Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

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Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:48 am

Old hands here will have no trouble identifying Russell Moore, the new head of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He is featured in an article by Bob Smeitana, Southern Baptist Ethicist Stays Busy. In the article this is found:

In 2000, while a graduate student at Southern Seminary, Moore attended a meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, made up of moderate Baptists who clashed with conservatives in the 1980s and ’90s over control of the Southern Baptist Convention.

He wrote a series of critical stories about the meeting for Baptist Press, the convention’s official news service. Cooperative Baptists called his reporting unethical and inaccurate. Moore said what he wrote was true, but his attitude toward Cooperative Baptists was unchristian.

“I was all too eager to fight like the devil to please the Lord,” he said. “I had this motivation to be proven right — in a way that I don’t think was the way of Christ.”


And this:

Some years later, Moore became friends with the Rev. Joe Phelps, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Louisville. Highland Baptist left the Southern Baptist Convention about 10 years ago and is known as a liberal congregation with openly gay members.

Phelps and Moore are fans of Wendell Berry, a farmer and author known for his critiques of modern American culture. They met several times to discuss Berry’s work and have coffee.

“What I appreciate about Russell is that he seems to have an open heart to other groups,” Phelps said. “I find him to be shaped by love and his understanding of the gospel.”


So...all my mod/lib friends happy now?
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:20 am

Moore seems to be growing up. I don't think Land ever did.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby KeithE » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:57 am

Sounds like repentance (CBF), socialization with the marginalized (Phelps*, Joel that is), and the simple life (Berry).

*Now Fred Phelps, that would be too “marginalized”.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby TrudyU » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:59 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Moore seems to be growing up. I don't think Land ever did.


Ed: Dave, I would like to think you are right about Moore. But while I hear a hint of repentance for his attitude when he was reporting in that First (?) CBF meeting in 2000 but I have a feeling this section of the story provided by William was a set up to cause some to think so:

In 2000, while a graduate student at Southern Seminary, Moore attended a meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, made up of moderate Baptists who clashed with conservatives in the 1980s and ’90s over control of the Southern Baptist Convention.

He wrote a series of critical stories about the meeting for Baptist Press, the convention’s official news service. Cooperative Baptists called his reporting unethical and inaccurate. Moore said what he wrote was true, but his attitude toward Cooperative Baptists was unchristian.

“I was all too eager to fight like the devil to please the Lord,” he said. “I had this motivation to be proven right —c


Now let me be clear that I believe in repentance, and that it is possible that Russ has experienced it and that he is not responsible for how this story was written. But I would think that if a question was put to him about only the 2000 meeting that Ethically , in his position, if he where truly repentant he would have said,something to the effect of

"Not only in 2000, but for several years I attended their annual Assemblies and wrote many negative stories that reflected my disdain for that group. “I was all too eager to fight like the devil to please the Lord,” he said. “I had this motivation to be proven right — in a way that I don’t think was the way of Christ.”

But while he admits to questionable motivation at a time in the past he still believes that " “what he wrote was true".

And as I have said many times on these boards that after my 1st Assembly In Louisville I have attended all but three, I made it a point on several occasions over a period of years to listen in on some of his interviews and quite often I hardly recognized his report as covering the discussion that I had heard. He often took CBF to task for having friends and acquaintances like his new found friend Joe Phelps. He essentially told the world that because some of us in CBF had friends and worked with people such as Phelps that CBF as an organization was soft on homosexuality and advocated for it. He refused admit that it is possible to work with people with whom you have ideological differences W/O buying into their ideology in total.

I do not know Joe Phelps, but Trudy and I did attend Highland for a few months in late summer and early fall of 1991 before he was there. I was aware of some homosexuals there, but have no idea of their roles in the church. Despite that, Highland at that time was one of the better SBC churches I had been in.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:45 am

Hmm, Ed, guess you and Russ Moore still aren't BFFs.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Sandy » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:20 am

Note that he admits to not having the right attitude, but not that his facts were wrong or that his writing was unethical. I wonder if that will prompt an acknowledgement from CBF or ABP that they, too, didn't have a good attitude when writing about the SBC. There was some pretty caustic stuff that came out of there for a while, even after they acknowledged that they had to develop an identity beyond just being critics of the SBC.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Timothy Bonney » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:25 am

Sandy wrote:Note that he admits to not having the right attitude, but not that his facts were wrong or that his writing was unethical. I wonder if that will prompt an acknowledgement from CBF or ABP that they, too, didn't have a good attitude when writing about the SBC. There was some pretty caustic stuff that came out of there for a while, even after they acknowledged that they had to develop an identity beyond just being critics of the SBC.


It isn't much of an admission. "I had a bad attitude but I was still right." Moderates should now just fawn over that? LOL
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Sandy » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:50 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:Note that he admits to not having the right attitude, but not that his facts were wrong or that his writing was unethical. I wonder if that will prompt an acknowledgement from CBF or ABP that they, too, didn't have a good attitude when writing about the SBC. There was some pretty caustic stuff that came out of there for a while, even after they acknowledged that they had to develop an identity beyond just being critics of the SBC.


It isn't much of an admission. "I had a bad attitude but I was still right." Moderates should now just fawn over that? LOL


I don't think that's what he was aiming for. Not sure what prompted this, unless it is to say, somewhere down the road when there's cricitism, "Well I offered you an apology but you didn't accept it."
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Timothy Bonney » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:53 pm

Sandy wrote:
I don't think that's what he was aiming for. Not sure what prompted this, unless it is to say, somewhere down the road when there's cricitism, "Well I offered you an apology but you didn't accept it."


I can't imagine why he'd bother to do that. Surely he doesn't care what moderates think about him.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:09 pm

Actually, it was a rather significant apology and ackowledgment of earlier, errant attitudes. Perhaps my mod/lib friends have good reason to be underwhelmed but it looks better to receive the half-a-loaf graciously.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Timothy Bonney » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:30 pm

William Thornton wrote:Actually, it was a rather significant apology and acknowledgment of earlier, errant attitudes. Perhaps my mod/lib friends have good reason to be underwhelmed but it looks better to receive the half-a-loaf graciously.


It probably does. But it is a pretty dry tough gluten free loaf because he still assumes his viewpoints were correct even with a bad attitude. And yet it is his theological viewpoints that made the bad attitude justifiable at the time.

Honestly William one of the early clues for me that i couldn't believe that the SBC takeover was from God wasn't the theology it was the attitude of fundamentalists. The attitude then led me to examine their theology. If you have a theology which allows you to assume a kind of absolute rightness then it can lead you to do all kinds of mean things because the purity of the end justifies the impurity of the means. Such theologies justified the crusades and the grand inquisition. Because being 100% sure you are right gives you 100% justification to do just about anything you want to get your way.

As an example. When my views on homosexuality were more middle of the road (welcoming but not affirming) I still was more comfortable hanging out with the pro-W&A crowd because they didn't judge me for not fully agreeing with them. But the American Baptist Evangelicals (read ABC near-fundies) badgered me often at General Board meetings for being a near-heretic because I wasn't on board with the nasty way they went after people who differed from them and voted against kicking people out.

I remember being at an ABC General Board meeting after churches had been voted to be disfellowshipped. I felt personally ill after the vote so I stepped out of the room for some air and found two ABE big-wigs nearly laughing with glee and literally high-fiving each other over getting those churches on the list to be kicked out. Then I felt not only sick but very angry at their glee at hurting others.

At that point I was sure there was something wrong with their theology. Because any doctrine that leads to a praxis by its believers that is mean, vindictive and spiteful, cannot be fully from God.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Sandy » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:54 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Actually, it was a rather significant apology and acknowledgment of earlier, errant attitudes. Perhaps my mod/lib friends have good reason to be underwhelmed but it looks better to receive the half-a-loaf graciously.


It probably does. But it is a pretty dry tough gluten free loaf because he still assumes his viewpoints were correct even with a bad attitude. And yet it is his theological viewpoints that made the bad attitude justifiable at the time.

Honestly William one of the early clues for me that i couldn't believe that the SBC takeover was from God wasn't the theology it was the attitude of fundamentalists. The attitude then led me to examine their theology. If you have a theology which allows you to assume a kind of absolute rightness then it can lead you to do all kinds of mean things because the purity of the end justifies the impurity of the means. Such theologies justified the crusades and the grand inquisition. Because being 100% sure you are right gives you 100% justification to do just about anything you want to get your way.

As an example. When my views on homosexuality were more middle of the road (welcoming but not affirming) I still was more comfortable hanging out with the pro-W&A crowd because they didn't judge me for not fully agreeing with them. But the American Baptist Evangelicals (read ABC near-fundies) badgered me often at General Board meetings for being a near-heretic because I wasn't on board with the nasty way they went after people who differed from them and voted against kicking people out.

I remember being at an ABC General Board meeting after churches had been voted to be disfellowshipped. I felt personally ill after the vote so I stepped out of the room for some air and found two ABE big-wigs nearly laughing with glee and literally high-fiving each other over getting those churches on the list to be kicked out. Then I felt not only sick but very angry at their glee at hurting others.

At that point I was sure there was something wrong with their theology. Because any doctrine that leads to a praxis by its believers that is mean, vindictive and spiteful, cannot be fully from God.


That kind of behavior has not been limited to conservatives or fundamentalists. I saw an awful lot of gleeful triumphalism and heard an awful lot of unchristian ridicule and caricature when I was in CBF, and from BGCT leaders as well. And I heard an awful lot mean, vindictive, spitefulness, along with reading a lot of it in CBF and ABP publications. Some of the rhetoric and ridicule of conservatives that comes from those of the "welcoming and affirming" persuasion is pretty raunchy. I don't know if that's a sign of faulty theology as much as it is simple hypocrisy.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Tom Parker » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:30 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Actually, it was a rather significant apology and acknowledgment of earlier, errant attitudes. Perhaps my mod/lib friends have good reason to be underwhelmed but it looks better to receive the half-a-loaf graciously.


It probably does. But it is a pretty dry tough gluten free loaf because he still assumes his viewpoints were correct even with a bad attitude. And yet it is his theological viewpoints that made the bad attitude justifiable at the time.

Honestly William one of the early clues for me that i couldn't believe that the SBC takeover was from God wasn't the theology it was the attitude of fundamentalists. The attitude then led me to examine their theology. If you have a theology which allows you to assume a kind of absolute rightness then it can lead you to do all kinds of mean things because the purity of the end justifies the impurity of the means. Such theologies justified the crusades and the grand inquisition. Because being 100% sure you are right gives you 100% justification to do just about anything you want to get your way.

As an example. When my views on homosexuality were more middle of the road (welcoming but not affirming) I still was more comfortable hanging out with the pro-W&A crowd because they didn't judge me for not fully agreeing with them. But the American Baptist Evangelicals (read ABC near-fundies) badgered me often at General Board meetings for being a near-heretic because I wasn't on board with the nasty way they went after people who differed from them and voted against kicking people out.

I remember being at an ABC General Board meeting after churches had been voted to be disfellowshipped. I felt personally ill after the vote so I stepped out of the room for some air and found two ABE big-wigs nearly laughing with glee and literally high-fiving each other over getting those churches on the list to be kicked out. Then I felt not only sick but very angry at their glee at hurting others.

At that point I was sure there was something wrong with their theology. Because any doctrine that leads to a praxis by its believers that is mean, vindictive and spiteful, cannot be fully from God.


Tim:

I continue to be amazed how mean, vindictive, and spiteful the spirit is of those who took over the SBC. There really is a very mean spirit. :(
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby William Thornton » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:00 am

Timothy, surely there is some line you would draw whereupon you would vote to kick some church out of your group. If not then you have no core beliefs worth standing for.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Sandy » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:45 am

Tom Parker wrote:I continue to be amazed how mean, vindictive, and spiteful the spirit is of those who took over the SBC. There really is a very mean spirit. :(


It was equaled by those who lost their personal kingdoms and their little bubble of prestige and prominence when the conservatives cleaned the house. So Moore issues an apology for his attitude, but it appears, at least from observing here, that self righteous, self justification is going to be the response.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:35 am

William Thornton wrote:Timothy, surely there is some line you would draw whereupon you would vote to kick some church out of your group. If not then you have no core beliefs worth standing for.


William our system works differently. There is no mechanism for kicking out churches in the UMC because we are connectional. There are mechanisms for removing offending members or offending clergy but nothing for removal of a local church.

When I was in a Baptist context yes it is possible that I could think of a reason to kick out a church. But if I ever was put in the position of feeling I had to vote to do something like that I'd not be gleeful about it and I'd sure not be high-fiving people in the hallway. We should never ever be happy about a broken relationship. Division is never a reason for celebration in the Church.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:42 am

Sandy wrote:
It was equaled by those who lost their personal kingdoms and their little bubble of prestige and prominence when the conservatives cleaned the house. So Moore issues an apology for his attitude, but it appears, at least from observing here, that self righteous, self justification is going to be the response.


This tit for tat thing just doesn't excuse the behaviors I saw during the takeover by fundamentalist leaders. "Well he did it too!" is what kids say when Mom catches them doing something wrong. It isn't a good defense.

It is nice that he is sorry about the negative attitude. It is just that he doesn't realize that it is the theology underpinning the takeover that actually led to the attitude by him and many that the takeover crowd could do anything they wanted to get their way because they were right.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Tom Parker » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:15 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:
It was equaled by those who lost their personal kingdoms and their little bubble of prestige and prominence when the conservatives cleaned the house. So Moore issues an apology for his attitude, but it appears, at least from observing here, that self righteous, self justification is going to be the response.


This tit for tat thing just doesn't excuse the behaviors I saw during the takeover by fundamentalist leaders. "Well he did it too!" is what kids say when Mom catches them doing something wrong. It isn't a good defense.

It is nice that he is sorry about the negative attitude. It is just that he doesn't realize that it is the theology underpinning the takeover that actually led to the attitude by him and many that the takeover crowd could do anything they wanted to get their way because they were right.



Tim:

From where I sit the behavior of fundamentalist leaders continues. Lives are still being affected by their behavior. :(
And they wonder why the SBC is declining. :brick:
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:03 pm

Tom Parker wrote:From where I sit the behavior of fundamentalist leaders continues. Lives are still being affected by their behavior. :(
And they wonder why the SBC is declining. :brick:


Well Tom all denominations are in decline. But what strikes me funny is that the takeover crowd often claimed that "liberalism" would lead to denominational decline when the decline has happened on there watch.

That tells me that denominations left right and middle are all dealing with the cultural changes that are happening and all of us are having trouble getting young people to church. Conservatives to to blame the mainline or the liberals but we are all struggling.

Of course William knew what he brought this up that he could get some laughs watching moderates not fawn over Moore's apology. :wink:
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Sandy » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:25 pm

Well, whether its tit for tat, or a response to something of more substance, to be critical of the "attitude" and the approach of those involved with the conservative resurgence, if it was wrong, then it seems that responding in kind would be too. But that kind of hypocrisy was rampant in the SBC prior to the conservatives coming along. And if you think that sort of thing wasn't going on in the SBC prior to the conservative resurgence, you're naive. Moore's theology reflected that of the people in the pews who make up the SBC and all of its various parts, a fact that has been confirmed a thousand times, on every level of convention organization from the local church to the national convention. At any rate, whether moderates accept his apology, or remain critical and bitter, will make little difference. The SBC is well beyond the point of acknowledging, or responding to, the criticism of the few remaining moderates.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:54 pm

Sandy wrote:Well, whether its tit for tat, or a response to something of more substance, to be critical of the "attitude" and the approach of those involved with the conservative resurgence, if it was wrong, then it seems that responding in kind would be too.


Certainly moderate and progressive Christians can be unkind with their views as well Sandy. But moderates didn't pull a planned takeover strategy in the SBC, the fundamentalists did. The damage they did to the lives of individual Christians is on their head and not on others who did not devise the takeover. Everyone must answer for their own sins.

You always seem to want to argue in the abstract about the takeover. That works for the young folks in the SBC who weren't there. But those of us who were there have friends, like our good friend David Flick, who were direct casualties of the takeover crowd and their behavior. It is pretty easy to apologize after you've won and already taken all the spoils of your victory. I foresee no restitution coming, that is for sure.
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Moore and Vicki Covington

Postby Stephen Fox » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:20 pm

Moore came to Bama in early 90s or so and among others he through aspersions on was the novelist Vicki Covington. She once had a column in the Bham News that praised my Dad's first Cousin Max Helton, Nascar Chaplain and his remarks at the funeral of Davey Allison, I think it was.

Then with the support of an "ethicist" like Moore who had a position at Southern Seminary, Covington became part of the Bircher Albert Lee Smith's Inquisition of Samford President Tom Corts at FBC Bham in 1993.
I was there and witnessed the whole deal.

I'm glad Moore may be on the road to recovery but all this smacks me a little of W.A. Criswell's response to Stewart Newman in the famous letter of 68 Curtis Freeman of Duke analyzed so beautifully a few years ago in the Ignorant from the Neck Up Piece or some such.

If the John Birchification, the salafistication, the TeaPartyization of an entire denomination was what it took to get Russ Moore adjusted to begin to repent, to Damascus Road, well it seems like a large price to pay. Somebody it seems on his pilgrimage coulda pointed out George Curley Wallace as an analogy. Its not like there weren't examples all around.

And then to award this felow with his glorified position as chief ethicist for the SBC. Well it smacks of Connors Line in the Road to Perdition: "It's All so Fbombin hysterical!"
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby Tom Parker » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:30 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:Well, whether its tit for tat, or a response to something of more substance, to be critical of the "attitude" and the approach of those involved with the conservative resurgence, if it was wrong, then it seems that responding in kind would be too.


Certainly moderate and progressive Christians can be unkind with the views as well Sandy. But moderates didn't pull a planned takeover strategy in the SBC the fundamentalists did. The damage they did to the lives of individual Christians is on their head and not on others who did not devise the takeover. Everyone must answer for their own sins.

You always seem to want to argue in the abstract about the takeover. That works for the young folks in the SBC who weren't there. But those of us who were there have friends, like our good friend David Flick, who were direct casualties of the takeover crowd and their behavior. It is pretty easy to apologize after you've won and already taken all the spoils of your victory. I foresee no restitution coming, that is for sure.


Sandy, I'm glad you do not know anyone or any family whose live(s) were destroyed by the takeover. But many lives were ruined and IMO it is a direct cause of the decline of the SBC. I sincerely wonder if any committed suicide, had heart attacks, etc. It is very likely. But they were just collateral damage to those doing the takeover.

Tim: I take these current folks apologizing in the SBC with a grain of sand.

BTW all the moaning and groaning that goes on by the current SBC leaders about why the SBC is declining is nauseating.
They just need to do some intensive soul searching and they will discover their answer.
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Re: Russ Moore feels bad about his CBF reporting

Postby David Flick » Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:21 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:Well, whether its tit for tat, or a response to something of more substance, to be critical of the "attitude" and the approach of those involved with the conservative resurgence, if it was wrong, then it seems that responding in kind would be too.


Certainly moderate and progressive Christians can be unkind with their views as well Sandy. But moderates didn't pull a planned takeover strategy in the SBC, the fundamentalists did. The damage they did to the lives of individual Christians is on their head and not on others who did not devise the takeover. Everyone must answer for their own sins.

You always seem to want to argue in the abstract about the takeover. That works for the young folks in the SBC who weren't there. But those of us who were there have friends, like our good friend David Flick, who were direct casualties of the takeover crowd and their behavior. It is pretty easy to apologize after you've won and already taken all the spoils of your victory. I foresee no restitution coming, that is for sure.

    Tim, Sandy has pretty much the same mindset as the takeover cabal. In like manner, he has no remorse for those who suffered loss. As far as he is concerned, we who resisted Wthe the takeover had it coming because we were perceived as having been theologically impure and politically dominating. Of course, in neither case was it reality.
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What are Sandy's examples of responding in kind?

Postby Stephen Fox » Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:07 am

I'm not saying they didn't exist, but taken in context it could be interesting to review a few
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