Southern Religion

Let’s not call Delaware Republican Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell a ‘nut’

Unless we’re prepared to apply the same brand to any number of conservative Catholics. Casting Republican political electoral pessimism about O’Donnell aside, Mary Ann Kreitzer writes:

She’s pro-life across the board and pro-family, an unapologetic Christian. She opposes gun control and favors control of our borders. She opposes pornography and has called masturbation “a sin.” O’Donnell is a pro-abstinence Catholic and a fiscal conservative.

In that light, the video below is simply a sincere if not-quite-mainstream statement of conviction:

O’Donnell’s financial difficulties and exaggeration of her academic qualifications may be, however, far more difficult for her supporters to embrace.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Politics | | 1 Comment

Ezell must overcome a mismatch of experience and personality to NAMB restoration

Arkansas Baptist News Editor Charlie Warren welcomes Kevin Ezell aboard as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s troubled, sprawling North American Mission Board. After two successive failed administrations and a discussion of merging it with the foreign-missions-focused International Mission Board, the NAMB is on the ropes.

All Ezell lacks for the job of restoration is appropriate experience and diplomatic skills.


[Emil] Turner, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, commented prior to Ezell’s election, “It seems surprising to me that the search committee would recommend someone whose level of support for the North American Mission Board through the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering could not sustain the work of NAMB were it to be duplicated widely across the convention…. I would hope that the new president of NAMB could be an example of commitment to the Cooperative Program as called for by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force and to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.”

Ezell’s flippant, sarcastic response about concerns raised by David Hankins, Louisiana Baptists’ executive, and Turner fails the diplomacy test.


Complicating matters for Ezell, the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force recommendations, approved by messengers to the SBC annual meeting in June, ripped apart the cooperative agreements NAMB has with state conventions without suggesting an alternative means for NAMB to cooperate with state conventions in the future. Ezell will have to figure out how those cooperative relationships will be redefined.

Good luck with that, and may the GCR cadre [force?] be with you, it seems.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Religion, SBC | , , , | Comments Off on Ezell must overcome a mismatch of experience and personality to NAMB restoration

Catholicism at the “tipping point”

Sheila O’Brien, a cradle Irish Catholic from Chicago cries out, “Excommunicate me please.”

Bryan Cones, managing editor of U.S. Catholic and a man not given to hasty pronouncements, responds:

Why should anyone care about Sheila O’Brien? She isn’t Anne Rice, after all. And her complaints about “an institution off the rails” will surprise no regular follower of the Catholic scene: an unresolved sex abuse crisis, Roman authorities who seem deaf to the aspirations of women and even punitive toward some, a lack of financial transparency. “How can we stay in a church whose leaders protect pedophiles?” O’Brien asks. “Yet how can we leave and relinquish our church to those very leaders?”

But I think who she is and the demographic profile she reflects matters as much as what she wrote: a cradle Irish Catholic, the granddaughter of immigrants, a professional woman, a wife and mother. In other words O’Brien represents the “thick middle” of the American Catholic Church. She’s active in her parish and still contributes to it (but writes “one-time bequest” on every check, she says, so nothing goes to the diocese). She’s a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, and she even has a degree in pastoral theology. In other words, she’s Catholic with a capital C.

. . .

Catholicism has reached a “tipping point”–initiated by the crisis but perpetuated by other unresolved issues–after which thoughtful Catholics, despite their faith and commitment, finally start to give up.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, children | , , | 1 Comment

Worst headline nominee

Virtue Online tells is, “Russian Metropolitan Blasts Anglican Communion’s Sexual Innovations.”

No, the Kama Sutra does not have an Anglican Communion version now. It isn’t at all what it sounds like.

It’s just a shrill headline on an overwritten but otherwise interesting story about debate over the ordination of women, same-sex marriage and the like.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Anglican, Religion | Comments Off on Worst headline nominee

What are you doing on the Internet?

The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that you’re probably sending or reading email (62%), using a search engine (49%) or getting the news (43%).

Social networking (38%) like twitter or Facebook is tied with just having fun(38%). Then there’s the ever popular checking the weather (34%), and everything else Pew measured in May is below 30%.

Except for total American adults who used the Internet on an average day (78%).

September 15, 2010 Posted by | WWW | | Comments Off on What are you doing on the Internet?

Yes, Al Mohler’s pastor was elected head of SBC’s NAMB

Kevin Ezell, pastor of Louisville, Kentucky’s, Highview Baptist Church, has according to the Louisville Courier-Journal “been elected president of the North American Mission Board, a vast network of more than 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries and other church workers.”

Pastor to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler, Ezell was elected by some undisclosed margin of the NAMB trustees, “despite public opposition from Baptist state executives from Louisiana and Arkansas. They lauded Ezell as a pastor and a person, but cited Highview’s approach to missions funding.”


The church directs most of its mission funding to specific causes and gives relatively small amounts through the Cooperative Program — the denomination’s unified budget that funds the board, international missions, education and other causes — and through an annual Easter offering to the board.

Opponents said Ezell would have a difficult time persuading other churches to support the Cooperative Program and the Easter offering, which provided two-thirds of the board’s revenue in 2009, according to its annual report.

NAMB has been troubled and a focus of controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention. For example, the possibility of merger with the similarly troubled International Mission Board was recently noised about, and dropped.

Ezell is of course restrained, logical and analytical in his approach to problems and criticisms. In responding to those who raised questions about his nomination, he said:

Because of the visibility of the position, there are people across the United States who want to look for things that perhaps I do not do as well or they think we should do different, and perhaps be critical of myself or of Highview, just to try to get their name in the paper. Typically those are bloggers who live with their mother and wear a housecoat during the day. Just ignore them, but I apologize if you are hurt by anything that they might say about me or indirectly about you.

What do you think? Can the SBC expect Ezell to create the free flow of valid data required to restore general confidence in NAMB policies, procedures and claims?

September 15, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , | 2 Comments