I, like many of you, had just about given up on the SBC. Then about four years ago Wade Burleson, our son, was called upon to serve on the IMB and to represent all Southern Baptists, especially those of Oklahoma, on that BOT. He did that much to the chagrin of many in leadership. When refused the legal and ethical ability to adequately discuss and research some decisions being made by that leadership that affected many future appointees of the IMB, Wade began to report the situation to those who had entrusted him with the responsibility of being a trustee, the Southern baptist people themselves. The proverbial fat hit the fan. I got interested in the SBC once again. The rest is history as the saying goes and can be found quite accurately recorded in the the book "Hardball Religion" written by Wade as a result of the controversy and well documented as to accuracy.
Four years later we have received word that Wade is laying aside writing anything of a political nature. Don't hear that as laying aside anything controversial because his theology will be that thank you. But he will be refusing to write anything that addresses the political state or condition of the SBC for the next year. I have not spoken to him since his announcement and am writing my thoughts without him knowing anything about what those thoughts might be. But I do have some thoughts.
In my humble but accurate opinion, [:)] Wade has been operating under a real calling of God for these past four years. He has suffered rebuke, revilement, questioned motives, and has been called too many things/names to begin listing them here. But the truth is, he could care less because of a belief that he HAS had a calling of God for what he has done. It has always ONLY been a principled thing for him like him or not.
A few months go when he chose to step aside as a trustee to get the focus back on missions I wrote this to him..."To stop short of a calling...because of fear or of pain... is a lack of character," someone has said. Mark Twain reportedly said, 'Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of it.' Wade you've courageously never stopped short of your calling."
"Someone also said, 'To go beyond a calling...because of an agenda or cause...is pride.' A.W. Tozer once wrote 'Nothing that comes from God will minister to my pride or self-congratulations.' Wade you've chosen to not go beyond your calling."
I can write those words to Wade again. So I do.
But that leaves us with a bit of a personal dilemma it seems to me. What do those of us, like me, do now? I was ready to give up on the SBC a while back. I got encouraged. Some say there is more reason for encouragement now than ever before. Maybe. I don't know. Fool me once...fool me twice...you remember that? I'm thinking and I'm watching.
It may be that I have only a couple of options that are legitimate for me personally anyway. I can't go back to just pretending the SBC can go her way while I go mine with a nominal connectedness to her. That isn't fair to anyone.
I certainly can't let happen again what happened when there was a move to recapture a confidence in the integrity of the text of scripture, with a perhaps legitimate need for that correction, but then it became a conservative movement that did great personal damage to far too many with far too little restraint.
Following that was the accumulation of power which became far too seductive to far too many. We wound up with what we've got and that's unacceptable to me.
So, maybe I will stay with the SBC. But I will have to voice my concerns and viewpoints when they are there to whomever I must. I will expect to be heard, respected, and answered. I don't have to agree with the answer but to be ignored or told it is none of my business will not do anymore at all. I will respect the leaders of the SBC but will under no circumstance receive as legitimate something they say BECAUSE they say it. I will need to know WHY they say it.
If for whatever reason the above cannot be accomplished I would have to opt out with my integrity intact and find other Kingdom avenues to follow to do ministry and to share relationships therein. The Kingdom of God IS, after all, quite big and diverse.
To facilitate the hope of the first option I'm going to talk to Wade and get a list of people, blogs, and organizations he would suggest I stay in tune and in touch with during this next year. When I get this list I will publish it, with his approval only.
All this said, who says you can't be proud of, learn much from, appreciate the example of, and just generally like your own kids? I do.