Dissent of the Day

From reader EF:

There is an old saying that says, “some do, and some teach.” You do neither. Anyone, even those with extreme mental health issues, ( I work with the mentally ill ) can set themselves up as critics. You should hear some of the stuff I hear almost daily. Your opinions are just that: your opinions. I know there is also an old saying that everyone is entitled to their opinions. I have never found that within the pages of the Bible. Granted, we all have opinions, but I do not think that we are entitled to them. I do know that the Bible says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” Your opinions taken in all their sum won’t even buy a cheap cup of coffee. When you become the God of Heaven, you will be qualified to look into the hearts of any southern gospel singer and make your assessments known. Until then may the God of Mercy and Grace be with you.

Though there’s a certain self-discrediting (and amusing) cognitive dissonance to the joyful-noise critique of someone else’s criticism (i.e. expressing a strongly held opinion that expressing strongly held opinions is wrong), once you’ve heard one you’ve heard them all, more or less. And then a message like this rolls in. I haven’t yet decided which is more hilarious: the non sequitur  about the mentally ill or the bizarro Biblical exegesis (show me the scripture where God greenlights SUVs, or cheap cups of coffee, or improvisational jazz or Jackie Collins, or JOAN Collins or, for that matter, representative democracy in the first place). But just because I can’t decide doesn’t mean I should keep a gem like this to myself. Enjoy.

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  1. Wayne wrote:

    Here’s another thought. You have your opinions. I have mine. You have a blog set up to write your opinions. I do not. I enjoy reading your opinions. I do not always agree with them. That’s OK. I like The McKameys, The Inspirations and The Pfeifers. You do not. That’s OK, too. Regarding disagreements in the Christian community, I remember someone once saying, “Unity does not have to be uniformity.” I remember this whenever someone (not necessarily you) carries on how one group/singer/song is fantastic and the next is just plain bad. It’s their opinion and I respect their opinion as long as they respect mine and don’t belittle me for having it.
    Carry on.

  2. Edie wrote:

    Wow…I love it!! Some people lose their arguments just by making them!

    Keep up the good work, Avery!

  3. Chuck Peters wrote:

    Wayne said: “I respect their opinion as long as they respect mine and don’t belittle me for having it.”

    Wayne.. that’s a good attitude… Unfortunately.. on this site you eventually will be belittled for your opinions. Especially for your taste in music and/or your stance on worship and things dear to your spiritual walk. More times than not it’s the anonymous posters.. and not always the moderator/editor.

  4. Derek wrote:

    Wouldn’t it be kinda boring if we all liked the same stuff? Even Jesus had diversity among the Disciples! Not all of them had the same profession, mannerisms, or tastes. We should simply agree to disagree and let it be. You have your favorites, I have mine. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t. When I disagree I don’t wage an attack on whomever it is that I am disagreeing with! After all, Jesus said “be ye angry and sin not.”

  5. Ben Harris wrote:

    Well, personally if you don’t agree with me and walk lock step, hand in hand, I have no use for your inferior opinions. My opinions are the only valid ones on the planet and I can not understand why the whole world cannot see the benefit of agreeing with me, for I am always right.
    Wanna buy some beach front property in New Mexico?

  6. jb wrote:

    Anytime I think about disagreeing and opinions I always think about a church board mtg. a long time ago. We were voting on a new Baby Grand Piano. One of our deacons did not want it and did not think we needed it. He voted no when the vote came and he was outvoted, but, he was the first one to get up and make the first donation towards it. Now, that is what it is all about.

  7. quartet-man wrote:

    JB, that is a great story.

  8. SM wrote:

    Those references you seek may be found in the book of Hezekiah.

  9. Edie wrote:

    Chuck, I just have to say, I couldn’t disagree with you more. I have found this website to be a wonderful exchange of ideas and opinions, MOST geared toward a desire to see this industry grow both in terms of commerce and ministry. I’m sorry you haven’t experienced that.

  10. JW wrote:

    I’m as conservative as they come, but that dissent letter just amazes me how contradictory it is.

    I am so-o-o glad My Lord gives me a free mind and free will to serve Him.

    BTW, I didn’t see anything in The Bible that says you should be logging onto the Internet and posting replies to blogs, either.

  11. gc wrote:

    Chuck and Edie,
    I agree with both of you!

  12. natesings wrote:

    Actually there is a Joan Collins reference in the Bible somewhere. Just give me time to find it.

  13. CVH wrote:

    Wow…thanks for sharing that gem.

    Maybe he’s been working with the mentally ill a little too long. Nothing a hundred milligrams of thorazine won’t fix.

  14. DM wrote:

    If we all liked the same thing we would only need one group. That would be boring. There is nothing wrong with telling someone they need to improve their stage presentation. We have been quiet too long.

  15. Steve wrote:

    “Actually there is a Joan Collins reference in the Bible”

    That’s because Joan Collins was around during Bible times.

  16. scope wrote:

    Doug, I am a great fan of your blog. I appreciate the intelligence and eloquence of your writing. If I could offer one suggestion it would be to concentrate on the music and the industry, and leave the gossip of indiviuals alone. For instance, I was very uncomfortable when you went after Kathy and Gerald Crabb during their separarion and subsequent divorce. Stick to holding the groups to the fire to upgrade their craft, or exposing hypocrisy in the industry.

  17. aaron wrote:

    I agree #16, there is nothing wrong with helping people to grow in what God has called them to do, nor holding people accountable for their actions. But when it comes to trashing people and letting rumors fly around that are inaccurate, that is when it becomes very unChristlike. Is this a blog that just trashes people and the so called church people enjoy reading and responding OR is it a blog that is to help the industry of Gospel singers to perfect the art of music for the ministry? I see a little of both and it really should just be one. No reason to attack some one personally, we should help not hurt them.

  18. Tara wrote:

    Scope…by talking about Kathy and Gerald and their divorce, he was exposing hypocrisy.

    When you preach about how you should live your life and behave in a family, i think it is fair game to talk about when you go through a divorce.

    And if nothing else, it lets you know that you favorite artists are not above the difficulties that normal Christians also have to deal with.

    Ps. I am not attacking you for your beliefs :)

  19. Glenn wrote:

    Don’t change a thing.

  20. Elisabeth wrote:

    it’s ok, Doug…i still love you. LOL!!! :D

  21. pr wrote:

    i think it was tammy faye bakker who once said “if you don’t like my program or what i say, that’s why there’s a button to change the channel.” you da man, avery. i agree that you shouldn’t change a single thing. (well, maybe the paper bag over your head once in a while but otherwise not a thing.)

  22. Trent wrote:

    Nobody ever has to ask Avery “paper or plastic?”. It’s paper every time, baby.

  23. Montana Man wrote:

    Is mental illness contagious?

  24. deb wrote:

    What was that guy thinking?!!! If he has a problem that big with the website, go to another website. That’s what a blog is. It is one person’s opinion that others get to comment on with their opinions. I read all the time and love it. I don’t always agree with “Avery,” in fact I often disagree. However, I can appreciate the opportunity to hear someone else’s opinion and to respond by giving mine if I so choose. I understand some of the opinions saying you should only criticize a group’s singing and not their personal lives. To a point, I agree. But when you are in the public eye, what do you expect? I don’t think we should be mean-spirited, but I do like to know that the groups I am listening to are at least TRYING to live a Christian life. It doesn’t make me like them any less because they have faults. I still love to hear Gerald Crabb sing despite his divorce. I didn’t stop listening to the Isaacs when Sonya decided to start a country career (even though I disagreed with the decision). I didn’t stop being a Ricky Atkinson & Compassion fan when his group changed over to different people (no scandal involved that I know of). Just because we hear the stories doesn’t mean we necessarily judge the people or stop listening because of it.

    I do wonder if the guy who wrote this to “Avery” HAS a mental illness instead of just WORKING with people who have a mental illness! And in this case, I suppose I am judging him just a LITTLE bit!! LOL

  25. Pastor John wrote:

    Several of the comments here are just proving that Chuck Peters (message # 3) is right on target. You are replying, often anonymously, and trashing the person who expressed their own opinion to Doug in the first place. Because you don’t agree with them, you are making unkind and probably untrue comments back by way of your replies. Inuendoes that the person must be mentally ill and in need of medication!? Would you be saying those same things if Jesus was logged into this blog? (BTW — He is! He just doesn’t need a computer like the rest of us.)

  26. natesings wrote:

    I didn’t know that facilities for the mentally ill had a work release program. Interesting.

  27. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Its one thing to have a opinion about southern gospel music but we need a little
    sensitivity for people surround about issues related to mental illness.
    Sure, we all can pass it off as having fun.
    Fun at who expense.
    Depression, loss of confidence, lack of focus, the process of aging orlost of their first love are real mental health issues that people face every day.
    If you do not think so, ask your pastor but I hope he does not tell you the whole story.

  28. JW wrote:

    Did you know that if all of you who don’t like what is said here wouldn’t keep coming here, reading it, and then spreading it around, nothing posted here would be a factor?

    Amen to “pr”, post #21.

    C’mon, Christians, let’s be big boys and girls and quit acting like babies when someone says something we don’t like.

    Besides, if you think this blog is so bad, The Bible says to flee from the devil. In other words, in 2007 that means you should quit reading the stuff posted here if you think it’s not Christlike.

  29. Jake wrote:

    Let’s not get off the point here. This isn’t about differences of opinion. Read the post again. It is about personal attacks. Unfortunately, the personal attacks against the origianl writer and others we disagree with are coming across right here at personal attacks. Whatever became of speaking the truth IN LOVE? Personal opinions? — fine (if they are Christlike). Differences in taste? — also fine if expressed in the right way. But let’s not get away from speaking the truth IN LOVE or we are violating the Scriptures’ clear command.

  30. DD wrote:

    Pastor John beat me to the punch, post #25. I’m a fan of this site, I just need my Webster everytime Avery writes. I wouldn’t want to see him change. Evidently no one has hated him bad enough at NQC to harm him. He’s even laid off his perpetual punching bag Young Harmony.

  31. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    This owner of this blog is my liberal Boston Globe of southern gospel music.
    I am a conservative Republican but I read the progressive and liberal Boston Globe not because I like it.
    I do not like it all the time but I won’t throw that baby out with the wash.
    It makes me think.

  32. cdguy wrote:

    re #12– how about Leviticus 21:14?

  33. Buick wrote:

    I’m grateful for this thread because it gives me a chance to make a statement I’ve wanted to post. I read this blog because I want to know the inside stories behind the Southern Gospel songs and the singers. If what I learn disappoints me (and sometimes it does), then I shouldn’t read the inside story.

    I also read this blog because I am interested in Doug’s opinions. I am not interested because I’ve decided to let him do my thinking for me nor because I always agree with him. But sometimes when I disagree with Doug, I learn something or get a new perspective. (I don’t learn too very much from the people with whom I always agree.)

    Having said all of that, I do think Doug and the rest of us could be kinder and more constructive some times. It almost seems like we forget that these artists are real people with real feelings that can really be hurt when they get slammed for doing their best at what they love.

    So, lets keep the candor but be a bit kinder. We ought not to mean to be mean - even if these are public figures.

  34. Chuck Peters wrote:

    Buick.. well said.

  35. Chuck Sims wrote:

    To the Dissenter:

    It’s Doug’s blog. He has a right to say what he pleases. He owns the blog.

    Keep it up, Doug!

  36. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    To JB regarding comment #6.

    Once I started working as a church “administrative assistant” (aka secretary), I had a similar experience. We had a building fund, and an old gentleman came by the office one day shortly after I assume my duties. He was dropping off his tithe plus a donation for the building fund.

    He said, “I was in favor of building a fellowship hall, but I didn’t think the church needed a gym, so I voted against the overall building plan. But, it passed, and I’m going to support what my church voted to do.”

    As well as I can remember, he continued to make a monthly donation for as long as we had a building fund…and it wasn’t just a token $5 either.

  37. Leebob wrote:

    I heard once that “everyone has the God-given right to have an opinion….Thankfully, not everyone has the right to be heard”.

    If everybody had the same opinion there would be absolutley NO use for this blog. If everyone were of the same opinion there would be no use for diplomats or a democratic form of government. If everyone had the same opinion there would be no use for politicians…. WAIT A MINUTE!!! On further review of that last thought, EVERYONE, QUICKLY (and I mean yesterday) jump to my opinion.

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