Friday, June 30, 2006

Independence in the Promised Land

Katharyn will be joining me for our (now) annual trip to Rogersville (otherwise known as "The Promised Land") for the Independence Day holiday. Both of us have been looking forward to the trip, and we see it as a vacation of sorts from our work-a-day schedules in law firms. The work has been hard, mentally and emotionally, for both us lately, with the divorces and abuses weighing heavily on Kat and the murders and rapes doing the same to me.

Sometimes I wonder whether we're going to be able to endure twenty years of this sort of thing, but then I remember the victims I've met during my time at the office: it re-energizes me to recall that I am working to bring those people justice and keep the People of the State safe. That is a worthy job, and it is a noble one.

I am looking forward to seeing my family, my dog, and my mountains. I am sincerely hoping to see many of my high school friends, who I really haven't seen since Christmas break, and the Land of the Three Stars seems so firmly rooted in my marrow that its call is difficult to ignore.

FEELING: Excited about a restful weekend
LISTENING TO: The 'Tennessee Waltz' (not really, but y'all know why that is there)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Looking for faith in the Left

I am a conservative person. My faith in Christ pervades my life, and because of that, even my political views are shaped by the teachings of Jesus and the Bible.

I have voted for Republicans since I was able to vote, and I have supported Republican candidates since I first actively supported candidates. I have worked, as an intern, for a branch of the Republican Party, and I have worked (again, as an intern) for a Republican Member of Congress.

One of the reasons that I have been a strong suppporter of the Republican Party over the years is because that Party welcomes and takes seriously people of faith. The party stands up for issues that are important to me, and does not shun faith as a legitimate and (even) important source of political understandings.

At the same time, the Democratic Party never seemed, to me, to be as welcoming or to be as willing to engage me as a man of faith.

While I am a Republican, and intend to continue as a Republican, I have seen close friends troubled by Democrats' willingness to ignore or give token support to people of faith. That's why comments from Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) seem like a positive development to me.

Sen. Obama gave a speech to a group of Democrats and liberal persons at a convention this week, and what he had to say seems like something worth applauding. I still won't support his policies, and I will disagree with him on many important things (things that I feel many Republicans get right, where he gets wrong). But I admire his willingness to stand up to the pervasive secularism that has crept into the political left in our country.

Again, while I wouldn't support their policies, wouldn't it be wonderful if sincere people of faith -- people who took serious a commitment to Jesus Christ and the Bible -- were on the other side of arguments? Wouldn't the culture wars calm down somewhat? Indeed, if the secularists got the boot, would the culture wars even continue?

We can argue about taxes, immigration, and so on and still cling to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I pray that it will happen.

Follows is a sample of Senator Obama's speech, and a link to the complete speech, here. Both are worth reading.

* * *

"So let me end with just one other interaction I had during my campaign. A few days after I won the Democratic nomination in my U.S. Senate race, I received an email from a doctor at the University of Chicago Medical School that said the following:

"'Congratulations on your overwhelming and inspiring primary win. I was happy to vote for you, and I will tell you that I am seriously considering voting for you in the general election. I write to express my concerns that may, in the end, prevent me from supporting you.'

"The doctor described himself as a Christian who understood his commitments to be 'totalizing.' His faith led him to a strong opposition to abortion and gay marriage, although he said that his faith also led him to question the idolatry of the free market and quick resort to militarism that seemed to characterize much of the Republican agenda.

"But the reason the doctor was considering not voting for me was not simply my position on abortion. Rather, he had read an entry that my campaign had posted on my website, which suggested that I would fight 'right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose.' The doctor went on to write:

"'I sense that you have a strong sense of justice...and I also sense that you are a fair minded person with a high regard for reason...Whatever your convictions, if you truly believe that those who oppose abortion are all ideologues driven by perverse desires to inflict suffering on women, then you, in my judgment, are not fair-minded....You know that we enter times that are fraught with possibilities for good and for harm, times when we are struggling to make sense of a common polity in the context of plurality, when we are unsure of what grounds we have for making any claims that involve others...I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words.'

"Fair-minded words.

"So I looked at my website and found the offending words. In fairness to them, my staff had written them using standard Democratic boilerplate language to summarize my pro-choice position during the Democratic primary, at a time when some of my opponents were questioning my commitment to protect Roe v. Wade.

"Re-reading the doctor's letter, though, I felt a pang of shame. It is people like him who are looking for a deeper, fuller conversation about religion in this country. They may not change their positions, but they are willing to listen and learn from those who are willing to speak in fair-minded words. Those who know of the central and awesome place that God holds in the lives of so many, and who refuse to treat faith as simply another political issue with which to score points.

"So I wrote back to the doctor, and I thanked him for his advice. The next day, I circulated the email to my staff and changed the language on my website to state in clear but simple terms my pro-choice position. And that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own -- a prayer that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me.

"It's a prayer I think I share with a lot of Americans. A hope that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the beliefs of each with the good of all. It's a prayer worth praying, and a conversation worth having in this country in the months and years to come. Thank you."

* * *

FEELING: Hopeful for our country
LISTENING TO: Some of the attorneys getting excited about the impending announcement of the verdict in the Siegelman (former governor of Alabama) corruption trial

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Coming home to Canterbury?

Lately I have kept a close eye on developments within the Anglican Communion. At first, my interest was passing: the situation seemed to be the usual sort of intra-denominationl dispute with which, as a Southern Baptist, I was intimately familiar.

Yet my friendship with Clark Dumas, an Episcopalian from Mobile, Alabama, changed my relationship with the story. No longer was news of dissension from within the Episcopal Church a trifling news story, it had a face and a name. The anguish faced by "Episcopalians" was one shared by my friend and brother in Christ.

Affirming my relationship to Clark as a brother was one thing, though, and worshipping with him was another. I remained safely within my pew down on the corner of Broadway and Seventh.

SPRING BREAK

Spring break of my freshman year at Vanderbilt changed that. I went with Clark and some other friends down to his house on Mobile Bay, and that Sunday we went with Clark and his family to their church: Christ Anglican Church. It was my first experience with liturgy, and it was a transformational experience.

My entire life, I had heard that liturgy was bad and unbiblical, and that its use threatened one's commitment to worshipping God "in Spirit and truth" as Jesus had said "true worshippers" would. My experience at Christ Anglican, though, was just the opposite of what I had always heard. Instead of deadness and rote recitation, I found meaning and beauty in the words of Scripture placed into an order of worship, prayer, and song.

After the service, a woman who knew Clark, recognized that he was accompanied by visitors. She politely asked where we were from; I spoke of East Tennessee and my Baptist roots. To this day, I do not know why I mentioned my denomination -- yet I did. She laughed, and replied that she, too, had grown up as a Southern Baptist.

With a sparkle in her eye, she said, "Be careful attending an Anglican church: you might just end up switching, too."

I politely smiled and smugly thought to myself, "No, I won't -- this isn't my heritage."

BAPTIST ROOTS

My faith walk has come a long way since even then, I have seen Truth and beauty in the liturgy of the Anglican tradition. I have studied the roots of my own faith tradition, and I have seen that though our Baptist theology was influenced by the Anabaptists and Calvinists in its English infancy, our American version of the Baptist tradition has an even broader legacy.

Southern Baptists today are still heavily influenced by the Particularist and Generalist Baptists of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; but our worship and practice is a direct result of the faithful ministry of the Methodist circuit riders of the Second Great Awakening.

Southern Baptists' deep roots in the American southeast cannot help but be influenced by the hymnody -- and therefore, the theology -- of John and Charles Wesley. For indeed, it was the Wesleys who pioneered, with Luther, the use of hymns as an expressive, communicative medium for the transmission of theology and understanding about God.

Any understanding of the Wesleys must recall that they, themselves, viewed their theology as an extension and reform of the Church of England by whom they were ordained. Thus, while the roots of Baptist theology lie in the Continental Reformation, the modern theology and practice of Baptists that emerged in the Twentieth Century was greatly related to the Anglican-inspired Methodist movement.

In a way, then, my recent romance with the Anglican tradition is something of a homecoming. My English ancestors would be proud (if to the dismay of my Scotch-Irish ancestors who, as Ulster Presbyterians, ultimately rejected the Church of England).

FOUR HISTORIC TRUTHS

But is my interest in and admiration for Anglicanism nothing more than passing Anglophilia?

I think it is not. Instead, I believe that my recent studies in the history of English Christianity -- learning about the Celtic, Romano-Celtic, Sarum rite, and protestant influences on the Faith in the Island of my ancestors -- have led me to value the historic commitments that the Anglican tradition has maintained as its distinctives. And in these distinctives, I see the essence of Christian faith and worship:

• The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as "containing all things necessary to salvation," and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.

• The Apostles' Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol (confession of faith used at Baptism); and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.

• The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself -- Baptism and the Supper of the Lord -- ministered with the unfailing use of Christ's Words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.

• The Historic Episcopate (the ministry of chief pastors, pastors, and deacons), locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.

I will continue to pray and seek God's will in where He would have me worship. But in this journey I have learned one essential thing: the Triune God works the saving power of Jesus Christ in persons from many Christian communions. No matter what the name of the church is from which you come, the thing that matters, as Paul said (in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5):

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:

That Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,
That he was buried,
That he was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures,
And that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
Then he appeared to James,
Then to all the apostles,
And last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

With Paul, I must affirm that "last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." The journey for this abnormally born, born-from-above son of the Father, brother to the Son, temple of the Spirit goes on, with hope that "where two or three are gathered in [His] name," Christ is there.

* * *

FEELING: Pensive
LISTENING TO: The sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams, on the future of the Anglican Communion

Monday, June 26, 2006

From Wonderland to Narnia: what it means to be Anglican after Columbus

I've been keeping a close eye on the Episcopal Church of the United States' 2006 General Convention in Columbus, Ohio that concluded last week and the reaction to it. One of the sites that I read is BabyBlueCafe (the origin of whose name I am unsure of). BBC (oh -- maybe that's it) linked to a commentary and analysis of the convention that was very poignant.

I highly recommend that you read it.

FEELING: The "peace of the Lord"
LISTENING TO: Air 1, the positive alternative, via iTunes at Panera in Montgomery

Scouting the Commodores

With thanks to my buddy Mark Halling, here is a little update about college football, my favorite of all sports to watch and follow.

* * *

From Athlon magazine's SEC Football Preview 2006. Opposing coaches size up Vanderbilt (each quote is from a different SEC coach, interviewed independently):

"Their players really compete for Bobby Johnson. He's one of the best head coaches we go up against from a preparation and gameplan standpoint."

"Their schemes are good, they have great coaches, their kids believe, and they compete hard. They're not overly talented, but they're tough and well-coached."

"They are very well-coached because of the way they have to win games."

"When I think of Vanderbilt, I think of really good football coaches and average players overachieving. You'd better come to play because they will. If you're not on that day, you could get upset."

In the South Carolina section of the magazine: "Spurrier now finds himself in the Bobby Johnson mode of elevating players to better than they are. He takes an average program and makes it above average. He is getting the most out of his players."

* * *

FEELING: Excited about football season!
LISTENING TO: The Vanderbilt fight song, Dynamite

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Howdy from Texas

I was blessed to be asked to join the board of directors for the national alumni association of my fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi. One of the duties that I have to undertake as a member of the board is attending our semi-annual meetings, held at fraternity headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

I've really enjoyed my stay here in the Lone Star State, and I always get excited about BYX when I come to these meetings. And it's hard not to, when you see what God is doing through the Fraternity.

EPISCOPAL DECISION

The Episcopal Church's 2006 General Convention came up with a very watered-down version of what the folks from the global Anglican Communion were looking for. I haven't heard what the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other leaders of the national churches, called primates, are going to say about their response.

I have emailed one of the leaders of the classical Anglican movement, The Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon, about his thoughts on what my fiancee and I should consider if we decide the Episcopal Church -- or, more broadly, the Anglican tradition -- could serve Katharyn and I in our new life together.

I'll keep you up to date on what he has to say.

SAWYER IS BACK

I also want to briefly welcome David Sawyer back to the wonderful world of blogging. As you can see in my Blogs Worth Reading section, below, David's rag is one that I enjoy following, and I'm glad to see him back in action.

AMBULANS UPDATES

I have, so far, managed to keep updating my Bible-blogging site, Ambulans in Itinere, every weekday. I think that's the pattern I'm going to try to uphold. It's been a really neat experience for me to set down my thoughts about God's word. I would really like to hear what some of you think, though. Please, please, please: add your thoughts as a "Comment" after reading the Scripture I discuss.

FEELING: Tired, but productive; and pumped about what God is doing in BYX
LISTENING TO: Some of the other guys talking about our plans for going our tonight in the DFW metroplex

Thursday, June 22, 2006

End of the summer, part one

For half this summer, I have been working in a law office down in Montgomery, Ala., as I mentioned back in the posts from May. This weekend marks the end of the first half of my summer working under the solicitor general.

It has been a very rewarding experience, and I have learned a lot -- both from my interaction with my boss and from the work that I have been assigned. During the second half of the summer, I will be switching to the violent crimes division, which deals primarily with capital trials and criminal appeals for all violent crimes.

FEELING: Tired
LISTENING TO: One of the law clerks talking about a case he's working on

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Continued prayer for the Episcopal Church

Today the Episcopal Church of the United States again reconsiders whether they will comply with the demands of the global Anglican Communion to conform to the historic faith of that body. Most the commentators that I have been reading on the subject seem to think that either (1) a compromise will not happen or (2) if there is a compromise, it will be so compromised that the leaders of the other national churches, called primates, will be unable to accept it as a legitimate and good-faith response to the statement they issued in Windsor in 2004.

If a legitimate response cannot be developed by the leaders of the Episcopal Church, then the consequences are significant: the Episcopal Church could be separated from the Communion and no longer recognized as the legitimate expression of Anglicanism in the United States. For the members of that church, it is a major decision, and a fundamental one in the life of Anglican Christianity.

For those of us who are considering becoming members of that Church (as I discussed, below, that Katharyn and I had contemplated), it is devastating.

We must pray that God would move in a powerful way for Spirit-filled compromise to occur, such that the unity of global Anglicanism, within an orthodox context, can continue.

O God, we pray for our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church of the United States and in the Anglican Communion. We pray that your Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth, and that their thoughts, wishes, desires, and hopes would be crucified with Christ so that they would not live, but that Christ would live in them. Thank you for your Body, the Church; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

FEELING: Anxious
LISTENING TO: News about the decisions being made at the Church's General Convention in Columbus, Ohio

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hookup culture

Over at Mere Orthodoxy, Andrew McKnight has posted a great "point-counterpoint" analysis of Rolling Stones' article on the college hookup culture. As some of the readers comment, the Switchfoot lyrics are particularly poignant when paired with the hopelessness of some of the students.

Annales Newsbreak

I usuaully spend part of my day reading articles and news stories about things that don't necessarily make it to the front page of CNN.com. One of the best sources for that sort of coverage is Christianity Today, a Christian resource that does a great job of gathering together relevant news.

I don't want to rival them (or supplant them), but here are some comments on the articles I found interesting:

'I BELIEVE ... I'M JUST NOT MAD'

As I commented in an earlier post, I believe the election of dark-horse candidate Dr. Frank Page to the presidency of the Southern Baptist convention is a big deal. And finally, it seems, someone in the mainstream media is noticing it, too. E.J. Dionne, Jr., has this piece in The Washington Post.

ChristianityToday.com's weblog, quotes the article and then worries about its implications:

"The evangelical world is going through a quiet evolution as believers reflect on the perils of partisanship and ideology and their reasons for being Christian. This will probably affect the nation's political life, but it will certainly affect the country's spiritual direction. My hunch is that not only moderates and liberals but also many solid conservatives welcome the departure."

It will be interesting to watch this "departure." How will evangelicals take up the banners of creation care, AIDS, human trafficking, and religious freedom without deemphasizing issues like abortion and sexual morality?

How will evangelicals avoid becoming the mirror image of the mainline? News from this summer's mainline Protestant conventions has focused almost exclusively on political issues: homosexuality, the war in Iraq, Guantanamo, divesting from Israel. At the same time, these denominations are hemorrhaging members and money.

While evangelical leaders craft statements on global warming and torture, hoping that they're finally being listened to in the halls of power, will the temptation to appeal to a broader audience—and to be liked by cultural gatekeepers—cause them to dilute their evangelical message?

With CT, I worry about how Evangelical Christians have been increasingly focused on our political action. Unlike CT, though, I think the election of Dr. Page to lead the SBC represents something of a re-emphasis of our traditional evangelistic fervor: after all, Dr. Page's platform was strongly focused on missions and the Cooperative Program.

There is a good wrap-up summary of the Convention, and out-going President Bobby Welch's farewell sermon, here.

NEW ANTI-INDENCENCY LAW

Oops: there goes that hard-won, newly refocused evangelical emphasis. President Bush laudibly increased the FCC's power to fine companies who break its indencency standards, as discussed here.

I have to ask the obvious question: couldn't the money we spent on trying to get the FCC to police the airwaves have been used, instead, to change hearts in lives through the transforming love of Christ so that it wouldn't be profitable to show indencency in the first place?

SO MUCH FOR FREE SPEECH

The governor of Maryland announced, here, that he had fired a man for that man's statement that "Homosexual behavior is deviant. I'm a Roman Catholic." Isn't anyone else scared by this?

GREAT IS DIANA OF THE PRESBYTERIANS!

Ok, ok, so I copied the sub-head from an Anglican blog who was alluding to Paul's troubles in Ephesus when she was commenting on this bit of news that the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. would allow (and, as of yesterday, now does allow) its congregations to refer to the Trinity as "Mother, Child, and Womb" instead of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

As a horrible component-part of the repressive socio-religious patriarchy, I suppose that I would be expected to think this was silly (not to mention, as this blogger points out, the step that precedes goddess-worship), but I'm not the only one.

I talked this news over with my fiancee -- a strong, yet God-fearing, feminist -- las night, who agreed with me that efforts to erase gender-bias from religious practice shouldn't go from male-dominated to female-dominated language. Instead, she argued, an alternative formulation of the Trinity could be, "Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter" (all terms which describe the functions of the Persons of the Trinity).

Though I don't agree that the traditional understanding of the Trinity promotes gender bias, I certainly agree with my fiancee that calling the Holy Spirit "the Womb" is ridiculous. And dangerous.

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION...

The Episcopal Church continues to deal with whether they will comply with the demands of the Anglican Communion or whether they will "walk alone." I discuss the issue further in this post.

Of heresy and schism: praying for the Episcopal Church

Those of you who know me well will recall that Katharyn and I have been diligently praying and discussing what denomination we will call home once we are married. Among the best options, we believe, to fulfill both of us (with my Southern Baptist theological perspective and her Lutheran practice) are both the United Methodist Church and the Episocpal Church.

I mention this to explain why I have been, of late, riveted to news of the Episcopal Church's 2006 General Convention, their triennial legislative assembly.

Among the issues facing the Episcopal Church:

• The Episcopal Church is (for now) the American expression of the global Anglican Communion, with its emphasis on (1) the Bible; (2) the Historic Creeds (Apostles' and Nicene; (3) the Two Sacraments (baptism and the Lord's Supper); and (4) the Historic Episcopate (bishops in the apostolic succession).

• In 1998, the primates (leaders of the national churches) of the Anglican Communion affirmed that homosexual conduct was contrary to Scripture.

• In 2003, the Episcopal Church consecrated V. Gene Robinson as the Bishop of Vermont while Mr. Robinson was continuing to engage in homosexual conduct unrepentantly.

• In 2004, the primates directed the American church that it must apologize for this "breach of the bonds of affection" between themselves and the Communion or otherwise "walk alone" -- no longer recognized as the legitimate national church of Anglicanism in the U.S.

• This year's General Convention saw the election of a woman as the Presiding Bishop (primate of the U.S.) who affirmed Bishop Robinson's consecration and desires for the liturgical blessing of same-sex marriages (which the 1998 statement by the primates would also exclude). Her election was seen by some as an open challenge to the global Communion.
* * *

With all of these challenges facing the Episcopal Church, it is no surprise that conflict has arisen, and name-calling has taken place. One of the particularly stinging charges levelled against some is that they are reviving the ancient heresy of Donatism, where one group argues that only they have effecacious sacraments.

Others argue that progressives' reinterpretation of Scripture to allow for gay bishops and gay marriages is a revival of the heresy of Montanism, where one group argues that the Holy Spirit is leading them to "a new thing" for which the Scriptures do not explicitly provide.

All of the charges and counter-charges have lead one American Anglican to examine the issues at stake. His thoughtful post is an historical overview of the two heresies raised in the debate, and examines who may be closer to historic orthodoxy in the present debate.
* * *

FEELING: Sad for the strife within Christ's one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church
LISTENING TO: Trying, at least, to listen for the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit

Monday, June 19, 2006

Move over Big Apple, here comes Music City

Nashville is known the world over as Music City, USA. But lately, the city's economic growth has been staggering, and the city's leaders are doing their best to harness that growth in a positive direction. The results of these efforts have been breath-taking: the Nashville Public Library, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and the newly revitalized Music Row area all point toward Nashville's rapid ascendancy.

But this formerly sleepy country music town is adding more than just some influential public structures. Infrastructural developments have also been in the works, with Nashville's new Gateway Bridge and light commuter rail, the Music City Star.

Most stunning to those of us who have had the privilege of calling Nashville home is the announcement of the new Signature Tower. This massive new skyscraper would be 65-storeys tall, topping out at 1,047 feet -- exactly one foot taller than New York City's landmark Chrysler Building (1,046 feet). The new building would become the fifth-largest in the United States and the largest outside of New York City or Chicago -- an honor that formerly belonged to Atlanta's Bank of America Tower (at 1,023 feet).

Sounds like Music City is movin' on up.
* * *
FEELING: Proud of my adopted city
LISTENING TO: Vanderbilt's Alma Mater, which always reminds me of Nashville

Blogging the Bible

Inspired by a similar undertaking at the liberally-oriented website, The Slate, I have decided to open a new blog up to explore passages of the Bible recommended by the Daily Lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer.

Most days, I think I will pick one fo the passages to focus on, but some days I may look at all three.

I invite you to add it to your list o' blogs. More importantly, though, I'd like to make it into a forum for Biblical discussion. Please add your comments there, and let's get some Scripture studied.
* * *

FEELING: Ambitious, apparently
LISTENING TO: Air 1 radio

Friday, June 16, 2006

Get this man a Mini Cooper

The Nashville City Paper did a feature today on what certain prominent Nashvillians want for Father's Day. I had to share this entry:
Vanderbilt University Chancellor Gordon Gee, father of 30-year-old Rebecca: “My daughter is getting married and she’s graduating at the same time from her residency program at Harvard’s medical school. For Father’s Day, I’d love for the weatherman to call me up and assure me that there will be beautiful weather on her wedding day in the fall. If I can’t have that, I’d love for someone to give me a yellow Mini Cooper convertible.”
I can't wait to see him driving that thing around campus on West End.

* * *
FEELING: Like it would be hilarious to see bespectacled and bow tie clad Gee in a Mini Cooper
LISTENING TO: The State of Alabama build this new office building outside my window (talk about loud)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Breath of fresh air for my beloved Convention

I was raised in a Southern Baptist church in the hills of East Tennessee. I came to faith in Jesus Christ at that church, and I grew in that faith at a Southern Baptist summer camp. Thus, no matter where life may take me in the future, my hopes and prayers for the Convention will ever increase.

I am excited -- and blogging -- about the Convention today because of the election of our new President, Frank Page. President Page is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Taylors, S.C., and his first press conference shows that he is bringing a fresh point of view to our recently bedeviled denomination.

Specifically, his commitment to the Cooperative Program, his affirmation of Biblical inerrancy, and his willingness to uphold traditional Baptist ideals regarding soul competency, which have been under attack of late, point toward a man willing to seek after God's will instead of that of the Convention's political establishment.

Probably my favorite quote from him so far, and one I believe summarizes his position well, is this:
"I believe in the Word of God. I'm just not mad about it."
To that, I can but add my hearty "Amen."

* * *
FEELING: Excited about the future
LISTENING TO: Out-going SBC President Bobby Welch's impassioned plea for more participation and willingness to follow God's lead