Sunday, November 06, 2011

Be Joyful! (But only when I say you can.)

JOY. That was today's sermon topic. Well, actually the sermon was entitled "Are You a Friend of God?" I've always thought that whole "friend of God" thing borders on sacrilege or at the least seems somewhat simplistic and man-centered. (The song I Am a Friend of God has been described "like a song that a kindergartner would sing. It makes God seem like our pal Jake that we hang out with at McDonald's.")

Still, bear in mind that great emphasis was placed on the expression of "joy" in today's sermon.

Steve told the story (for about the hundredth time) about how he learned to "lift holy hands" while in college. He's not telling you that you have to lift your hands when you worship, but it is in the Bible, so draw your own conclusions about his feelings on the subject.

He then explained why Christians should be joyful and not go around with clouds over their heads.

Then he burst into song. This has become an almost weekly tradition.

Finally, nearing the end of his sermon... somewhere near the conclusion of point 6 of 7... there was a disturbance. During a pause a woman off camera began shouting. I don't believe it's racist to acknowledge that the woman was very likely black, a detail which is irrelevant other than to offer a possible explanation for the style with which she traditionally worships.

Watch what happened.

Steve is always trying to reach out to and attract all races of people to Bellevue. Then the cameras zero in on every black person they can find, but there still aren't that many. There's a reason for this. Those who attend predominantly black churches typically have a different worship style from those who attend predominantly white churches. That's not criticism of any style. It's just a fact. That's probably the main reason why Sunday mornings are still the most segregated hours of the week. On a positive note, we are seeing many of the walls come down as evidenced by churches like First Baptist Atlanta and others. In spite of trying to convince people otherwise, Bellevue isn't quite there yet.

Last Sunday he ranted (again) about people who move because people with a different skin color than theirs move into the neighborhood, and he was all "how dare you!" about it, yet when he moved here, he didn't move his family to an inner city or "minority" neighborhood. Does he really think people moved out of, say, Frayser because people with a different skin color moved in? Or could it be because they got tired of hearing gunshots every night? Steve's neighborhood isn't gated (I'm surprised), but his house is on a quiet cul-de-sac in a very nice upscale neighborhood outside the Memphis city limits. (The significance of that, among other things, is he doesn't have to pay Memphis city taxes which account for about half the tax bill for people who live inside the city limits or in annexed areas.) If you think about it, moving Bellevue from inner-city Memphis to Cordova 20+ years ago was motivated in great part by "white flight."

And yet he wants to criticize city council for considering certain ordinances. If you're not paying Memphis city taxes, should you really have a say in how the city of Memphis does things? He criticized people for not wanting their kids to go to public school with "those people" (his words) while he sent his to private, lily-white ECS. When he got only a smattering of applause, he remarked that wasn't a very big hand. Maybe that's because most of the audience grasped the hypocrisy in what they'd just heard.

Things backfired this morning in the 11:00 service. After half an hour of being encouraged to be joyful(!), to praise God by "lifting holy hands," and a rousing rendition (solo by Steve) of What a Day That Will Be, a lady in the audience apparently could hold it in no longer and shouted, "GLO ree! GLO ree!! GLO ree!!! THANK YA, LORD! THANK YA!! THANK YA!!!" {then something muffled}

Steve stopped (you could practically hear the whir of the hamster wheel) and said, "Amen. If you will... just a second. Let me say this. I appreciate your... I appreciate your joy... but I'm speaking right now, and the Holy Spirit's speaking through me and He never interrupts Himself. So let me finish my sermon and then you can have joy, okay? Thank you.

"Number 7............. amen? Everybody okay? {muffled audience response} All right... we're all... everybody's all right. Everything's cool. Nobody's... that's fine."

"The Holy Spirit's speaking through me and He never interrupts Himself"? Thinks rather highly of himself, doesn't he? God spoke through a donkey, too. What's the point? Maybe the Holy Spirit was speaking through the lady!

What does he expect? That's how the people in many predominantly black churches worship! They're enthusiastic, they constantly respond to the preacher during the sermon, and they aren't by any stretch of the imagination, quiet. Steve rebukes people if they don't clap or say "amen" at the right time. Then he devotes an entire sermon to being joyful, lifting "holy" hands, and expressing that joy, encouraging "amens" and applause at just the right moments, but when one woman doesn't follow the script... bam! Sit down and shut up! After being publicly called out, do you think that woman will ever darken the door of Bellevue Baptist Church again? Not only will she not ever come back, she's going to tell ALL her friends what happened, too. Nice job lo♥ing Memphis, Steve.

If that woman today hadn't gotten wound up before then (it was near the end) she probably wasn't going to get any louder. Like one would try to tune out a crying child, he could have just ignored her and kept going and there probably wouldn't have been another outburst, but she didn't shout "Glory!" on cue, and we can't have that. Remember "Amen Kelly" and the dream? (Whatever happened to him anyway?) He had to be dealt with because he was interrupting Steve's train of thought.

Hey, I'm not unsympathetic here. I recall a lady (who shall remain nameless) whose "amens" used to interrupt my train of thought on a regular basis. Anyone who's heard her will likely know who it is. She was always so loud, so constant, and so predictable... two "amens" with the same emphasis on the syllables... "a MEN! A... men!" after almost every sentence that came out of the preacher's mouth. And yet... I don't recall Steve ever requesting she tone it down a few notches. Considering who she's married to, he wouldn't dare!

You could see "lifted hands" at the bottom of the screen during part of his sermon this morning. Why didn't he chastise them? Well, those did look like white hands. Maybe big tithers or children of big tithers? Hmmm.

Oh, and this seems to be the new Sunday 11:00 a.m. look now.


Anonymous said...

Sigh... This is nothing worth mentioning IMO. Everyone knows your disapproval of S Gaines and how you look for something to write about him on your blog, it is predictable with this site.

With that being said, it is your blog and you can write whatever you want on here, but IMO this is being blown out of porportion.

New BBC Open Forum said...

You're right. It wasn't worth mentioning. :-)

But since you did... re the situation yesterday, I'd be interested in hearing how you would have handled it.

Anonymous said...

steve gaines is a man and only a man. he is not God. yes, he has a lot to be desired as a leader. he needs to park his ego at the door and really understand what servant leadership truly means. however, this is God's business to teach him. my post is about you. hasn't steve gaines stolen too much time from you already--time you'll never get back. at the end of your life will you think, "wow, i'm so glad that i wrote all those blog posts about steve gains?"

i bet that you will be thinking about family, friends, warm memories, love, Jesus. you have a talent to reach people---use it for good and focus on the positive in the world--items that will change a life vs. reporting about the crazy stuff that stupid people do on a routine basis. we have reality TV to fulfill this need.

open your heart, your mind, and your post to focus on building up vs. tearing down. don't waste your talent. let God knock on the door of your heart and show you the beautiful light waiting to shine....your life will be better for letting go and moving on....God is in control, always

New BBC Open Forum said...

Well, my post wasn't about me, and we're not going to make it about me. You don't know me or how much (actually very little) time I spend blogging, but I must be doing a service because you're reading it.

Thanks for the compliment if that's what it was.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"you have a talent to reach people---use it for good and focus on the positive in the world--items that will change a life vs. reporting about the crazy stuff that stupid people do on a routine basis. we have reality TV to fulfill this need."

So what we need a pastor reality TV show , how cool!

And you are so right when you say about
Steve Gaines:

"the crazy stuff that stupid people do"

So he acts like Charlie Sheen and then tells everyone else how to live their lives.

"life will be better for letting go and moving on....God is in control, always"

What is steve hiding this time?

New BBC Open Forum said...

So what we need a pastor reality TV show , how cool!

It's like watching reality TV. Sometimes it's a lot better. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

New BBC Open Forum said...

What is steve hiding this time?

Good question...

David said...

NASS you just got to love ‘em. First they critique your blog when you “pick” on their man of god. Notice I did not use caps for a reason. Then when that didn’t work they bring out their big thick bible and beat you over the head about how you should be doing so much more to make yourself happy and help the cause of Christ. Do they even know who you are? I would say you are very happy person and you certainly love Christ.

Well I got news for them that tactic isn’t working either. Like they say in Mississippi, “that dog just won’t hunt”. If it is such a miss-use of your time then what is to be said of them. Shucks they are taking time away from something just by reading your blog and do I dare mention they have taken time to post several comments. Couldn’t that time be spent better doing the Lord’s work? Guess their bible does not have that part of the speck/log in your eye thing.

Here is a suggestion for them. How about waiting on the Lord? Maybe in prayer or is it just better to tell those you disagree with off? That way when they pray, they can say, “Lord we told them off”. Really?

They act just like the defenders of good ole JL. But then we have heard all this before from them when their man of man of god said he had never encountered something like this before. Well if this man of god has the Holy Spirit speaking through him so much what happened when he was confronted by Paul Williams’ situation? Who was speaking then? I just hate it when these pastors act like they have mainline to God and we don’t. Just maybe the very same Holy Spirit the Steve claims to know was the very one speaking to this lady telling her to do what she did; shame on you Steve Gaines. You are so arrogant. You owe this sweet sister in Christ a public apology. Man up!

Until these so-called men of god begin to act like REAL Men of God I will continue to use all lower case.

David Brown

Anonymous said...

This was supposed to be
Bring A Friend Day at Bellevue

Not only has Steve just put down this older gray haired black woman, (Steve said he would quit if older people or children didn't like him LOL)

Steve has also had a history of attacking people in the audience:

Claims people are passing notes, your interrupting my thoughts

Claims the Holy Spirit is speaking here,

In the name of Jesus Sit Down, when someone answered his question

Take that child out, it's intrupting the mode

Find the nursery, I've worked too hard on this sermon


New BBC Open Forum said...

Just maybe the very same Holy Spirit the Steve claims to know was the very one speaking to this lady telling her to do what she did.

I'm sure she would tell you it was the Holy Spirit speaking through her, just like Steve says the Holy Spirit was speaking through him.

Anonymous said...


Speaking of Paul Williams, it took Steve Gaines over 6 months and then another 30 days before they terminated him , and then gave him a free get out of jail pass.

And Steve Gaines is still on the Throne.

At Penn State, heads are rolling within 4 days.

Maybe some news person should be interviewing Steve Gaines and asking the hard questions.

David said...

Dear Anon 8:25: Please don’t get me started on that line. I made it abundantly clear when the Personnel Committee report came out and I read the weak, lame, lying excuses he gave them for not taking action. They should have fired him immediately. But that didn’t happen, did it? Hell ( I know I should not use that word but it fits here) any third grader in the city of Memphis city school could have told him what to do; scream as loud as you can to draw attention and then REPORT IT TO THE POLICE!

I was hopeful that those that remained would step up and speak out and demand he resign but that didn’t happen either. In fact many of those that remained turned their attack to me and others that spoke out against their man of god. In fact if my memory serves me right there was one particular individual who claims to have been a “wise” one that was one of his biggest defenders. But alas seems I have read recently he is no longer the defender of Steve. Wonder what took so long?

The DVD project “Sacred Secret” I participated in with the former first lady of Tennessee, Andrea Conte, through her group, You Have The Power was a direct result of the Bellevue situation. The focus of the project was to let churches know how they should deal with this correctly when they encounter it. And in time they will.

I do feel for Coach Paterno but he should have been fired. I know there are many that say it isn’t right but I don’t hear one thing from those that defend him about those poor innocent boys whose lives were destroyed by this extremely popular monster. If you think it is easy even for me, you don’t know me. There is not one day that goes by that I am still reminded of my abuse and rape and that was over 50 years ago. It is a daily struggle for us.

Yes I felt then that Steve Gaines should go and I still do, even more so especially with his arrogant ego. I am surprised he can even get his head in the sanctuary at Bellevue. Well someday he will meet my Holy Spirit and the poor lady he embarrassed Holy Spirit. Wonder what he will say when he finds out It is the same one he claims to have the mainline to? Oh what a glorious day that will be!!!

David Brown

Sadie said...

My opinion on Steve after years of attending, watching on TV, streaming live, is he cares for nothing else but money, money, more money. Surprise, surprise. I have been wondering if he needs to pay off some inclandestine shady deal he has done in the past, as he has been seen dining with the bankrupt Rusty Hyneman. Seems all he can do is talk about giving, and at the same time he goes on major trips....Israel, journeys of Paul, etc. And that is not to mention the many times he goes to the Alabama coast, preaching on the way down and on the way back. I also think the reason Donna does not teach Sunday School is because it is an unpaid gig. She only goes on speaking engagements where she gets paid (at BBC and other churches). If I am wrong about this, I sincerely apologize. But was just wondering what any of my brothers and sisters think. signed: Sadie, new poster.

Anonymous said...

Sadie said...
"She (Donna Gaines) only goes on speaking engagements where she gets paid "

And publishes books and DVD's recorded at Bellevue for her own profit?

New book and DVD just released: Seated

Seated Promo 1

Seated Promo 2

Seated Promo 3

Seated Sample

Anonymous said...

Sadie said...
"And that is not to mention the many times he goes to the Alabama coast,"

And rents a house from a drunk driver defense lawyer (or it is a freebee?)

Now how would Steve know this guy?

WishIhadknown said...

Don’t you think the pastor could have at least changed out of his pajamas before he got up to speak? What is he a Hugh Heffner want to be?

Anonymous said...

"I also think the reason Donna does not teach Sunday School is because it is an unpaid gig. She only goes on speaking engagements where she gets paid (at BBC and other churches). If I am wrong about this, I sincerely apologize. But was just wondering what any of my brothers and sisters think." signed: Sadie, new poster.

Do you hear yourself? Maybe she no longer teaches in the college Sunday school class becuase she is serving in other areas of the church (Women's Ministry for example). Is there a rule that you have to serve in multiple areas of your church? Is it not enough that there are plenty of other leaders serving in the College Ministry, who are fully capable of leading the class?

Also, Donna does not get paid for all of the Bible studies she teaches at BBC every week. Additionally, she leads a discipleship group in her home weekly.

You people do not know the Gaines personally. You do not see their day-to-day actions, or hear about all of the little things they do for people.

How can you read this blog and write these posts and feel you are in the right? Is God not our judge? Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye and not the log in your own? What if someone headed up a blog that criticized every move you made? Would you be blameless? Are we not all human? Is it not only by the shed blood of Jesus Christ that any of us can appear as righteous before our holy God?

If you left Bellevue, that was your decision. Why are you still picking apart everything that goes on there? Are you involved in another church? Be fully there. Stop trying to cause tensions at Bellevue. Move on.

I'll end with this:

"But now you must put away all anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth...Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:8, 12-14

I'll be surprised if this comment gets approved. May the Lord have mercy on you all.

Rob J. said...

I can see and hear that Steve preaches the Gospel and does not water down The Truth. However, this last Sunday was somewhat disturbing when he gave the $$amount given at the Love Offering BEFORE a prayer was said. The amount was almost $2Mil. Also disturbing was that only $1000 per month was tagged for the Seminary across the street. Ever since Mike Spradlin, Seminary president, spoke against Steve (& rightly so) in the Williams pedophile scandal, he has been ignored and treated badly. Dr. Spradlin many times was invited to preach and was well-received. Since all the scandal hit the C.A. a few years back, the seminary has been treated like a red-headed step child. Also, Steve never preaches on Wednesday, which I think I have read about in previous blogs. Adrian Rogers always preached on Wednesday, even flying back from his parent's funeral to preach that Wednesday night. It's reported Steve makes $600,000 per year and is constantly paying an outside preacher to preach, such as this coming Sunday night. What gives, please tell me, what is going on at Bellevue?

Visitor said...

I have been visiting the church since moving to the Memphis Area several months ago. I have only missed a few Sundays over the last several months. I was in the church on the day Pastor Gaines called out the female in the church. It was very disturbing the way Pastor Gaines handled the incident for these reasons: 1) one of the main messages was not to hold back during praise and service, it is ok to speak out and raise your hands during services. A female who participates and does as Gaines asks is then treated as if she is out of line and causing a problem. She had made several comments out loud during the sermon; however they were well timed and always started in breaks in Gaines speech. She was not disturbing or interrupting as he acted. 2) Most disturbing was his treatment and reaction to someone who was not disturbing or disruptive was done on visitor's day. Several people have made comments to me since the incident about how he over-reacted. He did over-react and this is said by someone who generally likes the message and sermons from Pastor Gains