A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Southern Baptist War On Yoga

Don Hinkle of Missouri's The Pathway has taken the lead in this effort. As you may remember, we here at thebigdaddyweave.com have tinkled, eh taken on Mr. Hinkle before.

Check him out at Thoughts And Adventures:

New Age yoga, a form of Hinduism, is working its way into some of our churches.

Earlier this year, former LifeWay Christian Resources President Jimmy Draper offered this warning: “Our society is ripe for demonic activity. Our preoccupation – and even ‘flirting’ – with the occult invites demonic oppression. Even the seemingly innocent and careless use of occult tools is tragic. Things like the use of a Ouija board, astrological horoscopes, witchcraft, and even yoga are dangerous and provide openings for the demonic into unsuspecting lives.”

Books on yoga occupy the bookshelves of Christian bookstores. Churches offer it as a class. Some are calling it “Christian yoga,” but there is nothing Christian about yoga. In fact, rather than lead Christians to God as it claims, it actually leads Christians away from God. Many Eastern religions teach that the source of salvation is found in us and that the fundamental problem is ignorance. This is contrary to what the Bible tells us. The fundamental human problem is not ignorance, but rather our sin against a holy God, who gave His only son as our only source of salvation.

It is estimated that 20 million Americans practice yoga. It’s certainly “hip” among the rich and famous. Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Monica Lewinski, Hillary Clinton, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Al and Tipper Gore are all yogis......

Hinkle may have his hands full with this one. A cursory glance at ultra-conservative Baptist colleges and universities reveal that Houston Baptist University, Union University, Shorter College and my favorite fundamentalist institution of higher learning Brewton-Parker College all employ YOGIS!

Virginia Intermont College, Wayland Baptist University, Shorter College, and Oklahoma Baptist University all have offered courses in yoga. Baylor too, I might add.

At these Baptist schools, I wonder how many students have been led to demonic activity as a result of excessive stretching? The ridiculous demands of fundamentalists like Hinkle are just downright funny sometimes. First Harry Potter and now yoga....what's next?

Just because something is not decidedly Christian doesn't mean it's anti-Christian.

Hinkle can't seem to grasp that point. We don't live in a black and white world....

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century

Paul Rauschenbush, great-grandson of Walter Rauschenbusch and associate dean of religious life and the chapel at Princeton University, has edited the re-release of his great-grandfather's best-seller Christianity And The Social Crisis In The 21st Century. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of this classic text, the edited volume includes chapter responses from today's leading public theologians including Phyllis Trible, Tony Campolo, Joan Chittister, Stanley Hauerwas, Cornel West, James A. Forbes Jr. and Jim Wallis.

Christianty and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century: The Classic That Woke Up The Church

In the wake of the success of God's Politics, comes an anniversary edition of Walter Rauschenbusch's Christianity and the Social Crisis, a book which outsold every other religious volume for three years and which has become a classic and mainstay for any Christian seriously interested in social justice.

PBS has named Rauschenbusch one of the most influential American religious leaders in the last 100 years, and Christianity Today named this book one of the top books of the century that have shaped contemporary religious thought. So it seems fitting on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Christianity and the Social Crisis that Rauschenbush's great–grandson should bring this classic back into print, adding a response to each chapter by a well–known contemporary author such as Jim Wallis, Tony Camplo, Cornel West, Richard Rorty, Stanley Hauerwas, and others.

Between 1886 and 1897, he was pastor of the Second German Baptist Church in the "Hell's Kitchen" area of New York City, an area of extreme poverty. As he witnessed massive economic insecurity, he began to believe that Christianity must address the physical as well as the spiritual needs of humankind. Rauschenbusch saw it as his duty as a minister and student of Christ to act with love by trying to improve social conditions.

This, in fact, inspired leaders such as Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Ghandi and Bishop Desmond Tutu. "Christianity is in its nature revolutionary" Rauschenbusch wrote, and the significance of his work is that it spoke of society's responsibility to the poor and downtrodden.

In the present atmosphere of heightened debate and even antagonism between political and religious viewpoints Christianity and the Social Crisis will again be a book that will provoke intense responses by people on every side. As the disparity between the rich and the poor in America continues to widen in the 21st century, the book's explication of the radical social message of Jesus is as applicable today as it was 100 years ago.

Paul Rauschenbush was kind enough to send BDW Sr. a copy of this great book. I stole the book from BDW Sr. and plan to publish a review here and elsewhere in the next month or so.

Check it out at Amazon.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Baptist Theologian Blasts John Piper & Calvinism

In an op-ed published in the Baylor Lariat, Roger Olson, professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, takes on John Piper and Calvinism.

Olson definitely throws a few punches.....

A snippet below:
The God of Calvinism scares me; I'm not sure how to distinguish him from the devil. If you've come under the influence of Calvinism, think about its ramifications for the character of God. God is great but also good. In light of all the evil and innocent suffering in the world, he must have limited himself.
Read the rest here.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Ode To South Carolina

Miss South Carolina 2007 Speaks.....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Fifth Century Initiative: Recapturing the Baptist Vision

With the 400th anniversary of Baptists right around the corner, Dr. Bart Barber, a Southern Baptist pastor and conservative blogger, has put together a document entitled The Fifth Century Initiative: Recapturing the Baptist Vision. Check it out:

The Fifth Century Initiative
Recapturing the Baptist Vision

Baptists embark upon their fifth century of modern existence beginning in 2009.1 Seventeenth-century Baptists asserted several New Testament precepts that we can isolate as the distinctive tenets of Baptist identity. These concepts coalesced for the seventeenth-century Baptists into a prescription of interconnected propositions for congregational reformation.

Four centuries have nearly elapsed. As the fifth century of modern Baptist existence dawns, the key New Testament precepts that define us have recently waned in influence and support among Southern Baptists. We are forgetting who we are—who Christ has called all Christians to be. At a moment when we once again need spiritual awakening and reformation, the New Testament prescription that served so well in the first and the seventeenth centuries beckons us again.

An initiative is in order to place before God’s people once again a vision for renewing the New Testament foundation of our congregations. Several tasks await faithful Baptists who would pursue this end:

  • The Restoration of Biblical Literacy: None of the initiatives stipulated in this document are feasible in their fullest sense apart from a concerted campaign to acquaint the Southern Baptist people with the sacred text. Southern Baptists must develop viable congregational strategies for pursuing biblical literacy among our members.
  • The Pursuit of the Great Commission: New Testament congregations are a construct intrinsic to the gospel and universally relevant to all people, cultures, and ages. Our congregations must visit afresh the Divine imperative to reproduce themselves throughout the world, embracing opportunities to engage the task with greater vigor than before.
  • The Proclamation of the Gospel: Southern Baptists must regain a confidence in the power of the unadorned gospel to win the lost and to effect a lifetime of transformation. A confidence in the converting power of the gospel is in many ways the theological premise underlying the entirety of the Baptist vision.
  • The Recovery of Regenerate Church Membership: Southern Baptists must restrict membership to visible saints.
  • The Defense of Believer’s Immersion: Troubling signs of erosion have appeared on the bedrock of Baptist belief—the ordinance of believer’s immersion. Southern Baptists must assert not only the biblical certainty of this doctrine, but its biblical importance. Christian immersion is the nonnegotiable initial act of obedience for every Christian disciple.
  • The Development of an Updated Southern Baptist Church Covenant: Many issues have emerged in the past century to pose new challenges to congregations. An updated covenant would greatly assist in recalling Southern Baptists to covenantal accountability as foundational to congregational life.
  • The Renewed Exercise of Biblical Church Discipline: Several leaders have done significant work to commend to Southern Baptists the biblical mandate for church discipline and to provide practical guidance for the recovery of church discipline in lapsed churches. Building upon this work, the Southern Baptist Convention must assert these reforms not merely as one way to “do church” but as the New Testament model for mutual accountability among Christians.
  • The Rehabilitation of Congregational Church Polity2: Baptist polity has far too often degenerated into the unholy pursuit of personal agendas. After an embarrassing hiatus, Southern Baptists have found once again the New Testament basis for congregational church governance. Now we need practical guidance to demonstrate how to restore the Lordship of Christ in the midst of congregational church governance.
  • The Mobilization of the Universal Priesthood: Southern Baptists do well to consider one of the most robust New Testament doctrines for Christian mobilization—the recognition of all believers as members of a universal Christian priesthood with responsibilities for spiritual service. If the members of the congregation are all regenerate, then all are obligated to participate in the congregation’s mission.
  • The Revitalization of Cooperative Association: Pragmatism and an inappropriate competitive spirit have sometimes marred relationships between sister congregations. Also, the waning of Baptist identity has diluted the fraternal doctrinal accountability that has historically marked the relationship between churches in their associative bodies. Southern Baptists need to recover a healthy cooperative life that encourages healthy congregational life.

1The year 1609 is, if nothing else, the first year to which the vast majority of historians—successionist or non-successionist—can point and identify genuine Baptists. Whatever disputed Baptist existence occupied 1608, the modern phase of the movement begins in 1609.

2Congregational church polity describes a broad category of polity with many viewpoints on such matters as the number and role of elders.

At his blog, I told Dr. Barber that I could do without footnote #1. I guess in the context of the current Southern Baptist Convention, historians like Barber feel the need to acknowledge their successionist (Landmarker) brothers. To acknowledge Baptist successionism is tantamount to a 8th grade Physical Science text citing the Flat Earth hypothesis in a positive light....in my opinion.

Nevertheless, I believe most Baptists, even moderates, would agree with much in this document. So, bravo to Dr. Barber for that!

However, what is wrong with the document is what is missing....

There is no mention of religious liberty and freedom of conscience, a Baptist concern from the earliest days of Helwys. The two issues that Baptists wrote on the most in their first century were baptism and religious liberty. No focus on religious liberty in a 21st century or Fifth Century vision? What gives?

The Fifth Century Initiative never mentions dissent! And and you can't tell the "Baptist story" without the D word! No liberty of conscience, no religious liberty, and no dissent....all hallmarks of the people called Baptists.

While nothing in the document gets my panties in a wad, I am "bothered" by this line:
"The Defense of Believer’s Immersion: Troubling signs of erosion have appeared on the bedrock of Baptist belief—the ordinance of believer’s immersion. Southern Baptists must assert not only the biblical certainty of this doctrine, but its biblical importance. CHRISTIAN IMMERSION IS THE NONNEGOTIABLE INITIAL ACT OF OBEDIENCE FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE."
Immersion has been a major theme no doubt, though technically it was believer's baptism that mattered first - the method, which was pouring, was less significant. Baptists began to immerse about 30 years later or so in the 1640's. Anyways, what about the Christians that are baptized but not immersed? Are they not being obedient?

I'm okay with the church discipline part. Churches can't turn their heads at blatant sins by members, especially those with money. But, church history has shown that the desire for purity must be balanced by the need for forgiveness and restoration. This document would be better if it mentioned both the need for holiness and forgiveness rather than a Calvin type strictness. As Baptists climbed the social order into the middle class, they realized that much church discipline is nit picky vindictive legalism. I'm not okay with that type church discipline.

Associations, as Barber says, often had doctrinal accountability. But I believe the purpose of associational life should be for ministry and fellowship. It seems that here and throughout the rest of the document, uniformity in thought is of the utmost importance.

What say you?

I'm interested in reading the response of Southern Baptist "dissenters" on this subject....

Ted Haggard Asks Supporters For $$$$$

Fallen pastor Ted Haggard is back in the news.

This time he's pleading for moolah from his friends and former parishioners.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Rev. Ted Haggard, who left the megachurch he founded after admitting to "sexual immorality," has asked supporters for financial assistance while he and his wife pursue their studies.

The former New Life Church pastor plans to seek a master's degree in counseling at the University of Phoenix while his wife studies psychology, he said in an e-mail sent this week to KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs.

The couple and two of their sons planned to move Oct. 1 to the Phoenix Dream Center, a faith-based halfway house in Phoenix, where Haggard and his wife would provide counseling, the e-mail said.

"It looks as though it will take two years for us to have adequate earning power again, so we are looking for people who will help us monthly for two years," the e-mail said. "During that time we will continue as full-time students, and then, when I graduate, we won't need outside support any longer."

According to the AP, Haggard received a salary of 115K for 10 months of work in 2006, a 85K anniversary bonus before his sex scandal and a severance package of 138K. Haggard also collects royalties on his book titles and his home (which is for sale) has a market value of 715K!

This is utterly ridiculous. I hope no person is foolish enough to give this man a dime.....


Saturday, August 25, 2007

SBC Pastor John Killian Endorses Ron Paul

Last week at the 2008 Alabama Straw Poll sponsored by the West Alabama Republican Assembly, the Reverend John Killian, pastor of Maytown Baptist Church, offered his public endorsement of Republican Presidential Candidate, Ron Paul.

In addition to pastoring a growing SBC church in Birmingham, Alabama, Killian has a seemingly popular blog. C.B. Scott, one of the four SBC bloggers who met with Jimmy Carter several months ago, gives both Ron Paul and John Killian two-thumbs up:
I shall vote for Ron Paul in the primary. He is against the abortion of both babies and guns. My kind of guy.

Better than that, I believe John Killian should be the next president of the SBC. His church is one of the two growing SBC churches in West Birmingham. He is the genuine article. The last of a vanishing breed. The SBC needs him. You folks need to elect him in Indianapolis this coming June. No one owns him except Jesus and Jeanie.

During Killian's 15+ minute endorsement speech for Ron Paul, I noticed that he never addressed any hot-button social issues. No mention of abortion. No mention of gay marriage/homosexuality. And obviously, there was no mention of poverty. No mention of HIV/AIDS. No mention of the environment. Nada. Zilch.

Coming from a pastor, I found the absence of such pressing moral issues to be rather odd.

But here are a few lines from the Rev. John Killian's endorsement speech....
We want a sovereign nation not under the control of the United Nations but a free and sovereign nation. And if those are your principles today then your candidate is Ron Paul.....

It's a privilege to stand behind Congressman Ron Paul who has vever once voted to limit gun ownership on the hands of the people...that man is Ron Paul ......

If you think government is too big, then your candidate is Ron Paul.....

We have {Republican} candidates who are bragging about the fact that they supported Universal Health Care when they were Governor of their state. That's not Reagan Republicanism!.....

Someday I intend to die and like Dr. Ron Paul has said I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior, I intend to go to heaven that day. And I wanna to see Patrick Henry,George Washington, and John C. Calhoun. And I'll say - "that which you fought for is that which we still stand for in this land."
John Killian might want to rub elbows with George Washington. But I'm not sure that George Washington the Deist would satisfy the fundamentalist litmus test for what constitutes a Christian? But anyways, watch at least the first minute or two of the Killian video. It's a hoot. The guy sure can holler.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

God's Warriors and Jimmy Carter's Aphorism

It's impossible for a Fundamentalist to admit that He is ever wrong because he'd be admitting that God is wrong....


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Satirizing The Southern Baptist Convention

From Seth of the Imaginary News Network! A Classic!

Jesus Returns, Joins Southern Baptist Convention

AUGUSTA, GA - In a glorious nod to orthodox preterists everywhere, Jesus Christ has returned. In an equally shocking turn of events, He has decided to join the SBC. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for SBC Chairman Bill Harrell said, “I told you so.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity the spokesperson then went on to mention that not every person in the SBC is happy about the events of the recent weeks.

“We are somewhat concerned about His use of alcohol,” said the spokesperson. It is well-known that the SBC has absolute intolerance for any use of alcohol. “Well, I mean, we’ve read about the whole water to wine thing, and the whole ‘blood of the covenant’ thing, but we never figured that He meant he would really ‘drink from the fruit of the vine’ again.”

When asked why, the spokesperson said, “The neo-liberal, heretic, emerging kooks get to pick and choose what they like, why shouldn’t we be able to do the same?”

As it turns out, the SBC formed a committee to discuss the issue of Jesus Christ’s use of alcohol in ceremony and in celebration of His return. This committee was sequestered for several days, debating the theological implications of Jesus actually using alcohol. After several days of debate and discussion, an unofficial verdict has been leaked.

“We’ve decided that it is not in the best interest of the SBC to have Jesus Christ in a prominent role, so we have suspended Him and are requesting a formal resignation. It’s not Jesus that we have a problem with, it’s the alcohol. It just isn’t the image we want to portray.”

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New SBC Blog Adopts Moderate Name

A group of five fundamentalist bloggers are launching a group blog similar to the "new" and struggling SBC Outpost.

And the name of this hot new blog?

SBC Today

Wes Kenney & Company clearly need to brush up on their Baptist history....

Apparently they forgot (or never knew) that SBC Today was the most staunchly MODERATE newspaper from 1983-1991 at the height of the Fundamentalist Takeover or so-called "Conservative Resurgence" of the Southern Baptist Convention!

Founded by Walker Knight in 1983, SBC Today was an autonomous news publication that informed moderate Baptists about events arising of the Fundamentalist Takeover within the Southern Baptist Convention. After the Takeover was essentially complete, SBC Today changed her name to Baptists Today and adopted a much broader mission.

And for more history fellas, let's revisit what the "Peace Committee" said about SBC Today back in 1987:
Despite these recommendations approved by the Southern Baptist Convention, the Peace Committee finds that some of the state Baptist papers and the autonomous journals--The Southern Baptist Advocate, SBC Today, Baptists United News and The Baptist Laity Journal-have continued to use intemperate, inflammatory language and have labeled individuals and impugned motives.

We renew again our request to these papers and journals to contribute to the process of reconciliation and the promotion of our cooperative work together as we seek to do the work of Christ. We again call upon all state Baptist papers and the independent autonomous journals to comply with the action taken at the Atlanta Convention and outlined above. We call upon individual Southern Baptists to use their influence to help stop these divisive actions.
I find it rather humorous that Establishment bloggers would choose to adopt the name of a moderate publication which your fundamentalist fathers accused of supposedly using "intemperate, inflammatory language" that "impugned" the motives of your fellow fundy brethren.

What's the dealie, yo? No creativity?

Surely they didn't consult Papa Bear Paige on this poor name choice?

Anyways, click here for the SBC Today Press Release.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Texas Baptists and the New Baptist Covenant, Take 2

In my last post, I mentioned a few very vocal Texas Baptists who have come out against the BGCT serving as an official partner with the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant.

Loudest among these critics is David Montoya who in a blog posted after mine had this to say about the BGCT and NBC:

Well, something is being done. There are executive board members who are now realizing the danger of our participation in this event. It is hoped that out of those who do not owe David Currie or Charles Wade their position on board, someone will sacrifice themselves and at least make a fight of it next time the board meets. Also, and this will happen, there will be an attempt to stop this blunder on the floor of the convention in Amarillo.

  • There will be a motion made to not fund the trip
  • A motion made to ask the executive director not to go
  • A motion made to distance the BGCT from the political nature of the trip
  • A resolution offered that states that Charles Wade does not represent the BGCT when he goes

Hopefully a dozen other motions will be made or whatever it takes to stop Wade before he lays waste to the remaining vestage of how we are not like the SBC. We resisted the religious right, why be seduced by the religious left? Why let a powerful yellow dog democrat and the shadow convention he runs and the executive director he has supported embarass BGCT for a political purpose?

In a comment to Mr. Montoya, I wrote:

I think you've completely mischaracterized the upcoming Celebration in Atlanta.

Do you really think that Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Charles Grassley would participate in a so-called "Religious Left rally." Why must NBC critics always gloss over the Republicans who are planning to participate?

Who are two of the most well-known Texas Baptist preachers of the past decade?

Surely Joel Gregory and Julie Pennington-Russell would be at the top of that list. Together Gregory and Pastor Julie represent 50% of the preachers/pastors who will be delivering exciting inspirational messages next January. Last I checked, Joel Gregory wasn't part of some so-called Religious Left? Isn't he a Republican?

Texas Baptists are also deeply involved in every aspect of the planning process for this Celebration. They include:

Joy Fenner, Garland, TX
John Lilley, Waco, TX
Phil Lineberger, Sugar Land, TX
Mark Osler, Waco, TX
Steve Vernon, Levelland, TX
Phil Wise, Lubbock, TX
Babs Baugh, San Antonio, TX
Dennis Parrish, Dallas, TX
Bill Arnold, Dallas, TX
Patricia Ayres, Austin, TX
Glenn Biggs, Boerne, TX
David Nabors, Dallas, TX
Bill Bruster, Fairview, TX
Hardy Clemons, San Antonio, TX
Jason Coker, Dallas, TX
Scott Collins, Dallas, TX
David Currie, San Angelo, TX
Jerry Dailey, San Antonio, TX
Michael Evans, Sr, Mansfield, TX
Ferrell Foster, Dallas, TX
John Halls, Dallas, TX
Ed Hogan, Houston, TX
Marv Knox, Dallas TX
Patricia Lane
Geraldine Lilley, Dallas, TX
Dan Malone, El Paso, TX
Jaclanel McFarland, Houton, TX
Dellanna O'Brien, Frisco, TX
Ella Prichard, Corpus Christi, TX
Gus Reyes, Dallas, TX
Don Sewell, Dallas, TX
Victor Upton, Dallas, TX
Bradley Vinson, Dallas, TX
Mark Winfield, Dallas, TX
Yutaka Takarada, Richardson, TX
Nelda Taylor-Thiede, Gonzales, TX
Charles Wade, Dallas, TX

David, 25% percent of the folks actively involved in this process are Texas Baptists. Throw in all of the former Texas Baptists involved and we're talking about a much higher percentage. Clearly, Texas Baptists have a huge role to play in this upcoming Celebration. Now, I know that you might not like the last person on this list or a few in the middle. But I seriously doubt that you can state with a straight face that these folks on this list are part of some Religious Left boogeyman. I bet you could even spot some Republicans on this list, huh?

Here's the thing, your BGCT funds the Texas CLC and the Baptist Joint Committee. You even have a formal partnership with the CBF. Does the BGCT support Bread For The World? I bet they do. My point is that the BGCT has been actively involved in social Christianity since the days of J.M. Dawson, T.B. Maston, and Foy Valentine. It's part of your history and heritage. How is the work of the Texas CLC any different than a group of cooperating Baptists meeting in Atlanta for 2 days to preach the Gospel and talk about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, taking care of God's Creation and welcoming the stranger among us? I don't see much of a difference. How can one support the two aforementioned organizations financially but not affirm the mission of the New Baptist Covenant? It's a wee-bit of inconsistency.

And surely you understand that the New Baptist Covenant can speak TO Texas Baptists but never speak FOR Texas Baptists.

I learned that wise piece of knowledge from a few great Texas Baptist leaders.
Another point needs to be made. The upcoming Celebration is essentially the project of the North American Baptist Fellowship. In fact, the core group of organizations behind the Celebration belong to the North American Baptist Fellowship. The NABF is a regional affiliate of the Baptist World Alliance.

Now check this out. EVERY and I mean EVERY Baptist denomination, state convention, or quasi-denomination who has partnered with the New Baptist Covenant belongs to the North American Baptist Fellowship. Heck, the Baptist World Alliance has even signed on.

Last time I checked, the Baptist General Convention of Texas was a member body to both the North American Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist World Alliance. Are Texas Baptists willing to drop support of the BWA? One commenter has suggested that a partnership between Texas Baptists and the New Baptist Covenant will result in loss of moderate control of the BGCT....

Well good golly miss molly. Alarmist or what?

If the BGCT is willing to denounce the New Baptist Covenant, perhaps it's time for those same Texas Baptists to reevaluate their long-standing relationships with other Baptist organizations. And if Texas Baptists are willing to betray their rich heritage of support for social Christianity - then perhaps it's time for Big Daddy Weave to be a different kind of Baptist.....

I sincerely hope that the Texas critics of the New Baptist Covenant don't prevail.

Meanwhile, let's reflect on that long list above of Texas Baptists above who are committed to making January's Celebration a success!

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Big Daddy Weave, A Baptist Minister & Barry Bonds

BDW, Rev. Ang, & Barry Lamar Bonds @ Fisherman's Wharf

Barry Bonds is a man accused by many, proven guilty by no one. Arrested by no one. Suspended by no one.

In baseball's Hall of Fame, meanwhile, you have:

A confessed cheater (Gaylord Perry), a convicted drug smuggler (Orlando Cepeda), a player suspended for drug possession (Ferguson Jenkins) and an accused game-fixer (Tris Speaker).

Not to mention a known bigot or two (Cap Anson, Ty Cobb), a known lush or three (Grover Alexander, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle), a known philanderer (Wade Boggs) and a man who struck an opponent with a bat (Juan Marichal).

Saints are for heaven. Cooperstown is for stars.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Texas Baptists and the New Baptist Covenant

I grew up a Georgia Baptist.

From the age of 6 until a Black Thursday fourteen years later, I proudly considered myself a Georgia Baptist. By my teenage years, I had already made my hajj to Maranatha and Koinonia. The writings of Walter Shurden offered historical context to the fundamentalism that I continued to experience in both of my childhood churches. I knew that I was a different kind of Baptist. A "moderate" Baptist living in the oh-too conservative south Georgia. Such is not the best environment for a person who reads the Bible with an open-mind and an open-heart....

And then I became a Texas Baptist.

I had my doubts about Texas Baptists. I feared that the BGCT was merely SBC-Lite. But, hey Texas did produce great Baptists such as Jimmy Allen, Foy Valentine, James Dunn, T.B. Maston, Bill Moyers, and G.W. Truett. Great preachers like Carlyle Marney and Julie Pennington-Russell each made Texas their home for a decade. Both Bill Underwood of Mercer and Daniel Vestal of the CBF were active Texas Baptists for many years.

These Baptists represent the best of the Texas Baptist heritage - a heritage that I was eager to claim as my own....

For over 50 years, Texas Baptist leaders have sought to apply Christianity to all aspects of their lives. Through the work of the Christian Life Commission and other organizations, Texas Baptists have clothed the naked and fed the hungry. Texas Baptists have sought peace with justice. They have welcomed the stranger while also standing up for liberty of conscience and equality for all.

Joining a slew of Texas Baptists, I have offered my support for the upcoming Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant. This historic event will hopefully usher in an era of unprecedented cooperation between Baptists from over 30 different organizations located throughout North America. Under the theme "Unity in Christ," the Celebration will deal with topics of the utmost importance including racism, religious liberty, poverty, and the AIDS pandemic.

Without a doubt, the Texas Baptist fathers of social Christianity like T.B. Maston, Foy Valentine, and J.M. Dawson would have been proud of BGCT involvement in such an endeavor!

Unfortunately, a handful of outspoken Texas Baptists aren't too yippy-skippy about BGCT involvement in the New Baptist Covenant. David Montoya, a pastor from the Fort Worth area, has described the upcoming Celebration in Atlanta as a "Religious Left rally." In a bit of dramatic overkill, Montoya has declared that the partnership of Texas Baptists with the New Baptist Covenant will result in the demise of the BGCT.

Montoya is not alone. Rick Davis, a well known pastor and former BGCT presidential candidate, has echoed Montoya's thoughts. Both men also strongly oppose Texas Baptists Committed, a partnering organization with the New Baptist Covenant. A third and obvious voice in opposition to the New Baptist Covenant is David Lowrie who some believe will be elected in November as the President of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. If elected, Lowrie has promised to "stop the drift away from the SBC toward the CBF." He asserts that such a drift has "undermined our effectiveness" and Texas Baptists need to "get back to a more centrist position." Whatever. I'm befuddled as to how any person can argue with a straight face that the conservative BGCT is actually left-of-center. But I've digressed....

Despite these New Baptist Covenant naysayers, I'm encouraged that the BGCT has partnered with the New Baptist Covenant and will be officially represented in Atlanta. In fact, two of the scheduled speakers (Julie Pennington-Russell and Joel Gregory) are/were renowned Texas Baptists. It's also great to see that five other Texas Baptist organizations/institutions are partnering with the New Baptist Covenant. These include Buckner International, Baptist Standard, Texas Baptists Committed, Baylor University, and the African American Fellowship of Texas.

So for now, I'm content with being a Texas Baptist - a Texas Baptist who is ecastic to covenant together with thousands of Texas Baptists and millions of Baptists in North America to:
  • Create an authentic and prophetic Baptist voice for these complex times,
  • Emphasize traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality, and
  • Promote peace with justice, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.
Will you join me?

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Black Baptists and Gay Unions

The Washington Post has an interesting story about a rift over gay unions in an affirming African-American congregation in D.C.

The decision of co-pastors Dennis and Christine Wiley of Covenant Baptist Church to conduct the union ceremony of Robert Renix and Antonio Long has caused quite a ruckus. Some members have expressed their worries that Covenant Baptist was getting a reputation as a "gay church." Some estimate that perhaps 200 longtime members have left the church over the unions. However, the majority have chosen to stand firmly in support of their pastors.

Never in a "million years" did Robert Renix think he would find a Baptist church that would accept someone like him: a black Baptist gay man. Never mind one that would allow what happened one Saturday last month, when a tuxedo-clad Renix stood in front of the pulpit at Covenant Baptist Church in Anacostia, exchanging vows with his partner, Antonio Long.

It didn't turn out to be that simple, though.....

In the pews at the church's 10:45 a.m. service on Sundays, gay and transgender people sit among heterosexual families and elderly retirees.

Although the Wileys face opposition, they say they believe they are being called by God to preach acceptance of gays as part of the social justice agenda long embraced by black churches.

"We, as African Americans, should be the last people in the world, based on our history, to turn around and oppress others," said Dennis Wiley, who took over as Covenant's pastor from his father, the Rev. H. Wesley Wiley, 22 years ago....

The 62-year-old church has gone through changes before. It was largely white until the 1960s, when white families began to move out of Anacostia and black families moved in. Covenant slowly rebuilt itself as a black congregation. Its renovated sanctuary features 13 huge stained-glass windows reflecting the African American experience, with images of civil rights figures Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. A shimmering stained-glass black Jesus clad in purple and white towers over the pulpit.

The church also has a long history of activism and community involvement. It was one of the first churches in the Washington area to launch an AIDS ministry in the early days of the epidemic in the 1980s. It offers HIV testing, and church volunteers teach computer classes Saturday mornings and offer college-prep classes to neighborhood high school students.

From the pulpit, the Wileys have preached impassioned sermons urging tolerance of gay, transgender and bisexual people, and they have led Bible studies making that point. "When we look at Jesus Christ, who he was and how he ministered to what he called 'the least of us,' he would be right here with us on this issue," Dennis Wiley said.

The following portion especially captured my interest:
But those familiar with {gay unions} say it isn't surprising at all: Congregations that appear to be accepting of gays often suddenly rebel when it comes to religious rituals that appear to legitimize same-sex relationships.

"It's sort of the ecclesiastical version of the elephant in the room," said Jay Johnson, acting executive director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif. "It's one thing to say, 'Okay, we're going to accept gays and lesbian people in our congregation. We'll even accept having gay and lesbian couples in our pews.' But when you take the step to publicly affirm or bless or recognize, in a liturgical or ritual way, their relationship, then you've removed the possibility of ignoring it."

I guess not all "welcoming and affirming" congregations take the "affirming" part to it's logical extension: gay ordination and gay unions. Also, notice that the reporter used the term "homosexuality" instead of "homosexual behavior." Such is a poor word choice as many Christian bodies differentiate between orientation and behavior. Nonetheless, this is a fascinating story since there are relatively few affirming Black Baptist churches in the world.

HT: Religious Left Online

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Baptist? Quote Of The Week

"I have never have been worried about the IRS. They don't scare me. I don't give a rip about the IRS. I don't believe in the separation of church and state and I believe the IRS should stay out of church business."
- Wiley Drake, pastor & former 2nd VP of SBC


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Call To Prayer

From Mainstream Baptist....
Wiley Drake, former Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention, has issued a call for imprecatory prayer against my good friends and colleagues at Americans United for Separation of Church and State -- Joe Conn and Jeremy Leaming.

I am fully convicted that Drake is completely misguided to offer imprecations against these staunch advocates of both religious liberty and the golden rule, I intend to make it a point to pray daily at 9:00 AM CST for God to bless Joe Conn, Jeremy Leaming, Barry Lynn, Rob Boston and everyone else at Americans United.

I'll also pray for Wiley Drake and his cohorts to attune their hearts more fully to that of Jesus of Nazareth who denounced every temptation to enlist civil power as a means to inaugurate his kingdom.

While I am at it, I'm going to pray for Brent Walker, Hollyn Hollman and everyone at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty who share the mission with Americans United (an organization that the BJC helped found) as watchdogs over separation of church and state.
I have nothing nice to say about Wiley so I'll bite my tongue while I join in this call to prayer....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Re: When Baptists Dance

Many of you are now familiar with the blog of the Rev. Angela Yarber.

In her newest post appropriately entitled - When Baptists Dance - Angela gives a brief primer into the role of dance and Christianity and a Baptist response.

Angela starts out with a funny....

I’m sure you’ve all heard the old joke:

One day a Baptist professor was walking through the seminary campus when he stumbled across a couple rustling around in the bushes. The professor asked the students what they were doing and they responded, “Having sex.”

The professor left relieved, saying, “Good! I thought you were dancing!”

And then she's gets a bit more academic....
We read of dance as a form of worship over 27 times in the Hebrew Bible, illustrating dance as a medium for expressing lament (Judges 11), praise (Psalm 149-150), victory (Exodus 15:20, I Sam. 18:6), or procession (II Sam. 6:14-16). Pillars of biblical faith, David, Miriam, and Judith danced. In addition there are 10 Hebrew verb forms for dance found in the Hebrew bible. The ancient Israelites, upon which our Christian tradition stands, were a kinesthetic people as dance was ingrained in their worship. The words we translate as “worship” (used 170xs) or “praise” (used over 70xs) literally mean to “prostrate, bow down” [shachah], “to confess with outstretched hands” [yadah], or “to kneel and bless” [barak].
So, click here to read the rest. It's quite fascinating.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Berkeley Blog Vacation

Tomorrow begins my week-long blog vacation which will be spent in sunny Berkeley, California.

Unfortunately, Barry won't be in town. However, the A's are and I'll see Oakland square off against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday evening.

I'm looking forward to my week on the Left Coast!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mrs. Degree - Baptist Seminary Enters 19th Century

Paige Patterson's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary made many of the newspapers this morning. Check it out.

From the Washington Post....

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers coursework in Greek and Hebrew, in archaeology, in the philosophy of religion and _ starting this fall _ in how to cook and sew.

Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women. Coursework will include seven hours of nutrition and meal preparation, seven hours of textile design and "clothing construction," three hours of general homemaking, three hours on "the value of a child," and three hours on the "biblical model for the home and family."

Seminary officials say the main focus of the courses is on hospitality in the home _ teaching women interior design as well as how to sew and cook. Women also study children's spiritual, physical and emotional development.........

David Key, director of Baptist studies at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, said part of the reason why the seminary may be introducing the new homemaking program is in reaction to the Klouda lawsuit.

"Women continue to make more inroads into traditional male bastions, which could be provoking Patterson to do this," Key said.

Patterson is "trying to draw the line in the sand of where women need to be."

Keep 'em at home and in the kitchen. Is this the new version of barefoot and pregnant?

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

John Edwards - We Need it in the Worst Kinda Way

Universal Health Care....

From last night's AFL-CIO Democratic Debate.

Crooks & Liars:
If this man’s genuine passion and anguish doesn’t move you, you’re not human. Steve Skvara, a disabled, retired steel worker from Indiana tells the story of how he lost his family’s health insurance after the company he worked for, for 34 years closed two years after they forced him to retire. Skvara received a standing ovation, and rightfully so. He represents millions of hard working Americans who have lost their jobs and benefits and face the humiliation of not being able to provide for themselves or their families. Can you imagine a Republican fielding a question like this?
Senator Edwards won over more than a few people with that passionate response. No doubt.

I voted for John four years ago. Unfortunately, more Democrats picked the other John.

Maybe 2nd time is the charm!

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Seventh-Day Baptists Remain Affiliated With BJC

This week Don Byrd of Blog From The Capital reported that the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference voted to remain affiliated with the Baptist Joint Committee.

In response Byrd wrote....
That's fabulous news! Baptists everywhere are reclaiming our heritage of religious liberty for all, a cause best served through a strong commitment to the separation of church and state: that means a robust Establishment Clause and an equally healthy Free Exercise protection. In my view, simply put, there is no more effective religious voice in Washington, D.C. for that principle than Brent Walker, Holly Hollman and the Baptist Joint Committee, a Baptist institution that has been educating and advocating on Capitol Hill for more than 70 years.
Back in May I pieced together a post at BaptistLife.com of pertinent primary source info from Seventh-Dayers that described the controversy.

Jim Skaggs is a popular blogger in conservative evangelical circles (at least Joe Carter of The Evangelical Outpost is fond of him). Skaggs is a Seventh-Day Baptist and was the most vocal proponent for disaffiliation from the BJC. Skaggs reported that the results of Tuesday's vote for disaffiliation stood at 46% (234) vs. 54% (279). Thus, the motion for disaffiliation lost.

Skaggs writes...
The Conference also voted to communicate to the BJC the dissatisfaction of many Seventh Day Baptists with aspects of its behavior. This issue will not go away if the BJC continues as it has in the past.
Just a sneaky suspicion but I doubt this is the last time a Seventh-Day Baptist makes a motion to defund the Baptist Joint Committee.

However, I concur with Don. This is indeed fantastic news!


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Oregon's First Female Catholic Priest

No joke. Check it out.
RESHAM, Ore. - Oregon's first female Catholic priest was ordained in Gresham on Sunday. It's a history-making milestone, but one the Catholic Church does not recognize.

The Vatican says only men can be priests. But since 2002, there has been a growing international movement to defy that law and give women the same status as men, and ordain them.

Toni Tortorilla said she was called to the priesthood when she was 5 years old, and she believes the law is unjust.

The bishop who ordained her at a United Church of Christ, Patricia Fresen of Germany, was herself ordained by a male bishop in good standing in South Africa. Fresen's Dominican order expelled her, but she became the driving force to ordain more women.

There are now 22 women priests and five deacons internationally. None of them has been ex-communicated, but neither will the Church recognize them.

By the end of the summer, the women priest program expects to ordain another nine North American women as priests, and 14 as deacons.
Indeed it is an injustice when a woman is refused the opportunity to answer God's call merely because she is a woman!

For more on this movement of Roman Catholic Women Priests, click here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Baptist Today Blogs

Baptists Today has officially entered the blogosphere.

Check out out Baptists Today On The Web

Tony Cartledge, former Editor of the Biblical Recorder and Contributing Editor to Baptists Today, is the author. Right now, he's in Charleston covering the Baptist History Celebration.

So, Welcome Baptists Today to the Baptist Blogosphere!


Baptist Preacher Arrested For Indecent Exposure

File this under bizarre....

Tommy Tester, a 58-year old Baptist preacher and Christian Radio deejay of Bristol, Virginia, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and driving under the influence last week. Apparently, Tester was hanging out a car wash, in Tennessee, drunk and high, wearing a skirt, "relieving himself in front of children," with an open bottle of vodka and an empty oxycodone bottle sitting in his car. Police also said Tester offered to perform oral sex on officers who were sent to the scene.

Unfortunately, we here at thebigdaddyweave have been unable to determine Tester's specific job title with the Rudy Giuliani campaign. Will keep you posted...

Make sure to check out this EthicsDaily report on a lawsuit filed this week that claims a Southern Baptist church in Amarillo, Texas was warned that a Sunday School teacher and paid childcare worker was a pedophile, and yet did nothing to keep the kids safe.

Baptists sure have been in the news ALOT this year for sex abuse allegations and other related claims!

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