Why Can’t We Be Friends? We Are!

Who listens to sermons? My young friends at Crackers & Grape Juice tell me that younger people listen to podcasts, and may read sermons, at a much higher clip than, well, people my age. Jason does call me an old man. The research they point to actually indicates that sermons matter to more than the one who delivers them. So . . .  Read More

Seven Years Seems Like the Perfect Time

I am a little late in commenting on a recent Baptist World Alliance press release. Not seven years though. The email hit my Inbox on December 21. Fourteen days ago. In the opening paragraph of the release the BWA notes,

Leaders of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held a joint meeting on December 19. The meeting was a follow up to a commitment made in April 2004 that both groups “meet at least once per year to continue an ongoing dialogue.”

From the press release it looks like the BWA took the initiative to keep the pledge. The story is a long one. An online acquaintance considers my occasional reference to the withdrawal of the Southern Baptist Convention from the SBC something of an obsession. I consider it an ongoing illustration of how Baptists fragment, if not have a difficult time with reconciliation. Oh the irony. Read More

Baptists Inherently Fractured? Noll Thinks So

I have Baptists on the brain. Three current events form the nexus for my current state of mind. First, my friend The Ex-Reverend sent me a link to Mark Noll’s piece in Books & Culture, “So You’re a Baptist – What might that mean?” Second, I am attending the Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (last night and today). Third, I will be attending the New Baptist Covenant 2 Regional meeting at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church on Thursday and Friday. I am speaking at a session in the afternoon on Friday. Major Jemison is the pastor and what a preacher he is.

So there you have it, Baptist on the brain. The three reasons come together in an interesting way. Yesterday during a panel discussion at the annual BGCO Pastor’s Conference, panelists responded to a question wondering if there was need to evaluate ecclesial methods. Now, for those of you not Baptist, and maybe not even interested in things sectarian and Christian, we Baptists tend to chapter and verse our methodologies. Don’t believe me? Many use the Bible in support of multi-site congregations. Others fail to read the text the same way. It is certainly not a prescription. If I find it questionable for its consequences for community, that is my opinion. I won’t tell J.D. Greear he is wrong on the subject. And, I expect he will not tell me I am wrong. Though . . . . Read More

Missing Reconciliation – When Memory Becomes Nostalgia

Last week I reposted a couple of old posts that triggered a Twitter response from a fellow Southern Baptist pastor. He replied, “@doctodd Making me feel terribly nostalgic… :),” and “@doctodd So I guess I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic, huh? :)”

Memory becomes nostalgic when the action loses connection from its purpose. In church life it is akin to recalling the glory days. More often than not, those days are remembered for what they make us “feel” rather than recalling a period where serving others in the Name of Jesus dominated church life.

On the backside of Memorial Day, I could not help but think of how an original element of Decoration Day dropped off as the commemorative moment expanded to include those beyond the Civil War. Quickly, I don’t see a problem acknowledging those who served our Country and lost their lives during any military action. It is just worth noting there was no call for a Decoration Day following the Revolutionary War. Instead, the declaration by General Logan came after the war that represented a divided Country. Read More

Conveyed Truth, Expressed Love – Thoughts from the Edge

There is little doubt Peter’s experience with Cornelius brought the reality of reconciliation in Jesus to bear on his understanding of the way the world works. Old lines had been crossed. Former systems keeping people at bay had been formally challenged and practically outmoded. Surely this would be unsettling. Just how is this possible?

Restorative love. Peter may have recalled how Jesus reconstituted his own little world when on the beach he invited him to participate in the mission of God right where he was – not after he had matured. There was still much growing for Peter. Facing his own fears as he followed the lead of the Spirit to visit Cornelius he had to know that no one, even Gentiles, were outside of the love of God if he himself could be reconciled. Read More