By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Over the past year you have seen a lot of changes in the Baptist and Reflector — and there are more to come.
We are in the process of developing a website totally dedicated to the B&R. This website will enable us to produce more material that our readers (and future readers) will want and need to read.
Hopefully, the changes we have made have been for the best. From my vantage point they have been. And, from what I hear from our readers, many of you agree.
We value input from those who know us best — those who faithfully pick up the paper (or go online to the virtual edition).
Some people may wonder why we don’t print many letters to the editor. I get very few letters that are specifically designated as such. I do get plenty of e-mails and phone calls from readers who tell me what they like or dislike.
Over the past three issues (this week included), we have tried to print news articles and columns that address current issues in society or information that churches need to be aware of.
Readers have taken notice. I want to share a sampling of what I have heard from those who know us best.
Roy Warmath of Smyrna Baptist Church, Burlison, observed he was appreciative of the columns and articles in the Feb. 11 issue regarding the need for churches to have policies on same-sex marriage and funerals for homosexuals. He wrote, “Those were timely and have caused some of our members to consider the need for a stated policy to handle these events if/when that may come up in the future.”
He asked if I knew of churches with such policies already in place and I do not. If your church has already addressed this matter, let us know. Christians (and churches) can learn from each other. There is no use in reinventing the wheel.
Ryan Potts, director of missions for Polk County Baptist Association, based in Benton, responded to a blog I wrote. For those who are unfamiliar with my blog, it’s just additional writing that I do under the heading, “Before It Hits the Press.” Some of the posts may be reprinted in the B&R, but most are not. They can be accessed at https://lonniewilkey.wordpress.com.
Potts wrote, “Thank you for your recent post concerning traditional marriage. I fully support the traditional marriage, because it is the godly and biblical foundation of society.”
Lisa McIntosh of Mount Juliet was appreciative of the guest column written by Pastor Joel Owens on the recent movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
She wrote, “I have struggled with how to respond to discussions of this. I love his positive way of expressing his beliefs.
“I appreciate the abbreviated info regarding the movie that lets me know that it does not promote the things that I do believe about and support for marriage. I welcome more articles that help Christians in their practical day-to-day walk in the times we live in.”
Judy Lusk of Dandridge expressed appreciation for the article by Owens and the online edition of the B&R. “It’s easy to read and I take time to sit and read it,” she wrote.
I continue to get affirmation for the online issue from those who continue to be introduced to it, but I also get responses from those who still like the print issue. That’s why we are continuing to produce both.
And for those who think my world is rosy and I never get complaints, think again. Just last week I dealt with a reader who was upset with something a guest columnist recently wrote. That’s just part of being an editor. We are, after all, Baptist. We are not going to agree on everything. The paper tries to provide a forum for differing views to be expressed. We need to be challenged to think and know why we believe what we believe.
I want readers to feel comfortable in sharing both positive and negative feedback. That’s the only way we can continue to improve the paper each week.
We welcome suggestions from our readers on topics that are of interest, not only for church life in general (see story), but issues that affect Christians every day.
I can’t say thanks enough to those of you who faithfully read the paper each time it is published.
Help us spread the word. Introduce the paper to a friend, whether it is online or in print. We want to reach as many people as possible.
As we tell the story of Tennessee Baptists, remember that we really are telling His story. And that is a story worth reading.