Southern Baptists

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Feb 11, 2007
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#81
I am an independent Baptist (KJV only, etc.) and grew up at Bible Baptist in Stillwater. I have since attended and currently work at an independent Baptist college in OKC. There are definitely some crazies out there under the independent Baptist and Southern Baptist umbrellas, but there a lot of sincere and caring people who genuinely want to serve God and help others.

Typically, people misunderstand the "rules" prevalent at conservative independent and Southern Baptist churches. I don't dispute that there are some legitimate problems and people can get carried away with rules, but the "rules" (or "standards" as I prefer to call them) are usually Biblically-based. You may disagree with them, but most independent Baptist churches I know don't make "rules" or "standards" just for the sake of making them. They are genuinely trying to honor God with them. And whether you like it or not, serving Christ in biblical manner means having some standards in your life of things you will and won't do. "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid." I have some personal standards and convictions in my life that my church doesn't necessarily preach, and I think where a lot of preachers and churches get in trouble is when they preach their personal standards as Bible doctrine equivalent to deity of Christ. I've definitely heard plenty of that and am probably guilty of that as well. I think the major weakness of independent Baptist churches is most do not do a good job explaining the biblical reasons for their standards, and many like to get hung up on their "pet" issues/standards and overestimate their importance.

Christians are called to be separated from a worldy and carnal lifestyle, and the standards practiced by conservative Baptist churches are an effort to fulfill that. Unfortunately, it is to often harped on to separate from the world, and the need to separate TO Christ is not mentioned enough. However, I think my church back in Stillwater and the church I attend in OKC do a very good job of striking a proper balance.

In my experience, people like to ridicule those that have more conservative standards than they do. Biblically, it isn't enough to just do the "church thing" on Sunday. Christians are called to live separated and holy lives to serve God. There is a ditch on both sides of the road. Some conservative Baptists see rampant modernism and liberalism and veer into one ditch clinging to standards as a way to make them spiritual, and some Christians don't like what they perceive as "legalism" and veer into the other ditch with no standards to govern their lives and live virtually identical to the world.

My church's motto here in OKC is "Honoring God. Helping People." That should be the purpose of personal standards - honor God in our lives and point people to Christ.
It is my lifelong quest to understand what it means to be a Christian. It has gradually changed as I have sought an answer to this question. I have found that too much for what passes for being Christian in too many churches and denominations has nothing at all to do with Jesus. In fact much of what happens in churches drives people away who are honestly seeking to know God and his son trying to understand what life is all about. I don't blame them for their criticism of churhes. Too much of what happens in churches is fleshly and ungodly.
 
Oct 22, 2005
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#82
It is my lifelong quest to understand what it means to be a Christian. It has gradually changed as I have sought an answer to this question. I have found that too much for what passes for being Christian in too many churches and denominations has nothing at all to do with Jesus. In fact much of what happens in churches drives people away who are honestly seeking to know God and his son trying to understand what life is all about. I don't blame them for their criticism of churhes. Too much of what happens in churches is fleshly and ungodly.
Certainly, Christians in general need to be more diligent to speak the truth in love, but at the same time, a lost person will not fully understand Christianity until they make the decision to trust Christ for salvation. Christians themselves are still sinners and are still in the process of growing and maturing. I'm not excusing any bad things that happen in churches, but no one will ever find a perfect church. They're all full of sinners, and if you let people be your hangup, then you'll never get over it.
 

naranjaynegro

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#83
Certainly, Christians in general need to be more diligent to speak the truth in love, but at the same time, a lost person will not fully understand Christianity until they make the decision to trust Christ for salvation. Christians themselves are still sinners and are still in the process of growing and maturing. I'm not excusing any bad things that happen in churches, but no one will ever find a perfect church. They're all full of sinners, and if you let people be your hangup, then you'll never get over it.
truer words were never spoken
 

NYC Poke

The Veil of Ignorance
Sep 24, 2007
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#84
What do you think of Southern Baptists both as individual members and as a church?

Please give me your honest opinion.
Doc, I'll give you the most sincere, measured response I can to this. I will try to be apolitical, though this will unfortunately have to touch on politics as a necessity. I am not wading through all the responses because I know how these threads tend to devolve, and I'm not really interested in arguing with anyone over religion. This is nothing more than my two cents, based completely on my personal experiences.

The denomination got off to a poor start. It broke off from the other Baptists on the issue of slavery. I know the church has since changed its position on race and slavery, but that is not an auspicious beginning and is the poor basis for the founding of a denomination.

However, I was raised in Southern Baptist churches and was baptized in one. I went to First Baptist Church in downtown Tulsa, and later Southern Hills Baptist on South Lewis (it was a shorter drive). Both had excellent pastors, Dr. Warren C. Hultgren and Dr. Clyde Lee Herring, respectively. Dr. Hultgren was active in the Civil Rights movement in Tulsa at a time when that was probably not the popular stance there. He formed relationships with prominent clergy from other churches to lend moral authority to the movement.

While attending Vaction Bible School at First Baptist, we were given tours of other churches (and synagogues) and had their beliefs explained to us. We were taught that it was important to understand the beliefs of others, and that while there may be differences, those differences should not separate us. We were taught that our choice of church should be an informed decision.

I was also taught in Sunday School that, while the Bible was Truth, we may not understand the Truth as written. For example, the 7 days in which God created the world might be God's idea of 7 days, not man's idea of 7 days. But then I had Sunday School classes taught by my grade school science teacher and my grade school principal (among others).

I never heard anything about drinking or dancing (I think I was in college when I learned these were Southern Baptist taboos). In fact, I remember one sermon where Dr. Herring was explaining that, even though he was the preacher, he was still one of the church just like everybody else, and there was no need for everyone to hide their beers when he joined them to watch a football game! Needless to say, politics were never discussed other than to ask God's blessing for our elected leaders. To the extent hot button issues of the day were discussed, it was in the spirit of exploration and debate.

The overall message was of acceptance, education, and, mostly, love. For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

To me, the SBC seemed to change from the top in the 80s and 90s (I may not have noticed stuff that happened earlier because I was younger). It seemed to develop a disdain for science, as evidenced by Sunday School lesson plans sent out by SBC that "proved" evolution was false (though perhaps my Sunday School teachers "skipped" that lesson the way my Mom did when she was teaching Sunday School and was presented with those materials). SBC has certainly become more politically active in ways I could not imagine when I was growing up. And it appears to me to have become rigidly doctrinaire.

In short, the SBC as it exists now does not seem to be the same church I grew up in. Perhaps if I'd stayed in the same place and continued attending the same church, the change would have been so gradual I wouldn't have noticed. But I have noticed. I sometimes wonder whether Drs. Hultgren and Herring would find a church in today's SBC.

I now attend a nondenominational Cowboy Church. I understand full well that the views of most of the flock are probably pretty much in line with the SBC, but nobody beats you over the head with it (also, there is an understanding that the flock is made up of cowboys and oilfield hands, and they tend to go through phases of hard living; it just comes with the territory). It's come as you are and love your brothers and sisters. Sunday is a celebration.

I'm not saying that this is better (I've been to Cowboy Churches that are not like this). It's just more in line with what I believe and what I was brought up with.
 

State

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Mar 15, 2007
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#85
Your MIL hasn't seen my church. No worries what to wear there. There is a Cowboy church as well where many wear work clothes, biker stuff, and just whatever. Like I said before, there are many flavors.

Yes, some kids are raised like that. Many don't realize that if it wasn't for the Catholics to protect Christianity through the dark ages, there would not be baptists or other denominations.
I'm surprised no one touched this gem.
 

naranjaynegro

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#86
Doc, I'll give you the most sincere, measured response I can to this. I will try to be apolitical, though this will unfortunately have to touch on politics as a necessity. I am not wading through all the responses because I know how these threads tend to devolve, and I'm not really interested in arguing with anyone over religion. This is nothing more than my two cents, based completely on my personal experiences.

The denomination got off to a poor start. It broke off from the other Baptists on the issue of slavery. I know the church has since changed its position on race and slavery, but that is not an auspicious beginning and is the poor basis for the founding of a denomination.

However, I was raised in Southern Baptist churches and was baptized in one. I went to First Baptist Church in downtown Tulsa, and later Southern Hills Baptist on South Lewis (it was a shorter drive). Both had excellent pastors, Dr. Warren C. Hultgren and Dr. Clyde Lee Herring, respectively. Dr. Hultgren was active in the Civil Rights movement in Tulsa at a time when that was probably not the popular stance there. He formed relationships with prominent clergy from other churches to lend moral authority to the movement.

While attending Vaction Bible School at First Baptist, we were given tours of other churches (and synagogues) and had their beliefs explained to us. We were taught that it was important to understand the beliefs of others, and that while there may be differences, those differences should not separate us. We were taught that our choice of church should be an informed decision.

I was also taught in Sunday School that, while the Bible was Truth, we may not understand the Truth as written. For example, the 7 days in which God created the world might be God's idea of 7 days, not man's idea of 7 days. But then I had Sunday School classes taught by my grade school science teacher and my grade school principal (among others).

I never heard anything about drinking or dancing (I think I was in college when I learned these were Southern Baptist taboos). In fact, I remember one sermon where Dr. Herring was explaining that, even though he was the preacher, he was still one of the church just like everybody else, and there was no need for everyone to hide their beers when he joined them to watch a football game! Needless to say, politics were never discussed other than to ask God's blessing for our elected leaders. To the extent hot button issues of the day were discussed, it was in the spirit of exploration and debate.

The overall message was of acceptance, education, and, mostly, love. For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

To me, the SBC seemed to change from the top in the 80s and 90s (I may not have noticed stuff that happened earlier because I was younger). It seemed to develop a disdain for science, as evidenced by Sunday School lesson plans sent out by SBC that "proved" evolution was false (though perhaps my Sunday School teachers "skipped" that lesson the way my Mom did when she was teaching Sunday School and was presented with those materials). SBC has certainly become more politically active in ways I could not imagine when I was growing up. And it appears to me to have become rigidly doctrinaire.

In short, the SBC as it exists now does not seem to be the same church I grew up in. Perhaps if I'd stayed in the same place and continued attending the same church, the change would have been so gradual I wouldn't have noticed. But I have noticed. I sometimes wonder whether Drs. Hultgren and Herring would find a church in today's SBC.

I now attend a nondenominational Cowboy Church. I understand full well that the views of most of the flock are probably pretty much in line with the SBC, but nobody beats you over the head with it (also, there is an understanding that the flock is made up of cowboys and oilfield hands, and they tend to go through phases of hard living; it just comes with the territory). It's come as you are and love your brothers and sisters. Sunday is a celebration.

I'm not saying that this is better (I've been to Cowboy Churches that are not like this). It's just more in line with what I believe and what I was brought up with.
Good story NYP.....you hardly devolved there at all;)
 

PokealypseNow

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#89
Considering the direct nature of that quote, it would stand to reason that He is speaking directly to Jeremiah

I point this out just because despite your belief in a pre-existent state (if I could describe it as thus-- if not feel free to correct) and your looking to this line of text as evidence of said belief, it won't mean the same thing to someone who doesn't share that belief.

I'm not trying to put down your faith, as actually I myself believe that God knew us before our current existence, just pointing out that in this instance, God is directly referencing the fact that he knew what Jeremiah could accomplish and so someone else might not see it the same way you do.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeermeneutics.
 
O

osupride97

Guest
#90
Considering the direct nature of that quote, it would stand to reason that He is speaking directly to Jeremiah

I point this out just because despite your belief in a pre-existent state (if I could describe it as thus-- if not feel free to correct) and your looking to this line of text as evidence of said belief, it won't mean the same thing to someone who doesn't share that belief.

I'm not trying to put down your faith, as actually I myself believe that God knew us before our current existence, just pointing out that in this instance, God is directly referencing the fact that he knew what Jeremiah could accomplish and so someone else might not see it the same way you do.
I thought about this very thing awhile after I posted it. And I get what you are saying. However, my belief (was told to say that from now on), is that if God knew Jeremiah before he was born, wouldn't it stand to reason that He also knew every one of us before we were born? He does not treat any of us any different. He loves us all the same. He sent Christ to die for all of us. So, while He may indeed have been speaking to Jeremiah, I do believe He was speaking to me as well.

We can all get hung up on scripture, who's right, who's wrong, the bottom line is that He just wants a relationship with us. Thanks Adam and Eve for messing it all up! :)
 
O

osupride97

Guest
#90
I found a couple of other scriptures to back up my belief.

Acts 17:26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

Psalm 139: 14-16 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
 
Feb 11, 2007
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#92
Doc, I'll give you the most sincere, measured response I can to this. I will try to be apolitical, though this will unfortunately have to touch on politics as a necessity. I am not wading through all the responses because I know how these threads tend to devolve, and I'm not really interested in arguing with anyone over religion. This is nothing more than my two cents, based completely on my personal experiences.

The denomination got off to a poor start. It broke off from the other Baptists on the issue of slavery. I know the church has since changed its position on race and slavery, but that is not an auspicious beginning and is the poor basis for the founding of a denomination.

However, I was raised in Southern Baptist churches and was baptized in one. I went to First Baptist Church in downtown Tulsa, and later Southern Hills Baptist on South Lewis (it was a shorter drive). Both had excellent pastors, Dr. Warren C. Hultgren and Dr. Clyde Lee Herring, respectively. Dr. Hultgren was active in the Civil Rights movement in Tulsa at a time when that was probably not the popular stance there. He formed relationships with prominent clergy from other churches to lend moral authority to the movement.

While attending Vaction Bible School at First Baptist, we were given tours of other churches (and synagogues) and had their beliefs explained to us. We were taught that it was important to understand the beliefs of others, and that while there may be differences, those differences should not separate us. We were taught that our choice of church should be an informed decision.

I was also taught in Sunday School that, while the Bible was Truth, we may not understand the Truth as written. For example, the 7 days in which God created the world might be God's idea of 7 days, not man's idea of 7 days. But then I had Sunday School classes taught by my grade school science teacher and my grade school principal (among others).

I never heard anything about drinking or dancing (I think I was in college when I learned these were Southern Baptist taboos). In fact, I remember one sermon where Dr. Herring was explaining that, even though he was the preacher, he was still one of the church just like everybody else, and there was no need for everyone to hide their beers when he joined them to watch a football game! Needless to say, politics were never discussed other than to ask God's blessing for our elected leaders. To the extent hot button issues of the day were discussed, it was in the spirit of exploration and debate.

The overall message was of acceptance, education, and, mostly, love. For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

To me, the SBC seemed to change from the top in the 80s and 90s (I may not have noticed stuff that happened earlier because I was younger). It seemed to develop a disdain for science, as evidenced by Sunday School lesson plans sent out by SBC that "proved" evolution was false (though perhaps my Sunday School teachers "skipped" that lesson the way my Mom did when she was teaching Sunday School and was presented with those materials). SBC has certainly become more politically active in ways I could not imagine when I was growing up. And it appears to me to have become rigidly doctrinaire.

In short, the SBC as it exists now does not seem to be the same church I grew up in. Perhaps if I'd stayed in the same place and continued attending the same church, the change would have been so gradual I wouldn't have noticed. But I have noticed. I sometimes wonder whether Drs. Hultgren and Herring would find a church in today's SBC.

I now attend a nondenominational Cowboy Church. I understand full well that the views of most of the flock are probably pretty much in line with the SBC, but nobody beats you over the head with it (also, there is an understanding that the flock is made up of cowboys and oilfield hands, and they tend to go through phases of hard living; it just comes with the territory). It's come as you are and love your brothers and sisters. Sunday is a celebration.

I'm not saying that this is better (I've been to Cowboy Churches that are not like this). It's just more in line with what I believe and what I was brought up with.
NYCPOKE....first from what I know of you, you going to a Cowboy Church is a surpirse. But I have heard good things about that group. I ought to drop in and see for myself. Like many have posted Baptists are a large and diverse group. No one Baptist Church is exactly like the other.
I asked the original question because I really wanted to know peoples honest opinion. Like many here I feel Baptists, like too many churches, have erected to many rules, are too critical of others, and are too proud of being Baptists. Too often we use fancy words and ideas that people do not understand rather than preaching the central message of Jesus. We drive off people who are really seeking help. Many are seeking God, but by how we live and act we drive them off.
 

bleedinorange

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#93
NYCPOKE....first from what I know of you, you going to a Cowboy Church is a surpirse. But I have heard good things about that group. I ought to drop in and see for myself. Like many have posted Baptists are a large and diverse group. No one Baptist Church is exactly like the other.
I asked the original question because I really wanted to know peoples honest opinion. Like many here I feel Baptists, like too many churches, have erected to many rules, are too critical of others, and are too proud of being Baptists. Too often we use fancy words and ideas that people do not understand rather than preaching the central message of Jesus. We drive off people who are really seeking help. Many are seeking God, but by how we live and act we drive them off.
Here's an old favorite of mine that seems apropo to your words. Hope you enjoy.

The Better Way by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

I'd rather see a sermon
Than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
Than merely show the way.

The eye's a better pupil,
And more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing,
But example's always clear.

The best of all the preachers
Are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action,
Is what everybody needs.

I can soon learn how you do it,
If you let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
But your tongue too fast may run.

And the lectures you deliver
May be very wise and true;
But I'd rather get my lesson,
By observing what you do,

For I may misunderstand you,
And the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
How you act and how you live.
 

NYC Poke

The Veil of Ignorance
Sep 24, 2007
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#94
NYCPOKE....first from what I know of you, you going to a Cowboy Church is a surpirse. But I have heard good things about that group. I ought to drop in and see for myself. Like many have posted Baptists are a large and diverse group. No one Baptist Church is exactly like the other.
I asked the original question because I really wanted to know peoples honest opinion. Like many here I feel Baptists, like too many churches, have erected to many rules, are too critical of others, and are too proud of being Baptists. Too often we use fancy words and ideas that people do not understand rather than preaching the central message of Jesus. We drive off people who are really seeking help. Many are seeking God, but by how we live and act we drive them off.
I've spoken to quite a few people who essentially agree with Baptist theology, but who felt uncomfortable at the Baptist churches in whatever little town they grew up in. The denomination is so dominant in some places that the big Baptist church also turns into a de facto country club for the town's political and economic "elite." The guys who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks or working for these "elite" -- the oilfield hands, the cowboys, the guys who fix cars, etc. -- just don't feel comfortable there. This probably has less to do with the SBC that class stratifications in small towns. Same thing probably would have happened had the Methodists or the Presbyterians been the dominant denomination.

As for your surprise, well, perhaps your prejudging a little based on my political outlook. I enjoy all kinds of people. Celebrating diversity doesn't mean just hanging out with African-American vegan hipsters in Brooklyn, though I can enjoy that. White people in rural East Texas are part of the diversity, too, and I enjoy them as well.
 

Cimarron

It's not dying I'm talking about, it's living.
Jun 28, 2007
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#94
I've spoken to quite a few people who essentially agree with Baptist theology, but who felt uncomfortable at the Baptist churches in whatever little town they grew up in. The denomination is so dominant in some places that the big Baptist church also turns into a de facto country club for the town's political and economic "elite." The guys who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks or working for these "elite" -- the oilfield hands, the cowboys, the guys who fix cars, etc. -- just don't feel comfortable there. This probably has less to do with the SBC that class stratifications in small towns. Same thing probably would have happened had the Methodists or the Presbyterians been the dominant denomination.

As for your surprise, well, perhaps your prejudging a little based on my political outlook. I enjoy all kinds of people. Celebrating diversity doesn't mean just hanging out with African-American vegan hipsters in Brooklyn, though I can enjoy that. White people in rural East Texas are part of the diversity, too, and I enjoy them as well.
OK, I don't do well around vegan hipsters!
 

Cimarron

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#96
You should. I've met some pretty cool ones. Yes, there are the annoying ones, but I have yet to encounter any group that doesn't have people who annoy me.
They might get up and walk out when I bite into my cheeseburger? :)
 
Feb 11, 2007
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#97
I've spoken to quite a few people who essentially agree with Baptist theology, but who felt uncomfortable at the Baptist churches in whatever little town they grew up in. The denomination is so dominant in some places that the big Baptist church also turns into a de facto country club for the town's political and economic "elite." The guys who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks or working for these "elite" -- the oilfield hands, the cowboys, the guys who fix cars, etc. -- just don't feel comfortable there. This probably has less to do with the SBC that class stratifications in small towns. Same thing probably would have happened had the Methodists or the Presbyterians been the dominant denomination.

As for your surprise, well, perhaps your prejudging a little based on my political outlook. I enjoy all kinds of people. Celebrating diversity doesn't mean just hanging out with African-American vegan hipsters in Brooklyn, though I can enjoy that. White people in rural East Texas are part of the diversity, too, and I enjoy them as well.
Forgive my misjudging you...but from being a guy from Willian and Mary, a lawyer in NY and to my surprise now from east Texas going you a Cowboy Church I was more than a little surprised.
I agree with you that churches tend to be country clubs that whose members look and think a lot alike.
A healthy Jesus centered church should be pretty much a full cross section of the
whole community.To exclude anyone is not what Jesus would have us do.
 

NYC Poke

The Veil of Ignorance
Sep 24, 2007
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#98
Forgive my misjudging you...but from being a guy from Willian and Mary, a lawyer in NY and to my surprise now from east Texas going you a Cowboy Church I was more than a little surprised.
BITE YOUR TONGUE! I went to Washington & Lee in Virginia, not William & Mary in Virginia!

It's funny (to me at least) because I ended up in a relationship for a long while with a girl who went to William & Mary law. Nobody from outside of Virginia could ever keep our schools straight.


I agree with you that churches tend to be country clubs that whose members look and think a lot alike.
A healthy Jesus centered church should be pretty much a full cross section of the
whole community.To exclude anyone is not what Jesus would have us do.
Agreed 100%. Straddling the line as I do, given my education and my Mom's reputation in the area, I can see both sides. I think there are people who work in the local banks who are regarded as rich by the worker-types, because they wear pretty clothes and work in air conditioning. I suspect some of the blue collar dudes think people are looking down on them when they're really just insecure in their own skin.

P.S. You and I have talked too frankly over the years for you to ask forgiveness. It is not necessary. There is nothing to forgive.
 

HeartLike_JohnStarks

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#99
Not a Baptist, but I just want to say that the place I grew up in Arlington/Dallas had a pretty big Baptist chuuurch near my ghetto ass apartment and neighborhood (see what I did there?) , a BoyzNGirlz clubz nearby (also run down- bless their hearts), and also a liquor store just down the corner and the nice stereotypical shady gas station store next to it, where all the kool kids hung around. (random fact: Hennessy's are like the Budweiser of hard liquor. Its like a daily drink for po' and nothing-to-do folks)

Then as I got older and we got to moving around to different towns and cities , I've noticed this pattern a lot more.....kinda funny to me lol
 
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BITE YOUR TONGUE! I went to Washington & Lee in Virginia, not William & Mary in Virginia!

It's funny (to me at least) because I ended up in a relationship for a long while with a girl who went to William & Mary law. Nobody from outside of Virginia could ever keep our schools straight.




Agreed 100%. Straddling the line as I do, given my education and my Mom's reputation in the area, I can see both sides. I think there are people who work in the local banks who are regarded as rich by the worker-types, because they wear pretty clothes and work in air conditioning. I suspect some of the blue collar dudes think people are looking down on them when they're really just insecure in their own skin.

P.S. You and I have talked too frankly over the years for you to ask forgiveness. It is not necessary. There is nothing to forgive.
Washington and Lee...of course. But stil froml there and NYC and now back to east Texas...thats a long long way to a Cowboy Church.