The prohibition exposes the desire. Now that you have wandered over to follow Alabama Baptist on Twitter, inspired by my prohibition, let me suggest that any publication that could exercise good judgment when printing any piece it receives and does not, does not deserve a single Twitter follower. Or any follower for that matter.
To be dumbfounded twice in one week may have apocalyptic indications. That is, you would think that in this day and age with the expansive opportunities to read the unthinkable that a person could not experience what it is to be surprised.
Failing to Self-Edit
Often the difference between success and failure lies in the learned ability to self-edit. Pastors, and this may be a shocker to you, either learn to self-edit or they look for another job. There may be a time for being prophetic. But as those who were killed pronouncing doom to those who failed to care for the widows, orphans, and strangers learned, receptivity to honesty is key.
Let’s also remember not to use prophetic as a cover for being a jerk. How is that for self-editing?
Editing a State Baptist newsletter, the current reality of what once passed as State Baptist newspapers, should come with greater care than to print a Letter to the Editor that squarely misses Jesus than had they carried an ad for genocide. In this case, it appears as if that is precisely what could be implied.
Better editing is required if your tagline is, A Resource for Christian Living.
The Problem with Self-Identification
Recently we hosted a college professor at our church tasked with helping our congregation understand the history, politics, and culture of Islam. Greg teaches World Religions. Our aim was to get an understanding before thinking solely from an apologetic position. Think Bob Roberts Jr.’s, @bobrobertsjr, call to listen and learn.
Greg pointed out that one of the double-edged swords for Christians in America is the practice of self-identification. He may have considered the exercise to be a pillar of American Religion. The sword of Damocles cuts across the claim that all Muslims by applying the same generalization that all Christians are the same. Even more, if I self-identify as a Christian but call for the genocide of another people while pointing to my chosen Sacred Text, then I cannot condemn another who does the same with his or her Sacred Text. Most Christians, especially those who claim to be conservative, prefer what is good for the gander to be different from the goose.
Here the Alabama Baptist cannot claim to be a resource for Christian Living while at the same time printing a piece that presents an authority other than Jesus.
I tire of my Christian Conservative friends chiding Liberal Christians, among whom I also have many friends. The claim is always a watered down capitulation to culture. Newsflash: America changed Christianity. One of the most profound things Greg noted came in response to a question as to what sort of fear he had with the increased presence of Islam in the U.S. He said, “None.”
The reason Greg gave is that America has its own religion and as such forces every other Religion to submit to its sway. Think about it. The Walmartization of the Church, mostly conservative churches, cannot escape your notice. There are other pillars of American Religion that have held sway over Christianity and any other religious tradition practiced in the U.S. One need only watch the current run for the Presidential nomination.
When I read a conservative Baptist Christian State newsletter print a piece that so distinctly undermines the vision of Jesus and the Kingdom of God, I think I need no other illustration. It would be far better to stop pointing fingers at another group on the Christian spectrum, admit to our own capitulations, and take up the call to follow Jesus rather than Rome.
And, don’t fire up the press, or click print, unless all your articles submit to your announced vision. Let’s take a good first step:
Mr Bob Terry, would you please retract the letter and apologize for the dreadful inconsistency? It would sure help if our denominational apparatus would refrain from actions that make it difficult to bear the name Baptist, yes, Southern Baptist.