"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Milestone Is Reached: The 1,000th Post on Grace and Truth to You

Today is the 1,000th post for Grace and Truth to You, and we are closing in on 4 million unique visits since the blog's inception four years ago. It has been an enjoyable experience, and I have made a great many new friends. This milepost blog is dedicated to my top five observations about blogging (in no particular order).

(1). The greatest blessing to me is hearing someone say "Your post has caused me to really think."

It is our privilege at Emmanuel to have a number of Air Force pilots and their spouses who transfer into Enid and Vance Air Force Base from cities and countries around the world. Invariably, when they find out we are a Southern Baptist Church, they express suprise, particularly if they have personal experience with SBC churches in the south. Due to puerile, Nickelodean southern cultural activities that make Sunday morning at an SBC church often seem like childen's camp, these Air Force pilots are pleased with the substance and depth of both small group and corporate teaching at Emmanuel. I feel the same satisfaction when I read blogs that make me think..  To me, the best blogs are those that address pertinent theological, moral and ethical issues in a substantive manner. Of course, no matter how hard I might try to ensure my posts address these important issues affecting the churches and people of the SBC, invariably some readers who disagree with my writing will opine that I am "attacking." I do not wish to attack any brother or sister in Christ. I want Christians to think. For this reason, the greatest compliment I am given is "You've caused me to think about an issue in ways I've never thought of it before!"

(2). Comments are both a great blessing and a cursed headache.

I have learned a great deal from some insightful, articulate faithful readers of this blog. They comment and correct me, teach me, inspire me and redirect me. My wife has told me more than once that my posts are boring, but the comments are interesting. Laughing. She's right.

But unfortunately, some people take advantage of being free to comment on a blog and wind up saying things that they would never say to people in person. I have sought over the years to only address issues that I have no problem addressing with others in face to face meetings. But the tone and tenor of some commentors have caused me to go back and forth on the subject of comments (see #2). I have gone a few weeks without comments, and am now on comment moderation. I'm not sure of the future of comments on this blog, but I continue to feel my way around this issue.

(3). I am not always as careful as I should be in expressing my intentions for the future.

When visiting with one's spouse or close friends (i.e. people who love and respect you) about future plans, there is understanding and acceptance if those plans suddenly change. However, when you express your intentions for the future publicly on your blog, those who would not consider themselves your friends will use your words to impugn your character and call you a liar if your plans change. For example, on April 28th, 2010, I expressed my desire to put the Caner issue to rest on this blog. That was my sincere, heartfelt desire on that day. However, a few days later, I read the "official" statement from Liberty's Vice-President Dr. Elmer Townes about the Caner issue.
"It's not an ethical issue, it's not a moral issue," Towns told Christianity Today on April 27. "We give faculty a certain amount of theological leverage. The arguments of the bloggers would not stand up in court."
I decided to address Dr. Towne's curious response, and began a new blogpost with the following sentence: "I've made a commitment to not write another post about the biographical, educational and professional fabrications of Liberty Seminary's President, a promise which I will keep, but after reading Christianity Today's article and the response of Liberty's Vice-President Elmer Towns, I feel compelled to write this post about the growing lack of institutional integrity at Liberty Seminary and Liberty University."Then, I wrote a second post asking Liberty's administrators, particularly Dr. Townes, three questions about their "official" response. Those who do not consider me a friend have accused me of "lying," being a "hypocrite," and "one in need of repentance," etc.... My writing was about Liberty, not Caner, so I could respond to my critics by just saying that I'm a believer what Towne's calls "theological leverage," but I'll simply write I've learned its better to keep your words about future intentions to a minimum.

(4). Blogs have given people otherwise unknown, a very powerful voice.

Like the printing press, the Internet has revolutionized the means of mass communication. If anybody wants change in the 21st Century, then they MUST get on the Internet and advocate for change. It has been my pleasure to come to know people across the nation who have made an incredible impact for the kingdom of Christ through simply writing and publishing those writings on a blog. There are those who may wish to minimize the influence of blogging, but the truth is clear: Blogs are a powerful medium for cultural, political, and religious change.

(5). The more people say "You have no influence," or "Nobody's paying attention to what you are saying," or "Nobody cares what you think,"-- the more those people are actually revealing a concern that what you are writing is making an impact.

I'm sure many more observations could be made, but the hour is late, and I want to get this posted before going to bed. Hope you have enjoyed Grace and Truth to You and these last 1,000 posts. Thanks for reading!

16 comments:

RRR said...

Wade,
CONGRATULATIONS FOR A JOB WELL DONE!

I, for one, am glad that you continue your blog. It has had a huge impact on SBC and has become a source of accountability for many who otherwise would go unchecked.

I frequently do not agree with your sentiments even though I don't always express my disagreement, but most of the time I learn a lot from reading them. In particular, I have learned about events and happenings going on in our Convention that I would not have become aware otherwise.

But you’ve also had some great posts about Church history, doctrinal positions and other meaningful subjects that have made me think and motivated me to do some more searching and study on my own concerning those issues.

I know it must be difficult to take the personal attacks, and I'm often disappointed to see we Christians sinking to non-civil behavior that must make the lost world think that they're more righteous than we professing believers. But on the whole, I think a lot of good comes from your having this blog and I always look first to see if you’ve posted something new before I go to other sites.

I hope you persevere and keep on keeping on!

Joe Carr said...

Don't you think "puerile, Nickolodean" is a bit of a broad brush at churches in the south? Is there some invisible line where a church's geographical location makes them beyond "juvenile and silly", as the word "puerile" means, in their worship as opposed to other areas of the country?

For the record, I am in Georgia. I have heard and read of many instances where entertainment seems to be the norm in worship, but one's geographical location does not seem to be the best indicator of whether there is any substance and depth in the small group and corporate teaching of a church. Maybe it is just me being a little sensitive, or maybe it really was late at night and you did not really think that statement through before posting it.

Pege' said...

Wade! WOO-HOO Congrats!! I have personally read almost all of the 1,000 Articles and am ready for the next and the next and the next!! No matter how hard you try no one ever agrees 100% with any one else and no human is 100% correct 100% of the time. What a joy to interact and debate and dialog.I have learned allot about you reading your thoughts and some times responding (when the coast is clear from the blog asassines)in some small way I hope you have learned something from me....spelling is not one of them I am sure...:)=
Keep it coming...will be reading!!

cheerfuldougg said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog over the years - even when it is sometimes hard to deal with the "truth". Thanks for a great service to the SBC and the Church in general. Thanks for keeping a civil and respectful tone, even when you were not treated that way. Keep up the good work!

Steve said...

The truth is always a blessing, offers its own defense, and prompts others to search for more truth.

Decadent Housewife said...

And to the next 1000.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe,

Yes. Too much of a broad brush with the "puerile, Nicholodean" label. That, however, was the phrasing used by the pilots (I should have put it in quotes).

Thanks for the correction.

shadowspring said...

I love your blog. It is at times refreshing, at times challenging, at all times worth reading. Plus I love your posts about Oklahoma. :)

May the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of all those whose hearts are committed to serving Him, build you up and strengthen you in all your adversities.

Alan Paul said...

I appreciate your blog Wade... and yes, it has forced me to think about that which I disagree with and not simply dismiss it as I am apt to do. I read Debbie Kaufman's blog for the very same reason.

Gem said...

Congratulations!

I am not a frequent commenter, but I vote that you continue to publish comments as I have enjoyed and learned from reading the comments of others.

Even when the tone of the comments is harsh, Wade, I learn from watching how you (and some of the other regular commenters) respond graciously.

linda said...

For those of us who were accustomed to the SBC when soul competency was taken seriously, and who miss it, your blog is a breath of fresh air.

I know on your blog you will state what you believe whether it is popular or not. And I know you will uphold the right of others to disagree with you.

And the comments, when allowed, bring that iron sharpening iron growth for those who either participate or read them.

And perhaps most importantly, you provide a voice for those the current SBC would marginalize. You speak for them and allow them to speak for themselves.

Something long since lost not only in the SBC but much of evangelical Christianity--the voice of the grassroots Christian has a place at the table here.

Keep blogging, Pastor Wade. Not all of us can be in Enid in time for church but count you as our pastor.

Robin Michelle said...

I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I love it. I spent quite a bit of time reading back posts and continue to so so as I have time.

I grew up southern Baptist, went to a SBC college (DBU) and almost went to Southwestern....but got two pink lines instead :-) You have addressed so many issues that I found with the SBC, resulting in my departure from it.

I am thankful for your blog as it validates some of the many, many issues I had and continue to have with the SBC. The direction I see many churches going is a cause of great concern to me.


oh and? Some people are just plain nasty, especially on the internet. I have received a few ugly comments on my blog. I laugh and/or yell and my computer screen then hit 'delete.' ;-D

katsyboo said...

Kudos to your 1000th! I am a blog reader of yours from the Philippines for 2 years now. I do this so I could know the truth about what is really going on in the SBC life.I follow along the comment threads and pray for you and your family and your ministry...I admire your courageous pursuit for truth and writing demeanor even in the midst of hot issues. I am a fan. Richest blessings to you my brother! PJA

Thy Peace said...

I am richly blessed by this blog (faithful reader for over 2 years) and by Pastor Wade's sermons at Emmanuel.

The one thing that summarizes my experience here is the posts and sermons makes me think and recheck all my assumptions and wrong thinking.

I give ALL glory to our Lord Jesus Christ for putting words in the mind, mouth and hands of Pastor Wade, for he faithfully preaches, teaches and expounds ALL about our Lord Jesus Christ.

Joe Carr said...

Wade,

Even though I do not always agree with your opinions on all issues, I do agree with you at least 85-90% of the time! That being said, I do check out this blog almost daily as it is thought provoking, as well as challenging, and sometimes controversial. All of which is a good thing because all too often, far too many people in the SBC just seem to mindlessly follow without asking any questions. I have always been one to ask a lot of questions...so keep asking, stirring, and provoking!

Kevin in Manila said...

Your blog has indeed made me think, Wade. And I appreciate the courage and grace with which you've handled the spirited debates here.

I completely understand your dilemma with comments. I get frustrated when people write comments 3x longer than your original post--and it isn't even my blog.