Bob is a teacher and leader at his local Southern Baptist Church. He also has a blog called Eagles' Rest. Bob made a decision a few years ago to be involved in the Southern Baptist Convention - not just on the local level, but at the national level. He has spoken to the Southern Baptist Convention from the floor of the Convention in each of the last three years, including providing one of the clearest articulations for why the Southern Baptist Convention should adopt the Garner Motion. His persuasive reasoning led our Convention to pass the Garner Motion by an overwhelming majority vote. It is because of people like Bob that the Southern Baptist Convention is now turning toward more of a cooperative attitude and away from an isolationist, separatist spirit that has characterized our Convention actions these last ten years.
Bob recently wrote me to explain why he decided to become involved in the Southern Baptist Convention and the necessary politics that go along with involvment at the national level of the SBC. His email should be mandatory reading for every Southern Baptist who is concerned about our future. I print it here with his permission:
I read a story nearly 50 years ago in Reader's Digest that I think you may find interesting. It explains a lot of things, one of which is why I speak up (even though I am, by nature, shy and insecure).
They ran a test, in NYC as I recall. The premise was that it would be helpful for people to be able to share their fears, vices, etc, anonymously in a group, without fear of reprisal, but just to know that others didn't think them weird etc. The format was to call volunteers in and give them a number and show them to a soundproof booth with mic & earphones. Then they would, in turn,by the numbersm share what it was that concerned them. They had groups stated from two people to ten people.
#1 was always a guy who'd had a gambling problem and got terribly in debt and had a heart attack. He'd recovered; the doctor said the next one would be fatal. The guy then said he'd gotten out of debt and settled down but had gotten back into debt, stole from his employer, was sick the auditors would catch him, hed' been having chest pains lately... then he starts screaming and they hear a thud. Then silence.
Now .... the kicker was that there was only ever ONE guy (at a time) in the experiment. Some of them thought they were in a group of two, some three, some four, etc on up to ten. Here's what they found out:
When a guy thinks he's in a group of two .. him and #1 .. he ALWAYS comes out of the booth yelling for someone to help guy #1
When he thinks he's in a group of three, him, #1, and someone else, he comes out of the booth one out of FOUR times.
When he thinks he's in a group of four or more, he NEVER comes out of the booth.
That's why more people will volunteer in a small group than in a big one. Why it takes longer to get a second in a meeting of 1000 then in a meeting of five.
And why ONE guy is carrying the visible load in raising the issues that are threatening to destroy the SBC.
There are, if course, what CB calls "baloney-eating boot-strappers" who will always defend the status quo powers. Others are intimidated by rank and power, etc.
In my case, I have known the thing about group response for so many years, it's second nature to get involved as I do. Knowing what I know, I cannot now hide in anonynimity. Even if I'd far rather do that. I had a chat with your father about that a couple years ago, in fact.
May your tribe increase.