Thursday, July 07, 2005

How about that last post?

A visitor who calls himself "Poretz" has jumped in out of nowhere and really stirred things up and taken "life together" to a whole new level of dialogue in the comments section of the "How about that 4th of July Picnic?" post. He's dropping some thought-provoking bombs and others are responding. Fun stuff . . . don't miss it.

No need for me to post anymore, I guess, now that the ball is rolling. Good thing, since I'm just slammed right now trying to get ready to go on vacation the middle of next week.

This Sunday, look for new pew Bibles and roll out of the 3 Service Vision. Crazinness. So much for the SLO life. . . .


Brian Wong said...

Pastor Tim, I think I must concur with Andy Gibson that it certainly is thought-provoking, but perhaps not the right forum in which to do so.

I do agree that critical thinking on the part of the Body is essential, but that's just it: Critical thinking by the Body requires a common framework and understanding of what the Body is. Without that understanding, Andy is probably right in saying that he doesn't "necessarily think it is fun."

Andy, you might be in the minority, but that makes two of us.

Pastor Tim Theule said...

Brian & Andy,

Why is "life together" not the right forum? I love it that Poretz stumbled on to the blog. I love it that some of the faithful readers are engaging him. I think that's fun. Let's think critically with one another, but also with others outside the body who enter in. I am just watching to see where it goes. No harm done. I still drive the dialogue and our main audience is the folks of Grace, but one of the my purposes of putting "life together" on the internet, is so stuff like this might happen.

Let's think and love. Those who want to enjoy some spirited dialogue are free to do so. If you're not comfortable with the dialogue than you can skip the comments section for a while.

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverernce. --1 Peter 3:15

Brothers, I appreciate your investment in "life together." That fires me up! -- Pastor Tim

Andy Gibson said...

Tim, I appreciate your response, and can totally respect the fact that you are thriving on the recent comments.

But here is the reason I made the comment.

I do not intend any disrespect, I feel I have been pinged for my thoughts, so here they are:

What I saw happen in the other post was in fact a bomb. And while I understand where Poretz is coming from...I still contend that this is not necessarily the right forum and it was not the right response. This is "Life Together @ Grace Church, SLO". From my extensive experience with forums (half-sarcastic) a individual message bomb was dropped on a subject that was less than 50% related. I have learned to look past that sort of thing. Some people enjoy churning the pot..ok.

Next problem....Tim W. had a very wise and quick response to try and diffuse the passion and emotion of Poretz response, which I felt was wonderful. And to read on that it was taken as disrespectful by Poretz...I can't even begin to comprehend.

It is obvious that Poretz is very well read, educated, and has some passionate opinions on I am sure are a number of topics, and that is to be commended. But the arguments presented mainly were support for his arguments, while barely addressing some of the other comments. Another reason it felt to me like it was a personal message bomb and probably inappropriate. The tone of the message(s) had a personal agenda. But I will admit, from the recent posts, that seems to be changing.

And on a very personal note (opinion), I find posts like that hard to swallow, no matter how well written or thought out, when dropped anonymously. To me, that exemplifies the personal agenda of the person posting just to stir the pot.

The topic at hand was how wonderful the fellowship and size the 4th of July Picnic of Grace Church, SLO was. That is hardly the topic now, which is why I haven't responded directly to the comments being made. I see it happen frequently in other forums on various topics, and it is never a good thing, IMOP.

With how young this blogging thing still is to Grace Church, the passion involved in the other thread was just too thick. I believe it has a place in the future, when there is a good fellowship and good following here on this blog. But for now, it is still young, and I want to see it succed as much as the next guy.

Moral of the story, this type of stuff turns me off, and I am an AVID internet surfer and forum surfer...if it turns me off, what happens when somebody signs onto their computer, specifically to visit "life together" for the first time? I can only wonder.

But this is just my $.02 cents. I ramble, I'll be interested to see how this continues on. Maybe I have stirred the pot with my own bomb?

Mei Gaffey said...

In response to Andy's last post:

I have been attending Grace off and on for about 2 years now, and have never read Tim's blog before. I heard someone discussing this bit of debate, and it piqued my curiosity enough to not only view the controversy, but it also provoked me to actually sit and formulate thoughts on the matter. I am not an "avid forum surfer", only someone with a bit of an interest with life at Grace, and personally, I find it refreshing.

I think it is a great thing that someone, especially an anonymous someone can come into this forum, and while not belittling the accomplishments of the church as it moves forward in faith, can remind us not to sit back and rest on our laurels, that there are other points of view out there to struggle and grapple with. I find too often at Grace that individuals are not willing to address the things that aren't beautiful, pleasant, and easily packaged. If nothing else, the original posts by Portez got individuals to break out their bibles, and figure out what they feel is appropriate and why. It seems no one doubts the truth of the points Portez brings up, they only object to the reminder. Life together is growing together, and growing together doesn't necessarily mean having the same views on every situation, it means challenging each other to stand firm, and be sharpened tools for Christ. I think it is admirable that Portez, even in his anonymous form cares enough about the people of this church to want to see them grow in love and Christ, to widen their perspective and encourage sensitivity to others in matters we may have never considered before. That my friend is Christ-like attitude.

I'l put my name to this post, if it helps give credibility to it for you Andy, but the fact of the matter is, you don't know me, and I do have a personal agenda. My agenda is to help you see that respecting and loving every anonymous stranger that "stirs your pot" is more important than what you feel appropriate forum posting rules are. We are a family, not everyone will agree on everything, but everyone has the opportunity to voice their opinions so long as it is done lovingly and with proper intent in the spirit of growth....but in an attempt to keep to topic, picnics are great, but I usually feel rather out of place at the Grace Picnics too....probaby because I speak a little to candidly, and am not smart enough to do it anonymously.

Andy Gibson said...

mei, wonderful post. You have some very strong points, some of which I still disagree with. You say that no one doubts the truth that Poretz bring up. I don't see a solid "truth", but yes, it is definately stimulating and conversation. I am sure we agree on that. But I definately object to the your statement that one seems to only doubt the reminder. I think the exact opposite; some of the other members of the Grace family in the other thread, I think, took very solid well versed stances, and they did address something that was not in any way beautiful, pleasant, and easily packaged by addressing the "truth" that Poretz presented.

Putting a name to the post does give cridibility to it, mei, IMOP. I commend you for being straight and honest, and being proud of having a personal agenda. I have one too. I think you hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph. We are a family, and of course we will not agree...especially as the church continues to explode out of the doors. I am not arguing because my pot was stirred, but am (or was) arguing against the intent. Big difference.

I'm sorry that you feel out of place at the Grace Picnics. Why? I ask with honest care, as I'd like to do my part to make it more inviting. Is it the feeling that Grace individuals seem unwilling to view things that aren't easily packaged? I can definately see why you feel that way. I get that sense myself. But on a side note, that is why I love Tim so much...he has no problem tackling the tough issues the congregation doesn't want to hear. And during those, can you feel the tension in the know the congregation is squirming in their seats. Anyways, if this isn't the forum (no pun intended!) for that kind of question, ignore it. Just trying to start more conversation and do my part to bring the congregation closer.

There is nothing wrong with speaking candidly. I do it all the time (see previous post!). It is part of voicing your opinion, hopefully in a lovingly way and with proper intent, which you accomplished in your post.

Again, thanks for your have presented a couple of things I'll be pondering.

Peter Begley said...

My wife and I were considering attending Grace and stumbled into this blog during our reaserch online. We both found the 4th of July discussion fascinating and were quite impressed with everyone's candor.

As someone new to Grace (we have yet to attend), I found it extremely refreshing that not only would such issues be raised in a public forum such as a blog, but that members of the congregation, as well as "random" visitors to the site, would participate in such an open, honest and respectful manner.

I think Andy's point that the blog may not be the correct "forum" for such discussions is a valid one, based on all of the noted points, and respect that he/she (I don't want to presume anything!) was willing to say so. However, I personally found it refreshing. I'll admit that I am coming from a completely different perspective, as I have yet to attend Grace, but from my perspective as a Christian, I don't think there is any forum, time, place, occasion, etc. where such discussions are innapropriate. They may not be comfortable, timely or tactful, but I feel that they are always appropriate. (To be clear, when I refer to "such discussions", I mean any discussion where people get their minds moving about and toward God -- I think I'm doing a lousy job of explaining myself here, so I hope I don't sound incredibly insensitive or unintelligent.)

One thing I often struggle with is the general numbing of our society in that it seems like each passing day reveals further-muddled societal principles and values. I often look back five or ten years and become nostalgic over the "innocence" of the time. Perhaps it's how fast technology is moving, or my own personal maturity or previous naivite (have I really lost that yet?), but I continually find myself shocked on a daily basis on what I see happening around me. ...and it's not that bombs are going off in my neighborhood, it's that oftentimes people don't seem to care about anything, have any values, ethics, principles or souls.

But maybe this has been happening all along and I am only now able to see it. Either way, I feel that the 4th of July discussion is a step in the right direction. Anything that brings me, the guy standing in front of me in line, the lady driving down the street, the commodities broker making a killing on gold, and humanity at large, closer to God, is a good thing.

So kudos to Pastor Tim for starting the conversation, everyone for chiming in (including Poretz), and Andy for speaking his/her mind. I'll continue to read the blog, and my wife and I look forward to attending on Sunday.

God Bless,

Peter Begley

Andy Gibson said...

Thanks Peter...very true. I don't disagree with you that nobody is really wrong...just differing views. Both on 4th of July, and the forum for which to discuss 4th of July!