20060424

when does a conversation end?

at what point does a conversation breakdown? does it happen when the first insult is voiced? does it happen when one person twists what the other person says to meet a personal agenda? does it happen when one side simply refuses to even hear what the other has to say? does it happen when one person calls into question the honor of the other? at what point can we say, "this conversation is over” because we know it is going no place? which leads us to the idea that if you leave the conversation and the other person is still talking [or insulting] does that mean the conversation is still happening? if one person leaves a conversation, does that make the other person “the winner?” does there have to be a winner in a conversation? at what point does a conversation become a monolog?

i ask this, because this week i had two such experiences. both very much the same, and yet both very different. now, i will not give names because, as most know, "who" is never as important as "what" - so “who” did it, matters far less then “what” was done - so let me share the "whats” of this week.

the "what" one: a message board.
i was asked to join a message board and share my thoughts on the emerging church. to be honest, i was not overly excited about the idea but the offer was made in good faith - so i did. it was great, at first, but it soon turned into a very nasty mess - and i headed for the high country. you see, i was asked a question and i gave the answer i believed was “neither right of wrong” but was my opinion on the matter - but it seemed that was not good enough. [let me rephrase that; it was not that the answer was not “good enough” it was that the answer was not one they desired]. some, and not all, wanted me to paint myself into a corner and give a "yes or no" answer to a question i felt i had already answered. now, i tried to explain that i was unable to answer the question as they desired, and requested that my original answer stand. but, they insisted - and got rather insulting when i stuck to my answer. i was asked the same question about 30 times [no kidding] and each time i answered the same way, and they kept asking me to change my answer. finally, i left the board. not because i felt "trapped" but because if no one listens to you, i think the conversation is over.

conversations require that both sides listen; one side cannot do all the talking. for a conversation to take place, give and take must be part of the process. there does not have to be agreement on the answer, but there must be agreement on the ability to answer as one desires, with honesty and integrity.

the "what" two: an email.
i received an email a few weeks ago from a friend letting me know that there was a college professor attacking a church planter in his area. the only reason the professor was picking on the person [this was the only reason brought to my attention and the professor only mentioned it in five questions he had emailed me] was because the professor did not like the planter ordination, and he had concerns on how the planter “received his education.” which was interesting to me because the professor teaches at a small baptist college - baptists have historically ordain people who believe God is calling to ministry, and seldom, if ever, has an education requirement been attached to the ordination. this person [and it was not the planter, but a concerned member of the community who knew me and knew I would be a peaceful neutral party] asked if i would "play the middle guy" and see if i could address the issue of ordination between the professor and the planter. needless to say, my emails to the professor have fallen upon deaf ears - while in my conversations with the planter have gone in a very different direction.

the professor, for what ever reason he has, has taken to want a fight with me. i am uncomfortable with any conversation based on anger and hurtfilled speech between members of God’s kingdom. i have decided that i do not need to "fight" others in the kingdom to prove my points - i just need to say what i believe God is leading me to say and let others think as they desire. the idea of debating does not make my life tingle. i would much rather have a discussion, where two [or more] people gather and simply talk about their differences. not to change minds, but to understand points of view.

to many people desire to "debate" because it gives them some kind of "kinky power jollies." some, actually think themselves important enough that others must follow their lead. i hope and pray i never get there. i pray i never get to the point where i believe my words are the “final say on the matter.” but i think this comes because people are more willing to go to “pastor perfect” for a view, but are unable to read scripture and develop a view of their own. to many people are willing to quote the words of others, and not quote the words of jesus.

just my view:
over this past year i have found that many people desire to "take us down" as if we are some kind of collective conspiracy out to destroy the church. they desire “open discussions” but quickly turn them to debates and when we say “we do not want to play” they claim victory because “we gave up.” i have a hurting heart for those kinds of people. because in that, in that “we are the victors” they lose the redemptive power of christ; they miss the open expression of grace and the idea that we live in the spirit of God.

i believe we need to reach past those who desire to cause trouble and simply walk away; it is not that we have ended the conversation, the conversation ended when confrontation became a key part of a voice. i am very willing to walk away from any debates formed around politics, hate, control, hurt, personal agendas or anything that does not belong to God. i believe a conversation ends when we no longer seek redemption in our ideas; when grace is not the guiding factor; when ones thinks their ideas are better then another persons ideas – it happens when we put ourselves in the place of christ.

23 comments:

Josh said...

i've been scanning across your entries on emergingchurchblogs.info over the past couple of weeks. and i have to say this one stuck out because i've been there and currently continue to have to fight being drawn into these "conversations". which are usually just bait and switches to get me to say something that turns into ammo in their hands.

its been tough leaving an environment and maintaining friendships with those from a previous world. and to maintain friendships independent of our views on stuff. but it usually ends up in a discussion of divergent beliefs. where they try to trap me.

and any attempt at taking the "high" road and avoiding or keeping it civil comes off as "weak". and the cocky side of you knows that you could run circles around everyone of their arguments or points and rip their theology to shreds.

but to have patience and be submissive and to be gracious and generous. its really hard.

Cindy said...

"kinky power jollies"
This is a great phrase. Very clear and communicative.

I can't remember a time when I regretted walking away from such conversations, but I can recall many times I regretted staying in them.

Joy said...

John,

I've been reading your stuff sporadically and have been challenged by it and encouraged by it...

I have been studying the book of Acts with a group and I see Paul as such a paradox. He was a Pharisee, but became such a great witness for the early Church. He was a Jew, but he was a Roman's Roman. He once was so zealous that it led to violence, then he became so zealous that he appealed to Caesar! But all in all, the one constant, after his Damascus Road experience, was that he became very repetitious. He had a single message and told it over and over, to anyone who would listen and even those who were less than enthused to hear him. I recall Festus saying, "Paul, you are crazy! Your great learning is driving you insane!" Acts 26:24. Yet even THIS did not deter Paul. He continued beating his one note... singing his one line...

I am searching for my drum beat. John, keep beating yours!

Blessings

Zac said...

Though i'm not going to try to defend what the other people on our forum have done, i am a bit frustrated that you told this story as if you had not been just as insulting and attacking to us. I guess that's the power of a blog; you can tell any story you want without the burden telling the whole story.

peter said...

Conversations are tough things.

Of course my first reaction is to say that we should stay and listen to someone, hopefully demonstrating our openess to listen, and thus hopefully iliciting the same response in return.

But at what point is enough enough? Are some conversations a waste of time?

Often in arguments people get their backs up as their personal pride is at stake. Frankly, that is usually a sign that they are worried about loosing an argument (thus in their minds they know there is a possibility that they are wrong).

They might not say it immediatly, but hopefully a seed is planted. And on their own terms, when not facing public embarassment they confront their issues.

Just a thought. and thanks for the continiously great posts.

Peter Lublink (Canada)
www.lublink.ca

agan1999 said...

Hey John,
I am sorry that you got pushed out of our forum. I truly enjoyed reading your posts, and appreciate your sharing your thoughts with us. Grace and Peace in Jesus!!

iggy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
iggy said...

John,
Often it is misquoted, but a scripture that has become dear to me more and more is, "Matt 18: 18.”I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19. "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
20. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." NIV

Often this is used for "church" or even the power of prayer... but it is really about reconciliation and forgiveness. That is the power of the Kingdom!
A conversation can have disagreements, but it is not a conversation when it turns abusive or disrespectful... for how can reconciliation come without humility which we must have to approach another to "reconcile" them. Scripture is clear that that is how even “rebuking” must be done. To approach one as if we ourselves might fall into the same sin.

Debates (to prove the other wrong are to me fruitless) and arguments do not reconcile, but add to division. So, even as one who enjoys "spirited" debates, I am constantly reminding myself to respect the other... this has become more important to me than being “right”.

Blessings,
iggy

Phil Perkins said...

To Zac and John,
This is really addressed to John, but Zac may enjoy reading this as he has been smeared by John, too. My name is Phil Perkins, I am the second guy, the prof, in John’s story. I am really just a welder, but that is another story. I live in Billings, MT and I recently gave a talk on three contemporary sources of apostasy to my church. One of them was the Emergent. I was asked if any Emergent churches were in Billings. Didn’t know...so I Googled. That is how I found Carlos Shelton–“the planter” in the story.

I’ll start by simply answering some of your questions. This may seem harsh, but there is a point to be made if you’re open.

JO: at what point does a conversation breakdown?

ANSWER: Evidently, when you are faced with the truth and run.

JO: does it happen when the first insult is voiced?

ANSWER: No, I just asked you to explain yourself when you insulted me...behind my back....to the school.

JO: does it happen when one person twists what the other person says to meet a personal agenda?

ANSWER: No, I put up with that, too.

JO: does it happen when one side simply refuses to even hear what the other has to say?

ANSWER: Now John, you know we can hear each other just fine. Heck, I even heard the stuff you did not want me to hear, the fibs you told my school.

JO: does it happen when one person calls into question the honor of the other?

ANSWER: Your honor would not be called into question if you had been honest. I gave you that chance when I asked if you had read the conversations about which you complained. If you hadn’t and had just trusted someone, then you could have simply acknowledged a mistake. We all make mistakes. It would be no big deal. That would be that.

JO: at what point can we say, "this conversation is over” because we know it is going no place?

ANSWER: Oh, it was going someplace, alright. You just didn’t like getting caught and neither did Carlos.

JO: which leads us to the idea that if you leave the conversation and the other person is still talking [or insulting] does that mean the conversation is still happening?

ANSWER: Now there you go again, John. You know I have not bothered you at all since you refused to answer my email.

JO: if one person leaves a conversation, does that make the other person “the winner?”

ANSWER: Usually.

JO: does there have to be a winner in a conversation?

ANSWER: That’s the way it usually ends up if you have been busted fibbing about all sorts of stuff. You go away embarrassed. I did when I was a kid...lots of times. Not fun, huh?

JO: at what point does a conversation become a monolog?

ANSWER: When you run and start fibbing on your blog where you hope no one will answer you.

JO: i ask this, because this week i had two such experiences.

ANSWER: I suspect you ask this because in both instances you met up with real believers and they challenged you with logic and Scripture. In my case, not only did your gossiping to my school administration not work, but I will now have the chance to address the entire faculty and speak to them about the Emergent heresy. You will be case in point when it comes to the dishonesty that permeates the leadership of the whole movement. We will work hard to warn our students about you and others like you.

JO: i received an email a few weeks ago from a friend letting me know that there was a college professor attacking a church planter in his area.

ANSWER: The “attack” was simply three things. First, the “planter” claimed to be ordained. He is not. Instead, he has (in his own words, now) “this card that said I was a Reverend.” Cute, huh? The card is from a mail order diploma mill called UCMI. It is a joke. Ucmi.com is their website. Check it out. He is not ordained by any church or denomination as far as I know. If I am wrong, this is your chance to correct me and I will apologize forthwith. Carlos indicated he was not ordained outside of the UCMI card. The second, thing I asked about was the apparent contradictions between his doctrinal statement and his endorsement of Emergent and Brian McLaren. His doctrinal statement was conservative (with a definite twist or two) and it left no room for the disregard of Scripture McLaren and the entire Emergent embraces. The third question was a sincere one. He did a blog that first seemed to object to sodomy, then seemed to excuse it. I was not sure of his position and asked. He got mad and it took quite a few exchanges before he made a clear statement. And his final position was orthodox. I see by your approval of David Sherwood you DO excuse sexual perversion. Nice.

JO: the only reason the professor was picking on the person [this was the only reason brought to my attention and the professor only mentioned it in five questions he had emailed me] was because the professor did not like the planter ordination, and he had concerns on how the planter “received his education.”

ANSWER: I said nothing about his education. That quote is dishonest and you would know it if you read the blogs. I don’t care if he is ordained or not. It is the dishonesty. According to Paul a man that is double tongued is unfit for service.

JO: which was interesting to me because the professor teaches at a small baptist college - baptists have historically ordain people who believe God is calling to ministry, and seldom, if ever, has an education requirement been attached to the ordination.

ANSWER: Yeah, we Baptists are a real piece of work, huh? However, in your email sent to the school administration in which you were tattling profusely on the big meany in Billings you said this:
“I am the Lead Pastor with a growing, engaged and Christ-centered Emerging Community of faith, and we are connected with the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention)...” Wellllll, you’re a wacko Baptist, too? Hmmm. Then you said, “...I have to be honest...” I’ll hold my breath.

JO: \this person [and it was not the planter, but a concerned member of the community who knew me and knew I would be a peaceful neutral party] asked if i would "play the middle guy"

ANSWER: Oh, so THAT’S why you gossiped to the school. You were REALLY being nice to me. Gee whiz, I just can’t believe I missed that one.

JO: and see if i could address the issue of ordination between the professor and the planter.

ANSWER: No, John. It’s not the paper. It’s the dishonesty.

JO: needless to say, my emails to the professor have fallen upon deaf ears...

ANSWER: You told the school that you weren’t able to email me. Pick a fib and stick to it, John.
I will publish your email soon on zitsemerge.blogspot.com. so everyone can read it.

JO: the professor, for what ever reason he has, has taken to want a fight with me.

ANSWER: That is not the truth and you know it. I simply sent you the email and you have not answered. And that has been weeks.

JO: i am uncomfortable with any conversation based on anger and hurtfilled speech between members of God’s kingdom.


ANSWER: Ahhh. Pot calling Kettle...come in please.

Now here is a transcript of the email I sent you:

John,
1. This is Phil Perkins. I will be glad to publicly dialogue with you and/or Carlos Shelton any time and any forum, perhaps at our school. All you had to do was ask the school for my email address. However, you now have this one. Please feel free any time. And give it to Mr. Shelton as well.
At any rate here are five questions:
1. Did you read all that was written between Mr. Shelton and myself?
2. Did you check out Mr. Shelton's credentials?
3. Do you approve of the practices of UCMI, such as calling the 120 hours of tapes an M. Div.? (That is where Mr. Shelton got "this card that said I was a Reverend.") Put another way, do you approve of a man like Mr. Shelton getting a card from a mail order company and calling it "ordination?"
4. Do you approve of Mr. Shelton telling the entire church it "can burn in its false assumption of humility and self-delusional self-righteousness?"
5. Do you approve of Mr. Shelton and friends calling me vulgar and derogatory names? I especially want to know if me being called after a profane part of one's anatomy caused "concern" and "pain." Show me the email you wrote about that, please.
Sincerely,
Phil.

Now explain to me and your readers just how you thought this was ought of line, especially in light of the fibs you told about me to the school and the names and vitriol spued by Carlos when he was busted publicly. Go to zitsemerge.blogspot.com for further documentation if you think that I have fibbed about Carlos, or go to wordomouthministeries.blogspot.comif it is still there.

I have called you to account, but remember that Jesus REALLY shed REAL blood. He did so as the REAL Son of God because we are REALLY sinful, headed for a REAL hell for eternity. The Lamb was REALLY raised the third day. (The Middle Matzah was found.) I do not know if you will ever be willing, but please repent and be saved. This is the message never heard in the Emergent and denied by you, John, in your blog of late March, 2006 and in your lifestyle.

In eternal view of Christ’s blood and loving forgiveness,
Phil Perkins.

Phil Perkins said...

Wow, this is a kick! I see Carlos (Iggy) is here and he is on the gee-aren't-we-emergent-types-just-so-picked-on-and-isn't-anyone-who-questions-our-stuff-just-so-mean bandwagon! Welcome, Iggy. This is so cool.

First a comment on your comment. The passage in Mt 18 is not about the power of the Kingdom. It is about the authority of the church to discipline and excommunicate members that are in sin, say like John pushing bisexuality on ginkworld.net and then pretending to be an obedient believer, or John fibbing about folks...you know. Stuff like that. The other half of the Mt 18 equation is God's sovereignty as demonstrated in the future perfect tense of "will have been bound" and "will have been loosed." He is promising that any decision made by a church obeying God's command for purity by expelling sinning, unrepentant members or accepting them back into fellowship based on their repentance will be in His predetermined will.

Now, two questions. First, since you are so loving and gentle, could you explain to all of us why you said that the rest of the church "can burn in its false humility and self-delusional self-righteousness" and how do you think it is alright to fool people with "credentials" from a mail order company like UCMI? I would just think that since you are so sensitive to the feelings of others you would never fib to them.

Second, you said, "Debates (to prove the other wrong are to me fruitless) and arguments do not reconcile, but add to division." So why did you argue with me? Oh...I get it. You were actually trying to prove me right. Kind of reverse psychology. Thanks, Iggy. And, of course, when you did the name calling that was for reconciliation.

Was Elijah's debate with the priests of Baal to prove them right? Was Jesus' ongoing debate with the false teachers of His day to prove them right? Was Paul's debate with those he called "liars," "dogs," and "the false circumcision" to prove them right? Oh wait...no, it must have been to reconcile with them, huh?

By the way here is a list of derrgatory names you (and friends) called me (to prove me right and to find reconciliation, I suppose): sad person, hypocrit, a real a-s, fool, immature, obssessive personality, Catholic, ignorant fool who has no knowledge, coward, educated beyond your intelligence, etc., etc.

Now tell me and all the readers that you and John are not mean. Just tell us how loving you are. I caught you in one HUGE fib and several others that could have been just honest mistakes. Yet I refrained from so much as calling you any sort of name whatsoever.
But that MUST be because you are so gentle, huh?

"By this thing we know that we are loving the children of God, when God we love and His commandments we are performing. For this is the love of God, in order that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not irksome."

That is the definition of love offered by John, the apostle of love. Love is NOT sentimentality. It is obedience to God.

In the love (obedience)of Christ,
Phil Perkins

john o'keefe said...

mr perkins,

this is not a place for you to start a debate with a third party - posting in disagreement with me is fine and accepted - in fact i would even say encouraged. but please do not turn this blog into your agenda.

your posts are very misleading, very disingenuous and insulting at amazing levels.

first, the school does not list your email on the site. also, the school does not give out email address of the profs to people they do not know. the only avenue for me to contact you was via president phillips.

it was then that you responded with "the questions." after getting your email i did reply on april 9th but my email did not get to you, the return with the following:

"----- Transcript of session follows ----- ... while talking to air-xb01.mail.aol.com.:
RCPT To:dikuk@aol.com
550 dikuk IS NOT ACCEPTING MAIL FROM THIS SENDER 550 dikuk@aol.com... User unknown"

it seems that either you blocked my email address or you have your email set to receive only people you have approved.

that is when i did call your school again, but was informed again that i could not get your email, so i told the young lady if the email i had was "the right email" she said it was and that i could speak with the president if i like, so i did - and at that point president phillips offered that i email my reply to him and he would pass it on to you - if you see that as a lie, i am very sorry. all that was clearly explained in the letter, and the entire text of the "mailer-daemon" was shared with you.

next, your offer to debate is very disingenuous at best. because, in the response i sent to you, which you seem to have received via the president of the school, i accepted the offer - in fact, here is what i wrote:

"I have no problem with having to "publicly dialogue" on any topic concerning the faith I hold dear, and the kingdom I wish to help expand. But it is your offer, not mine, so the details will need to be made by you and the school."

so, even implying that i have not taken up your offer seems to question the reality of the conversation.

mr perkins, i have no problem being in dialog with you - but i have every problem in turning this into a personal agenda - your insults, your tone and your attacking are not where i desire to be - in christ i come in peace, but then you desire to slap me around and insult - then, when you do not reply to my emails, you post insults and misleading information on your blog - sorry, i am not willing to play the game - in christ i seek unity and peace and not insults and attacks.

Phil Perkins said...

John,
I am still waiting for some answers. The email quote you geve is not in the email and the email address you "confirm"ed with the school--they never had it.

Honestly,
Phil Perkins

john o'keefe said...

[note: because i believe in being honest at all levels, i need to share that this comment was posted also on mr perkins blog. my hope, is that this is the end of the game :)]

mr perkins,
please allow me to address your comment of:

John,
I am still waiting for some answers. The email quote you geve is not in the email and the email address you "confirm"ed with the school--they never had it.

Honestly,
Phil Perkins

which was left on ginkworld's blog. to begin with, the president of the university told me that that was the only email address they had for you - and the young lady who answers the phones told me that "that was the email address" - so, if they do not have it and they told me that was it - i am not sure what to add.

the first email i sent to the school dated 3/30/06 and was addressed to the president:

President Phillips,

My name is John O'Keefe and recently I received an email from a friend that caused me great concern, and great pain concerning one of the members of your faculty. It seems one of the members of your faculty, a Phil Perkins, has taken it upon himself to attack another person of Christ, Carlos Shelton [aka "Iggy"] who is planting a church in the area - and from my understandings the attacks are not kind, have no grace and are focused on a personal level. Now, before I go on let me say that Carlos was not the person who emailed me concerning this matter - It was another friend. But that does not change anything, or the focus of my disappointment.

Over the past few years, as the Emerging Church starts to grow and take root, many have taken it upon themselves to attack on a personal level, and that is what concerns me the most. To encourage conversation on a theological level is a great and wonderful thing and all can learn; attacks on a personal level shows a disunity in the spirit and cause those "outside" the church to see us as "infighters." You see, disagreements are acceptable, and when they happen conversation is encouraged. I have had differences with others and we have simply talked them out - and at times we simply ended the conversation with the "agree to disagree" reality, but we never make them personal and when it is over, it is over. Mr Perkins has taken this to an unacceptable level by making the attacks personal, and refusing to have direct conversation concerning this matter.

I am the Lead Pastor with a growing, engaged and Christ-centered Emerging Community of faith, and we are connected with the SBC - I have to be honest and say that I have been thinking as of late "why are we here if we are so unwelcomed in this slice of the Kingdom." But I pray, and rethink much; no sooner does that happen, Mr Perkins pops up and starts to blindside another member of the kingdom. So, I start to ask again "why are we here if we are so unwelcome in this slice of the Kingdom." Over the past few years I have heard [and had conversations with] Mohler, Carson and others concerning what we think, how we process information and why we do what we do. Those experiences have two very important thing in common, while we may disagree they are willing to hold a conversation and not a monolog; and they never, never, make it personal.

I am disappointed in this whole process, and I pray that God will be in the mix. I am disappointed, as grace is not seen as a valued expression of faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. While I am uncertain what can be done, I am certain that in Christ there is only unity and to cause disunity in the Kingdom is not being "Christ-like" in our expression of faith.

Pax
John O'Keefe

PS: I would have loved to have emailed Mr Perkins himself to open a conversation, but there is no email address for him the site, and I have been told that others have tried - but that their conversation request has fallen on deaf ears.

[note: there is nothing in my email that suggest anything like, "Anyway, Mr. O, being the man he is, tattled on me. He told the school that I was a REALLY BIG MEANY and that I should be DRAWN AND QUARTERED"]

then, president phillips emailed me on 4/03/06:

Pastor O’Keefe,
I have shared your e-mail with Mr. Perkins. Be assured that I am praying with you that this can be resolved to God’s glory.

In Christ,
Bill Phillips

the email you sent to me after that was sent on 4/09/06:

John,
This is Phil Perkins. I will be glad to publicly dialogue with you and/or Carlos Shelton any time and any forum, perhaps at our school. All you had to do was ask the school for my email address. However, you now have this one. Please feel free any time. And give it to Mr. Shelton as well.

At any rate here are five questions:

1. Did you read all that was written between Mr. Shelton and myself?

2. Did you check out Mr. Shelton's credentials?

3. Do you approve of the practices of UCMI, such as calling the 120 hours of tapes an M. Div.? (That is where Mr. Shelton got "this card that said I was a Reverend.") Put another way, do you approve of a man like Mr. Shelton getting a card from a mail order company and calling it "ordination?"

4. Do you approve of Mr. Shelton telling the entire church it "can burn in its false assumption of humility and self-delusional self-righteousness?"

5. Do you approve of Mr. Shelton and friends calling me vulgar and derogatory names? I especially want to know if me being called after a profane part of one's anatomy caused "concern" and "pain." Show me the email you wrote about that, please.

Sincerely,
Phil.

[note: in your comment on ginkworld's blog you said, "I said nothing about his education. That quote is dishonest and you would know it if you read the blogs. I don’t care if he is ordained or not. It is the dishonesty. According to Paul a man that is double tongued is unfit for service." so i guess questions 3 concern about the 120 hours of tape have noting to do with education?

you also mentioned that you were truly not concered with his ordination, "I don’t care if he is ordained or not. It is the dishonesty." but as you can see questions 2 and 3 deal directly with his ordination]

here is the email i sent to you, and the email i recieved from aol telling me that the email could not be delievered, notice the date was 4/09/06.

Mr. Perkins,

I have no problem with having to "publicly dialogue" on any topic concerning the faith I hold dear, and the kingdom I wish to help expand. But it is your offer, not mine, so the details will need to be made by you and the school.

Allow me the opportunity to address your "five questions," though I am concerned as to why the need to seemingly jump on me? I am not sure I am comfortable with the tone, and the seemingly aggressive move on your part. But, in the unity of the Spirit, and in the grace of Christ I will strive to address your questions.

1. Did you read all that was written between Mr. Shelton and myself?
Well, as mentioned in my opening email to President Phillips [that was forwarded to you], I did not hear from Pastor Sheldon directly on anything. It was brought to my attention by a person who knows me, and I believe also knows Pastor Shelton. I do not desire to be involved in the personal emails between two parties; my only reason for writing was to express a "heart hurt" involving the Kingdom, and how we as Christians express of love of Christ with each other and how others [outsiders] see the infighting.

2. Did you check out Mr. Shelton's credentials?
I am not in the habit of checking the "Ordination" of other Pastors. It is my understanding that certain gatherings of Christians Ordain in different ways, with different educational requirements and with different understandings of the theology behind the Ordination. For example, in the Baptist Church one is simply Ordained by the local church and there are no educational requirements, it simply takes a call from God. Yet, in the UMC one must hold a MDiv from a accredited theological school. While amny in the Non-denominational world see it as nothing different from anyone else in the Church, except with a call to teach publicly. Am I to say one is better, and one is wrong? Which one is the "right" ordination? In the African American traditions, many bodies have form to ordain Pastors, shall we say they are wrong? So, have I personally check his Ordination? No, but must I do that to say he is a Pastor?

3. Do you approve of the practices of UCMI, such as calling the 120 hours of tapes an M. Div.? (That is where Mr. Shelton got "this card that said I was a Reverend.") Put another way, do you approve of a man like Mr. Shelton getting a card from a mail order company and calling it "ordination?"
Pastor Shelton sought the Ordination he felt God was leading him to, is that wrong? Who are we to ever question what God is saying to another? Do we have more say, because we have "better education" or because we have a "better system?" Is it the Ordination or the education that seems to be up-setting you? May I suggest you read their Faith Statement, Core Beliefs and their Code of Ethics [at: http://www.ucmi.org/ucmi/min-assoc/index.htm ]. The issue is never founded around the man made legal issues, but around the teachings of the Word of God.

4. Do you approve of Mr. Shelton telling the entire church it "can burn in its false assumption of humility and self-delusional self-righteousness?"
I would approve of no one telling anyone to "burn" for any reason, and if Pastor Shelton said this then I would be the first to tell him he is wrong. In that, we must admit that many churches are filled with "false assumptions of humility and a very self-delusional self-righteousness" but I am of the belief that the redemptive nature of Christ can change that, not insults. I seek to find a redemptive spirit, a redemptive nature and a redemptive grace in all I seek to do - as I would pray and hope all people of Christ seek.

5. Do you approve of Mr. Shelton and friends calling me vulgar and derogatory names? I especially want to know if me being called after a profane part of one's anatomy caused "concern" and "pain." Show me the email you wrote about that, please.
I believe I spoke concerning name calling in the above question. Calling anyone a name, or confronting anyone with a tone that can be seen as mean spirited cause me concern and pain, why would you belittle that with you "quotes" and your statements? If you, or a friend of yours, emailed me and shared with me what was being said about you, I would have emailed Pastor Shelton with the same concerns for the unity of the Kingdom; to doubt that seems to be of a spirit I am uncomfortable addressing. If anyone in the Kingdom speaks ill of another it causes me concern and pain, and yes calling you names cause me concern and pain.

Again, I need to express that I am not interested in confrontation, only healing. A spirit of attack is not in my nature, and I am given more to the spirit of forgiveness. If you desire a dialog with me, I am willing to discuss anything you desire - but know that my default is Christ, and human desires and "rights" are not in my way of approaching unity in the kingdom.


Pax
John

here is the "return" from the "daemon" i recieved after sending the email to you, dated 4/9/06:

The original message was received at Sun, 9 Apr 2006 17:21:23 -0400 (EDT) from mailserver.ezot.com [69.7.164.165]

*** ATTENTION ***

Your e-mail is being returned to you because there was a problem with its delivery. The address which was undeliverable is listed in the section
labeled: "----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----".

The reason your mail is being returned to you is listed in the section
labeled: "----- Transcript of Session Follows -----".

The line beginning with "<<<" describes the specific reason your e-mail could not be delivered. The next line contains a second error message which is a general translation for other e-mail servers.

Please direct further questions regarding this message to your e-mail administrator.

--AOL Postmaster

----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors ----- dikuk@aol.com

----- Transcript of session follows ----- ... while talking to air-xb01.mail.aol.com.:
>>> RCPT To: dikuk@aol.com
<<< 550 dikuk IS NOT ACCEPTING MAIL FROM THIS SENDER 550 dikuk@aol.com... User unknown


[note: i needed to remove the "<" from the email address because bloger picks that up as an invalid html tag.]

here is the email i sent via the president of the school, notice the date is 4/10/06:

Mr. Perkins,

first, please allow me to explain why this is coming via President Phillips; I tried to reply to your email directly, but either your account settings are set in such a way as to not allow email from unapproved address, or their was a problem with the AOL server. I did call the school to get another email and the nice young lady who answered the phone passed me to President Phillips, who graciously agreed to pass this on to you because this was the only email they had for you. A copy of the email sent to me via AOL is at the very bottom of this eamil [after your original email to me]. Let me thank you in advance for understanding. Now, to adrees the issues at hand.

I have no problem with having to "publicly dialogue" on any topic concerning the faith I hold dear, and the kingdom I wish to help expand. But it is your offer, not mine, so the details will need to be made by you and the school.

Allow me the opportunity to address your "five questions," though I am concerned as to why the need to seemingly jump on me? I am not sure I am comfortable with the tone, and the seemingly aggressive move on your part. But, in the unity of the Spirit, and in the grace of Christ I will strive to address your questions.

1. Did you read all that was written between Mr. Shelton and myself?
Well, as mentioned in my opening email to President Phillips [that was forwarded to you], I did not hear from Pastor Sheldon directly on anything. It was brought to my attention by a person who knows me, and I believe also knows Pastor Shelton. I do not desire to be involved in the personal emails between two parties; my only reason for writing was to express a "heart hurt" involving the Kingdom, and how we as Christians express of love of Christ with each other and how others [outsiders] see the infighting.

2. Did you check out Mr. Shelton's credentials?
I am not in the habit of checking the "Ordination" of other Pastors. It is my understanding that certain gatherings of Christians Ordain in different ways, with different educational requirements and with different understandings of the theology behind the Ordination. For example, in the Baptist Church one is simply Ordained by the local church and there are no educational requirements, it simply takes a call from God. Yet, in the UMC one must hold a MDiv from a accredited theological school. While amny in the Non-denominational world see it as nothing different from anyone else in the Church, except with a call to teach publicly. Am I to say one is better, and one is wrong? Which one is the "right" ordination? In the African American traditions, many bodies have form to ordain Pastors, shall we say they are wrong? So, have I personally check his Ordination? No, but must I do that to say he is a Pastor?

3. Do you approve of the practices of UCMI, such as calling the 120 hours of tapes an M. Div.? (That is where Mr. Shelton got "this card that said I was a Reverend.") Put another way, do you approve of a man like Mr. Shelton getting a card from a mail order company and calling it "ordination?"
Pastor Shelton sought the Ordination he felt God was leading him to, is that wrong? Who are we to ever question what God is saying to another? Do we have more say, because we have "better education" or because we have a "better system?" Is it the Ordination or the education that seems to be up-setting you? May I suggest you read their Faith Statement, Core Beliefs and their Code of Ethics [at: http://www.ucmi.org/ucmi/min-assoc/index.htm ]. The issue is never founded around the man made legal issues, but around the teachings of the Word of God.

4. Do you approve of Mr. Shelton telling the entire church it "can burn in its false assumption of humility and self-delusional self-righteousness?"
I would approve of no one telling anyone to "burn" for any reason, and if Pastor Shelton said this then I would be the first to tell him he is wrong. In that, we must admit that many churches are filled with "false assumptions of humility and a very self-delusional self-righteousness" but I am of the belief that the redemptive nature of Christ can change that, not insults. I seek to find a redemptive spirit, a redemptive nature and a redemptive grace in all I seek to do - as I would pray and hope all people of Christ seek.

5. Do you approve of Mr. Shelton and friends calling me vulgar and derogatory names? I especially want to know if me being called after a profane part of one's anatomy caused "concern" and "pain." Show me the email you wrote about that, please.
I believe I spoke concerning name calling in the above question. Calling anyone a name, or confronting anyone with a tone that can be seen as mean spirited cause me concern and pain, why would you belittle that with you "quotes" and your statements? If you, or a friend of yours, emailed me and shared with me what was being said about you, I would have emailed Pastor Shelton with the same concerns for the unity of the Kingdom; to doubt that seems to be of a spirit I am uncomfortable addressing. If anyone in the Kingdom speaks ill of another it causes me concern and pain, and yes calling you names cause me concern and pain.

Again, I need to express that I am not interested in confrontation, only healing. A spirit of attack is not in my nature, and I am given more to the spirit of forgiveness. If you desire a dialog with me, I am willing to discuss anything you desire - but know that my default is Christ, and human desires and "rights" are not in my way of approaching unity in the kingdom.

Pax
John

[note: i did remove the original letter and the copy of the aol return because they are posted above.]

after this, i did email president phillips when i recieved information that you were bloging about me in such a wrong and hurtfilled way, the email was sent on 4/23/06:

President Phillips,

I personally would like to thank you for your gracious heart and your willingness to be involved in what at best can be seen as a very "hurtfilled" experience. I do desire to apologize if I got you involved in the center of something not of God, but i firmly believe in the redemptive power of Christ. In that, I had been awaiting Mr. Perkins response to my last email, and found it not in the form of an email, but in the public form of a post on my blog and a "new blog" created by Mr. Perkins ["http://zitsemerge.blogspot.com/"] called "zits emerge truth abides" [which is insulting, and shares no grace] I do not deal well with hate and anger, and disingenuous dialog is something I shy away from. In fact just last night [a personal friend] and I were talking about how some, on both ends of the discussion, desire to voice their views with hate and anger - and [he] and I agreed that we would not play that game.

Mr Perkins calling me a "indefensibly dishonest person" and that I "threatened" him and "lied" about him are not real; in fact, I believe God has been in this from the beginning because you have copies of every email I sent to Mr Perkins. I have strived to be nothing but gracious to Mr Perkins in both disagreeing with him and agreeing with him, and I never threatened him or lied to him or about anything. It hurts to know this is a man teaching the next generation of ministers and Christian leaders; will hate and anger be a driving force?. I may not agree with his theology, but I was always under the impression that if the Core was Christ, we could talk about other things. In all he wrote, there is nothing about Christ, the redemptive power of grace and the heart of forgiveness.

Pax
John O'Keefe

mr perkins, in no way did i mislead, lie or hide the reality of the conversation. to imply i did is disingenuous, unfair, and uncalled for. you have questioned my honesty, my desire to serve and my call to ministry - even my salvation. you might think yourself "fighting for the cause" but please notice that you are just being mean, hurtful and not open to dialog.

if you notice, you will see that i have agreed that name calling is wrong - and i emailed that to you. i have no desire to get in a name calling debate - you might, but i am not in that walk of faith.

pax
john

iggy said...

John,
I apologize that you have been drawn into all of this nonsense. I do not see that Phil has any idea what I believe yet seems to want to tell me what I believe. I am not a Baptist, yet I am not against Baptists, in that our theology will never come to the same conclusions. I am currently with the local Vineyard in which Phil emailed me (without identifying himself) I explained that we are now meeting in a home church here and he was welcome... in fact it was not until I read here that it was Phil... So who is lying, hiding and distorting what?
I do not really care to meet Phil as I see him as one who is not able to have a conversation. As far as poor me? I do not feel that way at all! In fact I am encouraged that God has His hand on me more than ever! I have never hid who I am, or my "questionable credentials", in fact I have been encouraged by some in Phil’s own denomination... for these people have bothered to take time to develop something called a relationship with me.

Am I hurt, yes only in that a brother in Christ who claims to be rebuking me has no clue as to what the Bible says on the topic and has never followed the teaching of scripture as he has claims of authority.

Again, personally I "tattled" along with a friend Dr. Powell who is also SBC "Tattled" that you are in sin Phil... I only let your school you brought up to let them know what you are doing ythat was beyond your "authority".

In that Phil I call you to repent.

Blessings,
iggy
Carlos Shelton

john o'keefe said...

[again, this was published first on mr perkins blog]

mr perkins:
i just noticed something very interesting, and now i am questioning how it can be explained:

in your original email to me you wrote, "All you had to do was ask the school for my email address." which i did and they said they could not give out.

but you then wrote [in your last comment to me], "I am still waiting for some answers. The email quote you geve is not in the email and the email address you "confirm"ed with the school--they never had it."

question:
if they never had it [your email address], why did you tell me i could get it from them?

interesting, should i count this to a lie, or a misunderstanding? in my world, grace abounds, i will count it as a misunderstanding.

Keith said...

John and Iggy,

I have been following this conversation in the comments section. You both are to be commended for the way you are handling this. With grace, honesty and Kingdom love. Some people have an agenda. Others just want to bring the Kingdom here to this earth. I so enjoy your writings John and have read some of your stuff too Iggy. May the Lord bless both of you and your churches or communities that you are ministering too.

Blessings,
Your Brother in Christ,
Keith

john o'keefe said...

keith,
thank you, your voice is heard and welocmed :)

it is hard at times, but standing firm, and trusting God are key points in our faith :)

Keith said...

John,

Yes, standing firm is hard, I agree. But standing firm in love and not getting sucked into an argument is even harder. i love the way that you agree to disagree, but without the mean argumentative spirit that a lot of folks disagree. That's what it's all about man. Stand firm and in love like you always do brother.

Keith

john o'keefe said...

recently, i have tried to continue the dialog with mr. perkins, but that has proven to be fruitless; as of this comment he has not posted my last two comments on his blog, but he has posted other disingenuous posts.

mr perkins has asked that i be willing to have a open conversation with him - and i accepted [twice] but have heard nothing about it.

Poopy McBad Example Christian said...

Do you guys realize how lame you sound? Sounds like my kids fightin in the back seat of the SUV. If I had access to both of you, I'd pull this blog over, spank both of you and make you apologize and hug each other.

...back to your regularly schedule bickering...(of course...in christs love (end heavy sarcasm))

Poopy McBad Example Christian said...

Do you guys realize how lame you sound? Sounds like my kids fightin in the back seat of the SUV. If I had access to both of you, I'd pull this blog over, spank both of you and make you apologize and hug each other.

...back to your regularly schedule bickering...(of course...in christs love (end heavy sarcasm))

john o'keefe said...

actully, i do realize how lame it sounds - that is why the conversation ended :)

thanks [twice] :D

iggy said...

john,
I showed the website against you and me to my pastor today and he laughed and laughed... knowing me and then seeing how i was being represented to him was hilarious!

It seems that those that really know us know the truth...

i have forgiven both and have washed my hands of the situation as it is so ludicrious. really for a good laugh at how he interpets "love" it is a good read. His responses to you are classic "modern".

In this I have learned much from God. I have grown and found a bigger heart for thoses who hate me. In that I say, "Hate me more so I can press deeper into my Father!"

Building the Kingdom by relationship, not just power and authority,
iggy

blessings,
iggy