Hi to my Forum Friends,
In the discussion I began titled "Is It Really 'Free Will' -- Or Coercion?" -- my Friend, Chick, seems to feel that I have been maligning and making fun of Southerners. So, I want to take a moment and set the record straight.
Chick, let's get our dialogue in order. Then, we can see who said what to whom:
You wrote regarding me, "From a man that claims he's proud of his Southern upbringing, he's doing everything he can to make the people from the South look like a bunch of idiot rednecks. What does that make Bill? An idiot!"
And, I replied:
"Hi Chick, As usual, your perception has me perplexed. Where do you find anything about Southerners in my post? Whether you can believe it or not -- people all over the world discuss God, Jesus Christ, Christianity, and the Bible. Trust me -- it is not just a Southern thang!
Or, is it that you are just so desperate to find some issue on which you can attempt to disagree with me -- that you will even make up non-existent issues? But, whatever makes you happy. God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day, Bill"
Then, Chick, you tell me, "Good grief, Bill! Did you read Magpie's post at all that I quoted???? My post was in reply to what Magpie said, which was, 'He (which is you) has a worldwide reading audience through his church ministry. These people are already believers and enjoy watching Bill respond to you fringe lunatics. It’s like a series on TV. His reading audience [me included] outside this forum tune in weekly to watch the monkeys jump around as Bill pulls your tails. You people are just suckers and take the bait hook-line-and-sinker.'"
Yes, Chick, I saw what Magpie had written and will admit that it is not the way I would have written it. However, he is correct that I do have a "Friends Ministry" through which I communicate with and share with Friends from all around the world. Just one correction -- not all who are in my Friends Ministry mail list are believers. I know for sure that I have one Mormon elder who has been on my mail list for years; and I have a missionary from Rev. Sun Myung Moon's church who has been reading my messages for years. Over the years, I have had a number of folks on my mail list who have tried to convert me -- or at least convince me that lifestyles such as homosexuality and same-sex marriage are acceptable to God. But, on the whole, as Magpie said, most of my readers are fellow believers.
But, let me correct a misconception that both you and Magpie seem to hold. My Friends Ministry is not a "church ministry." It is independent of our church and is a function of the "Bill & Dory Gray Christian Ministries" which I describe in the following manner on the reverse side of our business card:
A Christian Ministry of Edification and Encouragement: Our ministry is to provide Christian writings, articles, information, tracts, and humor for the edification of all believers; and to provide information to guide non-believers toward a life with Jesus Christ.
Do you have friends or relatives who will be edified or encouraged by our web site (blog) or e-mail ministry? If so, please tell them about it. Mabuhay!
A desire Dory and I have prayed about for many years is to be able to go to an area, such as North San Diego County, and start a Bible Study/Music Ministry. This would be a Christian ministry, not a church, and not affiliated with any group or church (thus not competing with any church or other Christian group) -- and it would entail having Bible studies several evenings a week, worship in music several evenings a week -- and doing them in English, Spanish, and Tagalog.
Why an area such as North San Diego County? Because this is an area which has a good mix of population -- including Hispanic and Filipino -- and is not as heavily populated with Christian ministries as are Orange Country, Los Angeles, San Diego, etc..
Another area might be in the state of Washington. But, if and when it happens -- we will leave to God, along with the location.
In the meantime, Dory and I will continue doing the ministries God has given us, at the level He has made available to us -- and wait upon His timing and His pleasure. My ministry at this time is mostly writing; while Dory's ministry is music. This year, Dory has begun giving piano and voice lessons to young people. She is the "music" part of our family and ministry.
And, then, Chick, you tell me, "We all know that you use this forum & all of us in your writings to your 'world wide reading audience' & that you do everything you can to make us look like stupid ass rednecks. WE are in the South, this forum is in the South, do you get it yet?"
Quite often I do send to my Friends Ministry what I have posted on the Religion Forum. Why not? If the Christian message is sufficient for my Friends and family in the Shoals area of Alabama -- why shouldn't it be good for those in my Friends Ministry to read?
And, often, I will write a message for my Friends Ministry group -- and then share it with my Religion Forum Friends. So, It goes both ways.
Am I "using" the Religion Forum and trying to make Southerners "look like stupid ass rednecks" as you write? The people of the Shoals are my home town family. Who in their right mind would cast aspersions upon their own family? Not sure about you, Chick, but, I am very proud of being a Southerner. I wear the title proudly!
As a matter of fact, yesterday my wife and I were at a Baby Baptismal Celebration and she was telling another Filipina that her first husband (who is deceased) was an Ilocano (from the coastal areas of northern Luzon in the Philippines). And, I told her, "Yes, you went from an Ilocano -- to an Alabamian!" My Friend, I wear the honor of being born and raised in Alabama, in the South, proudly.
So, Chick, if YOU think that folks from the Shoals, and other Southerners, are "stupid ass rednecks" -- please do not attribute that belief to me. As I said, I have lots of family in the Shoals area, I have lots of friends in the Shoals area -- and, I am happy to tell anyone who will listen that I am a product of the Shoals area -- a Southerner -- from Alabama!
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,