Saturday, October 29, 2005

Baptist Misery in Missouri

Well, it's now official. There will be no more moderate Baptist churches (i.e. CBF friendly churches) in the Missouri Baptist Convention. Thanks to Bruce Prescott for pointing me to this article. According to the article, changes in the convention's rules now require members of the state organization be aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention only. The rules also established a credentials committee that can investigate churches to determine if they meet that criteria.

Local church autonomy is out the window for Southern Baptists in Missouri. Roger Moran, Paul Pressler, and Paige Patterson are probably beaming with pride. The fundamentalists are firmly in control of all the churches in the state convention. And absolute control is what it's all about for these men and the fundamentalist leadership in Missouri.

Ralph Sawyer of Wentzville, the new president of the MBC said, "I've never seen such a unity." Yeah sure, Ralph, you're going to always get unity when you have absolute control after you've kicked out all the opposition and those who disagree with you. It doesn't take a Missouri mule to figure that one out.

Paul Berner, a messenger from Cedar Ridge Baptist Church on Table Rock Lake, and an active Baptist since 1941, said he thought the reason there was so little dissension was that few of the churches that disagree with the direction of the convention attended. Said Paul, "They are the ones that pulled away, that don't believe in the Bible all the way." Yeah sure, Paul, you and the fundamentalists are the only Baptists left in Missouri who actually "believe the Bible." Baloney Cheese fourteen times over!!

Now that Missouri Southern Baptists have taken this action, look for Oklahoma to follow suit. And it could happen in less than a month. What makes me think Oklahoma will probably be the next state to affect something like this? I think this because the MBC Executive Director, Dave Clippard, went to Missouri from Oklahoma. Jordan essentially got the MBC job for Clippard. In doing so, he was exporting a brand of Southern Baptist fundamentalism that thrives on absolute control. Clippard went to Missouri in 2001 and the MBC has regressed into radical fundamentalism under his leadership. Clippard's style of leadership is a lot like that of his former boss.

I think the MBC is the first domino to fall. It will set off a lot of other dominos, with Oklahoma possibly being the second domino. There's a lot of open hatred by Oklahoma Southern Baptists toward the CBF and Mainstream Baptists. I suspect that Louisiana will be the third and other state conventions will follow suit. This is truly a sad time for Southern Baptists everywhere. Most rank and file Southern Baptists have no clue about what their leadership has gotten them into. What a shame it is that Southern Baptist fundamentalists actually believe they're the only people who believe the Bible. If it weren't so sad, it would be downright humorous. They have their heads in the sand...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Oklahoma Trivia - Johnny Clare 1890-1910

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In Osage County, fifteen miles west of Pawhuska, there is a lonely grave with a cross headstone and metal fence around it. The grave is that of Johnny Clare, a cowboy who worked for a physician in Pawhuska. At the head of the grave below the cross is a cast-iron plaque which reads:

Johnny Clare
May 1890--May 1910
Cowboy employed by Dr. Hall
Thrown from his horse
and Killed at this spot

According to lore, Johnny was alone and chasing an outlaw steer in the open prairie. He managed to rope the steer, but after lassoing the animal, he was thrown from his horse and killed. A cowboy by the name of Dwight Barnard found Johnny dead in the tall bluestem grass of the open prairie. Standing nearby was his horse and the steer. The horse and the steer were tied together by the rope Johnny had used.

A small group of friends decided to bury Johnny at the spot where he was killed. As they were preparing to bury him, a tinker drove by. The tinker provided the canvas covering of his tinker's wagon as a covering for the cowboy's body. Ninety-five years have passed and the lonely gravesite is still visible from from the highway.

Cowboy poet, Larry McWhorter of Weatherford, Texas wrote this poem about Johnny Clare.