Southern Religion

Leadership secrecy is an ‘insult to Southern Baptists’

Norman Jameson, editor of North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder, gets right to the point:

Being a denominational journalist or any Baptist with a contrary opinion in the current era of Southern Baptist Convention upheaval sometimes feels a bit like a tick picker atop a rhino. It’s an important role, but the rhino is going to go where he will.

And nowadays, he gets there in secret.

His immediate concern is the closed-door session in which the SBC North American Mission Board on Sept. 14 “interviewed, discussed and voted on their new president behind closed doors.”

The 37-12 vote hiring Kevin Ezell for that job was ferreted out, but not announced.

As Jameson argues, secrecy is the longtime, continuously destructive rule at the Southern Baptist Convention.

For example:

We agree with Jameson that the result is destructive:

Baptists want to believe in the work of our institutions. We want to continue supporting them. Closed doors indicate a lack of trust in us. It is hard to support an organization that doesn’t trust you.

Do Southern Baptists who refuse to put up with it have to leave the denomination?

September 16, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , | 3 Comments

ABP pierces SBC fog: Split NAMB vote for Ezell

The Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board voted 37-12 on Sept. 14 to appoint Kevin Ezell their new president.

In keeping with the Southern Baptist Convention’s frequent practice of keeping church members and the public at large in the dark, the NAMB didn’t release a vote count. Still hasn’t.

The independent Associated Baptist Press reports:

NAMB officials did not release a vote count, but according to multiple sources with knowledge of the board’s deliberations, the vote was 37-12. Ezell, pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., was a controversial choice, because during his tenure the church’s budget tripled, yet the congregation now gives little more to the Cooperative Program unified budget and SBC mission offerings than it did 10 years ago.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | SBC | | 1 Comment

German Cardinal Walter Kasper too ill to visit GB

Of course Cardinal Walter Kasper has been ill “for some days,” but who knew he would not be accompanying the pope to England before it became known that he had commented:

When you arrive at Heathrow you think at times that you’ve landed in a Third World country.

Nick Squires in Rome and Martin Beckford of the London Telegraph wrote:

Cardinal Kasper, who recently retired as the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity having headed it since 2001, said that Britain was a “secular and pluralist” country in which there was a “distance from God”, noting that there was “a crisis of faith” in much of the West.

He referred to the case of a British Airways employee, Nadia Eweida, who was suspended by the airline in 2006 after she refused to stop wearing a crucifix around her neck, and alluded to the activities of prominent atheists such as Professor Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion.

Cardinal Kasper made the remarks during an interview with the German magazine, Focus, and is said to be ignoring suggestions that he apologize.

So the remarks become an unretracted part of the pope’s [now ongoing] state visit to England, and is dubbed by Michael White of the Guardian, “only the latest contribution to what now amounts to a major motorway pile-up.”

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | | Comments Off on German Cardinal Walter Kasper too ill to visit GB

There was a mosque/prayer room in the south tower

All of Richard Land’s contrived arguments about how close for a mosque is “too close” to Ground Zero for the Park51 center falls to hypocritical pieces when you realize that interred in the rubble are the remains of the mosque in the South Tower.

Call it aprayer room” if you wish.

It was on the 17th floor, and it wasn’t the only space in the towers where faithful Muslims prayed:

Moreover, the prayer room was not the only example of Muslim religious practice in or near the trade center. About three dozen Muslim staff members of Windows on the World, the restaurant atop the north tower, used a stairwell between the 106th and 107th floors for their daily prayers.

Without enough time to walk to the closest mosque — Masjid Manhattan on Warren Street, about four blocks away — the waiters, chefs, banquet managers and others would lay a tablecloth atop the concrete landing in the stairwell and flatten cardboard boxes from food deliveries to serve as prayer mats.

During Ramadan, the Muslim employees brought their favorite foods from home, and at the end of the daylight fast shared their iftar meal in the restaurant’s employee cafeteria.

After 9/11, Muslims prayed at Ground Zero for their fellow Muslims who had been irretrievably interred in the rubble.

Samuel G. Freedman of the New York Times wrote:

Fekkak Mamdouh, an immigrant from Morocco who was head waiter, attended a worship service just weeks after the attacks that honored the estimated 60 Muslims who died. Far from being viewed as objectionable, the service was conducted with formal support from city, state and federal authorities, who arranged for buses to transport imams and mourners to Warren Street.

There, within sight of the ruins, they chanted salat al-Ghaib, the funeral prayer when there is not an intact corpse.

“It is a shame, shame, shame,” Mr. Mamdouh, 49, said of the Park51 dispute. “Sometimes I wake up and think, this is not what I came to America for. I came here to build this country together. People are using this issue for their own agenda. It’s designed to keep the hate going.”

The underlying truth of the counterfactual uproar over Park51 is fanning the flames of hate, Richard.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Religion, SBC | , , | 2 Comments