Several others did live blogging from the BGCT.  I took notes on how they did it and perhaps I’ll give it a shot down the road.  So I will focus on the stuff that came my way today.

Charles Wade is retiring, and this is his last convention.  There was a video tribute which I thought was very well done, he received a standing ovation from the convention following the video and following his address later on, which I thought was one of his best, and one of his most challenging to the messengers.  There was a reception tonight, which I attended, got in line, and wished him God’s blessings and the best.  The Executive Board named him Executive Director Emeritus.  That’s a pretty clear signal that the BGCT is ready to move on.  We are moving on with 5,700 churches and a $50 million budget which is a whole lot more than a lot of people expected us to have at this point. 

Joy Fenner won the presidency by 60 votes.  Joy, as I have stated here repeatedly, will be a great president.  It was a win-win situation going in, which I also stated previously.  The closeness of the vote was also a message.  Almost half, 49%, of the messengers voted for a candidate who did not have a political organization backing him up, and who ran a campaign on the idea of moving the BGCT back to the center, and of clearing up the relationship with the SBC.  A significant number of messengers caught that message, came to the convention and voted for it.  The closeness of the vote, which could have been reversed by gathering up a few messengers in the hallway from among the 300 or so who didn’t cast a ballot, will insure that the changes David Lowrie was advocating will be heard. 

My own run for office accomplished exactly what I indended for it to accomplish.  I ran because I thought someone should run.  I had no illusions going in that I would win against Michael Massar.  Michael is someone I would have voted for myself.  The announcement that I would be nominated was made less than a week ago.  With the irregularities that sometimes occur in FVP and SVP elections in Baptist conventions, such as people leaving the hall, not turning in ballots, or not knowing either candidate and just marking a spot because of a nominating speech or the sound of a name, I would have been happy with 15% of the vote.  I got 21%. 

I did learn a few things from the experience.  It is definitely out of my comfort zone to consider running for office in a Baptist convention.  It’s just not me.  It’s not my personality, and I don’t believe it is my calling.  Now, I’ve had the experience, it might be good party talk, and that will be it. 

Ah, do I dare move forward with a discussion of the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant? 

I spent a good part of the day conversing with committee members about the way to approach making a motion.  I’ve listened to a lot of advice on this, which I have appreciated, including Kaylor’s and BDW’s comments.  And I want to say, first of all, that I made my own decision on this.  My sole intention with this issue from the very beginning has been to open up a channel of expression and communication on the convention floor so that those who have objections to the BGCT’s participation can express their objections.  This would also open up a channel of communication for those who are participating and fully supporting the event to respond with the facts in order to get beyond the speculation caused by the involvement of high profile politicians.  It was a difficult challenge, given the fact that the BGCT has already approved the relationship with the North American Baptist Fellowship, to word a motion or a resolution that would do that in accordance with the rules. 

I decided not to bring the motion.  Ultimately, the event is still in the future.  It is awkward and difficult to figure out how to bring a motion, either positively or negatively, when the event in question has not actually taken place and the concerns are based on one perspective.  If it becomes what it’s critics are suggesting, then a motion at next year’s convention to correct the BGCT’s position would easily pass with evidence in hand. 

I will always be an advocate for “parity” which I really call “unity.”  We criticize the conservative resurgence in the SBC for their majority rules, minority loses attitude, and for their manipulation of convention processes which allow them to maintain control.  What do we accomplish when we do the same thing?  And what Kingdom purposes are served by Baptist Wars over positions that were meant to be voluntary servanthood?

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

5 responses

  1. David Lowrie says:

    Lee,

    Thank you for your observations about the convention. It was an interesting day to say the least. A highlight for me was the opportunity to meet you personally. You may have felt out of your element yesterday, but you made a positive contribution to the cause of Christ.

    I especially appreciate your willingness to cooperate with the various committees about your motion. In light of our relationship with the North American Baptist Fellowship it was practically impossible to speak to the issue at this time. As thing develop with the New Baptist Covenant we will know better what our role needs to be in the future. You were a statesman in it all. Thank you.

    I also appreciate your kind words about my narrow defeat. I tried to stay on message. I believe the message was sent, and now it is time for us to rally behind Joy and to move forward together. I pray our Executive Director search committee will seize the opportunity to call a leader who has the ability and passion to lead from a centrist position.

    I fear many of those who supported me will react in frustration and continue to pull away from the BGCT. For me this would be the wrong move at the wrong time. Yesterday we took one big step into our future. Today is the day to take a step toward the BGCT. We are in the game. We started the conversation. We need to keep talking and keep working together.

    The reminder that this was not about me nor those I feel I represent, but all of this was about the Kingdom helped me through a long night of disappointment. Jesus had it right–“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”.

    We must remember who the real victims of our political maneuvering really are–they are the people who need to know Jesus–whose lives are in the balance. If we pull our financial support to try to send a message the wrong people suffer.

    I know we are Baptists and we are free to do as we feel led of the Lord to do, but I plead with us call that today is a day of opportunity. We can do more together. I still believe that and will continue to stay in the game.

    Besides, if I would have had a field goal kicker we might have won!!

    Thank you Lee, I look forward to continuing the journey with you.

    Your Friend,
    David Lowrie

  2. Terry says:

    David & Lee,
    I want to say thank you to each of you for your willingness to serve Texas Baptist. It was a disappointing day, but there are glimmers of hope as well. I believe that even though we are in the minority, I pray that we have conducted ourselves with honor. IMO I believe that we have. This morning we can still voice our opposition and I pray that those who speak will do so in a way which will honor our Savior. Thanks again for your willingness to serve.

    Terry Williams

  3. rpaynter says:

    Lee and David, I do not know either one of you but I so appreciated you both running and bringing another perspective. Its a different perspective from my own, but it is one that is needed and one I respect. David, I especially appreciate your call for people to hang in with the BGCT. All institutions are flawed and we need not think otherwise; nevertheless, by God’s grace, earthen vessels get used to God’s glory time & again, including people, including imperfect institutions. Renewal is a constant necessity; destruction and abandonment are easy but not very courageous. Thank you both for making BGCT stronger, broader, and more faithful.

    roger paynter

  4. Lee says:

    Roger,
    Thanks for your comment. I think we probably agree on a lot of things, particularly about hanging in with the BGCT and the necessity of renewal. Baptist conventions do have their flaws, but they have their value as well, especially when they are focused on Kingdom advancement. I think their strength comes from different perspectives working together. Our independence and autonomy make for a lot of creative tension. If it doesn’t get personal, it can be very valuable.

  5. Kaylor says:

    Lee: I appreciate that you did not go ahead with the resolution on the Celebration. As Baptists we really need to come together and I truly hope that the Celebration will help us accomplish that. I do not believe it will be what critics have accused it of, but if it did become a political rally I would be among the first to cry “foul!”