Sunday, June 25, 2006

Influence of Southern Baptist bloggers

I know this is late in coming, but I have been giving some thought to last week's Tennessean article where Wade Burleson is quoted, saying that young Baptist bloggers had a significant impact on the convention's presidential election. The following is pulled directly from the Tennessean:
Burleson, among the best-known Internet bloggers who have criticized the current Southern Baptist leadership, said the computer bloggers were key to Page's selection. "Page may have started out as the underdog," Burleson said. "But I attribute the fact (he won) to young men and women on blogs."
The more that I have read in the blogs following the convention the more I tend to believe that the conversations going on between blogs and bloggers can be more powerful than the back room politics that have dominated presidential elections in the SBC for the last couple of decades.

I wonder how long it will it take for older Baptists (like myself), and particularly, older Baptists from the Pressler/Patterson side of the fence to build their own online communities of bloggers? I'd much prefer to hear what all sides have to say rather than having a group that proposes to represent my best interests to hide behind a login. Personally, I believe the more daylight that blogs can bring to all sides of an issue, the healthier the debate.

I've never seen a blender at a Baptist fellowship before, but I'd be willing to pass along my Mexican Vanilla, banana, and strawberry milk shake recipe...particularly if it will squelch some of the guilt-by-blender-ownership association. Then again, I haven't always taken my milkshakes in moderation...*gasp*

Why stay Baptist?

It is a question worth pondering...and not just for moderates. I've been there several times when disgusted with the politics, backstabbing, and innuendo that frequent the press and the back-room meetings on both sides of the Baptist political aisles. But then, there are voices of reason and hope. Here is one that I'd like to think that we could agree upon (from Bill Wilson on Ethics Daily):
"Why stay a Baptist? We have inherited an amazing heritage, and while it is messy, our current setting offers us an opportunity to create a future that is unlike anything we have seen or known to date. What we need is courage, vision and humility."
Bill Wilson - pastor of First Baptist Church in Dalton, GA

Courage, vision, and humility...all good qualities that I consider to be worthy of Baptists. I don't mind messy. As a matter of fact, I embrace that word as key to how Baptists relate to the God of the Bible. Stay with me for a second.

We encourage new Christains to read their Bible and find a fellowship of believers where they can grow in their faith and mature in their Christian walk. The Bible in the hands of a believer is not a static many times as I have read the new testament, God reveals something new to me every time. It is not unlike getting those multi-folded directions in a box that has a picture of a completed bicycle on the front...the directions may not be perfectly clear and there may be more than one way of assembling things, but ultimately the intent is a (near) perfect bicycle. As a Baptist, I have enough faith to believe that God speaks to us, personally, through His word to lead us in a path of positive growth toward completeness (whatever that means). I do not have a problem when things get messy and people differ on what God is saying to them through the Bible...we talk about it, we pray about it, we love one another in spite of our differences and trust God to be faithful in His leadership in our lives. That last statement is key to my loyalty to the body of believers who call themselves Baptists. The God of my Bible makes no claim to be a Baptist. I am a Baptist by choice. I am a Christian by the grace of God, not the grace of my Baptist heritage...yes, it is messy, and there isn't anything wrong with that.

That deluxe brownie mix is enriched even more by adding milk chocolate morsels to the mix... the Baptist in me will take that to a pot luck dinner and call it my own recipe. The messy part of me has already received great joy from scrapping the sides of the mixing bowl and savoring every lick. (I feel a sermon comin' on)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

They both call themselves Baptists...

How did I miss this? Jimmy, Bobby...both presidents, both retired from office, both with that affectionate 'y' ending to their first names. Am I the only one who thinks there might be reason to check the family geneologies??

Ultimate Baptist question for the two of them... "Did Broadman ever publish a recipe for peanut butter?" Perhaps it would have been a sequel, "Why not the best peanut butter?" (If you don't get the bad references/innuendos, forgetaboudit)

Blogging. Again. But differently

I have missed being able to rant and rave about what is going on in the world of Baptists...and there are so many recipes and dinner conversations among my Baptist friends that need to see daylight. My previous posts did not put folks like my friends at Concerned Tennessee Baptists in a very positive light (granted, they do enough to portray themselves negatively without any help) but they do have important things to say. My friends over at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship aren't off the hook either, I love their zeal for missions but wonder if they are not forming another political convention because they didn't like the idea of being part of a political convention. Those voices, as well as many other diverse Baptist voices do not get the kind of hearing that they deserve and that isn't right.

The odd part of being away from blogging and reflecting on the recent events in Baptist life here in Tennessee and on a national scale with the Southern Baptist Convention, is that there is humor to be found in all aspects of controversy in Baptist life. Baptists have become more engaged and antagonistically political since the era of the conservative coup, back when Paige Patterson and friends decided to save Baptists from themselves. Being more political means that people do stupid things in the name of doing good and/or with good intension and somehow, we have forgotten how to laugh at our own indignation.

I am blogging again. I intend to poke fun at Baptists, conservatives, moderates, and liberals. We were blessed with a sense of humor (well, at least some of us) and I believe that it is high time that we use it.

I'm off to make campaign signs for Rev. Jerry Sutton. Rumor has it that he plans to run, I mean be called, to the pastorate at the First Baptist Church and Conservative Vatican in Dallas, Texas. I do love the idea of being called to a church, it reminds me of a mom standing on her back porch yelling the full, first, middle and last name of a child to get them home in a hurry...but children were rarely called to a higher paying home.

One last poke...listen carefully: if you don't appreciate sarcasm or satire, please read elsewhere or get over it (you know who you, go sit on it!). I intend to stir up thoughts that make us all uncomfortable. I became a refugee baptist when I saw my baptist friends become less and less Baptist and more and more focused on money, wrapped in pseudo-baptist banners of doctrinal purity... In the opinion of this Baptist, it IS about the money, do not let any one fool you into believing otherwise!

Green beans, yummmm...with a little bacon grease, I'd vote that they be approved as the official food of Baptists everywhere! Can I get a witness (or another recipe), please?