Molly Worthen on SBC Takeover, Francis Schaeffer, etc

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Re: Tim, Flick et al little shortsighted on book

Postby Sandy » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:40 am

Stephen Fox wrote:This is one of the most valuable books it appears recently to take fresh eyes, to take a ten year distance on the takeover. Apparently it emphasizes the Takeover as foundational for Karl Rove's agenda that has given a spark to the Tea PArty.

All the anecdotes, the personal testimonies are getting a little dated, but there are new insights, new ways to put the takeover in a bigger light and I think Worthen's book is gonna be quite valuable for that reason and worth consideration in full on its own merits.

I am now reading a book on cotton plantations and slavery in the 1840s in the Mississippi River Valley. Not the first book to be written on slavery and the antebellum cotton economy. But it is one of the most fascinating books I have read in the last 20 years. Maybe on the heels Of the movie 12 yrs a slave I have ears to hear, or new ears.

I just wish Flick and Thornton and Pettibone were open to some enlightenment on occasion. Too often they come across as not having any more to be gained just like the tobacco farmer in East N.C. who carried his Sunday School quarterly in his back left cheek overall pocket all week folded up!


What more is there to be gained, Stephen? The SBC is not going to return to its pre-1979 leadership. The issues have changed. Other than annoying a few secretaries who won't let you past them on the phone, what are you "gaining" from this?

This particular book isn't really even about the conservative resurgence. The author just uses it to press another point. What happened in the SBC more than a generation back has been written about, from both sides, in three or four different sources. A new book would be a rehash and a bore.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby William Thornton » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:36 am

Aha, another CR book, breathlessly promoted. What new wrinkle will be offered? What new anecdote will be given? What newly found, profound lesson will be made?

Probably none.

Stephen, there is a shrinking market for old SBC controversy stuff and the target group are old dudes who are dying off daily. We are almost 35 years from the start of the Conservative Resurgence and over 20 years from when moderates left the field. Those who are twentyish, thirtyish don't much care and get tired of hearing it.

But here on BL we have half a dozen stalwart CR warriors who never tire of the disucssions.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:22 am

William Thornton wrote:Aha, another CR book, breathlessly promoted. What new wrinkle will be offered? What new anecdote will be given? What newly found, profound lesson will be made?

Probably none.

Stephen, there is a shrinking market for old SBC controversy stuff and the target group are old dudes who are dying off daily. We are almost 35 years from the start of the Conservative Resurgence and over 20 years from when moderates left the field. Those who are twentyish, thirtyish don't much care and get tired of hearing it.

But here on BL we have half a dozen stalwart CR warriors who never tire of the disucssions.


Ed: Yea william we tire of it but every so often some one in the SBC fold brings it up to justify their own or a personal heroes existence.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:13 am

Ed Pettibone wrote:
Ed: Yea william we tire of it but every so often some one in the SBC fold brings it up to justify their own or a personal heroes existence.


Yep, the "Conservative Resurgence" the Takeover coverup myth that won't die because, as usual, the winners write the history.

It didn't happen the way the SBC general portrays it but in another twenty or thirty years no one who was there will be alive to disagree with the historical re-write.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby William Thornton » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:48 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Ed Pettibone wrote:
Ed: Yea william we tire of it but every so often some one in the SBC fold brings it up to justify their own or a personal heroes existence.


Yep, the "Conservative Resurgence" the Takeover coverup myth that won't die because, as usual, the winners write the history.

It didn't happen the way the SBC general portrays it but in another twenty or thirty years no one who was there will be alive to disagree with the historical re-write.


Mod/libs have an entire shelf of CR books by their people.

...but surely you of all folks here understand just moving on and the futility of rehashing it all. I don't mind doing so but a steady diet of such has to be unhealthy for a young CBFer. I can see how they would find it tiresome.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:43 pm

William Thornton wrote:
...but surely you of all folks here understand just moving on and the futility of rehashing it all. I don't mind doing so but a steady diet of such has to be unhealthy for a young CBFer. I can see how they would find it tiresome.


No, there isn't much point in rehashing. But as part of any CBF related seminary curriculum you'd expect the history of the Fellowship to include the CBF's understanding of what happened.

I took SBC history at SBTS. I didn't consider it a rehash. We should learn our history. But I agree dwelling on that history too much isn't good for you.

As much as I think the Takeover was a dirty rotten deal, I've not been a Southern Baptist for more than 20 years. There is certainly no point in me getting hot under the (clerical) collar about it.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:01 pm

William Thornton wrote:
Timothy Bonney wrote:
Ed Pettibone wrote:
Ed: Yea william we tire of it but every so often some one in the SBC fold brings it up to justify their own or a personal heroes existence.


Yep, the "Conservative Resurgence" the Takeover coverup myth that won't die because, as usual, the winners write the history.

It didn't happen the way the SBC general portrays it but in another twenty or thirty years no one who was there will be alive to disagree with the historical re-write.


Mod/libs have an entire shelf of CR books by their people.

...but surely you of all folks here understand just moving on and the futility of rehashing it all. I don't mind doing so but a steady diet of such has to be unhealthy for a young CBFer. I can see how they would find it tiresome.


Ed: William, A Steady diet of any thing is unhealthy for whomever. But Young Baptist of all stripes need a firm grounding in the facts of the takeover. Especially young CBFer's, in SBC/CBF or even CBF/SBC churches, who are seeking pastorates in CBF affiliated churches.

It is true that I have a larger collection of books about the takeover written by CBF type Moderates than by SBC conservatives but I do have Ammerma's book book which was endorsed by Paige Patterson, as well as his cohort Paul Pressler's (Hill) and Jerry Sutton's (Reformation). In Addition there is the issue of The Theological Educator a journal Published by New Orleans Seminary with a series of articles on a number of topics written from both the Moderate and Conservative, from which I have often quoted (Evangelical) conservative, David Dockery's definition of each element of the Fundamentalist to Liberal continuum, as found in the pre takeover SBC. Side comment:The Calvinist conservative who by passed Dockery for Mohler as President of SBTS may have done we moderates a favor. Another book in my collection is Harding's; The Book of Jerry Falwell.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:58 pm

I actually believe William I only have one book in my library about the SBC Takeover. I think I have that, the history of Indiana American Baptists, and the History of the Missouri Baptist Convention and that is all the remaining Baptist resources I have. I gave my Baptist book collection to a young ABC colleague when I left Baptist ministry. Those I kept were gifts or were signed.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:03 pm

It's been a while since I've actually opened and read anything from them, and occasionally they get dusted off, but I have just about everything that's been written on both sides. I have Cothen's two volumes, Bill Leonard's "Last and Only Hope" and an autographed copy of John Baugh's self-published volume, which isn't very well written or well organized, and misses documenting a lot of assertions. And I have Jerry Sutton's The Baptist Reformation, and Pressler's A Hill on Which to Die.
I don't think there's much new that could be written that would be relevant.

This particular author, from the excerpt cited by Stephen, does seem to offer a neutral perspective in some ways. Though it appears decidedly biased against the conservative Christian perspective, it does offer a view from the "outside," so to speak. However, it's a "who cares?" perspective in that at this point, what's the point?
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:27 pm

Sandy wrote:It's been a while since I've actually opened and read anything from them, and occasionally they get dusted off, but I have just about everything that's been written on both sides. I have Cothen's two volumes, Bill Leonard's "Last and Only Hope" and an autographed copy of John Baugh's self-published volume, which isn't very well written or well organized, and misses documenting a lot of assertions. And I have Jerry Sutton's The Baptist Reformation, and Pressler's A Hill on Which to Die.
I don't think there's much new that could be written that would be relevant.

This particular author, from the excerpt cited by Stephen, does seem to offer a neutral perspective in some ways. Though it appears decidedly biased against the conservative Christian perspective, it does offer a view from the "outside," so to speak. However, it's a "who cares?" perspective in that at this point, what's the point?


Ed; Sandy While I can agree that Baugh's "self published" * The Battle for Baptist Integrity could have stood some polish by a professional editor. However as Baugh says in the preface
I am neither a theologian nor a scholar and i have never written a book. I had not intended to do so, but knowledge of Fundamentalism's evil intent and unwarranted actions called me to express my deep concern about its impact upon the ministry and mission endeavors of mainstream Baptist.


* In fact the book was 'Published" by a group named Battle for Integrity, Inc. Austin Texas
Copyright by John F. Baugh , P.O. Box 160244, Austin, Texas. Library of Congress Catalog Number: 96-86809
International Standard Book Number 1-88987-00-8

And with my copy I received a packet of supplemental material includinga Topical Idex and an Alphabetical Index and 5pages of Summary Comments
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More evidence strong piece of work

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:20 am

Lot of conversations to follow on this new spark. I hope to talk to her. Jesse Helms and Pressler. Those two just don't get together by hannpenstance. More than search for authentic traditions, much more than she pereives in this interview.

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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:15 am

Lots of contentions in that interview, Stephen, that fly in the face of the assertions that you, and other moderate Baptists on this board, have been making for years. If she had written a book exclusively on the topic of the conservative resurgence in the SBC, I think the terms "Conservative Resurgence" would be exactly the terms she would choose. Whether it was Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler, or whether there would have been others who would have stepped up at some other point, the SBC was inevitably heading toward a shift in leadership that would have changed the theological parameters of cooperation, particularly around the nature of, and interpretation of the Bible. She's not the first author I've seen who ties what happened in the SBC together with what has transpired, to a greater or lesser degree, in many other Protestant denominations, and in the substantial move toward post-denominationalism with the rapid growth and development of non-denominational churches. I really like the way she defines the movement, by the main questions they ask, not necessarily by specific doctrinal positions. I think that's a very accurate way of defining the term "Evangelical Christian."

I believe, in the excerpt you posted from her book, that she made note of the fact that the pre-1979 leadership in the SBC was loathe to admit that they had a little oligarchy going on, but in her view, that was a contributing factor to the success of the movement that began in 1979.

I don't really expect much discussion of Worthen's book, or this interview. For one thing, it's an old subject. For another, even though she clearly holds a non-evangelical, non-conservative bias, she's not steeped in the culture of moderate Baptists either, and so is refreshingly honest about the faults and inadequacies of their position. Third, her conclusion is that "Conservative Evangelicalism" as a movement has become the dominant perspective of Protestant Christianity in America, and will only continue to grow, contributing to denominational controversy and the growth of post-denominational churches. That's not welcome news to those on this board who are advocates of women pastors and acceptance of homosexual behavior as normal.
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Kudos to Sandy for eloquent response

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:12 pm

I appreciate it. Make some good points, however I still contend an analysis of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC which doesn't give due notice to the Far right affiliations of the fundy leadership is most inadequate.

I was planning to email Dr. Worthen (Yale PHD) anyway and now intend to quote Sandy's remarks here. Will share the email with Randall Balmer and some others. Could be April before I'm satisfied with the response, but could be interesting.

My first reaction remains she has done the subject a service 15 years out with some distance to look at it all again.

FTR the Lutheran Missouri synod was subject of at least one credible analysis that laid lot of the blame on the nastiness and severity of that split to a fellow much like Pressler who came from a cauldron of Right wing Birch Society infected network much like Ed McAteer, Helms and Albert Lee Smith that was the driving force in that mess. More than anecdotal I'm convinced Ellen Rosenberg, Balmer, Tom Edsall and Randall Balmer, even Billy Graham analyst have stronger take than Worthen where she engages or dismisses, fails to emphasize that aspect. At same time this interview does make clear that Fear of Communism, the Cold War had a lot of inflections in the 50s and 60s and mainstream SBC or what past for it was not entirely immune to some of the poison that gave a Billy Budd Character like Billy Graham a worse case of the illness.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby William Thornton » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:37 pm

Fox, I'm counting on you for a RELEVANT comment on my notable deaths topic.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:47 pm

William Thornton wrote:Fox, I'm counting on you for a RELEVANT comment on my notable deaths topic.


Ed: William how do you justify holding Fox to a higher standard than you ascribe to for yourself :?: :wink:
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby William Thornton » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:26 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Fox, I'm counting on you for a RELEVANT comment on my notable deaths topic.


Ed: William how do you justify holding Fox to a higher standard than you ascribe to for yourself :?: :wink:


Ed, bro, my comments are always witty, insightful, and incisive. Let me know and I'll loan you some of mine.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Mrs Haruo » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:26 am

This discussion is bringing back memories of where I was when the big War of Personalities occurred. I was not even a part of the Baptist Church, I was Mennonite Brethren. I was in a car-pool with 2 women, all of us had children the same age who went to the same school, and the other women each went to different Baptist churches in town. We often had play dates with our children at a park in town, and the conversation often turned to the turmoil that was tearing their churches apart. From the outside, and an occasional visitor when their kids had special programs they invited our family to, the frequent, bitter bickering over doctrine and practice of some of the people I met turned me off to any place with "Baptist" on the sign for a long time if I moved and had to go "church shopping" No wonder a lot of churches hid behind a "Community Church" or other non-committal name on the sign out front! And like the Civil War, it should be studied in the schools and read about in history books, but I think it is high time to bury the poor dead horse and walk on.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:26 am

William Thornton wrote:
Ed Pettibone wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Fox, I'm counting on you for a RELEVANT comment on my notable deaths topic.


Ed: William how do you justify holding Fox to a higher standard than you ascribe to for yourself :?: :wink:


Ed, bro, my comments are always witty, insightful, and incisive. Let me know and I'll loan you some of mine.


Ed: I would say your comments are occasionally witty, seldom insightful and almost never inciseve . But my question had to do with RELEVANCE.
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Dochuk and Mark Noll endorse this book

Postby Stephen Fox » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:23 pm

I read the flaps and the last chapter this afternoon. This book is most substantive for the conversations to come; as I figured, Dochuk and Noll trump any reservations William Thornton and Lee Saunders may have about the reverberations of this book. I am most interested in the likes of Bill Leonard, Buddy Shurden and Randall Balmer placing the SBC struggle in further refinement in the context of the boundaries and insights of this key analysis of where things are now. Doesn't address the likes of Rachel Held Evans and Giberson and Stephens as exhaustively as I'd hoped but some good conversation beyond this board to come. I hope Johnny Pierce has a good piece by February.

First chapter is on The Errand. Great framework Dochuk used in his book advanced by Worthen. I hope Saunders and Thornton and Saunders get off their high horse and get deep into this book asap. Seminal newly refined conversations on the horizon. Now if only the likes of Mike Hubbard would engage the honest conversation, but Worthen knows the demagogues still run amok though she gives honest fundamentalism the benefit of the doubt in places. Hubbard is not an honest fundamentalist. He's a Kochian, a disciple of the worst of Atwater, Helms and the Birch Society!
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby William Thornton » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:03 pm

I'd like to read it. So far, no one has said anything new.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:50 pm

There's really nothing new that can be said. Worthen does write from the perspective of not being a member of either side, though ultimately, her objectivity wanes for some reason, I'd say the natural bias that academics have when approaching the subject of Christianity. She is refreshingly honest in pointing out that the SBC leadership had a little elitist oligarchy going on prior to 1979, and that they thought they could change the denomination from the top down. She does a good job of research, confirming that the conservative movement was popularly supported, which allowed the leadership change to take place through the various levels of the denominational apparatus over a long, extended period of time. She connects what happened in the SBC to a general trend toward conservative, Biblically centered theology that has splintered and split dozens of other denominations. But since the SBC is not her main topic, aside from her own observations, which I find interesting, but not necessarily insightful, there isn't anything new here. I do plan to get and read the whole book, to get beyond the excerpt.
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Worthen on Billy Graham

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:38 pm

http://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/a ... gelicalism I am hoping Randall Balmer can help her refine her thoughts a little by May
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Hot off the press

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:13 pm

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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:53 am

Here's a quote from Stephen's blog:

AsFoxSeesIt wrote:The parts of her book I've read so far allows that demagogues have taken advantage in the political arena of folks of conviction on the matter of Biblical authority, but seems to give Birchers like Paul Pressler, Jesse Helms and the unnamed Albert Lee Smith a pass for their role in the SBC Fundy Takeover. And she lacks for my taste Randall Balmer, Marshall Frady and Steven Miller's insights into the duplicity of Billy Graham, if not outright deceit, in the SBC Takeover.


The problem with that statement is that she doesn't see it the way you want her to see it. For one thing, she is pretty clear that what happened in the SBC was a popular, up from the pews movement that only needed leadership to hook into it to make it go. She concludes that what happened in the SBC was inevitable, regardless of who led it, which is why she doesn't make the convoluted connections between the John Birch Society, Pressler, Helms, and particularly Billy Graham, that you do. You can't make her see it that way, and you can't overlay your other obsessions over her framework.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Haruo » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:19 am

Sandy, addressing FoxofBama, wrote:...you can't overlay your other obsessions over her framework.
How so? It looks to me like that is pretty much what he did.
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