Dissent of the day

A reader demurs:

I recently stumbled across your web site and as I staggered out, I was amazed! I haven’t heard such a truck load of mealy mouthed, mean spirited, back-biting, rumor laden, gossip mongering, horse pucks in all my days! Haven’t any of you guys ever heard “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything?” Many of you are obviously well educated and well spoken. It is a shame that you don’t put your writing talents to more useful purposes. You hide under a cloak of anonymity and take pot shots at people who are trying their best to do what God has called them to do. You are wise to have your meeting at NQC in secret. I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that you wouldn’t have the courage to make your comments to the individuals you castigate in your little blogs in person. There are many problems in the SGM genre. There is no denying that, however, I suspect there are just as many problems in any other genre of music also. The difference in this business is we are supposed to be Christians. We are expected to act differently. We are expected to offer encouragement and be supportive of God’s servants. If there are groups whose motivation is questionable, it is God’s place to deal with that, not ours. Now, I want to be fair. If you can stomach all of the negative drivel, and continue to read on, there were some reasonably positive comments made on some issues, and I thought that there might be some redeeming value after all but, then I began reading the comments to the positive postings and they always seem to degenerate into childish quibbling and snotty sarcasm. 

In the spirit of this site, I will share my opinion on what part these blogs should play in Southern Gospel Music. NONE! Any group that would be foolish enough to try and glean any productive pointers from this web site will pointlessly chase their tale. Here are two things that we should all do. First, love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might. Then, love your neighbor as yourself. If you do these two things, your ministry and your personal life will be just fine. Let these other guys fill their days with this other junk!  Lastly, to all you guys who know how SGM should be done, buy a bus, start a group, and do it right. In other words, put up or shut up!  




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  1. Irving wrote:

    Let me refer to my handy dandy Rick Warren Multi-Translation Bible Concordance (with the heavily-worn “P” page). I can’t seem to find the word “positive” used in the specific context which you suggest should dictate what we discuss in this public forum.

    If you’re looking for dictatorship, the ushers at the door can point you in that direction on your way out.

  2. wackythinker wrote:

    Although I have no idea who wrote this, there’s a lot of truth there. Anyone who thinks there’s NOT too much negativity on s/g blogs doesn’t have his/her head on straight.

    “The truth shall set you free!”

  3. avid sg lover wrote:

    Everything in life is not always “spun” positively. If a preacher is not preaching the truth…we discuss it. If someone is lying in the media…we discuss. Yes, sometimes there is some “tearing down” that gets out of hand, but thats par for the course when you are discussing something from ALL sides. On this website i have found more truthes that were brushed off as RUMOR elsewhere. I would say 9 times out of 10 …when there is a trade in the sg world, avery was spot on. I’m not a avery fanboy, or defender its just what i’ve learned as i’ve read this spot. You have to use wisdom and glean the good from the bad. Some things(comments/opinions) on here, and i’m sure ALOT of professional SG artists have done, you just have to let roll off your back. For the most part, when there is major critcism, the artists/someone in the camp will respond…and its usually very professionally, tastfully and Christian(ly) accomplished.

  4. Scott wrote:

    This statement is a scream.

    By its very nature it perpetuates the thing it is supposedly against. It also assumes things about the readers and writers of this blog that may or may not be true.

    While this blog IS written about music that purports to be Christian in its nature, it is nowhere implied that the writing or the writers practice Christianity. Additionally, is it safe to assume that the readers are Christian, too?

    My fear is that these generalizations hurt the effect. Please review “logical fallacies” and learn to spot them in your work.

  5. SPD wrote:

    This site by its own definition is “Criticism and Commentary on SG music and Culture”! Each post is only one persons opinion on what is or isn’t happening in a given situation! And yes, those opinions are sometimes harsh or sharp! It’s just that! The problem is when we take it personal that someone’s opinion is different than ours! This is the peoples place to comment on SG and it’s problems! If you don’t like it, then don’t read it!!!

  6. Kyle wrote:

    For someone who really enjoys the business side of the industry, I find this site VERY informative. It does not sugar coat everything. It’s put out there to show everyone exactly what’s going on from multiple angles.

    I quote William Lee Golden - “When you’re in this business….you have to realize that this IS a BUSINESS.” Your favorite gospel artist, ideally, is working for God, and accepting His financial blessings gratefully as their reward. But the truth of the matter is, these artists are running a full-fledge business of their own, and certain decisions and actions are made in the best interest of said business.

    What SG blogs do is observe, offer commentary, critique, and offer suggestions to these aspects of the industry.

  7. Bryan B. wrote:

    No checks and balances, no “watchdog” media role… in other words no accountability. All this has helped create the quagmire that is the Southern Gospel Music “Industry”

  8. Revpaul wrote:

    [i]I recently stumbled across your web site[/i]

    Averyfineline is certainly the most well-known of all SG blogs. There are few who regularly interact with Southern Gospel websites who just “stumble across” Avery.

    [i]You hide under a cloak of anonymity[/i]

    That’s normal for all blogs on the internet. I use “Revpaul” not only on this board, but on many other SG sites. It’s no cloak and I’m not hiding. I’m Pastor Paul McCoy, Fellowship Bible Church, Zephyrhills, FL. I know and interact regularly with many SG groups and have booked monthly concerts for five years.

    [i]We are expected to offer encouragement and be supportive of God’s servants. If there are groups whose motivation is questionable, it is God’s place to deal with that, not ours.[/i]

    We are expected to help God’s servants to excel in their ministry. Constructive criticism is always in order. Often, the way God deal with a group’s questionable motivation is to use his people to point out the problem.

    [i]to all you guys who know how SGM should be done, buy a bus, start a group, and do it right.[/i]

    As a fan for many years of SGM, yes I do have real opinions of how SGM should be done. However I will not buy a bus and start a group. That’s not my calling. But I will support the singing and I will offer my opinion and insights, and I will continue to pray God’s richest blessing upon the efforts of the singers whom God has called.

    By the way, what was your name??

  9. Rhonda Berry wrote:

    My question to this person is “What fantasy world are you living in?”

    The reality of life in a Southern Gospel (maybe even any Christian) ministry is that there is as much world in it as there is heaven.

    While I can’t address things on anything except a local level, I can say for a certainty after almost 10 years that I am finally over the shock that there would be back-biting, jealousy, and a lot of unChrist-like behavior involved in what we do. But having said that, there is also a lot of good.

    While it is great to be “positive” whenever possible and we should always be looking to the good, if there wasn’t someone holding our feet to the fire, many people would end up thinking they had it right and it would actually not serve the purpose intended.

    Having heard about several instances recently where some local groups are criticized ANONYMOUSLY, all I can say is what I have told my 4 sons. “If you think you are right, and have the guts to say it, sign it.” If you don’t have the guts to put your name to it, it really isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

    I never expect people to agree with everything I say 100%, and most of what I have ever written or said is usually done after conversations with others, I always put my name to it.

    I do not write or speak to intentionally hurt, and I doubt if Doug does either, but just as we expect our preachers to not avoid the truth just because someone doesn’t like it, why should anyone else? I am not talking about rumor-mongering such as who is sleeping with whom, but about the music and things associated with it. If the “industry” people aren’t going to hold our feet to the fire to point out things that may or may not need to be fixed, then someone has to.

  10. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    “Put up, or shut up.”

    Hmm…wouldn’t the most basic principles of logic demand that you take your own advice…as in, “start a blog, or shut up?”

    NA-NA-NA-NA-BOO-BOO, wash your face in DOO-DOO!

    (Hey, the name calling bar was set at second grade. I figured I may as well drop it on down to the kindergarten level.) :o)

  11. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    The majority of the ten commandments are thou shalt nots. In my experience, negative preaching usually produces positive living. If people are told what is wrong, then it is easier to discover what is right. Whitewashed truth loses power. Southern Gospel was saturated for too many years with an unrealistic everything-is-beautiful ideology. It may be uncomfortable but I believe that history will record that the results were positive. So get a stiffer upper lip and save the white gloves for the Tuesday brunch. As for me…I’ll take the brown bag.

  12. CVH wrote:

    What Jim E. Davis said…right on, bro.

  13. CG wrote:

    This truth (related to AVFL) I hold to:

    Avery is the Rush Limbaugh of SG.

    These wishes I hope for:

    1) I wish Revpaul (post8) would start a
    church in Chattanooga.

    2) I wish Rhonda Berry (post 9) was the
    Associate Pastor of said church.

    3) I wish Revpaul and Rhonda Berry would
    appoint David Bruce Murray (post 10)
    as Minister of Music at the “new work”.

    Why? Because they make sense (as in the common kind) and they actually believe in accountability for our actions.

    Oh, by the way:

    4) I wish RP, RB, and DBM would schedule
    Brother Avery for a fall revival (at least
    2 weeks).

    Preach on, ya’ll!

  14. RF wrote:

    I imagine Avery wouldn’t want to be called the Rush Limbaugh of sg. Rush leans to the right on most everything regardless of the merit of the other side. Mr. Fineline is on both sides of the spectrum, leaning only to quality in sg music.

    As for the rest of your post, CG, we are in total agreement!

  15. Revpaul wrote:

    Start a new work in Chattanooga, huh?
    Wonder if people there like Southern Gospel?
    Last couple o’ years of Fan Fair?? Hmmmm!?
    Tell ya what, CG, wait till first week in April.
    Check out the attendance this year.
    Gotta check with DBM, my new MofM.
    See what he thinks . . .

  16. CG wrote:

    RF, the comparison to Rush is meant more for Brother Fineline’s ability to get people talking about him, AND, more importantly, the issues at hand. I do agree with you, AVFL is more broadly focused on both sides of a (most) given topic. I love SG and AVFL!

  17. CG wrote:

    Revpaul, Chattanooga loves QUALITY SG that’s properly promoted. What time’s service starting?

  18. Leebob wrote:

    I don’t think too much of what is written on Averyfineline is in anonymity, apart from the current start of this blog. I just love it when the accuser is guilty of what he/she is accusing others of. Do we also love the bloggers in their negativity or only those who happen to totally agree with what we are saying? Click the underlined people and you get a website, and perhaps a clue as to who is writing on this blog. That is part of the problem we face: some people have the money to buy a bus and go sing because they want to do so. This does not necessarily mean this is what they should be doing.

    Until we in SG confront the issues that we face (stacks, dress, style, etc.) and the facts (i.e. older and smaller crowds, the powers that be will not let loose for fear of losing what they already have, and hokey lyrics) nothing will change. This is a blog where people who genuinely care about the direction of SG can openly discuss the issues before us. Yes there will be some negativity and occasional back biting, but I do not doubt for one minute that everyone on here is interested in seeing SG flourish.

    Thank you Averyfineline for continuing to provide a place where we can all openly discuss these things regardless of the attitude that sometimes will present itself.

  19. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    We don’t know if the email was anonymous.

    We only know that Doug didn’t reveal a name.

    It would be downright funny if it was, though.

  20. MSS wrote:

    A friend of mine wrote the original comment. A copy was sent to me. It was signed and the e-mail address it was sent from contains the writers full name. From viewing “your letters” on this site, my guess is that Avery doesn’t post anyones name.

  21. Rhonda Berry wrote:

    My name is on here and you can click on it to find out about me if you wish. You could have put your name on here and I wouldn’t mind knowing who sent the original.
    Doug probably doesn’t put the names without permission and no doubt posted this to spur the discussion. That’s what a good blogger does, put it out there for the readers to discuss.
    I will be honest and say that knowing who it was wouldn’t change what I had to say. As much as I would like it to be different, there are things that need to be addressed in SG, and living in a pollyana world won’t change those things.
    While it is true that there are times the wording is sharp, the discussion is necessary. Each person can take it however they want, and send it in whichever direction they want.

    I would be glad to join in this illustrious effort. Let me know when and where to be!!

  22. braveguy wrote:

    CG, would you go to that church at CG or as your real name? Would you leave when they preached under the Holy Ghost and conviction came on you? It is easy to say that you will follow when you aren’t being slandered, but what about when you are?
    You may then have to change your name and go back into hiding on a blog. Just a thought

    DBM, #10 seemed a good bit childish coming from you. It is weird seeing adults act as you did here.

  23. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Yes, it was a very childish response to the very childish opinion of “put up or shut up.” I do my best to relate to others on whatever level they’ve already established they’re capable of communicating.

    By the way, I did write up a blog post recently that is aimed at any readers who want to discuss this issue on a more mature level. In the article, I spell out the purpose of my blog…what it isn’t and what it is.

    You can view it here:

  24. quartet-man wrote:

    I think most of the lines of the letter have been responded to quite well, but if this one has I missed it.
    It is the line that paraphrased said if you are all so smart about knowing how to start a group, put your money where you mouth is and start one yourselves.

    Although it is admirable that someone starts a group and possibly does it better than the “critics” do it, doesn’t mean that the critics don’t know what is required or recognize when something is not right.

    The world is full of movie and music reviewers, coaches, bosses etc. who either no longer or never could do something as well as those that they critique. It doesn’t mean they do not make valid points. I am not talking those who have no clue what it takes or how to do it, but those who know but can’t do it themselves. Some of the great voice teachers are not necessarily the best singers themselves, for that matter Gaither is not the best vocalist, but few here would say that he doesn’t know his business or how to put a group together.
    I realize Gaither is doing it, and yet, one could have told him (and in fact may have) that his voice and piano playing skills were not good enough to be in an SG group. For that matter, there are those in part time groups who could likely do better than some full time groups, but choose not to due to travel, lack of money, family etc. So, there can be good reasons why someone doesn’t do it besides just wanting to sit around and find fault.

  25. Charlie wrote:

    Yes, RevPaul, Chattville DOES seem to like Southern Gospel… They just like it ’straight’ with no frills added.

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