about me

Kevin Bussey (aka k-dawg)
Lead Pastor
Charlotte, NC, USA

Samford University: B.S. Public Administration, 1985
University of Alabama at Birmingham: M.A. Education, 1988

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: MDivBL, 1995

Married to:
Cassandra (6-25-88)


quote of the week

"Pastor I don't like your plans" Bisagno, "what are your plans." man, "I don't have any." Bisagno, "I like my plans better than yours." .

Dr. John R. Bisagno:

blogs i read

marty duren
joe kennedy
art rogers
stuart delony
wade burleson
kiki cherry
david phillips
dorcas hawker
arkansas rasorbaptist
cb scott
ben cole
tim sweatman
jason sampler
mark mansheim
adam feldman
scott freeman
wes kenny
alan cross
john stickley
bowden mcelroy
c w
jamie wootten
nate goodwin
paul littleton
jeff richard young
J. A. Gillmartin
villa rica
phillips lynn
micah fries
preachin jesus
morris chapman
tim sweetman
kevin lancaster
jeremy roberts
al mohler
ronnie floyd
david rogers
sbc bloggers
greg pouncey
jason burns
howie luvzus
gary lamb
angela davis
neil elmore
jason shepherd
monday morning insight
wayne cordeiro
Southern Baptist Blog Aggregator

favorite links

my parents ministry
starbucks gossip
the ooze
willowcreek association
purpose driven
northpoint community church
springs church
albert pujols
shaun alexander
john maxwell
element 2
dale jarrett
bama magazine
bible gateway
biblical studies foundation

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listening [to]

building 429: rise

chris tomlin: live from austin music hall

various: music inspired by the chronicles of narnia

fusebox: once again

passion: How Great Is Our God

storyside:b : everything and more

delirious?: the mission bell

hillsong united: look to you


Friday, May 05, 2006

Blinded by the Grey.............

I hate ambiguity. I have always seen the world in black and white. I am a very creative person and this makes matters worse. There is a war within me. I just don't know where I belong anymore in religious life. Things were much easier when I had a list of what was right and what was wrong. Sure the Bible gives some specific do's and don'ts. But what do I do with the Grey areas? I'm struggling with where I belong in this whole spiritual journey. There are people in my own denomination and others that I agree with theologically but not in methodology. There are others that I appreciate there methods but not their theology. Where do I fit in? Am I alone? I am grateful for God's Grace. I am not the total Pharisee I use to be. I am still struggling though. I am recovering. There are some things that would have never been done by ministers in my denomination in the past. Now some flaunt it! I'm struggling with that. I'll be honest it is disillusioning. Maybe I'm out of touch. Maybe I need to lighten up. I don't want to argue. I don't want to rain on the parade. I would never want to be a stumbling block to others, but these things make me stumble. They puzzle me. I don't want to be this way. I'm really trying but everytime I read about those who do participate I feel like my nose is being rubbed in it because it destroyed several extended family members lives. I'm struggling. I just don't get it. It's probably just me. I have enough junk in my own life I need to get rid of but this doesn't help. I don't feel like I can relate. I searching for the black and white but I guess I won't find it. I guess I will just be blinded by the grey!

posted by Kevin Bussey at 5/05/2006 04:08:00 PM


Blogger joe kennedy said...

you aren't alone. i don't think i belong anywhere these days. not the way things are. it feels like we've missed the point completely. battling amongst each other. losing accountability to each other and to God. it makes me wonder sometimes, "is this what it's supposed to be like, or did we go horribly astray?" i think we've gone horribly astray. and i don't think i can be a part of it anymore.

5/05/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

I'm with you Joe!

5/05/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dorcas said...

Kevin -

I am one of those bright line rules people too. I hear your heart.

In the spirit of complete transparency that we have begun, let me be open here. I think you are alluding to the alcohol issue being discussed over at Wade's site. It is a hot topic in Southern Baptist life to be sure, and not one easily resolved because like you said, it touches families in multiple ways.

So let's talk about Pastor Ben's comment about wine communion at our church for one. You can discern from our various posts that Pastor Ben and I are friends and there is no animosity between us. That is an important point for you to know for what I am going to say next.

I was the last holdout on this issue at our church. I had dug my heels into my legalistic upbringing and was ready to camp there. This was not an easy one to decide, and it did not have to be. Pastor Ben went through a month's full of Sunday nights on this one issue, plus several months of discussion individually with people of our church as we were discussing the "alcohol" issue. I remember three separate discussions he had with me on it in which the debate was strong but fair, and he even waited patiently for me to cry it through, and then we would discuss it some more. I emphasized our friendship because I want you to know Pastor Ben wasn't strong-arming his congregation into a certain way of doing things. My cry sessions were working through some other legalism issues in my life beside just this one issue ... so I don't want everyone going around saying Ben Cole made Dorcas cry ... no, my own spirit of stubborn will made me cry.

I remember a comment you posted on my blog about my question on whether to attend law functions that were held in bars, you said being in bars made you very uncomfortable. Okay, that is where you are. You don't have to accept other's views of the grey if you need this to be a "black" in your life, as long as you don't insist they see it your way either. Isn't that what we are all about anyway, focusing on the essentials and giving grace in the non-essentials.

Kevin, I think we are friends enough for me to ask, why do we say Ben is "flaunting" it when he is open about his point of view on alcohol, but we praise him for the courage to lay his past on the table. Is he only allowed to be honest about the things everyone wanted him to confess, and then is he not allowed to be honest about other areas of his life as well?

Just some thoughts to hopefully help you as you are considering this issue. :)

5/05/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin S. Cole said...

Dorcas just sent me a link to this post, and I have to say, Kevin...you are confessing something that resonates with me. I used to be a real jerk about holiness. I broke a girl's teeth in high school when I knocked a beer bottle out of her mouth. She was in our youth group. My junior year in highschool, I started a "Bibles for Beer" ministry. I would gather up the "unclaimed" Bibles from our church's lost and found -- ten or fifteen a week -- and I would make my way to the high school parties and try to plead with people to repent. I'd offer them a Bible in return for the beer in their hand.

I was so zealous.

I used to keep tabs on people in seminary. I would make notes about who watched the wrong movies, who went to the wrong places, who read the wrong books, and who struggled with the wrong sins.

I would then make sure that the president knew about it. Some were disciplined. Some were expelled.

But God touched my heart about it. I was 100% right about things, and yet I was 100% wrong.

Last summer, a man whom I love very much got caught up in tremendous deceit and moral failure. Several years ago, I would have thrown the book at him and been done with it. But God has given me a tender place in my heart for sinners, mainly because I've learned what a rotten one I am.

We were able to restore my brother, and his marriage is still together. The discipline was tough. My heart was broken for him. Our church was merciful and tender and yet dismayed. But we followed the scripture and God worked it out and we all learned much about his grace.

I guess here's my point. Flaunting sin is shameful. It is the height of idolatry. There are people in our churches who have serious moral sin in their lives, and our aim is to confront it with the Word of God, love them to repentance, and see God get the glory. But we spend so much time preaching about things that aren't really sinful, and too little about the things that are really keeping our people from loving Jesus.

This is just where I am....but I'm willing to keep learning.

Thanks for your honesty and sincerity.

5/05/2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin S. Cole said...

Oh, Kevin...one more thing.

My father died when he was 39 from liver failure related to excessive alcohol abuse.

I still miss him, and I often think that I'd have turned out alot better and made fewer mistakes in life if he'd been around to talk to.

5/05/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Kevin,

You're speaking for me, too. Everything used to be so comfortably clear, until I started comparing what the preacher and the youth minister said to what the Bible said. Oops! I wouldn't go back for a million dollars, but sometimes I get nostalgic for the good old days when ignorance was bliss.

Love in Christ,


5/05/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Ben and Dorcas,

This is not about Ben. The flaunting I've seen is on the Ooze. People have beer as their avatars. I have seen an increase in Christian sites advocating drinking. I won't mention their names but I'm sure you have been on their sites. I don't understand it. I know it is not a sin. I have written posts about this. I know God uses those who drink. But in our culture, Alcohol kills! If you drive under the influence it can kill!

My grandfather died because of it and Cassandra's family was torn apart because of it. So why are we as believers going to support something so destructive? I live by Andy Stanley's question: "Is it the wise thing to do?"

5/05/2006 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Wootten said...

Kevin and all,

I confess that I too have been troubled today by the alcohol discussion. I hope no one takes my forthcoming comments as condemnation but just simply my convictions as I attempt to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ:

I completely understand and agree with Wade's theology concerning this issue. But for me -and that is the key - for me it comes down to these two things...

1. Whatever scriptural convictions you come to, they ought to draw you closer to holiness, and to be more like Christ. I find it hard to be closer to Christ while a nice cold Bud slides down my throat. Trust me I've been there and it just doesn't work. I know you could make similar arguments about TV, internet, etc, pulling us away from Christ, but those things in and of themselves are not necessarily bad and can be used for good. But it is hard for me to find anything good coming from the consumption of alcohol.

2. The stumbling block issue. As a youth I witnessed a person in my family who had a tremendous Christian witness, consume several beers one night. As an impressionable youth I figured if it was okay for him then it was okay for me. BAD NEWS!!!! I can assure you that where I minister today, alcohol consumption by me would absolutely ruin my ministry and not because my church members are a bunch of Pharisees.

If someone can search the scriptures, spend much time wrestling with this issue and come to the conclusion that they can drink socially and in moderation then I respect that. But I do not think anything good can come from "flaunting" this conviction and I personally would not be comfortable following this type of leader. That's just me- not trying to be holier than thou, just trying to live by my set of convictions and not be a stumbling block to others who are forming their convictions.

5/05/2006 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Dorcas said...

Kevin -

Thanks for clarifying what you were referring to as "flaunting". I apologize for my wrong assumption. I can see how using alcohol as an avatar would be going over the line.

Especially with things such as drunk driving this becomes a very emotional issue.

I am praying for us both in this issue as I too want to walk the wisest path within God's grace.

5/05/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Jamie makes a great point. I would hate to cause someone to stumble because of my "Freedom in Christ."

My fear is if I started drinking I couldn't stop. All it takes is one time of having too much to cause you to do something you might regret.

I recommend everyone to read "THE BEST QUESTION EVER" by Andy Stanley.

5/05/2006 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger art rogers said...

I have been very judgemental about others drinking. I have realized my own guilt of judgementalism, as well as the sin of setting a bad example, poor stewardship of my body and one or two other things in my life that don't relate to alcohol at all.

I don't partake, but freely admit that the Bible forbids drunkeness, not alcohol. Paul admonishes Timothy to partake for his health. Jesus turned water to wine. There is no way to make the Bible into a non-alcoholic Word.

I personally apply the admonition concerning meat offered to idols. If it causes my brother to stumble, I will never (drink alcohol) again.

Still, I am tolerant of others who believe differently.

The whole "flaunting" it, thing, though. Just don't know what to do with that.

Why would Christians care to flaunt anything?

5/05/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...


You are right. I have no problem with someone who feels it is permissible for them to drink in moderation. That is between them and God.

5/05/2006 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Dorcas said...

Kevin -

I sure did get that comment ball rolling didn't I? :)

I was planning to go to the bookstore tomorrow. I'll look for that book.

5/06/2006 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...


It got Cassandra going too! Joe knows how much fun that is! She is spunky!

5/06/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Here is a great link someone on Wades site suggested.

John MacArthur

I can only see negative in drinking alcohol. Tell me the up side. What benefit comes from it? I only see negatives. I will go with someone to a bar. But I will drink a diet coke. I don't enjoy it but I will go to share with an unbeliever. I have not heard of anyone who goes to drink and leads someone to Christ. When you drink alcohol you are controlled by the alcohol. Jesus said be controlled by the spirit.

I have used this analogy for years. The worst thing that could happen to someone in Jesus day was they would fall off a camel. Today, it will cost someone thier life or worse, you could kill someone else.

It is a a stumbling block period. Some could say that it is their freedom but it does cause people to stumble. I was at dinner with a good friend last summer and he was drinking. He is a believer and gives lots of $$ to God's work. But he wasn't interested in sharing his faith while he was drinking his Manhatten.

I have never heard of people at a cocktail party that were drinking leading someone to Christ. I'm sure it has happened. But I would imagine it is more of a testimony to explain why you don't drink then why you do.

I realize there are those who disagree. I am struggling with this. If someone feels they enjoy a glass of wine or beer then do it at home where it won't cause someone to stumble. But then again if you have children, what is that teaching them?

5/06/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Kiki Cherry said...

Maybe it's the MK in me, and the fact that I grew up in a different culture. But I don't understand why alcohol is such a big deal, one way or the other. I don't see one drink as something to flaunt or something to condemn.

I think the Bible is very clear that getting drunk is wrong. Even many non-believers would agree that getting drunk is at the very least stupid, and that driving drunk is criminal.

But in many places, an ocassional drink (not leading to drunkenness) is just part of the culture. A huge portion of the world even drinks alcohol during communion on Sundays.

My neighbor has a Rolling Rock with some of the other guys in the neighborhood every afternoon. It is the real core of their community, and I have never seen any of them drunk. Having a beer together in the afternoon is just a way for them to relate.

I'm not condoning drinking, but I think it's way more important that my neighbor find a relationship with Christ than that he abstain from drinking. From the world's perspective, when we as Christians get so legalistic about ANYTHING (drinking being just one example) it often distracts from our real message.

As Christians, I think our guage should be the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If He tells us something is wrong, then we shouldn't do it.

But I don't think it is always a sin for a Christian to have a drink.

I could count on one hand the number of times I've actually had a drink. All of those times were within a specific cultural context(not including the time in college when I was deathly ill and drank the entire Nyquil sample in our welcome pack. It was actually more than one dose, but I failed to read that. And then there was the time my whole BSU group had to drink the wine on the airplane to kill the parasite we had picked up on our mission trip to Guayuaquil, Ecuador.)

However, many of our students have wine at meals with their families. And some of those are Christian families. It has not led to alcoholism, and they agree that getting drunk is wrong. Biblically we see nothing wrong with that, and it is certainly not a hill we are going to choose to die on.

5/06/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...


I agree with you. My problem is not with your neighbor. I hang around people who drink alcohol all of the time. Most of my neighbors do. But they don't go to church. People notice what I am drinking. I don't condemn. I know it is not a sin. But as Andy Stanley says, "IS IT THE WISE THING TO DO?" Personally, I don't think so. What good does it do?

I'm not ready to die on this hill either. All I said is I don't know where I fit in. I'm sorry but a pastor drinking alcohol is a stumbling block for many. Two years ago I had two of my college students who approached me about a guy who was leading our worship. They said they saw him at Hooters drinking a beer. But so were they! But they felt it was wrong for the guy leading worship.

I guess I'm just different. I think this may end my time on blogs. I really am disillusioned by this.

5/06/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Wootten said...


Hang in there. You are an encouragement to us all. I'm with you on this issue. I can't see ONE good thing that can come from alcohol consumption. I do not consider my stance to be a "holier than thou" or legalistic one as I am not even remotely close to perfection myself. I believe in the eyes of the lost world they see us being more hypocritical if we drink than legalistic if we don't.

5/06/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Thanks Jamie!

I may go the way of my friend Joe Kennedy. I really don't know where I fit in.

What's next? Open bars at the SBC Convention? How about pubs at our seminaries? I don't get it.

5/06/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

We could have beer bashes to raise money for Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. We could have keg parties at church -- that will bring in the lost. I seriously don't get it.

5/06/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Wootten said...


My feeling is you develop your convictions and live by them humbly with God's help, preach the Word in all its glory with God's help, and continue sharing with the lost- again with God's help.

May God greatly use us all tomorrow and may people simply see Jesus Christ high and lifted up!!!

5/06/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Dorcas said...

Kevin -

Please don't go away. Who will we joke with about Starbucks and BBQ? Who will post silly things like handing out the Wade awards? Who will live above the Starbucks in Blog Town when you leave? Who will tell us your awesome stories about leading people to the gospel in the highways and byways of life?

We don't want to lose you too ...

I can't make you stay, but yours is one of my favorite blogs to read, and I'd be sad to see you go. :(

5/06/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Wes Kenney said...

Yeah, and I'm still waiting to flame you if you rate a restaurant serving beef brisket (God's own BBQ) with icons featuring that cloven-hoofed abomination...

I understand the frustration, and I can't improve on what Jamie W. said: Live humbly by your convictions.

5/06/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger joe kennedy said...

Kevin, I don't see open bars at conventions or pubs on seminary campuses being a problem, I promise. Most of the folks at The Ooze aren't baptist at all. (You know, there is a Drive Thru Daiquari's across from NOBTS' campus, though.) Anyway, my statement about not fitting in was more of a broad statement about the SBC and denominations, not necessarily regarding the Beer Mug Avatar Totin' Folks at The Ooze or our more legalistic brothers.

5/07/2006 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gary Snowden said...


I join Dorcas in affirming my appreciation for your blog--especially the balanced perspective you have offered on many issues and the wonderful stories of folks whose lives the Lord has allowed you to touch in evangelistic encounters. I taught biblical ethics for 10 years at The International Baptist Theological Seminary in Buenos Aires and the fact of the matter is that life isn't the convenient arrangement of black and white issues that we so desperately desire it to be. Far too often, it consists of lots of gray areas where our only recourse is to rely on God's grace for illumination and insights after having struggled with the biblical texts that relate to the issue and having sought the counsel of other wiser, mature believers. Most people don't want to go through that struggle. They simply want someone to tell them what the right course of action is in a given situation. That approach negates the role of faith. I pray that the Lord will help you run with endurance as the writer of Hebrews says with your eyes focused on the author and finisher of our faith.

5/07/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Kiki Cherry said...


Please don't get discouraged and certainly don't leave!!! You have great perspectives, and you always approach things with a humble, graceful spirit.

I hope you don't think I was arguing AGAINST you in my comment. I also think it would be imprudent to PROMOTE drinking.

My point was that I don't see it as one of the "main things."

However, I also think you make a good point on not causing a brother to stumble. Especially in Southern culture, I think that would be true. Up here, maybe not so much. Many Christians up here view casual drinking as acceptable, and would not have an issue with it.

For example--I like to use wine or sherry in cooking sometimes. I would not have an issue going in a liquor store to buy it here, because most people don't think anything of it.

If someone did ask me about it, I would simply tell them the truth about what I was doing. But in this culture people tend to be more straightforward in their communication.

However, I would probably not even go into a liquor store in Oklahoma, because just the perception could be a stumbling block.

5/08/2006 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Sweatman said...

I think Kiki makes an excellent point about the relationship between culture and alcohol. Here in the Bible belt, in many quarters it would seriously damage a Christian's witness to be seen drinking. But in other cultures it works the opposite way.

At our association's missions celebration last September, we were in a seminar with someone who had spent several years as an IMB missionary in France. As an IMB missionary, he had to pledge not to partake of alcohol. He told us that this presented the greatest barrier he faced in his efforts to witness to the French people. When he was invited to their homes he had to refuse the wine they offered. In French culture, this is a great insult.

5/09/2006 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...


I'm sure that is true. Let me tell you what happened to us in Canton. I had a new believer approach me before our first communion. He was worried that we had wine. Why? He was a recovering alcoholic. I wish it were more cut and dry.

5/09/2006 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Sweatman said...


It used to be cut and dry. But for some reason we had to go look at what the Bible really says, and that complicated things. Maybe God wasn't crystal clear so we would be compelled to seek His guidance rather than rely on a list of clear-cut rules.

5/09/2006 12:39:00 AM  

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