Thursday, October 19, 2006


As I understand it, a "Straw Man" is an erroneous opposing position we state ... that we blame on others ... to which we respond in our argument defending our own position. Personally, I think there are a lot more "Straw Men" around than we realize.

Do you realize how many ... how few ... people you really know? I had a friend who was subpoenaed to testify for an employee of his, who was charged with murder. He gave his statement about his good friend, but the prosecutor asked some pretty pointed questions. Like .... How many times has he been in your home ... Or you in his .... How many times have you had a meal with him, not at work .... Name his children .... What is his birthday? My friend couldn't answer them.

I think the root of a lot of problems that are going on now .... At least all the salvos being lobbed over the horizon at Ft. Worth, Arlington, Enid, etc .... may be the fact that we're happy to look at a little bit of what someone writes and then form a lot of opinions about them.

We create that person in our mind. I dare say, normally, the person we create in our mind doesn't exist anywhere else. Perhaps that person is a real Straw man!

Do we really think we're that good? I think we do. I've had some controversial folks "amen" some comments I've made and I get this warm fuzzy feeling about my new friend. But let them, then, disagree with something else, or attack someone I respect, and suddenly they're a whole new person. I realize I've based my construction of this person, in my mind, on wholly inadequate information.

Ah, but we say things like "We're supposed to be fruit inspectors" when we're accused of being judgmental. After all, Paul did tell the Corinthians:

"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside." (NIV)

Sure. That's an instruction to the church. He didn't tell me as a Committee of One.

Do I have any support for that? Indeed. Check this:

Romans 14:44: Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.(NIV)

The only way I can possibly interpret that is that the church has an overall responsibility to police its ranks, so to speak, but I'm personally not supposed to do that.

I also need to state that I'm a part of the SBC, and that obligates me to voice my concerns. Not to affect the course of history, but so that my hands will be clean if things go all wrong. I may not think I am smart enough to solve the problems of the world, but I serve a God Who is prone to tell someone something that He didn't tell anyone else. After all, He didn't send an army to warn Nineveh. He sent one guy, and He apparently didn't tell anybody else.

If I really believe God is running the show down here, I have to believe that He's going to have the folks that He wants, running things . I hasten to add that He's free to either honor an organization if it serves Him faithfully, or to bring it down like a house of cards if it won't. And who am I to figure which He's doing?

But .... one thing I must not do is to think for a moment that the high-profile players in all this are the same guys that exist in my mind and that I've created by what I've seen in Blogville. With a few exceptions of folks I've gotten to know reasonably well via other means, those "Straw Men" simply aren't there.

Let alone running things.


At 1:33 PM, October 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truer words have never been spoken.

At 12:47 PM, October 21, 2006, Blogger CB Scott said...

WOW, Bob,

Deep thinking again. I think we should Bob the Greek:-)


At 11:45 AM, October 26, 2006, Anonymous Sharla said...

I'm inspired most by how you call your wife your sweetheart. Blessed by that! Also, great "atheist" comment on Kevin's site.
You are a blessing!
Kansas City

At 12:00 PM, October 26, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Welcome and thanks for the kind words, Sharla.

Peg is my sweetheart. We been married 48 years next March and I've discovered that the way to have a wife who is a treasure, is to treasure your wife. And I do.

Thanks for stopping by.

At 1:40 PM, October 26, 2006, Anonymous Sharla said...

Thanks new friend! I loved your words. Great reflections.....and I changed the title.
: )

At 2:37 AM, October 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got a quality picture in my mind, Bob, and you are a pretty good poetry writer to boot.

At 9:16 AM, October 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always enjoy reading your comments on the different blogs, and this post in particular is A+ material! You have a gift for expressing well what needs to be said and for bringing a conciliatory word where needed. Keep up this ministry to us all!

At 12:14 PM, October 27, 2006, Anonymous Lee said...

You're right on target, Bob.

It is very important for everyone, and I mean everyone, to remember that none of us owns a bigger piece of the SBC than anyone else. In fact, if we look at it the way we should, none of us owns a piece of it, period. Therefore, the attitude of a humble servant will go a long, long way toward running it properly and maybe that will solve some of our difficulties.

At 12:54 PM, October 27, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


Thanks. My pastor is fond of saying, whenever someone refers to my, or their, church: "Show me your hands". He says if he doesn't find nailprints, then it's not their church. Nor his.

At 8:40 PM, October 28, 2006, Anonymous storbakken said...

just surfin' blogs when I came across your. good stuff.

At 9:08 PM, October 28, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thanks, Jason. Glad you looked in.

At 5:47 AM, October 29, 2006, Blogger Paul Burleson said...


This post is as good as it gets. Your statement, "we're happy to look at a little bit of what someone writes and then form a lot of opinions about them..." made me want to shout "yes", then I realized how much "I" do that and I was a little bit ashamed. Great thoughts.

Paul B.

At 6:53 AM, October 29, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thanks, Paul.

I've had to read this post several times, as it's almost as if I didn't write it myself. That's the way it is with all the ones which seem to reach people.

The same thing happens when God inspires me to write a poem. The first "inspired poem" I ever did, took me a month to memorize after I'd written it.

My thanks also go to Mr. H. Ghost. He's behind all this.


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