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

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baylor University Hires Bush's Faith-Based Czar

Baylor University announced yesterday that Bush's Faith-Based Czar - Jay Hein - had been hired as Distinguished Senior Fellow and director of the Program for Faith and Service at Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR).

Here's a blurb from the press release:
In this capacity, Hein will lead ISR's effort in promoting cutting-edge approaches to social problems through faith-based organizations.

"I cannot think of place better positioned to be a global leader not only in generating new ideas about the development and launch of new faith based approaches to need, but ISR is already recognized as a national leader in promoting, supporting and conducting empirical research on the efficacy of faith-based initiatives, and joining the team was an obvious next step," Hein said. "That is why I am so excited to join Baylor."

Before joining Baylor, Hein was deputy assistant to President George W. Bush and director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from August 2006 until September 2008. In this role, Hein worked to implement President Bush's compassion agenda by engaging public-private partnerships with faith- and community-based social service organizations across the United States and around the globe.

The Press Release continues to state that "during his tenure in the White House, Jay Hein brought enormous leadership, credibility and stability to the faith-based initiative."

From a Baptist perspective, it's slightly disturbing to see the PR department of a Baptist University promote the Faith-Based Initiative. Just sayin. But then again, when it comes to the faith-based initiative, Baylor University has been very much at the center of things.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

SBC Ethics Guru Dick Land Goes Anti-Vasectomy

I never realized that the Southern Baptist Convention had taken a position on the Vasectomy until I read this quote from Southern Baptist ethics guru Richard Land:
The Southern Baptist Convention is not opposed to the use of birth control within marriage as long as the methods used do not cause the fertilized egg to abort and as long as the methods used do not bar having children all together unless there's a medical reason the couple should not have children," he told Dallas television station WFAA.
Good gracious. Land definitely puts the kook in kooky.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Turmoil at Ebenezer Baptist Church

It seems a bit of turmoil is brewing at the historic church where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as co-pastor alongside Daddy King from 1960 until his death in 1968.  

Here's a snippet from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story:
A handful of church members protested Sunday morning in front of Ebenezer Baptist Church, decrying the ouster of the historic church’s choir director and demanding the Rev. Raphael Warnock step down as senior pastor.

The six demonstrators held placards reading “Warnock Lies” and “Bring Back Dr. Uzee Brown,” a reference to the recently departed choir director who heads the Department of Music at Morehouse College.

One protester, former choir member Gloria Bell, was handcuffed and taken away by National Park Service rangers in front of the church where she was baptized more than 50 years ago.
The protestors are insisting that the pastor has shaken up the church staff without regard to the feelings of some longtime members. They also are accusing the pastor of refusing to share the church's finances with them.

If we're to believe the Deacon chairman who is quoted, this is much ado about nothing. Although, the pastor did apparently address the controversy during the 8am service before the protestors began their sidewalk protesting. So, it seems that turmoil is indeed brewing.

However, the short quote from the pastor is what I find most troubling. From the AJC article:
Warnock addressed the controversy during the 8 a.m. service, telling worshipers that while they might not understand everything he does, they must trust in his plans for the future. “Any effort to plant the seeds of dissension in the church is by definition a demonic effort,” he said to cheers from the congregation. “I’m glad that the devil has no power here.”
This Pastor as Supreme Ruler mentality is not atypical in Baptist churches these days. A Baptist pastor can create a vision, a plan for the future. But that Baptist pastor needs the congregation to first approve his/her vision before it is implemented. If the congregation is not involved in the decision-making process, why even keep the name "Baptist" on the sign out front?  

Further, the implication that those who dare voice dissent are engaged in a "demonic effort" is ridiculous. The pastor of such a historic church should have more respect for the right to dissent.  

I'm not sure that taking to the streets to protest your pastor is the best way to dissent. But at these large Baptist churches which are Pastor-Ruled or Staff-Ruled and less than transparent, what option are the members really left with?  

Whether in the streets or in the blogosphere, I think its clear that members of these big Baptist churches will continue to make public their disagreements with their pastor. 


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell On Patriotism and Muslim-Americans

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.”

Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian.

But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America.

Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?

Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards -- Purple Heart, Bronze Star -- showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old.

And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross; it didn’t have the Star of David; it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.

-Colin Powell on Meet The Press

Quote taken from Meet the Press transcript.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Politics of Jesus & Religious Liberty

My friend (gosh I sound like McCain) Nathan Finn, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke last week at First Baptist Church of Durham, North Carolina at The Politics of Jesus conference. The conference was sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Finn's lecture was titled "The Pulpit and the Public Square: Some Observations from the Ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon."

You can read Finn's lecture here. Here's a snippet:
Now by assuming we all agree in principle to the separation of church and state, I am under no illusion that we would all agree as to the application of this concept. Some might even object to the language of church-state separation because of the way that various anti-faith agendas have co-opted the phrase and used it to undermine traditional values that many of us hold dear....The fact is American evangelicals have never marched in lock-step when it comes to applying the First Amendment, perhaps because there has never been one single understanding of what church-state separation actually means. At least two major views have been articulated by evangelicals, both of which have been ably defended by some Baptists. Some evangelicals argue for what might be called an accomodationist understanding of church-state separation. Most accomodationists argue that the government should accomodate religious beliefs and practices, provided that it does not show favoritism to a particular sect or belief. Isaac Backus is the most famous Baptist proponent of this view. Accomodationists tend to argue that the Constitution is positive in its assessment of religion and that the primary concern of the First Amendment is to guard against a state-established church. We might say that contemporary accomodationists tend to read the “non-establishment” clause of the First Amendment through the lens of the “free-exercise” clause. Though I confess that I cannot offer any quantifiable evidence, it appears to me that the majority of present-day politically engaged evangelicals tend toward an accomodationist understanding of church-state separation.[v]
Finn begins by stating his assumption that all of the Southern Baptists in the room "agree in principle to the separation of church and state" noting that not everyone in the room would agree "as to the application of this concept." I'm glad that a modern-day Southern Baptist is still willing to use the phrase. Finn states that "American evangelicals have never marched in lock-step when it comes to applying the First Amendment, perhaps because there has never been one single understanding of what church-state separation actually means." This is very true. Church-State expert Douglas Laycock has written at least a few articles on the "Many Meanings of Separation." Finn continues:
At least two major views have been articulated by evangelicals, both of which have been ably defended by some Baptists. Some evangelicals argue for what might be called an accomodationist understanding of church-state separation. Most accomodationists argue that the government should accomodate religious beliefs and practices, provided that it does not show favoritism to a particular sect or belief. Isaac Backus is the most famous Baptist proponent of this view. Accomodationists tend to argue that the Constitution is positive in its assessment of religion and that the primary concern of the First Amendment is to guard against a state-established church. We might say that contemporary accomodationists tend to read the “non-establishment” clause of the First Amendment through the lens of the “free-exercise” clause. Though I confess that I cannot offer any quantifiable evidence, it appears to me that the majority of present-day politically engaged evangelicals tend toward an accomodationist understanding of church-state separation.

Despite the present popularity of the accomodationist approach, there have always been some evangelicals who have argued for what might be called a strict separationist understanding of church-state relations. Most strict separationists argue that the government should be completely neutral concerning religious beliefs and practices, neither supporting nor harming any particular sect or belief.
The problem here is that so-called "accommodationists" are a mixed-bunch. There is DEFINITELY more than one "type" Accommodationist especially in the evangelical world. Further, Finn's definition of the "Accommodationist" position is EXTREMELY vague. Separationists such as myself also believe that government should accommodate religious beliefs and practices as long as the state remains neutral. Most separationists especially in Baptist life have consistently been advocates of policies such as the Equal Access Act which accommodate the religious beliefs and practices of students in the public school system. In light of Antonin Scalia's screwy decision in Oregon v. Smith, Baptist separationists supported the Religious Freedom Restoraction Act (alongside those from all corners of the political spectrum) as a means of accommodating the religious beliefs and practices of those who belonging to a minority sect.

Secondly, the popular view opposite of "Accommodationism" (which is a category that seems to be rarely used these days in church-state scholarship) is not "Strict Separationism." Again, there are many meanings of "separation." Carl Esbeck's often cited typology of church-state relations claims that there are 5 views: Strict Separationism, Pluralistic Separationism, Institutional Separationism, Nonpreferentialism and Restorationism. Oddly, Finn cites Esbeck's popular typology in a footnote by fails to utilize that typology in his lecture. Instead, he focuses on the so-called "strict separationist understanding of church-state relations." Many Baptists believe that "the government should be completely neutral concerning religious beliefs and practice, neither supporting nor harming any particular sect or belief." Few are "strict separationists." This is a weak and incomplete definition of "strict separationism." Seriously, what prominent Baptists or Baptist organizations could honestly wear this "strict separationist" label?

Esbeck, who Finn cites, describes strict separationists as wanting not only a separation of church and state but also a separation of religion from public life. Thus who are these "many evangelicals" who hold to strict separationism. In Baptist life, I am not aware of any groups or individuals (maybe one or two) who advocate a separation of religion and politics or religion from public life. Baptist religious liberty advocates like James Dunn repeatedly said during the 70s, 80s, and 90s that religion and politics will mix, should mix and must mix. Dunn's view as articulated above has been the prevailing view among Baptist separationists in recent decades.

Later in the lecture, Finn opines:
In my opinion it is a great tragedy that over the past couple of generations a good many evangelicals, including many of my fellow Baptists, have advocated positions that are closer to the People for the American Way or the ACLU than the framers of the Constitution, all in the name of preserving religious liberty. These misguided evangelicals have at times lent support to the anti-religion agenda, seemingly unaware (or at least unconcerned) that they are actually contributing to a climate that is poisoned against religious arguments and conservative moral convictions. One cannot help but think that a combination of party politics and poor education has much to do with evangelicals who attack religious freedom in the name of defending religious freedom.
Working alongside liberal advocacy organizations does not make one a liberal nor does it mean that a person's position is wrong. Richard Land has on more than a few occasions promoted policies through coalition work alongside liberals and secularists. That's how stuff gets done in Washington. After Scalia's atrocious decision in Oregon v. Smith, the Baptist Joint Committee led by Oliver Thomas put together an extremely diverse group of religious organizations to help pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. To pass this extremely important piece of religious freedom-protecting legislation, the Southern Baptist Convention joined hands with the ACLU and People for the American Way. A Tragedy Indeed! Actually, it was tragic that the Religious Right's darling Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Sclia, wrote the opinion which made RFRA necessary. Talk about a tragedy...

Speaking of the Framers of the Constitution, I'm pretty sure that the Chief Framer, James Madison, was a strong proponent of the concept of government neutrality toward religion and nonreligion - thus fitting Finn's vague definition of a "strict separationist."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dressed for Service: A Message from Dorothy Patterson

September 30, 2008

Dear Graduates:

How excited the President and I are to be a part of this last semester of your work for a hard-earned degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary! We encourage you to remain faithful and commit yourself to the very best semester ever! I am writing to let you know about a program very special to me.

Through our faithful members of Women’s Auxiliary, we have underwritten a program that enables us to provide for selected women students and student wives a new “head-to-toe” outfit for graduation and for going out to new assignments throughout the nation and even to the ends of the earth. These outfits are selected for Sunday worship and other celebratory services. This is not a monetary award but a mentoring experience. After sacrificing personal needs throughout the years of study, student wives and women students come to completely understand the true meaning of “I don’t have a thing to wear!” Shopping days are set, and members of our Women’s Auxiliary, under the direction of Mrs. Karen Collett, will accompany those selected for this honor on a wonderful shopping trip.

If you would like to nominate your wife or if you are a single woman student who would like to request consideration for this very special opportunity, please direct your nominations or applications to the office of Mrs. Karen Collett. Our committee will consider every request, and you will be notified accordingly. The women selected will be asked to be present for taking pictures and also for modeling their outfits at our President’s Club fall event.

Attached is the application which includes detailed instructions. May God bless you as you complete the course!


Dorothy Kelley Patterson, First Lady


Sunday, October 12, 2008

John Lewis: McCain and Palin Playing With Fire

From my former boss, Congressman John Lewis:

"What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama...

As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Gay Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts

Here are a few more interesting findings from the Faith in Public Life poll on Young Adults and the Election:

Younger white evangelicals strongly oppose abortion rights but are less conservative and more supportive of same-sex marriage than older evangelicals. Young white evangelicals are strongly opposed to abortion rights, with two-thirds saying abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Yet, less than a majority (49%) of younger evangelicals identify as conservative, compared to nearly two-thirds (65%) of older evangelicals. Among young evangelicals, a majority favor either same-sex marriage (24%) or civil unions (28%), compared to a majority (61%) of older evangelicals who favor no legal recognition of gay couples’ relationships.

Generation gap on same-sex marriage is large and increasing. Nearly half (46%) of young adults say gay couples should be allowed to marry, compared to only 29% of Americans overall. Over the last two years, support for same-sex marriage among young adults has jumped 9 points (from 37% to 46%), and the generation gap has nearly doubled.

In my opinion, this is a positive statistic. When this subject comes up, I make no secret that I am in favor of extending legal recognition to those in same-sex relationships. It’s nice to see that among evangelicals, I am not alone and actually with the majority! I’m inclined to agree with Baptist ethicist David Gushee who recently wrote: “If we are right in drawing a link between making good laws and loving our neighbors, what then does neighbor love require in relation to the homosexual neighbors who seek marriage or a similar status?”

For me and a majority of young evangelicals, the answer is to support policies that help end gay bashing, respect gay civil rights and show genuine Christian charity toward homosexuals.

Addressing religious liberty concerns strongly increases support for same-sex marriage. When respondents were provided with an assurance that “no church or congregation would be required to perform marriages for gay couples,” support for same-sex marriage increased by 14 points in the general population and among younger adults.

Let me throw this out there first: I'm currently working on several papers - one of which is explores the very real emerging conflicts between same-sex marriage and religious liberty. The problem with the finding above is the implication that all or even most religious liberty concerns can actually be addressed with the assurance that "no church or congregation would be required to perform marriages for gay couples."

First, it is absolutely ludicrous to assert that the legalization of same-sex marriage will result in pastors being forced to perform such ceremonies. Ain’t gonna happen.

Nonetheless, there are a host of church-state conflicts that are likely to emerge as a result of more states following the lead of Massachusetts and California. Conflicts have already emerged between gay rights and religious liberty which affect housing, employment, places of public accommodation, medical and pharmacy services, commercial licensing, government funding, access to government property, freedom of speech, and religion clubs in public schools and universities. Some scholars fear that tax exemptions will be politicized and efforts will be made to revoke the tax exemptions of churches that aren’t gay-friendly. However, other scholars sense that as long as “historically important churches refuse to recognize gay marriages,” it remains highly unlikely that any executive-level government official will attempt to travel down that path. As legal scholars from the left, right and center recently demonstrated, the conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty is truly unavoidable.

Solutions are never easy. But, I believe, such conflicts can largely be avoided or dealt with through religious exemptions. As gay-rights laws are enacted, religious exemptions must be granted. Failure to grant religious exemptions will greatly hurt our First Freedom and ultimately elevate the principle of nondiscrimination over religious freedom.

There is another solution to this same-sex marriage – religious liberty conflict that I prefer and I am currently exploring in my paper. I call it the “Tony Campolo Solution.” Tony has long argued that “government should get out of the marrying business completely.” Centrist legal scholars like Douglas Laycock and Oliver Thomas have recently advocated “separating church and state in marriage” in order to reduce conflict over same-sex marriage. Both men would like to separate legal from religious marriage in law and in public understanding. Marriage is both a religious institution and a religious relationship AND a legal institution and a legal relationship. Laycock points out that “the legal relationship defines property rights, mutual duties of support, inheritance rights, tax liabilities, evidentiary privileges, rights to sue for personal injury or file for bankruptcy, claims to pensions, social security, and insurance benefits” and much more. So here’s Laycock’s solution which I’d call a more developed version of what Tony Campolo has spent years advocating for:

We should leave the word “marriage” to its religious meaning, and use the new phrase “civil union” to describe the relationship formerly known as civil or legal marriage. “Civil unions” should not be a second-class status for same-sex couples; civil union should be the legal relationship created by the state for straight couples – and for gays and lesbians in states that choose to legally recognize committed same-sex relationships. “Marriage” should be reserved for private and religious relationships, and the state should have nothing to do with it….In a religiously pluralistic society, we must have an account of legal marriage that works for believers and nonbelievers alike.

Laycock continues:

What would it mean to fully separate religious marriage from secular civil unions? Clergy could perform marriages within each faith tradition, but they could not perform civil unions. Civil unions would be created in a secular ceremony led by a judge, a notary public, or a clerk at city hall. Civil unions could be ended by civil courts that would sort out property rights, economic obligations and child custody. Marriages could be ended only within the religious tradition that performed the marriage. Each faith could maintain its own rules and marriage tribunals for its adherents. Or if a church chose, it could defer to the state’s decisions about any civil union between the same partners. But then it would have only itself to blame if it didn’t like the state’s decisions.

You can read Douglas Laycock’s full argument in the newly released book, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts.

Also check out Oliver “Buzz” Thomas’s recent USA Today op-ed titled “Gay Marriage: A Way Out.”


Faith & Politics of Young Adults in 2008 Election

Faith in Public Life has released the findings from a new poll on the faith and politics of young adults (ages 18-34) in the 2008 election. The poll's results are analyzed in the report "The Young and the Faithful" available online. Here are a few findings of interest from the poll:

Monthly worship attenders swing to Obama in 2008. The greatest shift in candidate preference between 2004 and 2008 has occurred among all voters who attend religious services once or twice a month, moving from 49% support for Kerry in 2004 to 60% support for Obama in 2008.

More Americans think Obama is friendly to religion than McCain. Forty-nine percent of Americans say Obama is friendly to religion, while 45% say McCain is friendly to religion. More than seven-in-ten (71%) say it is important for public officials to be comfortable talking about religious values.

These are two very interesting stats. In a recent article over at Religion Dispatches titled "No God But Country," Kathryn Lofton argues that John McCain "may not believe in God." Unlike many of the conservatives (being charitable here) that I have encountered who regularly question the faith and salvation of Barack Obama, I will not question the faith of John McCain. McCain says he believes in the divine and I take him at his word. However, it seems that Lofton has tapped into a perception about John McCain that obviously many others share. By being unable or unwilling to make his private faith public on the campaign trail, John McCain has created the perception in many voters' minds that he is not overly faith-friendly.

Young first-time voters are heavily supporting Obama. Among young first-time voters, who make up close to one-third of this age group (ages 18-34), more than seven-in-ten (71%) support Obama, compared to slightly more than half (53%) of young voters who have voted in previous elections.

Younger white evangelicals are more pluralistic and more supportive of active government at home and of diplomacy abroad. While less than one-third (30%) of older evangelicals say a person can be moral without believing in God, 44% of younger evangelicals affirm this idea, a 14-point gap. A majority (56%) of younger evangelicals believe diplomacy rather than military strength is the best way to ensure peace, compared to only 44% of older white evangelicals. Younger white evangelicals are also more likely than older white evangelicals to favor a bigger government offering more services, by a margin of 21 points (44% and 23% respectively).

I think all peace-loving people should be encouraged by this stat. Older evangelicals don't have a good track record when it comes to the reality of pluralism. The Culture Wars of the 80s and 90s are a product of older evangelicals refusal and inability to deal with and adapt to our increasingly pluralistic society.

Americans say economy, energy and gas prices, and health care are the most important issues in 2008. Americans rank the economy (83%) and energy/gas prices (76%), and health care (71%) as the most important issues in the 2008 election. Economic issues topped the list of most important issues among all religious groups.

Americans rank abortion and same-sex marriage as the least important issues in 2008. Only 43% and 28% respectively say these issues are very important issues to their vote in 2008. White evangelicals do not rank abortion or same-sex marriage in their top five most important voting issues.

Americans see room for common ground in abortion debate. A majority (53%) of Americans believe political leaders can work to find common ground on abortion while staying true to their core beliefs, including majorities of white mainline Protestants (59%), Catholics (55%), and the unaffiliated (52%).

It's indeed a good thing that a majority of Americans, both Protestant and Catholic, are willing to work together to find common ground on divisive social issues like abortion rights while also pledging to hold firm to their convictions. Can't go wrong with a common ground approach. The political arena needs more politicians and activist organizations that are fully committed to finding common ground on a host of issues.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

2009 Regional Gathering of the New Baptist Covenant

Here's a snippet from the Birmingham News:
Former President Jimmy Carter plans to teach a Bible study class and be the keynote speaker on Jan. 31 at a regional gathering in Birmingham of the New Baptist Covenant.

The New Baptist Covenant, an informal alliance of more than 30 Baptist groups from throughout North America with a combined membership of more than 20 million, will meet at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

The Rev. Arthur Price, pastor of Sixteenth Street Baptist, and the Rev. Gary Furr, pastor of Vestavia Hills Baptist Church, will serve as co-chairmen of the event's steering committee.

And the Press Release announcing the 2009 Midwest Regional Meeting:

Announcing the New Baptist Covenant Midwest Regional Meeting
At the Norman Convention Center on August 6-7, 2009

In January 2008 more than 15,000 Baptists from across the United States, Canada and Mexico met for the first ever meeting to celebrate a New Baptist Covenant. The covenant represented the commitment of more than 20 million Baptists in North America to fulfill our “obligations as Christians to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to care for the sick and the marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.” The covenant also reaffirmed our “commitment to traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality.”

The leaders of the New Baptist Covenant, representing more than 80 Baptist Conventions, fellowships and organizations in North America, agreed to meet collectively every three years to renew this commitment. Between these triennial meetings, the leaders of the New Baptist Covenant called for regional meetings that would gather to unite Baptists from our various Conventions, fellowships and organizations to celebrate, exhort, network and encourage one another in fulfilling the obligations of our new Baptist Covenant.

The Steering Committee for the New Baptist Covenant Midwest Region is pleased to announce that the New Convention Center in Norman, Oklahoma has been selected for the first ever meeting of the Midwest Region of the New Baptist Covenant. The meeting will be held on August 6-7, 2009. Former President Jimmy Carter has agreed to speak at our meeting. We will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Baptist denomination.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

John McCain's Vision for America....or Lack Thereof

Sunday, October 05, 2008

How To Submit Graciously by Paige Patterson

Here's a snippet from a recent post by Wade Burleson that caught my attention:
In March of 2000 The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood hosted a Conference for people interested in the subject of Christian submission. During a Conference forum entitled "How Submission Works in Practice" Dr. Paige Patterson was asked a question about how a Christian wife should respond to spousal physical abuse. The answer Dr. Patterson gave, in my opinion, reflects the danger of a any belief system that promotes the idea that the male in the marriage possesses an inherent authority to which the Christian wife must at all times submit.
And here is the transcript of Patterson's answer to the question about how a battered and bruised Christian wife should respond to her violent husband:
I had a woman who was in a church that I served, and she was being subject to some abuse, and I told her, I said, “All right, what I want you to do is, every evening I want you to get down by your bed just as he goes to sleep, get down by the bed, and when you think he’s just about asleep, you just pray and ask God to intervene, not out loud, quietly,” but I said, “You just pray there.” And I said, “Get ready because he may get a little more violent, you know, when he discovers this.”

And sure enough, he did. She came to church one morning with both eyes black. And she was angry at me and at God and the world, for that matter. And she said, “I hope you’re happy.”

And I said, “Yes ma’am, I am.” And I said, “I’m sorry about that, but I’m very happy.”

And what she didn’t know when we sat down in church that morning was that her husband had come in and was standing at the back, first time he ever came. And when I gave the invitation that morning, he was the first one down to the front. And his heart was broken, he said, “My wife’s praying for me, and I can’t believe what I did to her.” And he said, “Do you think God can forgive somebody like me?” And he’s a great husband today. And it all came about because she sought God on a regular basis.

And remember, when nobody else can help, God can. And in the meantime, you have to do what you can at home to be submissive in every way that you can and to elevate him.
Unbelievable stuff.


Friday, October 03, 2008

The Ultimate Flow Chart - Palin Style

For all those who love flow charts:

HT: Texas in Africa


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