"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


baptist brouhahas

Of all the things for which I am thankful to Jesus (and believe me, there are many), one of them is that, since I chose to no longer be a Southern Baptist, I don't have to worry about what they're going to do to embarass me every June anymore.

Sigh. You almost have to feel sorry for the SBC this year. Things aren't going super-well, and the fruits of 30 years of slash-and-burn purges turned out to have not been such a good thing for getting people to want to be part of your club. (One might argue that telling people who want to serve that they aren't good enough Christians to do so isn't exactly the best tactic for improving this little issue, but I don't have a dog in this fight, so I won't be the one to do so. Something about forests and trees comes to mind, though...) It's all pretty sad.

On the other hand, there's a definite sense that you reap what you sow. And cleaning up that mess is going to take a lot more than a fancy new website that proclaims that Southern Baptists are helping AIDS victims. (That would be a lot easier, by the way, if they hadn't pulled support for so many Baptist clinics in Africa a few years back to focus on church-planting instead. Also, ain't it a tiny bit deceptive to say that "Southern Baptists do not believe themselves to be the only authentic Christians, however, and work alongside other evangelical churches and organizations around the world" when many IMB missionaries have been shut down and shut out of doing just that?)

There was an interesting piece in the Washington Post this weekend about the stigmas associated with the name "Baptist," especially for churches who aren't Baptists of the SBC ilk. While I know that can be a problem for some churches (including SBC churches), I'm glad that I've been a member of progressive and moderate Baptist churches that have chosen to keep the name. I love having conversations with colleagues and friends about the true heritage of Baptists, how we were the ones who stood for the separation of church and state, and how Baptists were the ones who made the quest for civil rights in this country a movement. I wouldn't dream of being part of a church that called itself by any other name.


Blogger austinokie said...

if your teaching position takes you to some place where the only 'baptist' in town are ones you wouldn't have anything to do with, you might find yourself worshipping elsewhere...maybe that last time might be tempered a bit...You might find yourslf in a UCC church or Methodist or Episcopal...you never know...

Monday, June 09, 2008 12:03:00 PM

Blogger austinokie said...

I meant, "maybe that last line might be tempered a bit...."

Monday, June 09, 2008 4:40:00 PM

Blogger Charlie Mac said...

Maybe it is that I am a lot older, but I thank Jesus that I am a member of a Baptist church which supports the SBC and the CBF. Sometimes it is real tempting to leave the SBC. I truly suspect the
only reason we are allowed to remain in "good standing" with the SBC is the money amount we continue to give yearly. I do not know of a single member who has attended the convention meeting in years. We continue to support the CP because of the good the missionaries are still allowed to do, even after the change of focus. We do not agree with a number of current IMB and NAMB policies, but if "WE" (all of those who think like we do) quit, "THEY" (PP and PP and their ilk) win. Besides some day people like you may decide to return and who would welcome you back if "WE" all leave?
Mac McFatter
Semmes, AL

Monday, June 09, 2008 8:15:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Mac, fair enough. I'm glad your church has found a middle way, but the SBC has made it pretty clear that they don't have room for people like me. It's pretty hard to ever conceive of going back to a group when the point that you're not welcome has been made so forcefully for such a long time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 11:08:00 AM

Blogger Charlie Mac said...

I, nor most of the members of the church I attend, would be very welcome at the convention floor. I found it interesting that the convention voted against a SBC "sex offender" registry noting that each church was autonomous. Somehow that doctrine did not stop them from denying local churches the autonomy of calling pastors of a certain gender.
I am gettign closer and closer each year to "designating" my giving away from the CP.
Mac McFattter

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 9:00:00 AM


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