Monday, December 24, 2018

God Sent Forth His Son in Love for Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor
It's Christmas Eve.

As I write, I vacillate between emotions. The joy that comes from reflecting on God sending forth His Son is mixed with sadness over losing a friend.

Kevin Taylor died very early yesterday morning (Central Time). He fought a brief, courageous battle with brain cancer.

With permission from his wife Robin, I'm writing this tribute.

God's love is real, but if the conversation is only about "God's love for the world," Divine love remains in the attic of our thinking - distant, impersonal, and conceptual

But when Divine love is discussed in the living room of a sinner's personal experience, God's love is brought home to the heart - a present, personal, and practical love that transforms lives.
"When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son." (Galatians 4:4)
That verse is the basis of my Christmas Eve message for those who will later gather for our Candlelight Services at Emmanuel Enid, Oklahoma. 

I want to bring God's love home to the heart for the reader, and for Kevin Taylor's family particularly, through telling Kevin's story of faith, courage, and grace this Christmas Eve. 
"God sent forth His Son in love for Kevin Taylor." (Galatians 4:4)

Kevin Taylor's Courage

I first came to know Kevin Taylor when he emailed me this fall, shortly after he'd been told he didn't have long to live. As I was working on my computer in my home office in late September, I received a notification of a new email in my inbox.

I clicked on it and read this: 
Hi Wade,
I have listened to a number of your messages and archived series. I want to say thank you for the blesssings they have been to my wife and me. I have stage 4 brain cancer and have been given less than 6 months. I have no fear of where I will spend eternity either going to sleep or to be in His presence. the peace that I have is because of the truth God has given to you. I am not worried "Did I do enough?" as it is all been taken care of at the Cross by Christ!!
Thank you for speaking out in love and truth it is a the truth and a message to all to those who might be held in bondage of legalism and hopelessness. Till we rejoice together in eternity in Christ.
Your brother in Christ.
Kevin Taylor
Two things in Kevin's email immediately stood out to me. First, Kevin took a matter-of-fact approach to his terminal illness. I’ve been around death and dying people my entire life. The reaction to impending death is usually fear. It’s always refreshing to sense someone facing death like they would an impending vacation to an exotic, far-away city. It may involve some work, discomfort, and even trouble getting there, but in the end, it’s worth it.

Second, people who reach out to express their appreciation to someone else during a difficult time in their own lives – a time when most people would be thinking only of themselves -  is a characteristic to be admired and imitated. 

I immediately wrote Kevin back and gave him my cell phone number and asked him to contact me so I could visit with him further. 

Kevin called me. I learned that on Friday, September 23, 2018, Kevin had struggled to land his Citation jet at the airport at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He had suddenly lost his depth perception and spatial comprehension at 20,000 feet. The mental confusion came next, seizing him rapidly and without warning.  The flight had been smooth until Kevin completely lost his ability to know up from down, left from right, backward from forward. 

Fighting the urge to panic, and feeling concern for his passengers, Kevin forced his eyes to concentrate on the jet’s instruments as he made his swift descent and approach to Jackson Hole’s airport runway. Looking back, Kevin didn't know how he managed to get the plane safely to the ground. 

“It was a miracle.” As soon as he landed, Kevin called his boss requesting a replacement pilot to finish the charter.

“I’m sick,” Kevin said.  

What he couldn’t have known at the time was that this charter flight to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was to be his last flight. Kevin was more than just sick.

Kevin was dying.

A glioblastoma malignant tumor had overtaken the left side of Kevin’s brain, putting pressure on his cerebral stem. Thinking that he only needed adjustment from his chiropractor, and not knowing the seriousness of his medical condition, Kevin rented a car at the Jackson Hole airport to drive 90 miles to his home in Afton, Wyoming. “I’ll be home in a couple of hours,” Kevin told his wife, Robin.

The rental car company would later tell the family that Kevin damaged the rental on his way home, sideswiping the guardrails on his way out of the parking lot. Kevin vaguely remembers running red lights on the way home, but not comprehending what he was doing. When he finally made it home, he could barely walk.

Robin immediately took her husband to the hospital. After a CT scan that showed the tumor, the doctor recommended to Robin that Kevin be med-flighted to Salt Lake City, Utah, to see the chief neurologist at the University of Utah Medical Center.

Choosing instead to drive her husband. Robin drove Kevin to the hospital. Their three kids met them at the hospital and the neurology department sent Kevin through a battery of tests.

The diagnosis came back. 
"Kevin, you might not make it to Christmas, maybe not even Thanksgiving." 
Wade Burleson and Kevin Taylor, November 25, 2018
After a few conversations with Kevin and Robin over the phone and Facetime, I flew to Irvine, California on Sunday, November 25, 2018, to meet them. They had moved to Irvine to live with their son Colby, a worship pastor at Mariner's Church, after Colby and his wife Brittany offered Robin their help in caring for Kevin during his final weeks under hospice. 

As I sat outside with Kevin and Robin drinking coffee on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Kevin told me his story. He would say it's a typical story of an average American middle-aged male.

But I believe Kevin's story tells us that one is not ready to live until one is ready to die.

Kevin Taylor's Career

Kevin was born to blue-collar parents Roman Catholic parents from West Alton, Missouri. He was the seventh of what would be ten Taylor kids, with four other foster kids that Kevin's mom and dad later adopted. Kevin's dad was a carpenter by trade, and his mom stayed at home, caring for all the children.

Kevin attended St. Patrick's School, participating in mass before the first bell, and later serving as an altar boy. He played football and baseball at St. Patrick's but spent most his time either at church or at work. To help out with family finances, Kevin went to work as soon as he could, finding as much manual labor work as possible.

On November 28, 1975, Kevin Taylor married his high school sweetheart (Robin) at the same Catholic parish where he'd been made an altar boy exactly twelve years earlier. 

The young married couple did all they could to make financial ends meet.  Robin worked as a teller, and Kevin worked at Pepsi, loading delivery trucks. 

But then Kevin had an idea.

In Alton, Illinois, right across the Mississipi River from West Alton, Missouri, the Alton Civic Memorial Airport ran an FBO (Fixed Base Operator) Pilot School.  Kevin saved his money, took pilot lessons, and after obtaining his pilot license, became an instructor at the school.

Soon, some businessmen opened a Charter Company at Alton and asked Kevin to fly for them. 

That was the beginning of a charter flight career that took Kevin all over the country. The Taylor family grew in size as they welcomed three children into their home: Ryan, Colby, and Miranda. 

Kevin, Robin, and their oldest son Ryan (Colby and Miranda were not yet born) lived in Alton, Illinois as Kevin commuted to airports all over the east coast (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York), flying for his wealthy clients. In 1985, the Taylors bought a home in Barrington, New Hampshire so Kevin wouldn't have to commute so far for work, and then they later bought a home in Rockland, Maine where the kids would eventually graduate from high school. 

Kevin told me some pretty incredible stories about his flying career. Protecting the privacy of his clients, I won't share most of the stories, but he did give me permission to write that many of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein most likely occurred in the back of planes Kevin piloted for Mr. Weinstein. Harvey was always nice to Kevin ("He tipped my crew and me $1,000 every trip"), but Kevin sadly reminded me that one never knows what goes in a person's private life. 

Kevin shared some stories of flying well-known evangelists who preached "faith and prosperity," but 20,000 feet high, they practiced "fear and panic," doubting the love of God because of storms all around. 

Kevin could have taught those evangelists a lesson about trusting God.

Kevin Taylor's Christ

Robin, Colby, Wade, and Kevin
Most of the time I spent with Kevin on Sunday, November 25, 2018, involved a discussion with Kevin about Christ's love.

Raised as a Catholic altar boy, Kevin's concept of Christianity was all about performance. "If you perform for God, then God will bless you." 

It was not until Kevin and Robin were married adults with kids of their own that they came to an understanding that the performance they should trust was God's performance on their behalf, not their performance on God's behalf. This was a radically new way of thinking, and it was the culmination of many years of God pursuing Kevin and Robin. 
"Through the influence of business associates who talked to us about the love of God, events in our families that led us to questions about God's love, and a pastor who came by our house to pray for us when we were in serious need of prayer, we opened our hearts to the love of Christ and came to rest in His performance on the cross for us." 
Kevin and Robin were baptized on Easter Sunday 1987. For nearly three decades they were faithful to their small evangelical community church, but due to a move that necessitated leaving their home church and subsequent problems with leaders who were spiritually abusive at their new church, Kevin and Robin began listening to Emmanuel Enid's LIVE broadcasts on Sunday.
"Often when I fly, I'm gone over the weekend, so I'd pull up Emmanuel's online service and participate. Over time, we learned so much about the grace of God in our lives and the work and ministry of Emmanuel that we began to consider Emmanuel Enid our home church.  
Kevin told me the Sunday morning study at Emmanuel from the book of Hebrews crystalized his understanding of "the liberty and peace that comes from trusting Christ and not one's performance for God."

It's the message from Hebrews 12:22-24 entitled But You Have Come to Mt. Zion which turned Kevin's life around.

Kevin told me that he came to a firm conviction through listening to this sermon that obedience to the Law of Sinai, or to the law of the church (be it Roman Catholic or Fundamentalist Baptist), or to any other law would never bring him true freedom or give him true peace.
"I can't thank Emmanuel Enid enough for all the church has done to strengthen a couple that's never been to Enid, never set foot in your buildings, but have benefited from the teaching ministry. This former Roman Catholic altar boy and former Fundamentalist Baptist is now only impressed with God's grace; nothing else. I'm prepared to die because I understand that true riches in this life are found in Christ alone. 
With the help of Colby Taylor and Mariner's Church video team, Kevin made a video for our church members, expressing his appreciation (it will be shown at Emmanuel Enid next Sunday).

Our Christmas Eve services begin in just a couple of hours, and I must go prepare to speak on God's love. But Kevin's testimony and example have helped me today move God's love from the attic of my mind to the warmness of my heart. I'll be speaking this Christmas Eve to other Kevins who need to know that God loves sinners, not perfect people.

And when that love is known, even a sinner can face impending death with courage, grace, and peace.

I'd like to close with a pastoral word to Kevin's family.

Your husband, father, and grandfather taught me by experience what it means to rest in God's love. I may preach it, but he practiced it. He faced his death so courageously because he embraced Christ's death so confidently.

My personal message to you this Christmas 2018.
God sent forth His Son in love for Kevin, and for you Robin, and for you Ryan, Jennifer, Wesley, and Camden; and for you Colby, Brittany, and Levi; and for you Miranda, Chris, Ryken, and Brycen.
The sign of God's love for you during this difficult hour comes directly from God: "For the Lord Himself has given you a sign: The virgin conceived and gave birth to a Son, and she called his name Emmanuel - God with us."
God is indeed with you, loving each of you personally, deeply, and eternally. 
Emmanuel proves it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

"Deep Down I Was Scared." Dr. Sheri Klouda about Her Time at SWBTS under Dr. Paige Patterson

Dr. Sheri Klouda (Tom Strattman, Associated Press)
Dr. Sheri Klouda served as Professor of Hebrew at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas from 2002 to 2006.  In 2003, Paige Patterson became President of Southwestern Theological Seminary.  Patterson eventually released Dr. Klouda from her faculty position at the seminary because she was a woman.

I've written extensively on Dr. Klouda and the dark days she endured. Shortly after her termination, Sheri's husband had his leg amputated, and then in 2014, he died from his heart condition. Dr. Klouda relocated away from the south and from her family of origin to find work. There are not many jobs for a woman trained to teach Hebrew.

Sheri has rarely spoken publicly about what happened at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary during her tenure. Because of my knowledge of her situation, and my firm belief that the Southern Baptist Convention has been going down the wrong path in its views and treatment of women, I made a promise to do all I could to move the Southern Baptist Convention toward a more New Testament understanding of the equality of women. Christians who believe the Bible should be on the cutting edge of encouraging and empowering women.

I reached out to Dr. Klouda to ask if she would write her thoughts about the current Patterson controversy and her time at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It took some cajoling, but I finally convinced Dr. Klouda that her voice needs to be heard. On today's blog, I present Sheri Klouda in her own words. Shari is transparent, humble, and respectful. I've learned a great deal from reading her story. 

You will too.

This is Part One.

Part Two of Sheri's story in her own words can be accessed here.


Written by Dr. Sheri Klouda

You might wonder what motivates me to talk about this now.

I believe that it is time to end the tyranny, time to eliminate control through fear and intimidation, and time to work together to clarify and redefine the position of the Southern Baptist Convention leadership on the issues of women and spousal abuse, if our Convention is going to grow and flourish in the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that this is our opportunity to underscore where we stand and to demonstrate that the Convention represents all of us and that Paige Patterson does not, cannot, represent the Convention’s views on spousal abuse, the denigration and objectification of women, and the general assumption that somehow, women are inherently more wicked just by virtue of their existence.

It is time to acknowledge that while we affirm the traditional roles of women in the family, that sometimes the circumstances of life and sin require that a godly woman may be called upon to help support a family when a husband is sick and no longer able, that spousal abuse represents the breaking of a sacred covenant, that we must seek to protect our children by modeling healthy marriages and the love of Christ for one another.

I also speak out now because Paige Patterson can no longer hurt me. He has nothing left to take away from me.

First, let me say, I am a proponent of strong and permanent marriages, and I believe in a lifetime commitment between a husband and wife. After all, I was married over 30 years before I became a widow. I suffered consistent and regular abuse at the hands of my husband; most of it was verbally cruel and chipped away at my self-esteem. I struggled to find reassurance of my value through my teaching. I was blessed with encouraging and supportive mentors, all male, and I realized some marginal success in research and writing and my work in the classroom.

It was not a secret that Paige Patterson did not advocate divorce or separation in cases of spousal abuse. I heard about the recorded statement. I read the things he said. That is why I talked about the abuse with a couple of my colleagues during my time at Southwestern. They were really at a loss to advise me. How can you actually prove systematic verbal abuse?

While my husband was often violent, he rarely laid a hand on my child or me physically, although it began to escalate during the time I served at Southwestern. I had, for the first time in our marriage, managed to get family medical coverage through my job. It was the first time we had hospitalization in 18 years. I could not endanger that medical coverage, let alone put our family in financial jeopardy by losing my job. My husband had just had triple by-pass surgery. He was seriously diabetic. He had been in and out of the hospital for years. 

It was in fear of how Paige Patterson could destroy my life that I remained silent. It was also because I did not want to put the jobs of my colleagues at risk by speaking out, even after I left Southwestern. It was a weighty responsibility. I think there is something inherently wrong about giving one man so much power and influence that he could capriciously destroy the lives and careers of others without question and somehow, justify it biblically. 

I remember the day I was formally elected by the Board of Trustees as a full-time faculty member. I had been teaching at least 18 graduate credit hours that year, courses in Old Testament Survey and Biblical Hebrew. I also served as a graduate assistant to another professor and graded the majority of coursework for another 3 classes each semester. I had submitted an acceptable dissertation that spring. Some said I had the opportunity to advance the academic reputation of Southwestern, and there was a great deal of pressure to write a dissertation that made a difference academically. 

When I finally received the news that I was officially part of the faculty, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be part of the School of Theology. I was told by my mentors that “I had no time for rejoicing” and that I should avoid all media contact. I should stay below the radar, fail to answer the phone, and make no public comment. 

My new colleague Terri Stovall, who already had an established relationship with the Pattersons, made a formal statement to the press. Later that evening, I received a call from Dr. Craig Blaising, officially informing me of the Board’s decision. However, he made very clear that I would be limited to teaching only language-related courses. In the end, this meant that I could teach Biblical Hebrew and Cognate Languages, and Hebrew Exegesis, but no courses in English Bible or Hermeneutics. 

While some may think this was very limiting, how many new faculty do not have to teach Introduction courses as part of their contract? I had already been teaching Introduction to Old Testament and individual book studies in the past at the seminary. I was blessed with teaching all upper-level courses that specialized in biblical language and exegesis.

However, what I did not find out until later was that, with my election to the faculty, all adjunct women instructors in the School of Theology were no longer permitted to teach. The Southwestern Seminary Board of Trustees though hesitant, I assume, did not find that hiring me to teach in the School of Theology contradicted the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and thus, my hiring did not go against mainstream Baptist religious belief. Yet, other women suffered as a result of my hiring, and I felt tremendously guilty about it.

Those who knew me well also knew that I did not have a chip on my shoulder, that I was too busy trying to excel as an academician and a teacher to think about, respond, or be concerned with my gender and what that meant in my environment. I never felt I had anything to prove. I only wanted to be known for my expertise in the field, known as a good professor, not identified as the “woman” Hebrew professor.

It never crossed my mind that I would want to serve as a pastor of a local church. I never felt called in any way to that role. I knew that I was called to teach in an academic setting, and I have always been satisfied with serving in that way. I also know that I avoided groups of women from the seminary who really seemed to gather primarily to criticize the Seminary. 

In other words, I really didn’t spend any time on gender issues because I was too involved in teaching and writing, taking care of my family and serving in my local church. I was too interested in finding ways to help make Biblical Hebrew user-friendly for my students, whoever they were. I was busy writing, doing post-doctoral work in Comparative Semitics and Historical Hebrew Grammar, meeting with students, grading, and getting home in time to pick up my daughter from school.

While some of the women studying at seminary appreciated having a female role model on the faculty, I was instructed to avoid counseling women or building an entourage, a following, so that it would not appear as if I were encouraging other women to pursue my path and seek to teach at an academic institution.

I was also instructed not to speak at faculty meetings, and while I was asked to work on restructuring the curriculum and reading list for the doctoral program at the seminary, my name was officially kept off of any materials related to that restructuring. My involvement in any work related to curriculum or other seminary work was unofficial and kept quiet.

During the summer preceding my second year at Southwestern, Dr. Hemphill stepped down, and Paige Patterson was elected as the new president. I had already been warned by many that I should feel threatened concerning my job at Southwestern, and I did not know until later that there were a number of individual conversations with Paige and other Trustees in which he tried to block my hiring. 

I remember attending the announcement of his appointment and being very concerned because his words concerning women and the seminary were chilling. I remember thinking that I really needed to be afraid for my job. Then, when I introduced myself to Dorothy Patterson, she looked me square in the eye and said, “We know who you are.”

Later, Paige suggested I talk with Dorothy to ask her if there was some way I could be helpful in the women’s ministry and coursework, and I was met with the cold response: I don’t think there is anything you can do.
I was summoned to the office of the President in September of 2003. I asked Paige if I needed to be concerned about my job. He told me that he was fine with what I was doing and that he had no objection at all as long as I didn’t do anything to cause questions or concerns. He indicated he had no plans to remove me from my position. 

As I think about this, I wonder: if my teaching male students was religiously acceptable and in compliance with his religious beliefs, why later would he argue that what I was doing contradicted historically held Baptist belief and practice? 

Nevertheless, I was gullible enough to believe that my job was safe as long as I did not do or say anything that would jeopardize it. I was once again warned that I should keep my head down, that Paige would plant students in my classes to see if I did or said something that could be used to fire me. I learned very early to clarify my position on all theological and ecclesiastical matters and sought to have my students reiterate them in order to prevent any misunderstanding. 

I admit, though, naïve as I was in some ways, deep down inside I was scared.


Part II to come...

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Paige and Dorothy Patterson’s Retirement Home Built on the Property of Southwestern Seminary

The Patterson Retirement Home
Dr. Paige Patterson and his wife Dorothy, nearing retirement as President and First Lady of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, are having their retirement home built on the seminary property.

The decision by the Executive Committee of Southwestern Theological Seminary's trustees to allow the Pattersons to live out their retirement years on the grounds of SWBTS needs to be questioned by the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention for many reasons.

Before articulating these reasons, let me state that I personally like Paige and Dorothy Patterson. I've found them to be hospital hosts, zealous for evangelism, and filled with humor. It's no secret that I have challenged Dr. Patterson on several fronts, including allowing a practicing Muslim entrance to the Seminary in violation of both the seminary's charter and purpose, firing the finest Hebrew professor in the Southern Baptist Convention "because she was female," and various other issues over the years.

Differing on principles does not equate to disliking the persons.

On many occasions, there have been professors, trustees, students, and graduates of Southwestern Theological Seminary who have contacted me with concerns. I have declined to say or write anything about several issues brought to my attention. This post is written not because I do not wish the Pattersons to live out their golden years in comfort, but rather,  I and many others believe the decision to allow them to live on school property is troublesome on several fronts.

1. The controversial decision to allow the Pattersons to live on SWBTS's campus after retirement has been driven by Dr. Patterson and voted on in secret by the Executive Committee of the seminary's trustees, not during open plenary sessions of all trustees. 

A former chairman of the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary let it be known that “The retirement home for the Pattersons will not be built on school property during my watch.”

Dr. Patterson waited until that man’s watch ticked out.

Kevin Ueckert, SWBTS Trustee Chairman
Whether the current trustee chairman,  Dr. Kevin Ueckert of FBC Georgetown, Texas, is in favor of the Patterson retirement home being built on school property under his watch,  is a matter open for discussion. However, if the decision was made during an Executive Session by the Executive Committee of the SWBTS trustees, then one would assume the chairman voted "Yes."

On January 31, 2018, I contacted Dr. Ueckert via Messenger and asked him several questions. To date, I've not received any responses to my questions.  The current chairman is a young pastor, a graduate of Southwestern Theological Seminary, and he has a long pastoral career in front of him.

Interestingly, on February 6, 2018, one week after my queries, the Southern Baptist Texan, the Southern Baptists in Texas conservative newsletter, led by Jim Richards, friend to Paige Patterson, posted a long interview with Dr. Paige Patterson where a handful of my questions were answered, raising even more concerns.

The article states that "this vision was planted a long while back by an idea a trustee (had) at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where Patterson was president."

Notice the directional change. The idea began at Southeastern and finds fruition at Southwestern.

What idea was planted at Southeastern? The article continues:
"Phillip Mercer and his wife wanted to build the Pattersons a retirement home – anywhere."
The Patterson retirement home at SWBTS, Ft. Worth, Texas
That retirement home is being built on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Unfortunately, when the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary voted on building the retirement home over a year ago, the seminary trustees gave the impression that they were approving a $2.5 million dollar Baptist Heritage Center to archive materials, libraries, and collections of famous Southern Baptists, and possibly have rooms to temporarily house a few missionaries on furlough or who were visiting SWBTS. At the time, the trustees either intentionally refused to address and vote on whether the Pattersons should live in the Baptist Heritage Center during open session, or even worse, were never made aware of the true use of the proposed building.

There is no public record of the trustees approving this building as the Patterson's retirement home. The trustees are obligated to report such actions made during their plenary sessions to the Southern Baptist Convention. There has never been a report to the Southern Baptist Convention that this decision to build a retirement home for the Pattersons on school property was made by the trustees.

Interestingly, on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, SBC This Week published an article entitled "Patterson Discusses Retirement Plans" and made this incredible statement (emphasis mine):
"While not announced in the trustee meeting recap, the Southwestern executive committee of the trustee board officially extended an invitation in September 2017 for the Pattersons to reside in the Baptist Heritage Center as its first theologians-in-residence at a time to be determined later."
Let that sink in. Behind closed doors. In Executive Session. No reporting of the decision to the Southern Baptist Convention. Trustee boards are supposed to be transparent.

Someone has rightly said, "We are only as sick as our secrets." Our convention will never be healthy and Kingdom-minded as long as we allow a decision like this to be made behind closed doors. 

Yesterday (February 7, 2018), Baptist Press issued a statement from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary entitled "Conservative Resurgence Archives To Be Housed at New SWBTS Center." 

It seems that since I have begun privately asking questions of leadership, SWBTS is now making public that, indeed, Dr. and Mrs. Patterson will be living out their retirement years on the property of Southwestern Theological Seminary. However, in finally making public this decision which the seminary trustee executive committee made in private, the seminary's public relations department is emphasizing "This will be a Baptist Heritage Center."

No, it's not. It's a retirement home.

If it is truly a Baptist Heritage Center, then the Pattersons would not be living in it.

2. The decision to construct the Patterson retirement home on the property of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary property must be addressed by the Southern Baptist Convention. 

A healthy minority of SWBTS trustees are embarrassed - borderline angry - that the Pattersons have been granted by the trustee executive committee the right to live out their retirement years among facilities paid for by over $372,000,000 Cooperative Program dollars. That's correct. The Southern Baptist Convention has forwarded to Southwestern Theological Seminary over $372 million Cooperative Program dollars since the founding of the seminary. 

The Southern Baptist Convention should have a say whether or not a retirement home for a former president should be built on institutional grounds.  The trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are accountable to the SBC, not the President of the institution they serve. The President is supposed to work for them; not the other way around.

Can the seminary's trustees make these kinds of decisions without approval of the Southern Baptist Convention? Of course. But as stated above, this decision should have been debated during open forum plenary trustee sessions, should have been voted upon and votes recorded in the minutes, and those minutes should have been reported out to the Southern Baptist Convention in the recap of the trustee plenary sessions.

Institutional trustees answer to the Southern Baptist Convention. When there is transparency and accountability like there is supposed to be at our convention, the process actually works.

This matter should be addressed by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention this June in Dallas, Texas. The secrecy of the decision is troublesome enough, but in the long run, the precedent set by this decision may cause even more, unexpected problems in the future.

3.  Having a former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on the property during the tenure of a new president is unhealthy for the institution on several fronts. 
a. Ask any new pastor if he wants the former pastor officing next door to him?
b. Ask Paige Patterson if he would have wanted Ken Hemphill living on school property when he took over?  There may be some real irony here in that Dr. Ken Hemphill is running for President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and will be voted on this June in Dallas, Texas.
c. Ask any church if they think it would be wise to build a second parsonage for their retiring pastor, next door to the current parsonage which will house the "yet to be named" new pastor?
d. Ask any newly married woman if it's wise for her husband to build a home for his ex-girlfriend next door to the couples' home?
Dr. Patterson's friend told him he would build him a retirement home anywhere. 

Anywhere. Last time I checked, anywhere meant anywhere.

Why in the name of the Southern Baptist Convention is it being built on the property of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary? 

4. If a court finds Paige Patterson guilty of conspiring to cover-up a sexual assault, are the Pattersons asked to leave, and are stained glass windows removed?

The Cover Page of the Lawsuit
Last December 27, 2017, Paul Pressler was accused in a lawsuit, filed in Harris County court, of sexually assaulting Gareld Duane Rollins, Jr., beginning in 1979 when Rollins was 14-years-old. The suit alleges decades of molestation and sexual abuse

The suit also names Paige Patterson in the lawsuit. Rollins alleges that Paige was knowledgeable of the abuse and helped cover it up. The victim is seeking over $1 million dollars in damages. 

On at least one mission trip overseas, Dr. Patterson and Dorothy Patterson were present with Paul Pressler and young Gareld Rollins. The Texas Monitor is reporting on this case with regularity. 

I have no knowledge of whether or not the claims in the lawsuit have merit, but reading the actual papers filed makes one's stomach turn. 

Suppose that a jury or a judge finds Dr. and Mrs. Patterson guilty of conspiring to cover-up sexual molestation of a minor. Will the Southern Baptist Convention or Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary like having the Pattersons living in their retirement house on school property? 

Again, whether or not the Pattersons are guilty is not the issue. 

One should always be careful before placing stained glass windows of living people in places of worship.

Stains come other ways than just in glass. 

5. The Southern Baptist Convention is constitutionally controlled by the people.

If this home is brought to completion in the fall of 2018, and if the Pattersons move into that home, the Southern Baptist Convention will have nobody to blame but ourselves. 

The trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are accountable to the convention, which means us.

I want the Patterson's to have their retirement home. I am appreciative of generous, kind Southern Baptist benefactors who desire the Patterson's to have a home of their own during retirement.

That home should not be on the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary school property.

You may contact the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to obtain the names, address, and contact information for the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.