SBC Voices

When Interpretation Fails or, Trump-eting Greatness?

Evangelicals are the biggest Liberals. So says David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw. They take up a discussion of Inerrancy and Evangelicals at one point during the conversation. Maybe they are being provocative. Maybe not.

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What Does Africa Have to Do with Forth Worth?

Dave Miller remarked in the comment thread of a recent post at SBC Voices, “Blogging attracts the most strident voices. The SBC is never as divided as blogging.” Herding the cats, which has at times included me, at SBC Voices gives Dave a peculiar perspective. Prior to this comment, he noted that conversation had been quite good until the tone and tenor changed with the infusion of personalities, grudges, and the like. Maybe the SBC is as divided as blogging. Read More

Religious Unity Spurred by Violence?

Not so fast.  Dr. Dwight McKissic offered a sermon focused on how to help young black men in his congregation think through their own choices in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict. What Jesus informed options should those faced with similar circumstances consider. He sent all or part of that sermon to Dave Miller, who has his hands full herding the commenting cats over there, at SBC Voices to be posted on what is a popular Southern Baptist group blog that also aggregates feeds from other Southern Baptists. Currently the feed is a Twitter feed since Google shut the lights on Google Reader.

The comments are diverse. You would imagine so with Baptist types. But, what is a bit startling is the manner of the disagreement, the tone of the comments. It could hardly be concluded that a violent incident spurs religious unity. I confess to thinking that were I Dwight, I might reconsider sending Dave another item to post.

My thoughts are not to convey everyone would or should agree with Dr. McKissic, though I do. Instead, it is that if the deep divide that exists over our racial history is to ever be bridged, our conversations must be better. What if an event like the violent death of a 17-year-old black man led us not to draw attention to black on black violence but to talk about violence and race. To always point to what happens on the streets of Chicago seems to be obfuscation.

For the past two years I have participated in a partnership in Guatemala. The group travels twice a year to teach local pastors in what they refer to as seminary. If the schedule holds I will travel twice next year.

Guatemala has a violent history. I recall a This American Life episode on NPR that included gruesome details. Many places in Latin America experience violence as a staple. What to do?

I discovered a piece on the AULA blog. It is the inspiration for the title. The piece I read, Moving Toward Religious Unity In Response to Violence, prompted me to consider if the points made in the piece could inspire religious unity in the United States if we made the same discoveries about ourselves. Or, if we wold assume a superior cultural posture by pointing toward our more peaceful existence when making relative comparisons.

Here are a few of the points that stirred me to think about the way Christian groups, in particular my tribe, may learn from others how we might seek unity in the face of violence.

1. Violence requires an understanding of context. While violence is common to several Latin American countries their contexts require a solid look beyond the common crimes.

Violence in Chicago, deemed black on black, may be prompted by a number of factors. If the issue of race is present then it is a very different outlet than other instances where violence erupts between those of differing ethnic background.

2. The common experience is drawing people together from different countries, those with different strategies, and ministries involved in care after the events of violence.

There is no silver bullet to ending violence or racial reconciliation. I am not ignoring the activity of God or the agency of the Spirit. What I am pointing up is that those responsible for reconciliation, embodying and enacting, will find the work hard even if it may be supported and funded by the event of God.

3. Violence takes new forms as others are challenged.

Particularly I have in mind racial violence. There may be no more white hooded posses hanging black people from trees, it is still a violent act to support a system that continues, as Dr. Moore noted, to display apparent racial bias.

4. Churches offer conflicting messages about peace.

Some view peace the result of a redeemed individual. Others find it necessary to address systems and structures. Often the two compete for attention, support, and funding. These conflicts present a fractured vision for peace. Both elements seem true but should fit within a desire for peace so that either side of this divide may join forces to end violence, especially in this context where I am aiming at racial reconciliation.

5. Ecclesial competition is undermined.

Christians of every background working together in the face of racial division sets our agenda on something other than self-preservation. Maybe churches, like individuals, need to put to death the habits and practices that support the self and in those places plead for resurrection living.

What do you think?

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Race Is No Longer an Issue? or, Maybe My SBC Friends Will Rethink Our Progress

Recently Dwight McKissic raised issue with a Texas Baptist pastor who was against Mitt Romney before he was for him. He noted that once Romney won the nod for the Republican Presidential nomination, said pastor softened his rhetoric and amped up his support. In the piece, Dwight reminded his readers the SBC refused to consider his resolution decrying racism contained in Mormon documents.

The comments betrayed the commenters when it landed on an SBC blog. Many seemed incredulous that Dwight would dare play the race card. We have moved on.  “Why can’t he move on,” seemed to bubble to the surface. It appears my SBC friends may need to rethink the progress we think we have made – at least in our Country. And, I would imagine since the SBC allies so strongly with the Republican party we need to reconsider the matter in our own ranks. Read More

Maybe We Are Stuck or, Godin, Block, and the SBC

Dave Miller cannot escape Calvinism no matter how hard he tries. He notes that less than 48 hours of deciding to steer clear of the subject he found himself posting about the recently formed advisory team on Calvinism. We are stuck.

I do know what Dave is talking about. Like many who visit SBC Voices and follow the comment threads it is hard not to notice that the dividing lines over Calvinism flare up no matter what the theme of a given post may be. Recently Dave asked if he could re-post one of my pieces in an attempt to change the subject. He wanted, needed, a break. After more than 170 comments, Dave got his wish. There were two comments that could have sent the thread into the never-ending debate over Calvinis, but commenters refrained.

I believe we are stuck. If you have ever been stuck, you know how terrible is the feeling. Read More