Our Enid High Basketball team overcame the largest second half deficit in the history of 100 years of Enid High School, and led by Kade Burleson's 12 straight points in the third quarter qualifed for the 6A Oklahoma State Basketball Championship by beating Tulsa Memorial 53-49! With no game today in Tulsa, I thought I would post a response to an interesting flurry of blogs on Friday.
I welcome fellow trustee Jerry Corbaley to the blogging world, and wish him the best. I think Jerry may find that the SBC blogging world is composed of some really sharp individuals, who love Christ, and who also have a propensity and penchant for holding fellow bloggers accountable.
Jerry seems to have a couple of concerns as evidenced in his first couple of posts:
(1). The minutes to the January meeting are not publicly released until they are officially approved in the next board meeting, which won't be until later in the month. Thus, how could Marty Duren know what is in minutes that have yet to be approved?
I asked Marty Duren the same question. I have received a copy of the minutes and they are in my file ready to go to Florida. Nobody has seen a copy of my minutes, nor have I shared verbally with anyone what is in the minutes. It seems Marty has some incredible resources, a veritable modern Woodward and Berstein.
However, I think people need to realize that the minutes in question are not details of EXECUTIVE SESSION matters. The minutes are details of "public actions of the IMB," including the reading into the official record of motions that come from Executive Sessions. Once approved, these minutes will be PROVIDED TO THE PUBLIC as an accounting of what took place in the public sessions of the IMB, also called "Plenary Sessions." Executive Sessions (secret, closed door meetings are tape recorded, but there are no "official minutes" of those meetings). The minutes in question that Jerry seems so concerned about are the minutes of a PUBLIC IMB meeting! Why would anyone be concerned that nobody see minutes of things done at IMB Plenary Sessions?
There is only one possibility. The Board can seek to change, amend or alter minutes, so that the proposed minutes are different than the minutes eventually released to the public. When I say the minutes can be changed, amended, or altered I mean "expunged" (there is a rule in Robert's Rules of Orders that allow for this for very specific reasons), "corrected" (meaning what is actually printed in the proposed minutes is not a true reflection of what occurred and a necessary change is made), or "amended" (things that did happen were not properly recorded in the proposed minutes). In a church business meeting proposed minutes are ALWAYS presented to the church so that these necessary corrections can be made before they are approved. Any Board has the legal right to take change proposed minutes. The better question might be, "Why are proposed minutes of public IMB meetings supposed to be secret?" It could be that there is some confusion about the appropriateness of what is in the minutes.
I frankly am not in favor of expunging, amending or correcting the proposed minutes, unless there are very, very good reasons for doing so. One reason might be the protection of the International Mission Board from legal action if those minutes were somehow a danger to the integrity of the organization or placed the organization outside the boundaries of state or federal law. Those circumstances are, indeed, very rare, but a trustee who takes his obligation seriously will do what he can to correct any errors that harm the organization.
I think everyone probably needs to be a little patient on this matter and let the Board deal with the issue of minutes at the next Board Meeting and not jump to swift conclusions.
However, it is wise to reiterate that these are the minutes of the "Public Meetings" of the IMB, and not Executive Session minutes that are in question.
(2). Jerry's second concern seems to be the statement, made by Marty Duren, that Jerry was the person who made the recommendation for my removal. How could Marty know this, because if it did occur, it happened in Executive Session.
I do not know Marty's sources. All I know is that until I received the copy of the minutes a few days ago, I had never seen the actual motion for my removal in print. I heard it read into the "offical record" at the last Plenary Session (again, a PUBLIC MEETING) of the International Mission Board, and immediately blogged about what I heard (see To My Friends, Family and Church).
First, for people to have information from Executive Session Meetings of the IMB is a serious breach of confidentiality. I am not saying if Jerry is the person who made the motion or not, but it should not be revealed if he is. However, I think people need to be really careful about also making hasty judgments about people "breaching" confidentiality.
The religion editor for the Arkansas Gazette was doing a story two weeks ago on the motion for my removal and in her interview with me she asked me if I had any correspondence with _________, who made the recommendation for my removal. I was silent for just a moment and then asked, "How do you know who made the recommendation? That is a detail from Executive Session?"
She told me Chairman Tom Hatley told her. I do not, in any form or fashion, believe that Tom intentionally breached Executive Session confidentiality rules. I think we need to give a little room for grace in this matter. I frankly don't think we ever should have put Tom, or any other trustee, in a position of possibily breaching confidentiality in this matter. Everything should have been public from the beginning, particularly since nobody ever came to me privately about the recommendation for my removal BEFORE it was presented to the Board. Let me repeat that again, NOBODY EVER CAME TO ME PRIVATELY ABOUT THE RECOMMENDATION TO REMOVE ME UNTIL IT WAS MADE A MOTION BEFORE THE ENTIRE BOARD. I would have much preferred that the debate for my removal be in a public forum under those circumstances. To debate the matter behind close doors allows for innuendo. I have nothing to hide, and want everything public.
Here's my point. Baptists operate best in openness and transparency. I do not believe we would be in the dilemma we are in now if we had taken the position as a Board that our business needs to be done in public, under the light and scrutiny of the entire convention.
Executive Sessions are necessary "ONLY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE BOARD" for legal reasons, and the security of our missionaries overseas. Too many of our Boards are using "Forums," "Executive Sessions," and other closed door meetings in ways I don't think they were ever intended to be used. We are Christians. We should never be ashamed for the light of scrutiny on our actions.
Again, everything we do as Southern Baptists needs to be done in the light of day if at all possible. I have asked, from the beginning, that everything regarding the recommendation for my removal be made public. I stand by my request. I am fully prepared to bring this publicly before the convention.
Frankly, I think our convention might be better off dealing with it publicly.
However, if the Executive Committee of the IMB now feels the Convention and Board is better off with me remaining on the Board, then I would simply ask that we deal with this matter as graciously and as publicly as possible. I am ready to move on. There is work to be done. The removal issue needs to be put to rest so we can focus on the other issues before us.
I continue to look forward to working with my fellow trustees, abiding by every policy and procedure that forms the framework of the duties and responsibilities of the trustees of the Internatationl Mission Board.
In His Grace and Have a Great Lord's Day!