I'm performing a wedding. I'll only get bits-and-snatches of time to post over the next 24 hours, so I'll break it into chunks. Perhaps that will be better, anyway. We can all confine our comments to the proper thread dealing with the proper subtopic, and that will facilitate better discussion. There's one big-ticket topic to get out of the way right up front: Knowing how vocal I have been in this controversy, can anything that I would say about this topic be trusted by anyone who disagrees with me? No doubt, many have concluded a priori in the negative. But, since there's not a doggoned thing I can do about that, I'm not going to worry about it. Others will be reasonable listeners. I hope that they will hear me. I am perfectly willing to let the statistics say whatever they actually say. First of all, they confirm what I've said all along—that the preponderance of Southern Baptists do not believe non-linguistic utterances to be the same as the biblical gift of tongues. If our differences are truly over whether God is giving people the gift of speaking Mandarin without having studied it, then I see great hope for resolving our difficulties quickly: Produce for me one of these Mandarin-speaking Alabamans who has not studied the language, and I am indeed disproven. I am open to the possibility of that—God can do whatever God wills. But the practice affirmed by the Lifeway study is talking about a verifiable gift, in which case I answer, "Then let's verify it." So, the study results surprise me, but they are in no way lethal to my position. And indeed, presuming that I harbor the most hostile of sentiments toward the modern practice, I still sincerely desire to know what is the honest state of our convention. I see survey results all of the time that disturb me about our convention, yet without feeling some need to dispute that half of our members are not-to-be-found or that a vast number of our attending members are rather biblically illiterate (results of previous statistical offerings I have seen). If Charles Fox Parham's cheap parlor trick has genuinely infected 50% of the Southern Baptist Convention, I want to know about it. Some want to know in order to dance around in a victory parade—I want to know in order to call a day of fasting and prayer. Whether you believe the true situation to be a positive situation or a negative one, denial is helpful to nobody. So, as I raise what I believe to be valid questions over the next few posts, I know that irresponsible bloggers will raise charges of "crying in the sandbox." I hope that others will at least take the time to listen.