Grace and Truth was established as a single purpose blog. I have heard that if a person blogs it should be regarding something of interest, and it should maintain singular focus. I felt convicted that the average Southern Baptist did not have an understanding, and sometimes a voice, in the direction of the International Mission Board. I have taken my responsibility serving as a trustee very seriously, and before my first meeting in July of 2005 read every pertitent document that dealt with my duties and responsibilities as a trustee.
As I have stated on numerous occasions I have been conscientious never to violate any confidentiality. I have told everyone who desired to speak to me about the work of the IMB to let me know if it is confidential, because if it is not, I believe Southern Baptists need to know of the direction we are moving. I have been fastidious in my efforts tell it like I see it. My wife tells me that often I am too positive, too optimistic, because I am always seeing the good in every situation.
That may be, but I enjoy being positive, and I think if you carefully read this blog you will see that I am positive about EVERYTHING. God is in control, and His word tells us He works all things together for our good.
I have said some things with which others disagree. I am trying to show that a healthy organization not only allows dissent, but welcomes it, because in the end, dissent makes everyone sharper. The people who know me will tell you that I am, indeed, a very soft, gracious person. My only weakness is when I feel people abuse authority or power my soft side turns to steel. It is not my steel fortitude that is the weakness; it is the absence of enough velvet around the steel during those occasional clashes with abusive power. However, other than the occasional lapse of word choice (see Political Conservatives vs. Cooperating Conservatives), I have sought to be extraordinarily positive about our work.
Trustee leadership has been very communicative with me these past three weeks, and I appreciate their hearts in dialogue. I have been asked to prayerfully consider shutting down this blog. Let me be clear. I have said, from the beginning, if I can be shown where my blog violates any policy or procedure of the IMB I will cease blogging immediately. In all fairness to my fellow trustees, blogging by a trustee is something new, and for everyone's benefit I am considering possibly ending the blog until an official policy on blogging can be established in the May meeting.
To help me in my decision I have been sent by email a section of the "Blue Book," the manuel for trustee decorum that is currently in effect, and I have been graciuosly asked to read this section again. This, I am told, is the basis for the unofficial request that I cease blogging until an official policy that is a little clearer can be established.
I have carefully read the section sent to me by email again and again. I originally read it prior to my first meeting. I frankly cannot see where my blog is a violation of the this current manuel on trustee decorum.
However, I am open to wisdom on this matter from many people. I am going to print the current policy and ask your opinion. Please be very careful in your comments. Let's not attach motives to anyone's request. I really believe trustee leadership is sincere, and frankly, I am committed to do the best thing for our International Mission Board and our Southern Baptist Convention. If I can be shown I am misreading the current policy I will cease blogging immediately. If the Board passes a policy that forbids blogging by a trustee I will cease immediately. Thanks for your help in this matter. The current policy read:
Ordered of God - Manual for Trustees
#18, pages 33-34
Trustees have a particular service to render between meetings and after the tenure of service has ended. Being a trustee means that you live on a two-way street. Similar to a messenger from a church to a convention, you are not only to bring your voice to the meetings when serving, but you are to take your interpretations back to the people after adjournment. A messenger should go home to report and interpret the actions taken and seek to build goodwill for the convention. In the same sort of process, a board member returns from the official meetings to have a good word for the institution which he/she is serving. A faithful trustee can and must be one of the best public relations workers the board has. A trustee is a person of influence within the institution and without. Information and interpretations from him/her will be considered accurate by the people to whom the reports are given.
In His Service,