"I respect you and your decision to follow prudence. I don’t know whether I agree with it or not. Still, you are correct, in the post you deleted, when you said ‘until people get fed up with being bullied and stand on principle to stop the bullying nothing will change’ (paraphrased by my interpretation). Spiritual abusers thrive off of the timidity and tentativeness that they can create. Regardless of why someone does not want his/her name made public, you are absolutely correct, nothing will change. Spiritual abusers depend on it.
I don’t agree with the ones who say it is belittling to point out the obvious. Obviously, there are many, besides the woman mentioned, that didn’t mind their names being identified when placed in their positions but, now, do not want their names to be made public. Am I the only one who wonders where the ones who rose to leadership through the CR are and why they don’t let their voice be identified? How long would the narrowing of cooperative parameters survive if respected leaders risked their identity by speaking out against the bullying tactics that are going on? Where are the past presidents of the SBC, Executives of SBC entities, state Executive Directors, editors of Baptist press and state newspapers, and pastors of extremely public pulpits? Have we created such a political and professional Convention/Church that leaders have too much to risk for them to be straightforward and forthright in championing a corrective course? Or, are all those in leadership in agreement with this political/interpretive narrowing? Is it squeamishness or shrewdness that keeps them quiet? Is it timidity or timeliness that motivates them? Is their silence golden or galling? Does asking these questions belittle? I don’t think so. Asking questions may point out the obvious but leaders need to be challenged to be people of valor, integrity, and courage. There may be creditable reasons why some don’t want to be identified. Others, it may be cowardice. Still, we all need to be challenged to be people of gracious civil courage. IMO, if leaders don’t want to be public then they shouldn’t be leaders.
It was June 15, 2004 that Morris Chapman danced around the problems in his message to the Annual Convention when he said,
“In a practiced democracy, politics, the art of influence, is always an ingredient. But the passion of a trustee should be born from deep within in an encounter with the Living Christ, and then he is free to enthusiastically persuade others of the burden God has laid upon his heart. This is how it should be in the church, the association, the state convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. This Convention deserves to be led by trustees who listen to God’s Spirit on the way to making decisions, not trustees who are susceptible to political agendas. Politics for the sake of control by a few is not how our forefathers envisioned the operations of our Convention. But I must warn you. Politics do not die easily.”
Later in that same message he said,
“Contemporary shibboleths are employed to exclude people. It is the sin of Pharisaism when good people, whose theology and ministry are above reproach, are slandered, discredited, or ostracized simply because they refuse to blindly follow particular political posturing. Innuendos, unfounded rumors, sly winks and nods are as deadly as an assassin’s bullet and usually as ungodly. . . . I am concerned…now that we have affirmed by vigorous endeavor that Southern Baptists are people of the Book, that we will develop a censorious, exclusivistic, intolerant spirit. If this occurs, we will be the poorer for it. It will not only result in narrower participation in denominational life, a shallower pool of wisdom and giftedness in our enterprises, and a shrinking impact upon the world, but we will be in the unenviable position of being right on doctrine but wrong with God.”
Here we are four years later. Just as history records the necessity of the CR, it also records the names of those who opposed it. Liberals, moderates, and some conservatives, who didn’t agree with the methodology, honored their names by taking a stand. They may have gone down but at least they didn’t go down in anonymity. If the CR had failed, those who are in leadership today would not be where they are, because, they too, honored their names by taking a stand. There were not many Joseph’s of Arimathea during the late ‘70s through the ‘80s. And you, Wade, have honored your name by publicly calling for a course correction. Many on your blog, who have identified themselves by name, have honored their names, as well.
I believe that history will call for the narrative of your experience to be recorded. In Morris Chapman’s metaphor, it will either be recorded as part of the tune-up, paint, and polish of this old ship Zion or it will be seen as another rejected maintenance on a sinking ship. Names are an important part of that record. You may choose not to publish it at this time but to not record it, IMO, would be like robbing history of Grace and Truth.
With My Friendship,