Some duds of 2018

I’m owning up to some of my articles that didn’t quite capture the interest of folks around here. Duds.

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In the dead of mid-winter last year I wrote on things admirable, deplorable, or forgettable, a compilation of well-used and ill-used vocabulary. Seems that post was altogether forgettable. Nary a comment, not even a snarky one.

Want to hear crickets? Write a piece on leadership changes in state conventions. In spite of the fact that about 90% of Cooperative Program revenue flows through sixteen legacy state conventions in the south, there seems to be little interest here in the leadership that controls the spending of such. Thank you, Tony Jones, for the one comment on that.

When the Executive Committee released their annual statistical report in early June of last year, I called it the “Annual SBC Statistical Release Weepfest” because it’s mostly bad news. Not a single comment on that. Perhaps we’ve made ourselves comfortable that this is going to be the case. I hope not.

The Cooperative Program, our main cooperative giving channel, has been declining for over three decades. When I wrote of how denominational leaders and others employ magical thinking on CP percentages, a few people responded and several in agreement, an underwhelming response to our most important stat. Dud.

How could I put (1) a snake swallowing a woman, (2) a cheap shot against iced coffee, and (3) fakeJDgreear in the same article and get only two comments? Complete dud, evidently. Forgive me. I’ll try and come up with more scintillating subjects next time. Maybe I’m out of tune with most SBCers on iced coffee.

So I wrote that the CP will almost certainly be up for the latest reporting year which ought to stir the blood of any true SBCers…and I got a single comment, from the estimable Tarheel. The CP being up is news and ought to mean that somewhere, some Southern Baptists break out the party stuff. Guess not.

Lottie was up by almost $6 million but my report of the same was met with general disinterest. Dud. I’m hoping for a record year this year anyway.

Annie had a record year but when I reported that, pffft, one comment. Thanks again, Tarheel.

I worked hard to come up with ten good news SBC items (including the gem that Bert and Ernie made BP)…and got six comments. Dud. We are a convention of Joe Btfsplks evidently.

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There are more. I’ll try and do better next year.

And, why am I smiling in the pic? The sun is shining, bluebirds are flitting around my yard, my gutters are clean, and in less than a month some flowers will be blooming here.

I might have to yield to the reality of Twitter where hot topics are things like whether you should cut your toenails straight across or with a curve, or, whether candy corn is better than Reeses Pieces. Heady stuff.

See you next year with hopes that Dave Miller will have a healthy 2019, Alan Cross will cross the 2000 word barrier going south, Adam Blosser will display some bearded acumen here, Dave Cline will end his self-imposed hiatus, and that you all have a year that shows fruitful service for our common Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Bowl Game Contest

There are sixteen bowl games left, including the championship game. I’m not counting some minor bowls not worth watching. The ones that are left, not including Auburn who isn’t going to make my list of anything, are the ones below. Heck, one of the goofball bowls cancelled their game. Go figure.

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Saturday, Dec. 29

1. Orange Bowl, Alabama vs. Oklahoma

2. Cotton Bowl, Clemson vs. Notre Dame

3. Peach Bowl, Florida vs. Michigan

4. Belk Bowl, Virginia vs. South Carolina

 

Monday, Dec. 31 

5. Military Bowl, Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

6. Sun Bowl: Stanford vs. Pittsburgh

7. Redbox Bowl: Michigan State vs. Oregon 

8. Liberty Bowl: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State

9. Holiday Bowl: Northwestern vs. Utah

10. Gator Bowl: North Carolina State vs. Texas A&M

 

Tuesday, Jan. 1

11.  Outback Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Iowa

12. Citrus Bowl: Kentucky vs. Penn State

13. Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs. UCF

14. Rose Bowl, Washington vs. Ohio State

15. Allstate Sugar Bowl: Texas vs. Georgia

 

Monday, Jan. 7

16. College Football National Championship

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List your winners in a comment here. The most accurate gets the “C. B. Scott, ‘SEC Now-and-Forever’ Platinum Prognosticator Award”

Runner up gets the “Dave Miller ‘When does spring training start?’ Pewter Yankee Stadium spittoon.

Tiebreaker: Point total for the Oklahoma vs. Alabama game but I realize that many of our valued commenters can’t count that high. Ask for assistance.

The handicap sheet on these says to stick with the SEC and you’ll have a chance of winning, although Kentucky and Missouri look heavily overmatched.

 

The SBC single best moment of 2018

That would be the moment  in our annual session when messenger and trustee of Southwestern Seminary, Bart Barber, said the following:

I am an old-time Baptist congregationalist. My church has business meetings every month because I want us to have business meetings every month. I believe in our polity. And it is a part of our polity that our entity heads do not get to remove trustees when they become an inconvenience to them, that entity heads have to answer to their boards both when they want to do so and when they don’t want to do so, that seminary employees have to abide by board decisions.

Paige Patterson is a human being made in the image of God. He is a man who has promoted some of the finest women scholars in our convention. He is a master exegete and the consummate preacher. Even today I’d vote for him for any of those things, and I’m thankful for the Conservative Resurgence and all that it accomplished. I was not out to get him; I was out to help him. But I cannot vote for him to occupy any monarchy. We are Baptists. We have no popes. We are all accountable to someone. Whatever divides us, I hope that we are all in agreement about that.

For my part, I’m accountable to you. I’m a tell-the-people-and-trust-the-Lord Baptist. Whatever you decide, I will abide by it. It has been a great honor to serve you in this way. Thank you for the trust you have placed in me. I have tried to defend your rights at SWBTS. I would urge you as you vote to consider this: Please do not rob the trustees throughout our convention of their spine. They keep our entities accountable to you. Think of the precedent this will set if we start voting out trustees every time they face a difficult decision. Will any board have the courage to hold entity heads accountable again? And if they are unaccountable to their trustees, they are unaccountable to you. If you rob the trustees of their spine, you rob the messengers of their voice. 

We Southern Baptists have “moments” and we have “movements.” Sometimes a “moment” becomes a “movement.” Barber’s short time at the mic in Dallas qualifies as an authentic “moment,” easily excelling beyond other important statements, votes, and actions around the SBC during 2018. Here are a few reasons why I think this to be so:

  1. If not spontaneous, it was not one of those planned and plotted grandstand moments. Any SBCer who has been around for a while learns to recognize these. Some celeb or celeb-wannabe rises for his moment in the sun. He may or may not have prayed about it but he certainly planned it, discussed it with others, and rehearsed it. He gets all the backslaps, atta boys, and maybe gets some visibility and a greater entree into the SBC oligarchy. Bart Barber’s moment was, best I can understand and best I could see from across the cavernous convention hall, an occasion that wasn’t hatched in a back room and carefully orchestrated. While as a SWBTS trustee he certainly would have had more information than the rest of us, it looked to me like one Baptist having his say and saying it well.
  2. We Southern Baptists say we don’t have popes but until we show it, the saying doesn’t count. Paige Patterson and a few others in the CR curia had been given enormous power in the SBC and accomplished great things with them. Had this gotten out of hand? Looks like it from a distance. Ordinary messengers finally acted (the vote looked like something in the 95/5 percent range) to deny Hatley and Patterson and in doing so affirm Barber and the pastors and others who scraped up enough shekels to make it to Dallas for the meeting.
  3. The trustee system is both our salvation and our weakest point. How and why Barber ended up addressing this and not others, I don’t know. There is no more spineless group in SBC life than trustees who have declared fealty to a Southern Baptist Lord and find some satisfaction in the role of sychophant. I’ve heard all the excuses over the years (“We handle things in private…just trust us,” etc.) but trustee failures are regular though thankfully infrequent in SBC life.
  4. We all can repeat the mantra “tell the people and trust the Lord” Baptist. Finally, though, someone who shows it.
  5. So, here we are with the SBC having dramatically, decisively declared that they will not rob the trustees of their spine. So, how about trustees not giving their spine away. No need to go through all this again but I’m hopeful that we will if we need to. If this moment continued as a movement, that would be great for all of us.

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It would be a millenial stretch to say that Bart Barber and I are friends. We have met, just for a brief few seconds, although we have swapped some comments here for a few years. I haven’t liked all of his stuff but almost all of it.  I’d guess that he is not that thrilled about this article but, I’m a free agent in SBC life…so here it is, like it or not.

The link above is to an SBC Voices piece by Dave Miller. I think it is a transcription of a text of prepared remarks. It may vary a word or so from his actual statement from the floor. Emphases are mine.

I like Bart’s new, smiling photo. In the old one he was using I thought he looked like Luca Brasi. Check it out.