“offensive, rude, and downright unChristlike”

That’s just one of the many takes on AVFL over at the SN forums. FWIW.

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  1. blake wrote:

    AVFL…guess what…it’s the truth! if someone was to ask my opinion about this website, those words would be the first things that come out of my mouth.

  2. skipbayless wrote:

    I’m afraid i would have to agree with Blake.

  3. Sandy wrote:

    I appreciate anyone who “speaks their mind”. Whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. Tell it the way you perceive.

  4. Snarfie wrote:

    Downright unChristlike….not for me to determine
    Honest….hey, that’s what it’s all about.

    Whether I agree or disagree with what you write here, I applaud you for doing so with such candor.

  5. RobertM wrote:

    This evening, I visited AVFL for the first time, having read the “Blog Revolution” article in the March issue of Singing News. I’ve read quite a few posts over the last 45 minutes, and I would say this place is virtually saturated with negativity and sarcasm.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and return a few more times, but from what I’ve seen so far, you’re not really concerned about what others think of your critical spirit.

    SG is hardly a perfect world. We are sinners who desparately need God’s grace every day. …But most of the ministry groups are making sacrifices to bring the gospel in song to their audiences. SG is less “culture” (as your blog byline indicates) and more worship.

    I will contact Singing News and express my serious disappointment that your article was included in an otherwise fine magazine.

  6. Scott wrote:

    Offensive, rude…well, that’s a matter of taste, is it not, often hurled at those whose opinions we neither respect nor understand.

    As for unChristlike (or is that un-unthanklike)–this blog is a commentary, not sunday school.

    He’s commenting–not trying to get you “saved.”

  7. Mickey wrote:

    I first wrote my comment as a private email to you. I never comment publicly. Repeated reading of these responses changed my mind.

    Your last post (music) is why I have continued to work in this industry for the last 25 years. These “fans” that populate these forums with their projections and, now, comment directly on your blog, are the reason my mind still sometimes shouts “FLEE!!”.

  8. Steve wrote:

    Maybe I haven’t agreed with everything you’ve had to say but at least you’re saying it the way you see it. No sugar coating at Avery. That is something to be respected…

  9. MusicGirl wrote:

    There’s a great episode of West Wing where Josh gets upset at the comments about him in a forum. He tries to defend himself to no avail. It just infuriates the crazy people even more. It’s a funny episode where his assistant tries to reason with him, telling him that all these people are hysterical.

    Judging by all the VERY insane comments here, I have to laugh at how unchristlike all the judgmental self-righteous readers are who are calling you these very things. This is why people get freaked out by christians in the first place!!! Whatever happened to the whole “love your neighbor” bit?

    I think you’re a terrific writer, and I’m not threatened by your intelligence.

  10. ng wrote:

    I try to read everything I can about SGM whether folks consider the material postive or negative.

    What drives me crazy are the folks who say it doesn’t matter if SGM artists can sing as long as their hearts are right.

    That’s like saying it doesn’t matter if rock singers are good as long as they love sex, drugs and rock. Or that it doesn’t matter if country singers are good as long as long as they love drinking and pickup trucks.

    To me, quality matters in every form of music from hip-hop (yeah Wyclef Jean) to country (yeah Merle Haggard) to southern gospel (yeah GVB, Statesmen, Imperials).

  11. Mandy wrote:

    I don’t agree with everything you say, not by a long shot. But I respect the fact that you don’t sugar coat everything. I have found on some forums that you are to never question anything about Southern Gospel artists, no matter what they say or do. I don’t get that, and I appreciate the fact that you do say what you think.

  12. Mike wrote:

    This is the only place I know of to go to get some semblance of truth. I genuinely appreciate all of the Southern Gospel artists, the sacrifices they make to spread the word through song. However, just because I appreciate them doesn’t mean that I ever want to hear some of those artists sing a note.

    I want to know about the industry side of things. I don’t want fluffy, generalized press releases. I can infer most of what the press releases tell us before the press releases even arrives. I keep up with what’s going on.

    Please keep telling how it is in the real world of SG music. I appreciate it. Those who don’t can visit other web sites. They don’t have to come here. I don’t understand why they’re visiting this web site simply to criticize anyway.

    If there are other web sites to where I can read truths about this industry that I truly have a curiosity and affection for, please share them with me. I’ll keep visiting here until the truth is no longer told.

    Thank you.

  13. Rhonda Berry wrote:

    I have found you refreshing and honest. Yes, there has been negativity at times, but I don’t find that a bad thing. Don’t we all wish everything could be positive!!!
    I have been known to share some of your stuff with other members of our group who are not online (one specifically has been around this business for 25 years in various capacities) and his response was “he really said that? Wow!!” because he was shocked that someone was finally telling the truth.
    I, too, am bothered by the people who say that it doesn’t matter if a group can sing well or not. Our group cares about stuff like that, along with the heart of the person involved in the ministry. I have actually seen unsaved people get up and leave at an event because the group that was singing was really bad.
    If I were inclined to give my opinion on something like that, I would have to say that a bad-sounding groups heart for ministry would have to be questioned if they don’t care that they are turning more people away from God than they are bringing to Him. If your heart is really for the ministry, then you have to take that into consideration.

  14. Joe wrote:

    Wanna know the truth? If most full-timers in sgm were honest, those who peruse blogs daily to several times a week, AVFL is one of their first and most frequent hits. I’ve heard this from many friends; full-timers in some of the biggest groups.

    Doug says it like it is. He knows more than most; his perspective is open and honest; no one ever has to wonder exactly where he stands on HIS opinion; and by the way…his command of the English language puts us all to shame. If for nothing else, the rest of us could learn a lesson in how to write, each time we visit.

    Offensive? I guess that depends on which side of the current topic you find yourself at present.

    Rude? Nope. Haven’t seen it. He may not be “politically correct”- but that’s not rude.

    UnChristlike? Have read this blog for 2 years, and haven’t seen that yet either.

    Keep it up, Doug.

  15. thom wrote:

    People who don’t enjoy reading the blog should not read the blog. It’s as simple as that. Remember folks, he approves every comment that is posted within these pages. He demonstrates his open mindedness by allowing you to post your opinions on his blog. Yes, even the posts that criticize him, call him names, and disagree with him. That’s something you don’t see on other such sites.

    One things for sure, he knows how to start a good open exchange and allows you to opine even if he doesn’t agree 100% with you.

    Do I always agree with his viewpoint - heck no. But, I enjoy reading them and appreciate the chance to put in my 2 cents worth.

  16. RB wrote:

    I, for one, find this blog to be quite interesting . . . entertaining . . . enlightening.

    Yes, AVFL is cruel sometimes . . . sometimes harsh conclusions are drawn not supported by the evidence.

    But “unChristlike?” Ha! I think people forget what being “Christlike” is about. It’s about speaking the truth . . . in love (among other things).

    Sometimes this site could use a little more love; sometimes this site is careless with the truth (jumping to conclusions not supported by facts as I said before). But the truth is not always sweet, so just because it involves criticism doesn’t mean it is “unChristlike”. “unPollyannalike” maybe.

    The bottom line is, I think there’s a thread of love and respect for southern gospel music itself that keeps resurfacing in this blog, and that makes up for a few missteps along the way (which are, for an authentic and interesting site, inevitable).

    I’ll keep reading. If you don’t like it, go read Pollyanna or something. This is the Internet, for goodness’ sake. Nobody MADE you come here.

  17. RG wrote:

    even the bible it self sings to make a joyful noise and play “skillfully”…I hope groups that really do have a good heart and good intentions will consider that

  18. Kyle wrote:

    I’ll tell you from first-hand experience that SG performers can be just as cynical (if not more so) than anything on this forum. I spent a half hour with one individual (who has been in gospel music for 25+ years), and we spent the majority of that time just talking about the downside of gospel music.

    Anyone who thinks that SG is all milk and honey is WRONG. We may not be OF the world, but we are still IN the world, and as a result, things will never be perfect. What Avery seems to be doing is presenting the “other side” of SG for everyone’s enlightenment.

    And apparently, it’s working….look at the attention the site is getting!

  19. JW wrote:

    For anyone who is a sports fan, it’s hilarious that the post on the SN forum was started by “Skip Bayless.” I’m sure that’s not THE Skippy, but anyone who knows Skip Bayless the nationally known sports writer knows how acerbic he is.

    This column and the commenters just tells me how awesome The Lord truly is by letting us have a free will to make up our own minds.

    I’ve found this blog and the commenters highly refreshing. Keep up the great work, everyone.

  20. JP wrote:

    I have to say that this blog is a place I visit often. For the most part the straightforward opinions are a hoot to read. And the writing is really good too. However, at the end of my time on this blog site, and as been said in an above comment, my departing perception is … “Wow, this guy does have a critical spirit”. With that siad, everything has its season and everyone has an opinion. Everyone also has the right to start their own blog and thus give their opinion; where they will soon find other who disagree.

  21. Jim2 wrote:

    8, 11, 12, 14 and 15 - I used to (back before we could comment) read for education and information about what was going on in the world of SG. Now, I read for those reasons AND for amusement - I’ve seen TONS more “offensive, rude and unchristlike” behavior from commenters than Avery ever could have been accused of.
    Doug, keep up the good work - some of the most beautiful sentiment about the art that is SG I have found on your site. I also appreciate that you’re willing to admit your fallibility and take it like a man - a rare trait in the blogosphere!

    If you are a new visitor to this site, I would urge you to go DEEP into the archives and see what it was like before every point made got picked to death by us commenters (I include myself). Erudite, thoughtful and more insight than you can shake a stick at (or your fist if you are on the wrong side of the analysis)

  22. CVH wrote:

    I’m with MusicGirl…anyone who’s a West Wing fan is a friend of mine. By its very nature, a blog is not objective
    ‘reporting’; neither is it mindless cheerleading for an industry that constantly needs to reassess its methods and place in the world. It is an open forum for people to share their thoughts, rants and raves.

    Southern gospel is not a genre historically known for its great inclination toward self-examination or intellectual introspection. A blog like this offers an alternative viewpoint, an opportunity for honest discourse and an unfettered chance to interact with people who have an interest. That’s all it is, but that is, in fact, enough.

  23. bh wrote:

    To many SG resources are far to kind to artists. CD reviews that are way over the top with nary a negative comment ever I really wonder about. We have too many magazines, web sites, and bloggers who only present the positives and never the negatives. I don’t always agree with Avery, but I can guarantee you one thing for sure, he makes me think. We need more of this kind of candor, not less. I have a feeling that when the comments hit to close to home, then the barking begins.

  24. Doug Sword wrote:

    All I can say, brother, is keep it up. In a field that cries for honesty and intellectual analysis, you are truly refreshing. As one who sees the need for honest analysis if our music is to prosper, I applaud you. Of course, I am one those who despairs the trend to excuse lack of singing talent by praising their anointing. I have often thought that if God has not gifted you with singing talent (which you as a good steward develop with training and education), perhaps you have misread what He has intended for you.

  25. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    If you build it they will come.

    Avery has contructed a site that prints what we leaned over to our neighbor and whispered during the concert. Now we know.

  26. videoguy wrote:

    The way I see it, all the sunshine-pumpers are simply jealous over what Doug has achieved. AVFL rings a bell that can be, deserves to be, should-have-been-long-ago, and is, heard.

    So what if he is critical? Maybe there will be a point at which artists pay more attention to their bidness for fear of becoming a post at AVFL.

    Recently, Mr. Harrison asked a rather potent question regarding Candy Hemphill-Christmas. Yielding to an apparent voice of conscience, he displayed undeniable class and voluntarily pulled the post. Who wouldn’t love the ability to call a field review and reverse past decisions?

    Keep writing, Doug. Consider the noise a trophy of achievement.

  27. Rob wrote:

    Sunshine - Pumpers ? I love it !!

    Doing a great job Avery…Don’t change a thing !!

  28. dad wrote:

    ask Jesus to guide you in your comments. someone has to be bold enough to say what others are wanting to.
    you have inherited the critiquing gene that has been pasted down to us from several generations, use it well.

  29. Felicia wrote:

    UnChristlike? Jesus drove moneychangers out of the temple! Cheaters, who took advantage of the system, if you will. Well, now…seems Avery may be a little more Christlike than we all would have supposed.

  30. CG wrote:

    Dear Avery,

    I love you VERY much (keep on keeping on)!


  31. JLS wrote:

    I enjoy the site. I learn from it, and benefit from the knowledge gained.
    Sometimes Doug is brutally honest, but I cannot say that he has gone too far………though I don’t always agree.
    Keep up the good work.

  32. Rod wrote:

    you have learned well grasshoppa…Keep up the great blogging.

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