I have been a member of Hulen Street Baptist Church for eight years, and I have known our Pastor, Jim Pannell for as long. It is a privilege to call him a friend and a mentor, as well as a steadfast spiritual leader. He did not perform our marriage, but he did baptize our children. I have not traveled to Libya with him to hobnob with Islamic terrorists, but he has been over to our house for dinner more than once, and my baby son pooped on his family room floor.
Although I have not known him for twenty years, I can say with complete confidence that Jim is not a racist, anti-Semite, or a proponent of class warfare. Neither privately nor in public does he spew profanity-laced rants against America. In fact, I am quite certain that the vision for the purpose and direction of our Church which he voices every Sunday is completely compatible with my view of the mission of the Church. This is true because the message Jim preaches is based on the one standard of truth, The Bible, and not on some political ideology of victimization.
If there was a fundamental difference in our essential beliefs, including the fact that all people are created equal in God's image and equally in need of God's grace, I would have left more than seven years ago.
A Church is not just another organization, like the Ladies Gardening Club. It is a body of believers joined together by the common bond of Christ for the purpose of doing the most important task ever given to mankind -- leading others to know Jesus in a life-changing way. Because I decided to join with this Church and partner with this particular body in ministry, the best way to know my core values is to examine my Church. I reflect on them, hopefully in a positive way, and they reflect who I am and what I am all about.