Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Prayers No One Bothers To Ask

I ran across this church sign in Haskell County, Oklahoma. Interesting...
Does God sit around on the clouds of heaven thinking up answers to prayers no one ever bothers to ask? I seriously doubt it. If God simply waits for people to pray and then gives answers, he can be manipulated. The God I worship and serve isn't one who can be manipulated by the whimsical desires of humankind. The quote on the sign above has a high sounding ring to it but the theology is off the mark. Sometimes church signs can offer interesting quotes that contain bad theology...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Under the Radar

The SBC may consider asking WMU to come under convention authority. This one flew under my radar. Literally. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I'm no longer a Southern Baptist and I was preparing to go to Denver for the national ABC-USA Biennial while the SBC annual meeting occurred a week or so prior over in Nashville. Frankly, what happens in the SBC doesn't interest me nearly as much as what happens in the ABC-USA.

Apparently the SBC is moving toward pulling the WMU into the fold with the ladies kicking and screaming. Never mind the fact that since 1888, the WMU has been an auxiliary of the SBC. Since the beginning of the denomination, the male dominated SBC has refused to allow women to have a voice in denominational affairs. Women could not be messengers. They could not vote. If that weren't enough, they had to organize the WMU in the basement of a Methodist church down the street from where the convention was being held. Women were not allowed to serve as messengers in the denomination until 1918! In this way, the SBC leaders were able to control the women and keep them under their thumbs.

So all these years since 1888, the women of the SBC have done their thing as an auxiliary of the convention. In the last 50 years, the denomination essentially had no control of over the WMU. The WMU has always been a cooperating auxiliary. Their mission has been --and still is-- to educate and inform the denomination about missions. Included in that mission is a mechanism for raising money for missions worldwide. Were it not for the work of the WMU, Southern Baptist missions would not be where it is today.

Now denominational leaders are "considering" a deal to "invite" the WMU to become an entity of the denomination rather than an auxiliary. Control is the name of the game with the fundamentalist SBC leadership. For the past 26 years, the SBC has been on a ruthless campaign to possess absolute control over the denomination. The problem is, however, they cannot have absolute control over the women until them manage to get the WMU to become an entity of the denomination. If and when that happens, Baptist women in the SBC will be set back a century. Currently, the SBC cannot control the WMU.

I'm no longer a Southern Baptist, so I have no voice in the matter. (Heck, even if I was a Southern Baptist, I would have no voice because I'm a moderate and the opinions of moderates are not welcome to the fundamentalists). When the Southern Baptist Convention "considers" anything, you can just about call it a done deal. My sincerest hope is that the WMU will thumb their collective noses at the fundamentalist leadership and refuse the "invitation" to become an entity of the denomination. The invitation is nothing more than devious ruse to bring the women under their absolute control.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Few of the Things I've Learned...

I have been a pastor/denominational worker for forty years now. In my older years, I've learned a few lessons...

1. When preaching sermons, attempting to impress people with biblical language and hermeneutical skills bores them more often than not. Most people could care less about how much you know about biblical languages and proper hermeneutics. They want to hear what you have to say about life where the rubber meets the road.

2. Having all the answers to all the questions makes one a know-it-all in the negative sense. Nobody knows everything about every subject under the sun. Most people don't know everything about any one subject. Pretending to know everything about anything is ridiculous.

3. "Going-along-to-get-along" never brings peace of mind and/or soul. I spent years going along to get along while pastoring SBC churches. I regret doing that now because I never had much peace of mind or soul when I did.

4. Yielding to power-mongers (i.e. blindly following them) will get one trampled under foot 98.6% of the time. Power-mongers want bootlickers. They need them. It satisfies their ego to have people they can control.

5. Failing to take a stand on firm convictions does not lead to peace or to peace of mind. Failing to take a stand on firm convictions makes Joe Smoe a weakling.

6. Standing on firm convictions may get one fired and/or excluded but it leads to peace of mind. Three years ago I was both fired and excluded. I stood firm on my convictions about the Baptist Faith and Message and denominational politics. I was excluded from the SBC, but today I have a peace of mind that passes all understanding.

7. It is impossible for a pastor to lead a church, preach sermons, and minister to people in a manner that will cause everyone to love and respect him. Those who think they can lead everybody to think good of them are fooling themselves.

8. Avoiding conflict is impossible. Peace at any price is foolish. As a child I was taught that Jesus turned the other cheek and was expected to do so to in order to avoid conflict. But turning the other cheek doesn't always work. Conflict can, and will come. Jesus didn't avoid the conflict by succumbing to the Pharisees. He got in their faces.

Avoiding the pain of conflict is impossible. Those who don't feel pain in the midst of conflict are not facing reality.

Fundamentalists (of any stripe) are untrustworthy. They are devious. They lie. They steal. They are unbending. They seek absolute control over others. They are holier than thou.

Nuff said...

Friday, August 12, 2005

The NCAA and the Native American Mascot Mess...

The NCAA executive council recently decided that 18 schools have nicknames that are hostile and abusive toward Native Americans. That's all a bunch of buzzard feathers. Here's one Indian who believes the NCAA is spending too much time listening to the silly political correctness police. I have an idea that the people who duped the NCAA into believing that Indian mascots are hostile and abusive are all non-Indian. They don't have a clue.

While there may be a few Indians somewhere in the world who feel that Indian mascots are hostile and abusive, I've never met one. I have Native American ancestry, grew up in Oklahoma, attended public schools in a town that is 50% Indian and played basketball for the mighty Hammon Warriors, who have four state championships and two runner-ups to their credit. Whites and Indians in Hammon have always supported the Warriors, who many times were dominated by Indian players. Indians in my hometown are proud of their mascot. I am a pastor of a Native American Baptist Church. Of the five churches I have pastored in my ministry, three have been Indian churches and two were Anglo with an Indian minority. I have never pastored a church that did not have Indian members.

In Oklahoma, a huge number of the schools have Indian mascots. Virtually all of the major all-Indian schools in Oklahoma have Indian mascots. We have the Bacone Warriors in Muskogee, the Sequoyah Indians in Tahlequah, and the Riverside Indians in Anadarko, to name three. Anadarko is proclaimed as Indian City USA. The Anadarko High School mascot is the Warrior. I have no idea what percentage of Oklahoma schools have Indian mascots, but I would guess that roughly 40% of the schools have some form of an Indian mascot. When the NCAA, dubbed by one writer as being the Naturally Clueless and Anal Alliance, finishes with the NCAA schools, look out high schools, they’re coming after you.

My hope is that the white guy General Custers of the NCAA will come out on the losing end of the next Battle of the Little Bighorn. Better yet, may the Florida Seminole, Chief Osceola, drive his spear right through the rear end of the Naturally Clueless and Anal Alliance...

Global Warming... Really?

The debate over Global Warming rages. This article in the Guardian gives alarming news about the threat of Global warming.

In my humble opinion, my radical environmentalists friends are blowing mostly hot air. Count me among the nay-sayers because I'm inclined to agree with Steven Milloy of the Cato Institute, who declares that the Global Warming proponents are practicing/believing "Junk Science." If I end up eating words, I'll deal with that when the time comes. But mostly, I'm not alarmed because the earth's heating and cooling cycles have been around for millions of years. These cycles are likely to continue for the next million years or so. I'm sure intelligent minds will figure out how to deal with whatever temperature changes that occurs over the next millennium. I'll be long gone to heaven by the time that occurs. Or perhaps the "junk science" will be proven wrong by then...