Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ten Terrific Things Tied To Tampa

I just hung up the phone with the greatest woman God has given to any man, my wife Rachelle, and frankly, she confessed to a little discouragement. I felt I could cheer her up. This is how the conversation went.

Rachelle: "Wade, people are going to think you have compromised your principles by staying on the Board?"

Wade: "Honey, there are two things that became my priorities when I was elected last summer to be a trustee of the IMB. First, I pledged to faithfully support our missionaries and their work to the best of my ability, and second, I pledged to follow all policies that guide the IMB trustees. I remain faithful to those pledges."

Rachelle: "I know you haven't violated your principles yet, but what happens if the Board passes an action in the future that happens to violate your conscience as a Board member? You now can't speak out and criticize publicly a majority action of the IMB, can you?."

Wade: "Oh, yes I can. I can if I resign. The moment I resign, I can speak out on everything associated with my involvment on the IMB Board, without hindrences, except of course, those things protected by confidentiality laws."

Rachelle: "But why does it feel to some like you have been muzzled?"

Wade: I am choosing to work within the Board to further missions. I must abide by the policies. If at any time I choose to resign, I can assure you that it will be because the greater good is to make public my concerns to the SBC at large. Right now, my concern is furthering our mission work."

Rachelle: "But we won't know when you are giving us the "company line," or if you are truly giving us your feelings.

Wade: "Yes you will. I will never give the company line. I will only give, as the policy states, my feelings of the good things that are going on at the IMB. The administrative staff and IMB communications department will speak officially for the Board. If I can't say anything good, I will be silent or say, "no comment." I think you know me well enough that in the same way I have been resolute these last four months against incredible pressure, I will continue that same resolve within the Board.

Rachelle: "So, did anything good happen in Tampa?"

Wade: Absolutely!

Ten Terrific Truths Tied To Tampa!

(1). A motion to remove Wade Burleson for gossip and slander, passed by a two thirds majority a scant two months ago was rescinded by a UNANIMOUS vote of the trustee Board.

(2). A very strict policy was adopted that stated trustees must not publicly disparage staff or fellow trustees.

(3). Bloggers other than trustees are now going to do all they can to be at the important meetings of the IMB.

(4). I met 20 young people for the first time who attended the IMB meeting simply to ATTEND. Not to be appointed, not to see family, but to simply ATTEND. When is the last time that many young adults attended the IMB meeting for no official reason but to participate in missions at the grass roots level.

(5). This participation of young adults in the Southern Baptist Convention is exciting. The SBC has long needed involvement from the generation of evanglical, missional minded young peole from our convention.

(6). I have received 175 emails today from SBC missionaries around the world who desire that I stay on and serve as a trustee representing their interests.

(7). People are communicating with the IMB Board of Trustees via email, letter, and phone in numbers that exceed any other time period in SBC history. This is reminding all of us as trustees that people are listening to us and responding.

(8). The appointment service of 45 brand new missionaries was absolutely inspiring in an absolutely beautiful Idlewild Baptist Church, Tampa.

(9). Dr. Jerry Rankin exhibited strong, passionate and deliberate leadership.

(10). I personally believe we are in a position to focus our attention completely and solely on missions. There will be very close scrutiny to insure that we trustees do not get sidetracked into periphery issues.

Finally, my wife asked me the million dollar question.

"But what will people think of you if you don't resign? Will they think you are compromising?

Answer: "I live by my convictions and not the opinion of others. My father sent me an interesting note earlier which should help clarify the difference between character and reputation."

Wade, a word of encouragement. I know you know, so I will only remind you that reputation is by definition what people think and say a person is in their opinion.

A reputation can be good, bad, troublemaker, saviour or any other number of opinions. Reputation is promoted or maintained by perception. So to try to get other people to perceive you a certain way, good or bad, is manipulative and controlling at worst and selfserving at best.

Character however, by definition is all qualities actually possessed. Honesty, truthfulness, courage of convictions, transparancy are things you actually possess. Your character is secure. Your reputation floats on the winds of the perceptions of people and theirs opinions but those of us who KNOW you know your character and are eternally grateful for what is real in you. Stay true to your character not reputation as God is honored in such men. I love you..


art rogers said...

I never expected you to resign. In fact, if you resign, they will have gotten what they originally sought, so I feel that is a negative.

What I do want is the whole story from every Trustee's perspective and for you to carry your weight on the Board. Relegating you to the sidelines is not making me feel very good about the situation.


Unknown said...

I hope you were able to encourage your wife. Sometimes, it is the wives that can have a more difficult time of it in times like these.

Thank you for your commitment to Missions and staying and working, even in a difficult situation.

Unknown said...

I just want to congratulate you on an inspiringly alliterated sentence for your post title. Great wordage. said...

Funny inside joke Rick.

I chuckled.

Bob Cleveland said...

Not THAT inside, Wade.