Thursday, September 28, 2006

Good coverage on Tennessee Baptist Colleges

Since I have (again) been reprimanded for harsh remarks about the Tennessee Baptist Convention's Baptist and Reflector, I wish to be fair when the reporting on the three higher education institutions that the TBC claims as their own is fair and balanced. Congratulations to Belmont, Carson-Newman, and Union for increasing enrollment this fall. These are three fine institutions. They are unique in their own ways. I hope that the diversity they represent offers our Tennessee Baptist students good choices to match their particular calling.

By the by, I have been questioning what really makes our Tennessee, Christian colleges and universities "Baptist". In the most recent B&R articles regarding enrollment, Carson-Newman indicated that 55% of her students claim to be Baptist... if democracy has anything to do with it, I'd say that alone makes Carson-Newman a Baptist institution... perhaps there is more to it.

Pickled green bean salad! I haven't had that in quite a while, but it must be a Baptist dish: lots of variety, an interesting flavor, good color, and enough of a 'twang' to keep your taste buds a little off balance. Yes sir, it is a Baptist dish!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tennessee Baptist Convention giveth... and taketh away

Sorry, Union University and Carson Newman College... you are about to get the shaft. The Tennessee Baptist Convention is proposing a budget that reduces this year's budget allocation to its two higher education institutions by $375,000 each.
Debate centered around the $2,3330,304 that had previously gone to Belmont University. At last year’s annual meeting, the money was reallocated with the largest percentages going to the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program budget (in an effort to send 40 percent of the total CP budget to the SBC) and the other two state colleges — Carson-Newman College and Union University.

The proposed budget leaves in the allocation for the SBC but reduces the money going to Union and C-N from $500,000 each to $125,000 each. Other entities which received extra funds last year also received less funds this year, including the Executive Board missions and ministry budget and Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes.

Added to the budget from the Belmont funds was $750,000 for the Belmont Study Committee.

The last time that I posted something to warn Carson Newman and Union University of the convention's intentions to exercise more and more control, one group on the internet accused me being a Belmont representative. It is clear to me from this budget cut that the TBC is continuing a course in reducing its overall emphasis on supporting the Christian educational opportunities for our church members. As for the the $750,000 of cooperative funds that were mentioned...doesn't that sound like expensive "mediation"? That sounds more like the TBC is willing to pay its lawyers more than it is willing to support our two Baptist schools.

Another interesting reference in the article is the mention of "Belmont funds" stupid is that? There are no TBC funds going to Belmont University either this year or last year. Be truthful, B&R, these are cooperative program funds, not Belmont funds.

To my friends at Carson Newman and Union, please give a little extra love to your development staff... the sooner you can ween yourselves of TBC funding, the better. And remember, when the vote comes at the TBC to cut your funding back from $500,000 to $125,000 that its "not about the money".

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Boomer is Better

Belmont University's Boomer Herndon has been hospitalized for the last couple of weeks. Two pieces of news are worth noting: The mass in his chest is not cancerous...a collective sigh and prayer of thanksgiving surely followed that announcement. The other good news is the reaction of Lipscomb University coaches and players who among other things signed a card and visited him in the hospital. There is just something heartwarming to see fierce competitors come together as Christian brothers at times like this.
Sunday afternoon update: Rumors are floating around that Boomer is headed home on Wednesday. The growth in his chest may have been something resulting from his summer travels.

When good news is buried...

...somehow finds it. In my desparate search to find even a hint of news about Belmont University and the ticking clock to a November Tennessee Baptist Convention implosion, I found this story from a new student in a blog:
"The first experience that left an impact on me was move in day. On August 19, my mom, brother, and I pulled up infront of my residence hall with an SUV and a sedan full of "necessities" (right....). And I kid you not, the only thing that I carried to my room was my pillow. There were so many students and faculty members ready to lend a helping hand that all the hard work was done before I could blink an eye. Now, my move in day was different from most because that morning my mom fell and broke her foot, but have no fear! Belmont's head of nursing was right there as we were unloading and took care of her until we could get to the doctor. That has basically been a theme of my life here so far. Whenever you have a need, it's met before you can even ask."
These Belmont people had better watch out. Someone in the conservative camp might accuse them of demonstrating Christian compassion and service. Or is this another case where, "It reveals the destruction that liberalism has caused in many Baptist colleges. This same damage has happened at Belmont University in Nashville, TN." (quoting directly from CTB) OK, that is harsh...but if someone doesn't shed some light on the good news that is happening at Belmont, then the only voices that Tennessee Baptists will hear are the distorted voices of those who seek control rather than what might actually be best for the university.

I had lunch in the Belmont cafeteria last week with an old friend and fellow Baptist, Dr. Herbert Gabhart. What an incredible jewel of Tennessee Baptist life is this man. I trust his insight as Tennessee Baptists trusted him with the reigns of Belmont for so many years. If you ever get a chance to ask him about his university and where it is headed, you will find nothing but enthusiasm and a sweet spirit. We as Tennessee Baptists would do well to learn from this wise and elderly statesman. I know without question that Dr. Gabhart is a true Baptist...he saved room for dessert!