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Monday, October 29, 2007

Massar Elected In Landslide Win Over Baptist Blogger

Baptist Blogger Lee Saunders of Deep In The Heart has been thumped badly by East Texas pastor Mike Massar in the race for 1st-VP of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Mike Massar - 967 (78.62%)
Lee Saunders - 267 (20.89%)

In a recent blog post, Lee Saunders has promised to bring forth a resolution against BGCT participation in what he has so eloquently described as the "National Baptist Covenant."

Saunders was nominated by David Montoya.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Kaylor said...

It may seem like a minor detail but the fact that Lee cannot even get something as simple as the name correct suggests that he does not know what he is talking about. If he cannot even get the name correct then he probably has not spent much effort to learn much about the Celebration. Thus, it seems like a good thing that he got stomped in the election!

2:27 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Brian,

Due to your arrogance, smugness, and elitism, I might as well just dismiss the substance of your comment. LOL

Or at least so says Lee, or is it Chuck? Who knows?

3:34 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Brian, you aren't even from Texas! What are you doing here? :)

4:56 PM

 
Blogger Kaylor said...

BDW: I'm sorry! Maybe I'll grow out of it when I'm older and wiser. ;)

TIA: I was hoping someone would respond to you by channeling Lyle Lovett: "That's right you're not from Texas; But Texas wants you anyway."

7:17 PM

 
Anonymous Chuck said...

Big Daddy,

I agree--Brian is being arrogant, smug, and just plain not nice.

Seriously though, Lee is a thoughtful and articulate contributor to both of your blogs. He should hardly be faulted for not remembering the name of the NBC.

After all BD, you recently said, "Forget about the New Baptist Covenant," and I agreed with you. Lee was just following orders like a good moderate.

:)

7:50 PM

 
Anonymous Lee said...

I look at it this way, and I can, because I was there.

TBC has a strong organization and since the struggle for control with the fundamentalists was settled, has been virtually unchallenged for almost a decade. Their presence in the panhandle and West Texas is very strong. The first real challenge to that control, the candidacy of David Lowrie, did not have a political organization behind it, organizing messengers and getting them to the convention. Yet this challenge came within 60 votes of winning. Even those inside TBC are acknowledging that this sent a strong message, and that there will be change made as a result.

As for my own "candidacy," such as it was, I did not run on the platform of opposition to the CNBC. That was a separate issue. I ran because someone needed to run. I wish someone else would have agreed to be nominated for SVP, too, so there would have been no unopposed candidates. It was my intention to give people a choice if they wanted one. The announcement was made just four days before the convention met. I only recently began serving on a church staff after a 13 year hiatus, and have held no high profile position in the BGCT. A few folks know me from a mission project I did in the Wichita Falls area a few years ago, but those are folks more inclined to be working with SBC, rather than BGCT interests. The individual who nominated me told me up front that there would be people who wouldn't vote for me because of him doing the nomination. In spite of all that, I agreed, simply because I believed someone else needed to run.

How many votes would you expect that a late-announced candidate who is virtually unknown, from over 600 miles away, without the support of a political organization, running against a well known candidate who is a member of the TBC board, might get? I was thinking, at the time I agreed to be nominated, that I would be happy with 100 votes. I figured 15% would be a very high estimate. I got 257 votes, 21%. If things did not need to change, I should not have received more than two or three dozen.

Had the announcement been made earlier, linked to David Lowrie's candidacy, publicized with press releases and focused on specific issues, I probably would not have allowed my name to be placed in nomination. I fully supported David, but I am not comfortable with that kind of thing. I'd have deferred the running for office to someone else.

In the long run, the CNBC motion turned out not to be necessary. It would be redundant for the convention to take a vote on not doing something that it is not doing. The individuals from the BGCT who are participating in the Celebration are doing so at the invitation of the NABF, which is the sponsoring organization. The BGCT has a relationship with the NABF, but that does not imply sponsorship of the Celebration. That would have required a vote. It does get hard to draw the lines around perceptions and impressions when some of those from Texas who are involved are convention executive staff members, but no Baptist speaks for all other Baptists or any other Baptist. So Chuck can rest assured that no budget money from the BGCT is going into the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, and the BGCT, as a convention, is not participating.

Personally, I hope that the Celebration succeeds in what its stated purposes lay out, and that it is able to get past the criticism that is related mainly to the involvement of the Big Three--Carter, Clinton and Gore. I'd probably go myself, budget and time permitting. I'd be curious to see at what level the politicians will be involved. You can hardly blame people for being concerned about the potential for secular political purposes.

You've criticized my view that a Baptist convention needs parity. Well, isn't this Celebration about unity, and parity? Some of the organizations that are participating are pretty conservative, aren't you afraid that they will grab control and kick the moderates and liberals to the curb? That happened in the SBC as the result of moderates own mistakes. It does not always have to be the outcome, but that's a subject for another discussion.

9:37 AM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

The NBC is not attempting to establish a super-denomination. I wouldn't be in favor of that - you've heard my views about denominations. So, I don't think the parity argument applies here. The NBC is at the moment just a Celebration, a gigantic Baptist Unity rally - a time for reconciliation and fellowship. If we can partner together with the other Baptist groups in the future on missions and social justice related issues - that's awesome! But, the BGCT is a denomination with a big bureaucracy. As long as it remains that way, power and control will always be an issue. Like I said, I don't think the comparison works.

I would like your take on what Bruce Prescott said on a recent post entitled A Convenient Excuse.

Prescott critiques Ken Camp's explanation for the close vote between Fenner and Lowrie:

Here is Camp:

"Many convention messengers attributed the close margin of Fenner’s election less to her gender and more to dissatisfaction with current BGCT leadership, as well as the other nominee’s West Texas ties."

Prescott says that Camp is half correct but misleading. He writes:

"Camp neglected to mention that many convention messengers do attribute the close margin of Fenner's election to her gender -- and less to dissatisfaction with current BGCT leadership. The other nominee's West Texas ties were also a factor.

The supposed messenger dissatisfaction with current BGCT leadership was not evident on the votes for first and second vice president -- both of whom were males.

It's time to stop pretending that there are not sizeable pockets of Baptists within the BGCT that still resist the placement of women in positions of key leadership.

All it takes to confirm that is to count the number of churches in West Texas who permit women to serve as deacons within their churches.

Frankly, it is amazing that a woman was elected president of the state convention before more than 95% of the churches have ever elected a woman to serve as deacon."

His analysis is interesting. I don't know to what extent gender played but I'm rather confident an ordained woman would not have been elected in Texas.

Also, if on the earlier thread at your blog I came across as condescending, I apologize. That was not my intention.

1:30 PM

 
Anonymous Lee said...

I think that discontent with the BGCT's current administration, a growing dislike of TBC's continued domination of the convention's politics and Joy Fenner's gender were all factors in the vote total. The one thing that was not a factor was geography. I'll tell you why.

The panhandle is probably a larger concentration of TBC strength than just about anywhere else in the state. FBC Amarillo is a hugely influential church in the area, as is Second Baptist Lubbock. Those are both big TBC congregations. Currie is from San Angelo, the current president Steve Vernon is also a West Texan. Most of the churches that brought multiple messengers were panhandle congregations sympathetic to TBC.

The BGCT itself is not a friendly place toward either women as deacons or ordained to ministry. Only one congregation currently has a female pastor. I don't see serving as president of the BGCT as a position equal to that of pastor, or having the same kind of authority. In fact, the denominational structure itself has no ecclesiastical authority at all, so I don't understand the fuss that some are making about that.

The BGCT is seen as a "moderate" convention today for the simple fact that the fundamentalists, in their attempted takeover, made some mistakes that made it possible for "moderates" to retain control. Theologically, the vast majority of churches are conservative. In the practical aspect of application, the chief issue for moderates, which is the ordination of women, few churches practice it. But that's even the case in CBF.

But tell me why I got 257 votes? I did not enter the race until late, ran against a very well known pastor from a key moderate congregation and no one really knows who I am. On top of that, my nominating speech was given by a high profile lightning rod, his own description by the way. I should not have cleared 100 votes, but by running simply as the "opposition," I managed 21%, which is, by the way, the largest total an opposing candidate for FVP has received since TBC started endorsing candidates for office. That's pure discontent. And had I announced several months ago, had we added a candidate to the SVP ticket, linked to David Lowrie's candidacy and blogged like the dickens, who knows what we might have accomplished. I really believe that if TBC endorses another slate of officers next year, they will be defeated. Their role in BGCT life is changing from their original purpose, and they need to catch up with where it is going if they want to remain relevant and involved.

2:57 PM

 
Anonymous Chuck said...

BDW,

Wow, I'm touched at how you guys have sweetened your tones with each other. I hope outing myself as the real enemy--a conservative-probably-fundy has helped bring the Big Daddy-Kaylor-Lee circle closer together. However, all the descriptive adjectives Lee very calmly used in admonishing you two young ones for your cruel rantings were accurate--no "if's" too it. And, I was definitely sarcastic, as Lee admonished me. I shall continue to be at times, however, since it seems cool on this blog.

Now, to BDW's invitation to offer a take on Prescott's critique of Ken Camp's take:

First, but not crucial, I question how Bruce knows to what many BGCT messengers attribute the close vote. Perhaps he was a visitor, and perhaps he said it in his editorial--I wouldn't take much time to read anything he writes since he's not interested in dissenting dialogue.

But, more saliently, I think the reality that Prescott is a one-track man glaringly comes out here. Camp could have covered for the BGCT leadership establishment--which makes up a lot of his readership--by claiming it was Joy Fenner's gender, but instead he made the riskier assertion that dissatisfaction with current BGCT leadership was the key factor.

Prescott tends to see gender discrimination lurking in every shadow, just as he sees many shadows as real threats to "religious liberty." Remember, Fenner was a VP before she ascended to the top spot. She wasn't the first female VP either.

Prescott's point about the other races being tight when the TBC candidates were male ignores both that Lee's candidacy was at the eleventh-hour with the lightning rod nominator, and the 2nd-VP race was unopposed.

Here's the best proof I can offer that Camp is correct: I, a BGCT conserva-fundy, would have supported Lowrie to oppose TBC, which I equate with current and recent BGCT leadership. I would have opposed any candidate--gentleman or lady-- Currie and the Board of Directors "endorsed" over Lowrie.

6:35 PM

 
Anonymous Chuck said...

Lee,

I guess, then, that the NBC has no sponsors. The BGCT is as identified as any Baptist body on the NBC web-site, listed as a "partner organization."

And, looking at the 80 or so attendees in January 2007, the BGCT is clearly the leading "partner organization."

7:02 PM

 
Anonymous Lee said...

Hi, Chuck.

One of the things that Prescott doesn't take into consideration is that those who were likely to vote against Joy because she is a woman would also be likely to vote against the endorsed candidate of the TBC. Those two groups overlap to a great extent. So I wouldn't say that the "female factor" really played as much of a role as Prescott thinks it did. I'm not sure how many people would have been motivated enough by their negative feelings about a female president to actually drive to Amarillo to cast a ballot against her.

Come to think about it, this being the second lowest attendance at a BGCT annual meeting since 1949, it doesn't appear that there was much to motivate very many people to drive, fly, take a train or a bus to Amarillo, period. That's what the leadership should be concerned about. There is a decline in CP giving that is accelerating, churches increasingly feel disenfranchised and frustrated, and that the doors are being slammed shut in their faces. Dissent is squelched. The executive administration acknowledges mistakes were made, but no one is allowed to talk about it. Steve Vernon was quite vocal about his support for the executive board and for the administration, and appeared to be in complete denial of the mistakes, and the opposition and conducted a business session on Tuesday morning that looked orchestrated. That's exactly why CP giving is declining, churches are leaving, and the messengers aren't showing up.

Chuck, you know you are welcome to post on my blog at any time, and your opinion will be respected. Sarcasm is best left elsewhere, though.

7:15 PM

 
Anonymous Lee said...

Chuck,
Almost everyone participating from the BGCT are from individual churches, and not the executive staff. They are not participating on behalf of the BGCT, they were invited because of the BGCT's partnership with the NABF and are participating on their own, at their own expense. For them to be participating on behalf of, or as official representatives of, the BGCT would have required a vote. Maybe that line is a little finer than it should be, but constitutionally, it's well protected.

In my attempt to bring a motion or a resolution on the matter, I encountered several people on committees who were sympathetic, and got a lot of good advice from neutral sources regarding both bringing a motion and a resolution. I don't believe I was stonewalled or misled. If the celebration turnes out to make statements that are either secular political or doctrinally incompatible with what we believe, we will have plenty of evidence for motions or resolutions next year.

8:04 PM

 

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