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Mar 20, 2009

Open Season Answers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11

[Disclaimer: The following answers are my opinion. I'm not a doctor, lawyer, guru, expert, self-proclaimed authority or any other thing that counts for much in this world. I’m not particularly brilliant, nor anyone special, and there are probably a lot of other really smart people you would be better off investing your time in. If you disagree with my answers, just discount them as the musings of an over-the-hill, irrelevant hick who rarely puts on long pants except for church and sometimes funerals. If you do disagree with any of my answers, I sincerely would love to know why because I always want to continue learning but... don't write and tell me you are offended. If you are offended because of my answer, do I get to be offended because you disagree? Let's not be offended, let's just disagree and thoughtfully/respectfully consider what we both have to say. Cool? ~BR]

TRB asked:
Thanks for your blog..I love your outlook! My question is: How do you store all of your photos? Flashdrive? I have many many photos and it takes over an hour to download them (USB drive). How do you handle this? Thanks and God Bless.

Since I have several of my own websites (several is an understatement) I store my own pics on my web hosting packages. This allows me to access them the way I want, back them up, and size them however I want. If you'll right-click on any of the big pictures on our blog you'll see the location is typically www.brentriggs.com/blogpics... I would recommend everyone get a basic $4/month web hosting package at somewhere like GoDaddy so you can have a place to store content, and even create other pages you can link to from your blog.

Many of the unique features, images and gadgets you see me use on our blog are served up from my other websites because I have control over them. Blogger gives you limited ability to be creative with your blog. A service like GoDaddy provides all the simple tools you need to do this. You don't have to be a programmer web dude like me to have your own "other website" where you can store pics, pages and content.

Left Out asked:
I know you are busy and you do as much as you can but why do you encourage everyone to email you or comment with the thought that you will get back to them when you do not. People send you emails with questions or asking for Hope and to be ignored can really hurt. I know you don't have time but you shouldn't make people think you will take the time for them when you won't be able too. I know you do your best just hope you have something to say to those that are left out from talking to you.

We do not "make people think" we answer each and every question or comment and it is exceptionally obvious that would be impossible anyway. To the contrary, we go out of our way regularly to say that we do the best we can, but can't answer every inquiry or comment. Occasionally, we miss something we wish we wouldn't have missed or even forget to do something we said we would do.

We are not SELLING advice, prayer or responses. We do it out of love. I have had, and will have again in the future "professional mentoring" programs where I promise certain levels of attention, accessibility and responsiveness... where I do make promises of attention and responsiveness that is being paid for. But this is our personal blog where "what you see is what you get". We pray no one thinks we are disingenuous, insincere, manipulative or making false promises but have no control over anyone who does.

We invest as much time as we possibly can responding to multitudes of questions and comments each week besides writing the content on the various sites (riggsfamilyblog.com, brentriggs.com, seriousfaith.com). I write tons of material and the portion of my writing, advice and content that is "for sale" is probably less than 1% of what I've written that is accessible to anyone for free. In a very real sense we respond to vast numbers of people each month by writing content relevant to typical and common real life.

We will continue to invest much of our life in ministering through teaching, writing, answering questions, praying for people, etc and we pray for the strength and time to help as many people as God would have us help.

Claire Smith asked:
Hi Riggs family, quick question. What are your opinions and rules about modesty in your home? Certain rules on certain items of clothing worn? There are so many questions and not enough answers out there. Please let all of us (your readers)know. Thanks and God bless!!

We try to start teaching modesty at an early age because you can't ignore it when they are 5 and expect them to care when they are 10. We live in a very immodest world, and it takes great effort to counterbalance what is seen on TV, at school, out in public and even, sadly, at church. (that is not a statement about our current church; I'm speaking about what I've seen in dozens of churches over the years)

One of the most popular SeriousFaith.com series I have ever written was on modesty. You can find it on my Bible teaching site - www.seriousfaith.com - at this link: http://www.seriousfaith.com/dvo/devotionseriesdetail.asp?seriesid=34

Kelly asked:
How do you and your family feel about and cope with having such a public blog with so many strangers knowing intimate details of a very personal struggle?

Of course there are many details we don't make public. We try to use discernment and wisdom in knowing what to share, and what is appropriate to keep private. The part we choose to share we do for one reason: we believe that God gives us opportunity for faith and life experience so that we can teach others... be an example for them. We are called to imitate Christ, so that others can look to us for an example to follow.

Our heart is to teach, mentor and minister. It's hard to do that effectively on non-personal level, which in an online setting, means sharing your life publicly. We don't propose that is the right thing for every teacher or mentor... we just know it is the life and ministry that God has led us to. Again, let me be clear... we express our journey publicly to help others grow in their faith by learning from what we experience. Of course we feel perfectly okay about it, or we wouldn't do it and there is really nothing to "cope with" because we feel it is a ministry.

Holly from Purpose Driven Family asked:
Brent, I'm just wondering how you got such a hot wife? ;+) Hugs to you Michelle!! Holly Oh and I would love to hear how Sami is doing with her English. She looks like the shy type...but so beautiful!

I got such a hot wife because she has high standards and was waiting for a smokin' hot guy. She finally gave up and settled for me. Yes, I'm sure that is the reason. I'm sure. Really.

Sami is doing wonderful with her English, amazing in fact. We thought Sami looked shy too before she got here. She LOOKED shy. That's where it ends. There's not a shy bone in her body.

Ange~ asked:
First of all, I am so happy that Abby is doing better! Praise God. My questions, and I have two of them. One, is Landis Abbys biological brother? And two, where did the name Meemaw come from?

Landis is NOT Abby's bio-brother. MeeMaw... I have no idea. I've always called my Mom "Maw" which is comes from our rural roots... I think maybe my older brother's kids starting calling her that first and we just continued it. I think those types of names come up because "grandma" makes some seasoned ladies feel old. I used to call my grandmother "grandnippy" and she thought that was a hoot.

No name asked:
Do I remember you saying awhile back on your blog that when you adopted Abby that you knew she would have Leukemia one day? Or am I just imagining that? If so, how did you know? I am guessing there was some kind of gene that told you that.

No we didn't think or know Abby would have Leukemia. We've stated that GOD KNEW and it was obviously His providential will for us to adopt her because He knew what care she would need. She does have a gene which statistically makes her more likely to die from Leukemia, but it didn't make her more likely to GET Leukemia.

Michael asked:
Do you have friends of other faiths? How do you handle the faith topic with them? Is it just an *agree to disagree* or do you actively try to convert them? (I'm Jewish, but I enjoy reading the religious parts of the blog as well as all the Abby update!)

Of course we have many, many friends of other faiths and no faith. I have Mormom friends and family, non-religious friends, Jewish, Islam... you name it. You can multiply that many times over if you count our blog friends. People write us routinely and say "we don't believe like you or don't believe in God but we respect your committed stand and how you help others."

We also have family and friends of every skin color and ethnicity. We have Latino and black adopted children. We have native American Indians in our family. My son is dating a very precious young lady who is half Japanese. We're just a regular "U.N." (minus the America-hating weasels).

Like you, I think reasonable, mature people enjoy it when opinion and commentary is presented with conviction as well as compassion and reasonableness. I LOVE to hear from my friends who disagree. The Bible says that "iron sharpens iron" and good disagreement is a great growth tool. I get tired of how we've lost the ability to respectfully disagree, remain friends and learn from each other rather than "getting offended" every time someone states a belief we don't like.

Why get offended? Just disagree. "Offense" is a very selfish response because the offended person obviously doesn't care that THEY ARE OFFENDING the other person by their disagreement (if the same standard is applied equally to both sides). In other words, "it's okay if I'm offended that you believe something I don't believe, but don't you be offended at me for pointing out that you are not only wrong, but insensitive, uncaring and obviously ignorant. You should listen to me, change your mind, issue an apology and a retraction... and don't let it happen again or I'll be offended again."

What ever happened to our culture where the enthusiastic, healthy and even intense debate of ideas was enjoyed and embraced?

Marie asked:
After last weeks debacle, are there topics you will deliberately avoid from now on because it would cause such controversy? Does it worry or concern you if people are genuinely offended and hurt by any of your opinions, religious or otherwise?

I don't avoid topics BECAUSE they are controversial, nor do I jump on them for the sake of controversy. The only topics I "avoid" are topics in which people are simply baiting you into a controversial answer (you'll see questions like that most every week and after a decade of public writing, I'm pretty good at spotting them), or questions where there is an obvious agenda (rather than a seeking of truth, the question is meant to present a predetermined point of view), or topics in which we know from experience you are NOT going to change anyone's mind, so "why bother?".

I most certainly worried or concerned about "offense" when it is caused by my own lack of compassion, patience, ignorance, self-centered communication or impulsiveness. When I do offend someone because of my own character flaws, I go to great lengths to try and make it right. I offended my friend Jennifer this week when I made a comment to her that was not well thought out and communicated poorly. She was offended and I deserved it. I immediately apologized, explained myself and did what I needed to do to restore our fellowship.

If the offense comes because of the Truth, then so be it. For example, if I say "God exists" and it offends people who don't believe in God, then so be it. If I say "sex outside of marriage is sin" and it offends people who don't believe that, then so be it. In today's world, ANY person who takes a stand for Truth (and believes object Truth actually exists) is going to offend a world that has worked hard to declare there is no real truth, and right/wrong is relative.

The only way to avoid offending people is to have no standards, no beliefs, speak of nothing tough or difficult, and to ignore the majority of what God says about the human condition and character. This is why we have all manners of popular teachers and preachers today that have huge followings... they avoid anything "offensive" such as sin, right and wrong, absolutes, or the exclusiveness of Truth.

Laurel asked:
What type of church do you attend? Denomination or Non-Denominational? Contemporary or Traditional? Worship Songs or Hymns? King James or NIV? Suits and Dresses or Jeans? Big or Small? Big City, Small Town, or Rural?

My routine answer to "what kind of Christian are you?" or "what denomination are you part of?" is to say: I'm a Christian who reads, believes and obeys the Bible to the best of my ability. I really hate the labels and stereotypes we force on people: are you liberal or conservative? Arminian or Calvinist? Lordship or Grace? Mainline or evangelical? A literalist or progressive? Spirit-filled or cessationist? (not saying Laurel is doing that, this was just good opportunity to address the topic)

Yes, those are all questions and topics we deal with but it has become too easy to label another Christian and quit listening to them because they read a certain Bible version or attend a church with a certain name across the door. And it works both ways... we either automatically accept people as "one of us" or often dismiss them based on a single label.

Having said that, get your label maker out, here's my answers in order of the questions asked: God's, uh-huh, yes, yes, yes, I don't personally wear dresses, both, rural is the next size UP from our town.

Kelli Bosarge asked:
Hi Brent, I wanted to ask your thoughts of the publishing company that you use for your books. How does it work? Does it differ from the other self-publishing companies out there? Would you be willing to give a review of the company? Have you ever dealt with or are you familiar with Oklahoma-based Christian-based Tate Publishing? Thanks!

I use different publishing sources but for my books, primarily Lulu.com. You self publish so you can either do all the formatting and graphics yourself, or pay a designer... or, you can upload plain text into templates they have, and create a cover from their pre-existing templates. It's all pretty easy to use at a basic level, but feature rich enough that it can be used at a professional level as well.

Yes, I know about Tate and have friends associated with them. They are more of a traditional publisher and have different programs. They are pretty selective about who they work with, and I've always heard good things about them.

Since I write, do my own design and have an existing readership, I choose to 100% self publish with Lulu.

3 comments:

Kelli said...

Great answers, thanks Brent. One of my students just published with Tate, so it is a company that I would eventually like to consider myself. That is, if I can EVER finish any of my manuscripts!!!

Left Out said...

Thank you for answering my question. I am sorry if I sounded like I did not appreciate your posts and your blog. I am grateful for what you share and just was sad to not get a response to the email I sent you but I understand more why I did not.

I hope you and your family is well.

Sweet Joni said...

WOW! Lots of good stuff here :) Thanks AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN LOL for ALL your Writings/Blogs/Pics/Etc.

Yes, I saw the NoName requesting me to email so on my way to that... blog went pPRIVATE because I need time to LEARN, play with it, edit, etc... (even though my life is an "Open Book" somethings in Blog just isn't for 'EVERYONE' & since I recently PROMOTED others via other means I closed THIS blog). It WILL in time open. Please be patient & hopefully will look a bit better LOL no promises!
Thanks & Blessings,
~Joni