the religious heritage from which I came. I think Highland embodies all that is good. Historicall, we've always been rable-raisers. My Uncle and Grandfather both preached with the Sheriff protectiong them. There is tale that dear ol' Granddad paptized a lady "under the barrell" of an un-aproving husband!

    I thank God for the heritage that first introduced me to and taught me about Jesus.

    God moves mountains!

    God saved me by Grace!

    He can change and quicken hard hearts and loosen up "stiff necks".

    I pray daily for the fellowship of the Churches of Christ.

    I thank God daily for the Highland Fellowship of Believers (and all it's leaders).

    God bless His servant Mike Cope.


    By Blogger Foy Jackson, at 1/31/2006 12:04:00 PM  

  • Whoa, Nellie! You are now steppingon the toes of my relatives, Bro/Preacher Mike. I have GA blood coursing through my veins. Growing up there was hardly an issue without some article written by a relative of mine! FYI (think back to your Restoration History class) "Racoon John Smith is an distant uncle on my Dads side. I'm not so sure he would have been welcomed to write for the Gosple A. either.

    I am growing to love the Fellowship of the church(lower case!)Christ, once again. There are traditiions that are branded on my soul. I love the ACappella singing, I love weekly observance of the Lords supper. I get "weepy" when somebody is bapized. Especially a young person by their Dad! Remember it well!

    God can move a mountain!

    I am saved by Grace (the most remarkable miracle all!)

    God can heal the "stiff neck".

    He can soften the "hard hearts"

    I pray daily for the continued enlightenment of the churches of Christ.

    I thank God daily for the fellowship of Believers at Highland and all its leaders.

    By Blogger Foy Jackson, at 1/31/2006 12:16:00 PM  

  • I've forgotten if I read this blog for the post or the comments?! Seems like each day Mike starts out in one direction and the comments just take off on a strange course of their own.

    Only member of our little tribe would care what the GA advocates, and we all know it's not JUST about our little tribe.

    Rejection for any reason may be hard to swallow, but being rejected for being a member of Highland CofC? Well, I just might have to be proud of that one.

    By Blogger SG, at 1/31/2006 12:24:00 PM  

  • I can see from the discussion this is a big concern. I agree! It also grieves me that people are attacking Highland. What happened to attacking Satan? That's where the battle is. Why do we attack our brothers and sisters rather than the Father of lies?

    Ron Clark

    By Blogger KMiV, at 1/31/2006 12:34:00 PM  

  • What are you talking about? Of course Highland's a "whacky church".

    And I love getting to be a part of it every Sunday and Wednesday. This family and its teachings and beliefs have challenged me and caused me to grow in ways that I couldn't have thought imaginable four years ago when I first started coming to ACU.

    This is unlike any church of Christ (or family of God) I've ever been a part of, and it's unfortunate that the Gospel Advocate feels it necessary to discriminate against our sister at this church.

    By Blogger Jeremiah, at 1/31/2006 12:57:00 PM  

  • Attacking Highland? I see people attacking the Gospel Advocate and accusing them of discrimination without knowing the facts. Is there a hidden agenda here guys cause it sure does sound like it.

    By Blogger GITCHA, at 1/31/2006 01:17:00 PM  

  • A small church here in Baytown was "disaffiliated" from the Southern Baptist of Texas convention a few weeks ago for allowing a group of gay Christians to meet at their building. The gay ministry does not advocate or condemn homosexuality, it simply tries to reach out without judgement. Furthermore, the church itself doesn't affirm homosexuals anymore than the SBTC does. This was a big deal here and even got statewide media attention. You can read the article here

    Someone mentioned earlier that we shouldn't be so hard of the GA because everyone has their issue that is their limit. Maybe that's true. On the issue of autonomy, though, the CoC has still got it over the Baptists. A Church of Christ might get written about and taken off certain directories, but for the most part I'm glad to say that we couldn't ever be officially disaffiliated for something like lending your meeting space out. Or anything, because of true atonomy.d

    By Blogger Kyle, at 1/31/2006 01:58:00 PM  

  • Why does everyone care what GA thinks or does? If you don't like the channel turn it.

    Seems like mis spent energy and derision.

    Let the lady publish her articles in wineskins and get off it.

    Does it make them less good if they do not appear in GA?

    By Blogger L, at 1/31/2006 02:13:00 PM  

  • I could tell you who the resource person is...

    Wanna know???

    hee hee hee.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 1/31/2006 02:26:00 PM  

  • Thank you, Mike, but if it is me would you call me ahead of time!!

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 1/31/2006 02:31:00 PM  

  • Brandon,email me with it, would you?

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 1/31/2006 02:32:00 PM  

  • What a tremendous mixture of sorrow, pain, laughter and borderline disgust these 50+ comments have reflected today. The most appropriate words written by any Christian author was Lynn Anderson's comment over a decade ago in "Navigating the Winds of Change" -- (summarizing from memory)

    "...the church is too often controlled by the dysfunctional few..."

    Sadly - I've seen essentially no change in that which Lynn wrote about 10+ yeaers ago that needs to change.

    By Blogger KentF, at 1/31/2006 05:09:00 PM  

  • I haven't seen this much baggage since I went in the Samsonite store at the Galleria...

    By Blogger Larry, at 1/31/2006 05:33:00 PM  

  • SG - You're exactly right. I toss these discussion-starters up and duck. Who knows where they'll go? But overall, I love the spirit of people who agree and disagree. (E.g., today some who disagreed with me made some excellent points.)

    By Blogger Mike, at 1/31/2006 05:43:00 PM  

  • Hey Mike,

    The same thing happened to me because I go to Otter Creek. Christian Woman Magazine refused my article (which they asked me to write)after they found out I went to Otter. Am I twice condemned because I am also an ex-officio member of Highland? Love you, Judy Thomas

    By Blogger judy thomas, at 1/31/2006 05:55:00 PM  

  • Judy - You are not a member of Otter Creek. You are a Highland member who is visiting OC for an extended period. I still have you listed on the worship committee.

    (By the way--to others. I think I made it clear that I think the GA has that right. I was just arguing that the gap isn't as great as they think. I'm the same person whose books they published a few years back.)

    By Blogger Mike, at 1/31/2006 05:57:00 PM  

  • Some of us are blessed in our lifetime to find a place, CoC or not, where the people are truly seeking the heart of God, where people truly believe what they read in the bible, and where they are truly trying to love one another as they are loved by Christ. I think often, until we find it, we don't even know we miss it.

    And I guess others of us like Abraham and Moses, will build and serve and know of the promise and will see it in heaven. And we will all be together then, regardless of our experiences here.

    I was raised in the Church of Christ to develope my own faith, and I guess possibly, to the dismay of some who taught me, I branched out to much. Has it really come down to the name on the building that makes one people better than others, or worse?

    I guess you can't teach a sneech.

    By Blogger Flutter, at 1/31/2006 06:48:00 PM  

  • Does anyone see? The Emperor is naked!

    Mike, your friend should be thankful not to be included.

    The fact is the GA advocates a doctrine that would be considered heretical by any and everyone who embraces historic, orthodox Christianity. Since when is being cut off from heretics a bad thing?

    The issue here is not opinion. The issue is truth.

    Jesus wouldn't be so kind with this matter as most of us are. Enough is enough.

    By Blogger Larry James, at 1/31/2006 07:16:00 PM  

  • Mike--Your blog and the comments that it has received has reached all the way to New Mexico! I appreciate what you have to say so much and am so thankful for the work that you, your family, and God is doing at Highland! As a children's minister (and a woman!), I often see people's quick judgements. God is so true to shape us because of them.
    Lila Earwood, Alb. NM

    By Blogger Lila Earwood, at 1/31/2006 07:22:00 PM  

  • Mike, unfortunately, that's just SOP for the GA. No such thing as congregational autonomy when it is about opinion or practice that disagrees with the GA's. Of course, I suppose you know that!

    Also, I haven't heard much recently on how far Highland has come in their acceptance and use of women in all areas. I have friends who are members there who keep me posted from time to time on the progress which I occassionally post to my gender equality in the CoC web site. One of my elders at our congregation has adult children at Highland and, to say the least, he isn't in agreement with the move Highland has made and not very happy about it. However, I think he knows that I favor full involvement of females in ALL areas of the church, vertically and horizontally, so he isn't too happy with me either!

    BTW, my oldest daughter is a CoC Children's Minsiter in South Texas who has, unfortunately, seen some of the worst the CoC has to offer in the last 5 years toward women. God finally led her to a wonderful congregation who were really anxious to get her and have really let her know how blessed they are to have her. The elders and other ministers on staff, along with the spouses, have been studying the gender issues to see how far they can comfortably go (I could suggest full involvement of all women in the congregation but they haven't asked me yet--although I have heard some have read my web site on gender issues and the CoC !)

    There is a wonderfully fresh breeze blowing that will eventually blow through many of our churches in the next few years, IMO, and as it does, i believe we will experience a period of growth that will be unequalled in recent church history as we make full use of everyone in God's kingdom to the fullest extent of their individual talents.. That is if we don't self destruct from the attacks of one side on the other!

    By Blogger Wiley, at 1/31/2006 09:09:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    I for one am certainly NOT discouraged by the conversations you start on this blog. I'm incredibly encouraged. I learn so much from you AND from those who disagree with you or force me to look at things from a different POV. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    P.S. I love Larry James.

    By Blogger Stephen Bailey, at 2/01/2006 09:26:00 AM  

  • Does this simulate the pot calling the kettle black? I'm proud of the Biblical stand of the GA and for not being inticed to join the crowd of those who would show the world any real, or perceived, dirty laundry.

    By Blogger Mike B., at 2/03/2006 10:30:00 AM  

  • Only if we could understand Ephesians 4:29 as much as we pretend to understand so much other biblical knowledge. I'm proud of the stand the GA makes concerning Biblical truth and its practice of not giving in to the crowd that would air dirty laundry, perceived or real, for the entire world to see.

    By Blogger Mike B., at 2/03/2006 10:34:00 AM  

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