Originally published at From Law to Grace on June 11, 2012
Who would have thunk it. My mom has become a Baptist blog fanatic. A lifelong Southern Baptist who is in her late sixties, my mom began reading my blog several months ago. From there, it did not take her long to find the SBC blogs — as in Voices, Tomorrow and Today. That’s a good thing, because she has not had anything new to read on my blog in the last 3 1/2 weeks. On Saturday she commented that I hadn’t published any new articles as of late. I told her I had taken a break from blogging (more on that in a minute) and that I would have another post up this week (which turns out to be this post today).
In order to keep up on all things Baptist, my mom regularly reads the major Baptist blogs. Of course, not wanting to read the “wrong” blogs or a post written by the “wrong” blogger, she asked me whether or not she should be reading certain blogs or posts written by certain bloggers. She began tossing out the names of prominent Baptist bloggers as if she had known these folks her whole life. “Is so-and-so someone I should read?” What mom really was asking me was whether or not I thought these were “good” or “bad” bloggers. She wasn’t asking for a critique of their writing skills, but rather what I thought about a particular person. Without missing a beat, I would either say “yes” or “no.”
Reflecting on that conversation, it was clear that I only gave my hearty endorsement to those bloggers who I tended to agree with and who I liked. Other than giving my seal of approval to my “cuz,” CB Scott (who my mother mentioned by name), I won’t divulge the names of the other bloggers my mom specifically called out and who I chose to give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to. In hindsight, I should not have been so quick to “judge” and dismiss a person’s writing simply because I may have disagreed with some of their views. After all, my blog is titled “From Law to Grace.” Perhaps it would be better to show more grace to other bloggers, especially those with whom I disagree.
Since publishing my last post on May 17, I have had time to get some much-needed rest and to regain a new perspective for my own blogging endeavors. CB Scott, who I affectionately call my “cousin,” noticed my absence from the blog world and emailed to check up on me. I truly appreciate the concern. He has certainly earned the recommendation that I gave to my mom 🙂
I can’t speak for any other bloggers, but there are times when I simply hit a wall — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually — and find myself with no motivation to write a blog post (although Mike Leake’s recent post at Voices, “Ten Tips for Daily Blogging,” is a helpful piece for situations just like mine). As pastor of a large and growing church in the New Mexico desert and as a husband and a father (of three very active boys), I can very easily find myself burning the candle at both ends. I tend to write my blog posts late at night after the family has gone to sleep, but I found myself getting burned out and run down. Instead of trying to keep up with the blog, I decided that I needed a mini-break.
I never know when these sabbaticals will come and how long they will last. Sometimes they are self-imposed and other times the Lord imposes them on me through such things as a ruptured appendix last December or food poisoning during the SBC Convention in Phoenix last summer. I am certainly hoping that there will be nothing similar in New Orleans.
Even though our church’s Vacation Bible School just started last night and I should be extra tired, I find myself rejuvenated and ready to get back in the arena. With today’s post, my brief sabbatical is now over. However, I return to the blogosphere with a slightly different perspective. I think that most Christian bloggers — including those who call themselves Southern Baptists — want to have their voices heard because they desire to make a positive contribution to the dialogue. That continues to be my desire as well.
This goal is oftentimes elusive because we find ourselves engaged in what seem to be continuous and never-ending Baptist battles. When we are in the midst of these blogging battles, it is sometimes hard for us to realize that we are generating more heat than light. However, as I have had the chance to step back from blogging for a season, I have begun what has been a long overdue detoxification for me. Until this past Saturday, I had not read any of the major Baptist blogs in the last three weeks. During that time, I’ve missed some of the more recent battles, including the latest dust-up between the Calvinists and non-Calvinists over the “Traditionalist Statement” signed by several prominent SBC leaders.
Don’t get me wrong. There are certain battles that are worth fighting. However, how we fight these battles is just as important — if not more so — than who comes out victorious. When we lose sight of the fact that the ends do not justify the means, we will have lost an important part of who we are as Christians and as Baptists.
In New Orleans and after, we will continue to have spirited disagreements. That’s the nature of a diverse Convention of churches. That’s also a by-product of the freedom that we enjoy in this country to hold differing opinions on any and all issues. However, the reality is that, as Southern Baptists — Calvinists, New Calvinists, non-Calvinists, anti-Calvinists, Traditionalists, or Calvinistic Traditionalists like me (which is one reason why I can’t sign the Traditionalist Confession even though I have great respect for the drafters and signers) — we agree on far more than we disagree on.
That’s why I can break bread with a wide variety of Southern Baptists — from Rick Patrick, Hariette Peterson, and CB Scott to Dave Miller, Mark Lamprecht, and Jared Moore to Peter Lumpkins, Tim Rogers, and Bob Hadley. So, whatever side of an issue we might find ourselves on in New Orleans, I look forward to fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ. And, by fellowshipping, I do mean eating. I am a Baptist preacher after all. See you in the Big Easy!