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.