"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Bloggers Who Live With Their Mothers and Wear Housecoats During the Day

Bruce Prescott called my attention to an article by the Associated Baptist Press regarding Kevin Ezell's nomination to be the President of the North American Mission Board. It seems Dr. Ezell spoke to his church last Sunday, September 12, 2010 about the impending vote of NAMB trustees to make him the agency's President. I have written of my admiration for Dr. Ezell as a pastor/leader, but have also made known my puzzlement over the NAMB Presidential Search Committee nominating someone who has not traditionally been a strong advocate for the Cooperative Program.

I am not the only one who has expressed wonderment over the selection of Dr. Ezell due to his church's historic low giving to the Cooperative Program. I'm not opposed to Dr. Ezell being NAMB President, and frankly, he could wind up being a wonderful, effective leader that takes the North American Mission Board into a new era of church planting and missions.

But I must say I am amazed at one of the statements Dr. Ezell made to his church last Sunday. ABP reports Dr. Ezell said:

"Because of the visibility of the position, there are people across the United States who want to look for things that perhaps I do not do as well or they think we should do different, and perhaps be critical of myself or of Highview, just to try to get their name in the paper ... Typically those are bloggers who live with their mother and wear a housecoat during the day. Just ignore them, but I apologize if you are hurt by anything that they might say about me or indirectly about you."
Statesmanship is a quality of leadership that organically brings people together through eldership, a spirit of caring for others, and a benevolent concern for the whole while resisting a partisan attitude. Not all leaders are statesmen, but all statesmen are leaders. The SBC needs statesmen.  Dr. Ezell's quote above does not negate my belief that Dr. Ezell is a strong leader. It does, however, mitigate against any belief that he is a stateman.

One of the things that turns leaders into statesmen is the ability to be gracious to all, even those who criticize. Regardless of whether or not the proposed NAMB President has the temperament to handle the criticism that will come his way, it would be helpful for him to be gently reminded that it is both inconsistent and illogical to call his critics "bloggers who live with their mothers and wear housecoats" and then "apologize for the hurt" those bloggers cause. Criticism from respected leaders hurts. To publicly disrespect the character of one's critics and then turn around and acknowledge their criticism hurts is a fallacy. It's best to either remain silent in the face of criticism or answer the criticism while displaying respect for the critics.

Leaders who turn into statesmen learn this lesson quickly. I am hopeful Dr. Ezell learns this lesson quicker than most.

54 comments:

John Wylie said...

I'm telling, "Mom!!!"...lol

Is that a picture of House?

Wade Burleson said...

Yep.

House.

:)

Please, John, don't tell mom.

Laughing

Lydia said...

Lots of problems with this statement:


"Because of the visibility of the position,..."

One should never agree to such a position if they are so thin skinned. I think folks do not realize how insular mega church pastors are. They tend to be worshiped and live in a bubble of protection.


" there are people across the United States who want to look for things that perhaps I do not do as well or they think we should do different,..."

No, they have legit concerns. For one, the record of CP giving of your church and two, you do not plant independent churches but go for the sat model which only made your church bigger by adding new campi.



"and perhaps be critical of myself or of Highview, just to try to get their name in the paper ... "

Gratuitous insult and below anyone in such a position. He sounds more like Eddy Haskell than a humble pastor.

And, few read the papers anymore. Most read this online! (Many first heard about it on blogs!)


"Typically those are bloggers who live with their mother and wear a housecoat during the day. Just ignore them, but I apologize if you are hurt by anything that they might say about me or indirectly about you."

His entire comment SCREAMS that he is insulted that anyone dare question him. Lest anyone forget, Ezell is Mohler's guy.

Darrell said...

I have been trying to get together enough material to start a book on "Ethics and Integrity in Leadership"

I have been frustrated at the lack of good men in leadership to use as examples of unquestionable ethics and integrity. One of my trusted friends said he thought the bar I set was to high.

I have a Jewish friend who is now a Christian. He was in the army of Israel and was wounded in 3 different wars. His mother is still in the Gaza Strip. I spoke of my feelings about ethics and integrity in the ministry in America.

He said, " Brother, I live heartbroken at the lack of Christians in the churches in America."

Leadership is hard, integrity and ethics are harder,

Those 3 together are what I am looking for, I think Statesmanship is a good word for it.

Joe Carr said...

Seems to me the thin skin is on both sides of this and most other issues. It is okay to criticize someone you may have never met, yet when that person offers anything back,,,it is attack, attack, attack!!!

If you are not wearing a housecoat and living at home, then the comment does not fit you, so chill and move along.

Anonymous said...

The statement that mega church pastors just want to be worshipped and want to live in a bubble of protection is as irresponsible and judgmental as Dr. Ezell'sl comments. I can appreciate observation and journalism with integrity but the constant lumping of persons into the same category on blogs is arrogant.

Blog Writer said...

Joe,

It's hard to chill with a housecoat on.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Dr. Ezell's statement. The worst bloggers are those who have a blog but aren't willing to sign their names to it. Now you can all attack me for being anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you are bad! In a housecoat or not...with or without your mama!

:-)

Lydia said...

"Seems to me the thin skin is on both sides of this and most other issues. It is okay to criticize someone you may have never met, yet when that person offers anything back,,,it is attack, attack, attack!!!"

Based upon this logic, I can never disagree publicly with Obama because I have never met him and most likely will not have the chance. Most folks only know their mega church pastor from his stage persona. Sorry, but that is true.

For most, meeting Ezell would be a handshake at an SBC function. Hardly "knowing" someone. So, we can only go by words said in public and past actions.

Craig Dunning said...

Joe,

The comment about bloggers in their housecoat sitting in Mama's basement isn't original with Dr. Ezell.

It is often employed as defense mechanism, generally lumping bloggers together under a cloud of disdain. Something akin to the political left's use of "Tea-Partiers."

It's possible he only had certain specific bloggers in mind, but I'm guessing he doesn't actually know (of) any bloggers who sit around in their housecoats in Mama's basement. I could be wrong.

Caleb said...

Joe,
I think you are spot on with your comment. I agree. Also, can we please stop lumping pastors into one big group with blanket statements.

Kerygma said...

Pay no attention to the seminary president behind the curtain

Ron said...

I am concerned about his poor support for the cooperative progam and the NAMB. I am also concerned at his congtempt for those who voice disagreement with his selection. My main concern for his election to NAMB President is his own church's poor record of baptisms. It is less than the SBC average. His lack of experience in church planting is also a concern.


This should not be a surprise. It is a result of 30 years of SBC leadership with similar giving records to his and the continuation of the spoils system of appointmens and job give aways.

Roger D. Lee said...

"Elections have consequences," in this case "votes have consequences." We voted for the Great Comission Resurgence now we must live with the consequences. Sadly, it may not mean more professions of faith, discipled believers and a greater desire for more worshipers of God. It may just mean a wider tent for those who want their mission work to count in SBC statistics. I am sure Dr. Ezell is a man of integrity and a godly individual.

I apologize for the cynicism.

Roger Lee

greg.w.h said...

Dr. Ezell was playing politics by dangling red meat in front of his church. The only purpose of such a statement is to isolate opponents in the view of supporters. It has no other purpose.

It's typical Southern Baptist politics. It's typical American politics. The Conservative Resurgence didn't fix this and shows no promise of fixing it in the SBC. Shame on Dr. Ezell for doing this.

For the record, I don't live with my mom, don't own a housecoat, but I do enjoy the fact that I share a first name and last initial with one of the most irascible characters on TV. I usually won't get down in the mud with the pigs, but I felt Ezell's comment deserved wearing a little mud.

Greg H.

Thy Peace said...

For the entire time of human civilization, but for the past 50 years, elderly parents lived with their children till they died. So why does Kevin Ezell have a problem with that? I would encourage Kevin Ezell to have his and his wife parents live in their home in their elderly years, rather than in a nursing home.

Are you up to the challenge Kevin Ezell?

Anonymous said...

"Pay no attention to the seminary president behind the curtain"

unless he's wearing a housecoat

Cyclops said...

Bloggers really bother these guys it seems. :)

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

"Thou Shalt Not Blog"

Of course Ezell would say this, he probably agrees with the 2007 Georgia Baptist Convention resolution on blogging which says in part:

"...[we] call upon bloggers to cease the critical second-guessing of these elected leaders, and be it further resolved that all Georgia Baptists respectfully request and expect that individuals who disrupt the felllowship through blogging repent and immediately cease the activity and no longer cause disharmony...."

To criticize "elected leaders" is to "disrupt the fellowship", and disrupting the fellowship is a sin.

Ezell is just calling out "sin" as he and so many others in the SBC have declared critical blogging. Sad. I thought he might be a little different than most.

Read the entire 2007 GBC resolution here at the FBC Jax Watchdog site.

John said...

Wade,
I wish you'd get off your high horse and start being a statesman yourself. It is a wonder to me that you have time to pastor your church when you seem so busy trying to tell everyone else how to pastor theirs.
I'm not sure who died and left you with the title of Resident Expert, but I wish they would come back from the dead and take it back.

Darrell said...

Thanks wade for the thoughts here. As I read and re-read your "statesmanship" quote it strikes me how many pulpit-teers

(is that grammer correct I learnt it in semi-nary) :-)

Anyway, it is interesting how many men who are in a pulpit on sundays preaching holiness and on mondays defending those who do things that are shameful. (Dr Klouda's treatment comes to mind)

How are some called men of God and yet these same men defend men who continually break Gods ways while claiming they know their rights. (creates questions about the call and where it came from)

(partial chapter in the book)

grace
Darrell

Mom said...

Appreciate your insights, glad you're back!

Thy Peace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elisabeth said...

But - wearing a housecoat is comfortable attire while blogging.

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: According to Google ABP News site is hacked and seeded via third parties with malware. Beware! Use firefox or google chrome and NOT internet explorer.

LivingDust said...

Some have criticized the selection of Dr. Ezell, but I've got news for you - if I had been tagging along with Jesus when he was selecting those disciples of his I would have surely told him to stay away from those low brow uneducated fishermen and that extortionist tax collector fellow.

Lydia said...

"Dr. Ezell was playing politics by dangling red meat in front of his church. The only purpose of such a statement is to isolate opponents in the view of supporters. It has no other purpose."

Greg, You always nail it succinctly.

Lydia said...

Off Topic: According to Google ABP News site is hacked and seeded via third parties with malware. Beware! Use firefox or google chrome and NOT internet explorer.

Fri Sep 17, 10:46:00 PM 2010

How on earth do you know this stuff? We love our resident computer guru!

I know "hacked" but what is "seeded"?

Thy Peace said...

If you use a browser say as in >Google Chrome, it works with Google "database" of sites that are infected (google determines as it crawls each site for indexing purposes) either by the originating site itself or via third parties (as it happened to abp news) possibly through ads or some cross linking with other infected sites ... the browser warns you before you get to the site that it is infected. Currently it appears abp news has cleared the offending third party link.

Thy Peace said...

Some helpful posts from Google Online Security Blog:

All Your iFrame Are Point to Us

Introducing Google's online security efforts

P M Prescott said...

Wade, good to have you back and on such a pertinent topic.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

YAWN...

Debbie Kaufman said...

John: As a parishioner of Emmanuel Baptist church I can tell you that Wade has been a superior pastor to Emmanuel and its people for almost 20 years. He is also an author, father, husband. So instead of making such unwise remarks about something that I think should have been blogged on, the better question is 'Wade how do you do that? I could learn from you.':)

Bob Cleveland said...

And besides, I wear a Snuggie, not a housecoat.

That is, however, not a distinction that's likely to have been on the list of prerequisites for the Presidency of NAMB.

:)

Anonymous said...

What is a 'snuggie'?

Thy Peace said...

Snuggie

Wade Burleson said...

Debbie,

Thanks, again, for your kind words. I do try to multi-task. Smiling.

Anonymous said...

I think you look good in a "house"coat, Wade.
Have a great Lord's Day

Bob Cleveland said...

Snuggie is a much-maligned blanket with built-in sleeves, sold mostly by pitchmen on TV.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I understand they make a snuggie for dogs. I'll have to get one.

Christiane said...

Thanks to Bob Cleveland, I have discovered 'snuggies', and have already ordered a whole bunch of them for the Family, including 'nesting' snuggies for my three grand-dogs. (Now we can keep the heat turned down this winter, and gather 'round the fire places all cozy in our 'snuggies'.) How cool is that?

Thank you BOB, my whole family will be grateful to you for this !

Love, L's

P.S. I'm getting the 'clouds' designer model for me. So cute!
:)

John said...

Debbie,
I trust your judgment of your pastor, but I don't think the question is "Wade how do you do that?"; rather, I think it should be "Wade, why do you do that?" Why do you constantly feel the need to get involved in the business of other churches...

I understand your desire to know more about a man who is now the president of NAMB, but why get involved in FBC Jacksonville, why get involved in...

As a husband, a father, and as a pastor I have quite enough to do trying to take care of the needs of my wife, my children, and the church God has blessed me with...I can't fathom trying to lead this church and churches across the SBC.

Bob Cleveland said...

When Dr. Ezell apologizes for any hurt that his members might experience because of the publicity and the folderol surrounding his nomination and election as NAMB president, he is admitting that the hurt is his fault. That he did something wrong. Otherwise there is nothing to apologize for.

That'd be like apologizing for winning WWII. So THAT statement is unworthy of the future president of NAMB, unless it IS his fault.

Second, it was obvious that there was an agenda in the wings, when the GCR "manifesto" was published nearly 2 years ago. What's happened then certainly confirms it, as does the nomination & election of a pastor as president of NAMB, where his church's giving record exemplifies what the GCRTF states is "Great Commission Giving".

If nobody cares, then there's no reason to bring these things up.

If people DO care, then there's every reason to. And aren't we fond of saying "Trust the Lord and tell the people"?

Darrell said...

Gee John, I don't mean to be snotty and Wade sure does not need me to defend him but your logic begs the question...Why is it YOUR business what Wade gets into?.

Your logic begs, what business is it of anyone to go evangelize the lost? Shouldn't we mind our own business and just let them go to hell.

Once again it is just someone (you)defending things that cannot be defended (the NAMB mess)and trying to do so by attacking someone else while not addressing the issue.

I have never met Wade but his life, walk, and teachings speak for themself. Many could learn from him if their pedestals were not so high.

God help us all

Wade Burleson said...

John,

Without any degree of hesitation I can affirm there is not even an iota of desire within me to involve myself with any problems in any other churches.

However, if hurting people contact me asking for some help or guidance, I will respond.

My only affiliation with FBC Jacksonville is assistance given to a man who experienced an incredibly unjust action at FBC, bordering on abuse.

One of my favorite quotes is from Einstein who said, "The world is too dangerous to live in - not because of the people who do evil but because of the people who sit and let it happen."

Whether you sit by and allow it to happen is entirely your decision. You know my decision, and nothing will dissuade me from helping another Christian brother or sister who is being abused if asked.

Thy Peace said...

ABP News > A special note to ABPNews.com users

What Happened

Access to our websites was interrupted beginning Thursday evening, September 16, due to a virus planted by a malicious hacker. As a result, and as a protection for users who attempted to log on to any of our sites, Google preemptively blocked access to all four sites.

Trent Henderson said...

Wade,

I'm not sure I'm in disagreement with the sentiment (maybe the words, but that's a different matter) expressed by Dr. Ezell. Here's why: one person with half-a-story can blog on it, post a YouTube clip that's out of context, and start a firestorm. Receiving criticism from respected leaders does hurt. It's happened to me. I've also known those who have taken some cheap shots from the cheap seats that they couldn't ignore because of the public nature of the accusations. I think it's a different world than it used to be. The social network/blog/YouTube spheres have changed it.

That's just me.

Wade Burleson said...

Trent,

As the recepient of an innumerable number of Internet cheap shots, I don't disagree with your assessment.

However, what anyone in leadership does in response to those cheap shots is the issue at hand.

foxofbama said...

Wade:

Howell Scott of FromLaw2Grace blog has a grand blog up this morning on the SBC Establishment and the Ezell Appointment. I hope you will read and leave a comment there to give him encouragement in his good work.
But troubling is the David Miller effort at SBCimpact on Paul and Jesus andCivil Discourse.
Miller is trying to have a Papal decree of sorts and obliterating dissent on a key matter such as the gravity of Carl Kell's good Work in the Name of the Father on SBC Rhetoric.
Joe Blackmon seems to me is giving the SBC a Bad name with his harsh judgmental certainties.
Hope you can weigh in at both places.
SBCPlodder blog is doing some good inhouse SBC dissent as well.
Wondering what Ben Cole thinks of this latest turn with the SBC NAMB
And hoping as well you will see how it is playing at SBC Trends section of Baptistlife.com
Well that's today's roundup.

Anonymous said...

JR,

We need you to do more than make the accusation; please provide evidence that Viola "has a disdain for the history of the church". The book is well-documented. And you can read Jon Zens' thorough defense of the book in his debate with Ben Witherington at this link.

You also question Viola's "commitment", another accusation that needs evidence to back it up, and you have called him "unscholarly".

And if you read the book carefully, you will see that far from an intent to keep believers from meeting together, Viola's point is for them to meet in accordance with the purpose set forth in the NT: "to build each other up". That this is best done without the trappings of religiosity is a case Viola builds in great detail. The only thing Viola wishes to "amputate" is the heavy chain of legalistic and ritualistic religion that has been weighing down the Body of Christ.

The Christian life is exactly that: a life, not a function or performance. I take Jesus with me 24/7 instead of only visiting Him once a week or so. He is in my daily conversation, and I am as unashamed to introduce Him to the lost as they are to defend their own beliefs. Through the internet and other venues I can sit at the feet of gifted teachers any day or time. This, not "going to church", is organic Christianity. I would that more believers would become "disenchanted" with churchianity (yes, let's un-enchant them from this spell!).

Anonymous said...

" I think it's a different world than it used to be. The social network/blog/YouTube spheres have changed it.
"

Perhaps it is the same world but now such things are not hidden but made known. It used to be a handful of people controlled the information flow. Now that is no longer the case and it is discomforting to people who would rather control it.

Wade Burleson said...

foxofbama,

Dave Miller seems to be one of the more passive/aggressive Southern Baptists. What I mean by that is he challenges everyone, including you, to be "civil and Christian" and then quietly sticks the proverbial verbal knife in your back when you aren't looking.

Stephen Fox said...

Wade: Click on my name; it is not my blog, but that of Howell Scott and a sterling essay on Namb and Ezell and Bryant Wright.
I have set up a post at SBC Trends of Baptistlfe.com inviting you and DAve Miller of SBC Voices on fairly neutral territory to discuss Howell Scott's strong and articulate reservations.
Hope you can find time to engage there.