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Friday, January 04, 2008

Dwight McKissic, Racism & Southern Baptists

Rev. Dwight McKissic is a prominent African-American pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention. Over the past year, McKissic has become a controversial figure in the SBC. You can read about that here. Recently, McKissic posted a guest column at the blog SBC Today. Included in his column (which is mostly about tongues, charismatic theology, etc.) McKissic tells this incredible story which definitely deserves to be retold.

Here is McKissic:

On a visit to the SBC Executive Committee Building in Nashville, Tennessee this past September, I was privileged to take a guided elevator tour of 7 floors. I happen to notice that I didn’t see any African Americans on either floor. When I asked who was the highest ranking African American in the executive building because I wanted to meet and dialogue with him or her, I was told, the highest ranking employee at the executive committee building was “the head custodian”. That response completely took the wind out of my sail. I have not felt welcome or completely included in the SBC since that day, though I must confess that my reception at the Executive Committee was marked by every Christian courtesy and grace.

America would not stand for the White House or the Republican or Democratic Executive offices to be completely staffed by all Whites. Less you think I’m being overly racially sensitive; how would you respond if the SBC executive committee employees were all African American? Perhaps you would be left with the feeling of being alienated and unwelcomed as well. If I could find an Anglo gentleman to serve as executive pastor, certainly the EC could find an African American to serve somewhere in addition to the head custodian in a upper level management position...

If an African American is elected president of the SBC, that would be a major step in the right direction. Because the presidency is largely a ceremonial post that would document “we are welcome”—not just as a missions project of the SBC—but we are also welcome at the pinnacle level of ceremonial leadership. I’m praying that Pastor Fred Luter becomes the first African American president of the SBC, but it would represent serious empowerment and inclusion if a distinguished, qualified African American pastor or denominational servant were appointed at the appropriate times to the presidency’s of the EC, IMB, NAMB, or the head of any other convention entity. Are African Americans welcome as missions projects or as contributors to the cooperative program? Absolutely! Are we welcome to serve as entity heads? The jury is still out.
A discussion is happening over at BaptistLife.com on this same subject. Check it out.

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Blogger Debbie Kaufman said...

Is it telling us something when it is only the white SB that is saying this is just pulling the race card(too much watching of the OJ trial) and dismissing it? I don't think something should be dismissed that most white males have not experienced.

6:09 PM

Blogger Christa Brown said...

Twice, I have sat in on the Bylaws workgroup of the SBC Executive Committee. With about 35-40 people in the room, including those in the gallery, it was all-white and all-male. (The only exception was one white female sitting almost invisibly in the far back corner taking notes.) I looked around and could hardly believe what I was seeing. As an adult, I cannot remember another situation of having been in a room with that many people who were all-white and all-male.

12:27 PM


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