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Woes of the SBC Pharisees

Enid, Ok., pastor Wade Burleson is conducting more than a personal homiletic exercise when he flogs the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) through Matthew 23. His whip of the “Woes of the Pharisees” does burn, and rankles some SBCers.

Burleson cuts immediately to the bone with his (2) “pastors and self-proclaimed leaders of the SBC have seated themselves in positions of authority” who even demand (6) “that they be called “Dr.” by those who know them.”

No, prez Johnny Hunt isn’t the only SBCer with with a fake Phd. on his resume. Nor does Burleson gloss his excoriation with footnotes. Whether he has Hunt in mind is from the text unknowable.

Likewise, readers may find any number of SBC controversies among Burleson’s other broad hints.

Or choose to read his short-form allegorical satire – not quite Dante’s Divine Comedy – as straightforward experimental sermon.

It’s surely a stretch (unless perhaps you’re from Missouri, Georgia, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho, and others on a growing list) to read (23) & (24) as somehow in part commentaries on the Great Commission Resurgence Task force recommendations. He writes:

(23) Woe to you, SBC pastors and self-proclaimed SBC leaders, hypocrites! For you emphasize giving, giving, and giving, but you neglect the weightier things: justice and mercy and faithfulness. Don’t neglect these things while you seek the dollar! (24) In your blind greed you are straining gnats and swallowing camels.

Whereas it is hard not to read (29) through (33) as criticisms of what David Flick in a different context usefully calls the “conservative insurgence.” Burleson writes:

(29) Woe to you, SBC pastors and self-proclaimed SBC leaders, hypocrites! For you exalt other pastors and you build monuments to their legacy, (30) saying, ‘If we had lived in the liberal days of our forefathers, we would have helped them them in turning around our convention.’ (31) Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered your brothers. (32) Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. (33) You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to judgment yourselves?

Tim Dahl found it useful to ignore SBC political implications and read himself into the text. As did this writer.

If Burleson’s whip stings, is it because your back needs it?

April 2, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , , | 1 Comment

Resurgent acceptance of homosexuality

Homosexuals were not vilified before the 1870s because they had not been identified as “other,” Cody Sanders writes for the Associated Baptist Press. Specifically, he argues:

French historian Michel Foucault reveals that the advent of conceptualizing the “homosexual” as a particular type of person with a specific “lifestyle” didn’t occur until the 1870s in medical discourse (History of Sexuality, Vol. 1). What’s more, one of the earliest known uses of the word “homosexual” in American English showed up in a medical paper in 1892 (the term “heterosexual” made its debut around this same time). Certainly, same-sex sexual acts have been commonplace from time immemorial — but before the end of the 19th century, anyone could conceivably engage in same-sex sexual acts. It was only with the advent of “homosexuality” as a medical descriptor, that a specific type or kind of person was thought to engage in these sexual acts. What is significant about Everett’s anachronism is that, while in 1850 Texas Baptists may not have tolerated men having sex with men, they certainly didn’t deem “the homosexual lifestyle” abnormal or sinful. In 1850, same-sex sex acts may have been deemed “sinful” — but no church held what [Executive Director Randel Everett of the Baptist General Convention of Texas] views as an unwavering “theological position” on homosexuality.

Everett was referring to the case of Royal Lane Baptist Church, which precipitated a standard Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) homosexuality crisis when its diaconate voted to say on its Web site:

Royal Lane Baptist Church is an inclusive, multi-generational congregation joined in Christian community. We are a vibrant mosaic of varied racial identities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and denominational backgrounds.

Will Wilkinson finds in his analysis of World Values Survey data that attitudes in the industrialized world are going Royal Lane’s way as people come to accept homosexuality as something people are, rather than a sinful decision they make.

Where Wilkinson’s data shows the U.S. shifting back toward treating homosexuality as wrong, the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll comes to an opposite conclusion.

Despite the Catholic/Mormon investment in Proposition 8, a majority of Californians now favor same-sex marriage:

Among all Californians, residents are more likely to favor (50%) than oppose (45%) same-sex marriage for the first time in the PPIC Statewide Surveys. Support among all adults has never surpassed 45 percent since the question was first asked in January 2000. There are clear partisan divisions: majorities of Democrats (64%) and independents (55%) are in favor, and most Republicans (67%) are opposed.

There is much more consensus on the issue of gays and lesbians in the military. In the wake of Obama’s announcement that he would like to repeal the federal “don’t ask, don’t’ tell” policy passed in 1993, 75 percent of Californians say that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

Does the data imply a sort of Great Commission Resurgence for churches driven out of the SBC?

March 30, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , , | 1 Comment

It’s official: States don’t like the GCR report

Opposition to the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force’s progress report has become official. The Georgia Baptist Convention‘s Executive Committee voted to ask the task force to reconsider part of the document.

The head of another state convention said the report broke his heart.

The task force report affirms the Cooperative Program – Southern Baptists’ traditional method of collecting funds. State conventions collect CP funds from churches, keeping part and passing the rest on to the Southern Baptist Convention.

The GCR report also calls for a new category of giving called “Great Commission Giving” that would include CP, plus designated offerings to Southern Baptist, state convention and association causes.

The proposal has already been questioned by a Baptist editor, a pastor and a denominational expert.

David Lee, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, said in a Baptist Press article that he is concerned that the new giving category will not enhance financial support.

“What this new proposal suggests is tantamount to the local church saying to members, ‘We would like for you to give to the general fund, but if you had rather designate your tithe for the pastor’s salary or the student ministry or to buy a new bus, that will be OK,'” Lee wrote. “I fear that this new designation has more to do with making some of us feel better about how we already do things than it does about calling us to a higher level of stewardship and missions commitment.”

The Georgia convention Executive Committee asked the task force to reconsider and clarify:

The wide application of the phrase ‘Great Commission Giving’ for monies given through the Cooperative Program as well as to designated causes may cause some Baptists to surmise wrongly that the Cooperative Program is merely a subset of giving instead of the primary means of missions giving for Southern Baptists. A reconsideration of terminology may bring clarity to the GCRTF’s desire to keep the Cooperative Program as the central means of support for Great Commission ministries, while still acknowledging the important role that designated gifts play in mission support.

The Georgia convention’s statement says it wants the task force to “formally encourage and challenge local churches specifically to increase their support and sacrificial giving through the Cooperative Program.”

J. Robert White, the executive director of the Georgia convention, is a member of the task force and talked about the Great Commission Giving when the group gave its report.

White promised Executive Committee members that he would “represent their sentiments as effectively as possible at the group’s next meeting on April 26 in Nashville,” according to the Index. In an earlier interview with the paper, White said that there is a “critical” need for Southern Baptists to recognize the need for Great Commission Giving.

“The time for unity is here. Let’s unite under the theme of ‘Great Commission Giving.’ Let’s do it for our missionaries. Let’s do it for our ministries. Let’s do it for our Jesus Who commanded that we take the Gospel to the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

White also said some feared the new designation would lead SBC entities to solicit funds directly from churches, which would violate the SBC Executive Committee’s business and finance plan.

“It is absolutely essential that the boards of trustees of our entities exercise strict control over their entities to see that direct solicitation among our churches does not happen. Such solicitation is a direct threat to the very existence of the Cooperative Program.”

The question is how many churches will decrease their CP giving because of the new terminology, even without solicitation. The church of the only announced candidate for SBC president didn’t need solicitation. Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., has cut its CP giving from 10 percent to 3.5 percent, the Index reported.

The church’s pastor, Bryant Wright is running for president. The Index outlined the church’s giving patterns and noted a guest commentary in which Wright called for “a radical reprioritizing of Cooperative Program funds through our state conventions.”

Wright said state conventions which often use more than 60 percent of CP funds, should instead keep no more than 30 percent.

The task force report already calls for the North American Mission Board to end cooperative agreements with state conventions, a move that some say will kill smaller state conventions. The states would lose more than $50 million if the agreements end.

“One of the key elements missing from this report is what has been the marquee of Southern Baptist success in doing missions — cooperation,” Lee said. “Despite the call for unity, this new strategy will in essence pit the national SBC entities against state conventions and local associations, making us compete for resources.”

Replacing the Cooperative Program with any type of competitive program will bring about an official desurgence.

March 22, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , | Comments Off

Disfellowship churches which through silence foster and compound sex abuse by clergy

Christa Brown points to the applicable passage in the Baptist Faith and Message:

We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick.

There can be denominational consequences, after all? That does not mean it is acceptable to fail to support the victims of abuse in your own church, or silently send abusive pastors along to other churches, does it? Or is the passage merely advisory so that continued negligence is acceptable?

March 20, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , , , | Comments Off

Another Southern Baptist church calls a woman pastor & debate ensues

Debated has erupted in the South Carolina Baptist Courier, over the decision of Columbia’s Eau Claire Baptist Church to call Kelly Dickerson Strum to be co-pastor.

Unlike Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., with which the Georgia Baptist Convention is set to cut ties over Mimi Walker’s role as pastor, this appointment has apparently not invoked formal exception.

The debate in the letters section of the South Carolina’s Southern Baptist state newspaper has taken what has become an almost classical form, however, beginning with an objection to the announced calling.

Mark R. Krieger of Easley, citing the Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M) and 1 Timothy 2:12; 3:1, writes:

After my study, I found there is no biblical support for women to be ordained as a pastor of a New Testament church. As our Baptist Faith and Message puts it, men and women have gifts for service in the church, but pastor is not one of those women are gifted for.

Richard E. Moore of Columbia, a member of Eau Claire Baptist, responds with both an appeal to church autonomy and a personal example:

In addition to the Scripture referenced by Mr. Krieger, I would like to share some other verses: Proverbs 3:6, Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 3:3, Matthew 28:19-20 and, probably most on point, Galatians 3:28 and Acts 2:17. Having two small granddaughters of my own, it saddens me to think of young women being taught that these verses might apply only to males. Throughout the history of Christianity there are examples of how the Bible has been used to justify discrimination of one kind or another against our fellow human beings. We all know that all human beings are made in God’s image and that, as Christians, we all become children of God, but maybe Fred Craddock was correct when he wrote that “learning what we already know is painfully difficult.”

Ray Elder of Ridgeland then comes with an ax:

The autonomy of the local church has become a “trump card,” allowing any given congregation to do as it pleases with little or no accountability to the Scripture. The New Testament concept of autonomy is summed up in The Baptist Faith and Message as it states:

“A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers ‘governed by His laws ‘” (Article VI).

Autonomy in the local church never trumps accountability to the Scriptures!

Although associations had no official authority over the church in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, local churches were held accountable to the Scriptures by the associations through censorship from participation. (See Mark Dever, “Polity,” Nine Marks Ministries, 2001). Where there is a clear violation of Scripture, associations and conventions are responsible to hold churches accountable to the Scriptures to protect the integrity of the body, which was the New Testament pattern. The head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, might well have an ax to grind with the church today concerning the autonomy of the local church versus accountability to the Scriptures.

The Prince of Peace with an ax? The scripture doesn’t lead Southern Baptists like Wade Burleson to that conclusion.

Yet it is the ax of inquisitional disfellowshipping that typically falls next, with enforcement of the BF&M 2000 as a creed.

After much Batholicism, some local Southern Baptist association, state convention and/or the SBC is one vigorously innovative church less than it was before.

Is that Savonarola burning I smell, or merely the Southern Baptist Convention, smoldering?

Addendum

Cody Sanders, a doctoral student at Texas Christian University’s Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, writes:

Our ever-narrowing confessions of faith, enforcement of theological homogeneity and proliferation of churches expelled from denominational and associational bodies seem to suggest that the commitments that have historically set us apart as Baptists don’t really matter to us anyway.

March 19, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , , , , | 4 Comments

I can see clearly now … [through the GCRTF fog] … Or not

Annual % change in SBC membership

Annual % change in SBC membership 1950-2007

By SteveDeVane

A March 16 conference call clarified the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) progress report, which outlined a proposal which is intended to revive the declining SBC. A hotly debated proposal [1, 2]. And issues remain.

According to task force members on the call, if the GCRTF recommendations are adopted:

  • The North American Mission Board will still partner with arguably threatened state conventions and associations, but NAMB will guide the strategy.
  • State conventions and associations can still receive funds from NAMB, but the national group will prioritize where the money goes.
  • Existing North American missionaries can keep their positions, but only if they are willing to emphasize church planting.

Discussion focused how the recommendation would affect local groups of churches and less on issues which have recently occasioned heated comment. Nor did the group discuss a serious statistical error which distorted the report’s recommendations — miscounting which produced the shocking, wrong, finding that most NAMB missionaries are deployed in the Old South where the SBC dominates the religious landscape.

Ronnie Floyd, chairman of the SBC task force, said he regrets that some think the group’s report calls for a “top-down” approach. But, he said, the task force remains committed to the SBC’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) “to become the leader, guiding us with a strategy toward reaching North America.”

Floyd said NAMB will continue to work with state conventions, associations and churches, but that partnership might look different. The progress report calls for an end to cooperative agreements between NAMB and state conventions, a move that may kill some smaller state conventions.

“We are not trying to create a North American Mission Board that is operating in and of itself. The North American Mission Board can do nothing apart from local churches and can do little apart from the associations and the state conventions,” he said. “We need each other.”

Floyd said the concept of cooperative agreements will remain, but they might be called something different.

“Obviously there will be some kind of commitment toward partnerships,” he said.

Floyd said the task force believes there needs to be an “overall national strategy” to “penetrate the lostness” of North America.

Bobby Gilstrap, head of communications for the Network of Baptist Associations, said such a strategy sounds as if it would be implemented “across the board.” He asked whether it should be developed in the field, to better meet the overarching objectives of the NAMB.

Floyd agreed, but said NAMB should be to North America as IMB is the “guiding strategist for reaching the world.”

Regarding funding issues that smaller conventions might face, Floyd said he couldn’t speak for the task force, but:

“I foresee personally that in many of these areas these strategies will continue as long as those people are connected to a strategy to penetrate lostness and there is a beginning time and ending time to that partnership, which is exactly what happens right now in relationship to cooperative agreements. But again it is all going to depend on how and who is there to penetrate the lostness of our nation.”

Task force member Jim Richards, head of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, said there are limited resources. The prioritization of those resources falls to the NAMB and the SBC and relates to the association’s strategy, he said.

Richards, who also said he couldn’t speak for the task force, said he is a strong advocate of cooperative agreements with state conventions and associations in strategies “so that we won’t walk on each other, so we can accomplish more by coordinating our efforts.” He said such agreements are “absolutely essential.”

“Now cooperative agreement and cooperative budgeting are two different things. Obviously the cooperative budgeting aspect of it would have to be done on those projects and efforts and strategies and events and goals and long-term and short-term measurable results that would advance the kingdom and carry out the Great Commission at its highest, maximum investment. I think that has to be done among partners.”

The association, the state convention, NAMB and IMB would want to enter into such agreements, he said.

Richards said he thinks it would be “foolish” to bring in new people into areas where people are gifted and skilled and have passion as long as they are “willing to transition to prioritize their efforts and energy to carry out church planting as the number one emphasis in their job description.”

Richards said local associations will be the “point of the spear” for the Great Commission since churches are the “focal point.” As such, he said associations have a “vital and important role to play” in the future.

Floyd responded to a question about perceptions that the task force’s efforts were politically motivated. He said no one in the group wants to hurt anybody, and the members were learning that others are committed to the Great Commission but differ over how to accomplish it.

Floyd said “process always precedes product,” and different processes are required to get different products.

“Some of the processes in the SBC need to be addressed,” he said.

Floyd said choices in the SBC are not “good versus evil,” but “good versus what’s best.”

Task force member David Dockery said the group is primarily casting a vision for how Southern Baptists can fulfill the Great Commission through a renewed commitment to collaboration and cooperation, he said. National, state and local leaders will be responsible for carrying it out, he said.

Floyd said many young pastors have said they loved the progress report because it presented a vision for church planting and penetrate lostness.

“It’s all about the local church. That’s what they understand. They understand that. If we’ll just stay there and take them where they are and have a broad enough entry point into the ministry of this denomination to receive them in love in a way that would honor the Lord and honor biblical truth, listen man they can help in a tremendous way.”

Floyd said that many young Baptist pastors say that if the GCR report passes, the SBC might attract those who have disengaged or who have never been involved with a denomination.

Whether young ministers would indeed be attracted by the change, or whether the SBC will embrace the recommendations at the 2010 annual meeting, June 15-16 in Orlando, Fla., is not at all clear. There is, however, room for revision. The GCRTF recommendations to the SBC have not been set in a final report.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , | 2 Comments

GCRTF aims for unity & provokes division

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) said it wanted to unite Southern Baptists. Instead, high-profile quarrels have broken out over last month’s progress report and skepticism appears to be taking hold.

Issues within the SBC

What The Nashville Tennessean called a “rare public feud” erupted between “conservative leaders” of the SBC “over how to spend money and set priorities in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.” International Mission Board president Jerry Rankin took aim at SBC Executive Committee president Morris Chapman.

Chapman told state convention executives on Feb. 10, “Cooperation is foundational in everything we do jointly as believers.” Rankin responded by accusing him of putting cooperation above the Great Commission. Rankin wrote:

Apparently it doesn’t matter whether we impact a lost world or accomplish anything else as long as we cooperate together. In fact, it was said that the formula for Cooperative Program allocations must not change. I now understand why for 17 years I and my staff have been meeting with the budget workgroup of the Executive Committee, presenting our required report on funding needs, but nothing is ever done. It is just a meaningless exercise of denominational bureaucracy.

Chapman reacted, telling Baptist Press:

I am saddened that Jerry so blatantly misrepresented my comments. The men who heard me speak know what I said, what I think of Christ and His commands, and where I think cooperation falls in any list of priorities. I would never say that cooperation is the purpose of our Convention. It is only a means to an end — to assist Southern Baptists in working together for the common purpose of furthering the Kingdom of God.

Rankin went on to say that he has become exasperated because of “difficulty in nailing down the purpose of what is being done” while working with other groups within the SBC:

“On Mission Celebrations, which used to be World Mission Conferences, is a mission event hosted by local associations. IMB, NAMB, WMU and State Conventions all send personnel to speak in the churches, report on what we are all doing in missions, supposedly to enhance mission awareness. Pressing to know if there is an outcome that is supposed to result from this event, I am usually told that the event is an end in itself. Nothing is done that actually enlists and equips the church for missions involvement once the week is over.

Rakin later apologized (via his blog) to Chapman.

Cooperative Program issues

Chapman’s statements to the state executives highlight another strain of disagreement concerning the GCR Task Force report. This one is over Cooperative Program (CP): Southern Baptists’ traditional method of funding. Churches send money to state conventions, which keep a portion, and send the rest to the SBC. Thus “cooperating.”

Norman Jameson, editor of the North Carolina Biblical Recorder took issue with the report’s suggestion to add the term “Great Commission Giving” to Southern Baptist funding. “Great Commission Giving” would include CP and designated giving to other Southern Baptist causes.

“When the average CP giving of task force member churches is less than five percent, the report’s recommendation to ‘reaffirm the Cooperative Program as our central means of supporting Great Commission ministries’ rings hollow,” he said.

Chapman suggested that CP funding be split evenly between state conventions and the SBC. Where as now, according to the GCR task force report, states keep an average of 63.45 percent of CP funds.

“Any proportion other than 50-50 comes with an inescapable perception of greater importance for one side of the equation and less importance for the other,” Chapman said.

The task force interim report doesn’t call for that specific change. It does say, “When churches give more through the Cooperative Program and state conventions keep less of it within their respective states, and a compelling unified Gospel vision is cast for Southern Baptists, we will see giving through the Cooperative Program increase in a major way.”

State convention issues

The report also calls for the SBC’s North American Mission Board to end cooperative agreements that send more than $50 million to state conventions.

In summary then, task force called for states to send a larger percentage of money to the SBC and to get by without money NAMB sends back to them through the cooperative agreements. That’s two losses of revenue in revenue-short times.

Some believe the proposals would kill some state conventions and that the recommendations represent a top-down strategy that is a recipe for managerial disaster.

In Alabama, state convention leaders say adopting the recommendations would “devastate” the state and “change the face of evangelism” there.

Gary Swafford, director of the state convention’s associational missions and church planting office, said the proposals would “eliminate major ministries across the state.” Eight positions would have to be cut, convention officials said.

The executive director of the Baptist Convention of Iowa said ending the cooperative agreements amounted to the SBC “writing us off.”

The state executive, Jimmy Barrentine, said some people seem to have the impression that state conventions, especially ones like his, are putting their own future above the Great Commission.

“The fact is that we are diligently seeking a continued opportunity to collaborate with the North American Mission Board in seeking the fulfillment the Great Commission,” he said. “We want to work with the entire Southern Baptist Convention family, but it is our partnership with the North American Mission Board that seems to be most in peril.

“Before writing us off, releasing NAMB from its cooperative agreement with us, please prayerfully consider the following offers,” Barrentine said before listing several ways his convention would like to continue that partnership (from continuing to work with “Buckets of Hope” to continuing to “partner with NAMB in ministry to appointed missionaries”).

Local church issues

Jim Drake, a pastor in West Virginia, says the task force report “leaves the impression that a handful of ‘significant’ churches must rescue our convention from the malaise left to us by small churches.” He disagrees. Drake started a series of posts on the value of small churches by pointing out eight examples of “kingdom work” that happened in three and a half years he spent at a “country church” in Asheville, N.C.

In the last of eight posts Drake wrote about the GCR report, he said his questions were not “blind defenses of the status quo.” In fact, he added, the mission of the Great Commission is the mission of the local church.

“Insofar as Southern Baptist denominational institutions and entities facilitate and assist that mission, they are extremely beneficial,” he said. “On the other hand, whenever they circumvent or attempt to replace local churches in accomplishing that mission, they are counterproductive, wasteful and potentially destructive.”

F. Russell Bennett, Executive Director Emeritus of the Long Run Baptist Association in Louisville, Ky., asked if some of the report’s proposals are not contrary to its declaration that the local church is “Baptist headquarters.” Bennett also wondered if the some issues in SBC agencies might have resulted from appointments made during times of theological controversy.

“For the past 20 years there have been examples after examples of persons being placed on significant boards without qualification for service except allegiance to a theoretical position,” he said. “If the Task Force wants to improve the agencies of the SBC perhaps they should investigate the fountain head, namely the appointment process.”

The GCRTF isn’t likely to revisit that divisive era. The final report will do well to mine some sense of unity out of the divisions which have erupted over the interim report.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , | Comments Off

Blocked/ignored/slammed for asking questions about or of Southern Baptist leaders?

It is an American axiom that timely questions often help the nation, its organizations and its people make better decisions. Tough questions, like those like those currently being asked of Ergun Caner, writes Wade Burleson, are “legitimate queries of a Christian brother to ensure accountability and integrity of Christian ministry.”

Yet Southern Baptist leaders are apparently often prey to an allergy to questions. Ordinary twitter users who seek clarification from key leaders like SBC President @johnnymhunt, researchers like President of LifeWay Research @edstetzer or sometimes even from a publication like the @westernrecorder (just to name a few) learn this quickly enough.

Genuflection via retweeting is the default SBC twitter response to leadership tweets. That’s why resounding silence is likely to greet even the best-phrased, best-intentioned, most germane of queries.

Violations of the genuflection rule are punished. Curious twitter users may find themselves blocked (forbidden to follow a user’s tweet stream) for asking a pointed question. Even more often twitter-blocked is anyone who somehow receives and asks additional questions about an answer. Much less disagrees. Thus making inappropriate and disruptive use of the “block” function to suppress ordinary debate and commonplace journalistic inquiry.

Because so many of the SBC chickens do barricade themselves in their pulpits, SBC twitterworld offers satiric accounts, like @fakebp, directed at gently smoking them out with humor. Similarly, there are satiric twitter hashtags, like #fakeGCR.

Together those help reveal how often clarity of statement and transparency of intention are disdained.

But accountability, Pastor Burleson?

Srsly. For the time being, not absent the application of a hammer or like device.

February 27, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , , | 1 Comment

Hot Air move to Salem is an audience buy

With the announcement timed to coincide with the Conservative Political Action Conference, which opened today in Washington D.C., the conservative blog Hot Air has been acquired from Michelle Malkin by Salem Communications.

Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) conservative political activism is visible in the fretwork of that deal. Salem’s board of directors features “Judge” Paul Pressler, architect of the SBC conservative takeover. Among Salem’s syndicated radio shows iare Richard Land Live, whose host is chief of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and the Albert Mohler Program, whose host is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Mediaite alludes to that commercial political/religious binding when it writes:

Salem Communication defines itself as a leading U.S. radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content and conservative values. Perhaps their most relevant property to this transaction is Townhall.com which claims itself to be the #1 conservative website. The “About Us” section of its website claims “Townhall.com pulls together political commentary and analysis from over 100 leading columnists and opinion leaders, research from 100 partner organizations, conservative talk-radio and a community of millions of grassroots conservatives.”

Debt-burdened Salem was “branded a ‘bottom rung’ company by Moody’s Investors Service” because is saddled with “the weight of $320 million in debt.” And HotAir brings to that business mix a large audience injection, with attendant potential for increased advertising revenue:

Hot Air ranks as the seventh-largest conservative website over the past three months, according to rankings from the Web information company Alexa — though the rankings include Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and Drudge Report

Townhall, meanwhile, had the 12th-largest audience over the same time.

We’ll see whether the ideological synergies are sufficiently financial.

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Publications, SBC, WWW | , , , , , , | Comments Off

Using the attacker’s words to blame the victim

Abused by Baylor University when she had to courage to report being assaulted by “murdering ministerMatt Baker when he was a student there, Lora Wilson is still a target of reflexive abuse.

Blame the victim is a hideous American practice, not exclusively a Southern Baptist sin — one at which Christa Brown fired back when Lora Wilson was maligned with Baker’s words in a recent blog comment.

The smear continues in part because the Southern Baptist institutions which are at fault have failed to acknowledge their responsibility. Christa writes:

To this day, no Baylor official has made any public expression of remorse. No one at First Baptist of Waco, a church that had two reports of Baker’s abuse, has expressed any sorrow about letting the man move on without consequence. No one at the Baptist General Convention of Texas has offered any explanation for how someone with so many abuse and assault reports could move so easily through its affiliated churches and organizations. And no one in Baptistland has made even the feeblest of effort to reach out to the many more who were likely wounded by “murdering minister” Matt Baker — the many who are probably still silent.

February 9, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , , , , , | Comments Off

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