It was a new world for me. Turning on a computer, hearing that distinctive tone as the modem connected to something called the internet. It was so new to me that I remember emailing my friend Bill Collins to ask what the “e” stood for in email! Not long after I got online I joined a Bible study group that functioned via email. It was called Berean Spirit.
It was such a feisty list that I unsubscribed in only a few days … it was overwhelming! Thousands of people were discussing a hundred different passages and ideas. But then a week or so later when I calmed down I re-subscribed. And there I met some wonderful ‘friends’. The word ‘friend’ … it seems so natural to call someone you’ve never met a ‘friend’ these days! But you communicate and get to know another person. The cast of characters on Berean Spirit was worthy of any movie script and it was a great time. It took me a long time … years … before I finally left for good. During that time I actually inherited the list from originator Al Maxey, and passed it along to Gerry Parker.
Among those characters that I met on Berean Spirit was Nelta Brock. And she was quite a character. She could hold her own with the scholars … “mere men” as she liked to call them. I could see their ears turning red as they read her words. She was direct, consistent, and she wouldn’t back off of her convictions. I liked that about her. She loved calling the churches “institutions” and declared that the assembly was nothing more than enjoying a cup of coffee with a Christian brother or sister and encouraging one another. You can ask any Church of Christ person who has been on almost any of the email study lists – and they’ve had an encounter with the famous NIB. Her encounters with Steven Clark Goad or Bill Denton were legendary!
I only met Nelta once … at Tulsa Workshop. She was delightful, engaging, and a joy to be around. I just knew that the person on the other side of that sharp keyboard was a caring and loving person … if she wasn’t, why would she bother with the Bible discussions? I loved the time spent with Nelta, Bill, and Steven all together at the same table. You would have thought by reading Berean Spirit that this would be a disaster. Not in the least! It was a cold time at Tulsa that year. Nelta went to Sears and bought me a flannel shirt-jacket. I was so touched by her kindness.
My friend Linda Green told me today that Nelta has passed on to her reward. In another generation we would have never met, never known about one another. I’m thankful for my online friends … they do touch my heart. Nelta did. God bless her and her family.
You can read NIB’s obituary HERE.