Thoughts of a Country Preacher

The Monday morning ruminations of a pastor.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A few thoughts on all things political

Yesterday I enjoyed a Memorial Day of fishing, canoeing, and a little grass cutting. Now I am playing catch up to prepare for Sunday & our VBS next week. But until then I thought I would post a modest thought I have been kicking around.

Just a few moments ago, I got a call from the Republican National Committee, looking for my church’s previous pastor hoping he would renew his membership for a mere $65. I told them that he wasn’t here & I wasn’t interested, so they asked what I thought about the Republican frontrunners so far – I told her that I’ve yet to see anyone to get excited about & that was the end of that.

Six or eight years ago I would have loved a call like that. I was an English major at Mizzou looking forward to Law School & a political carreer. But with my call to the pastorate all that changed & I have been fairly apolitical ever since – honestly I have been pretty disgusted with politics ever since.

As I am finding that our conventions are getting more and more polarized, that discouragement has expanded to include ecclesiastical politics.

In my beloved home state of Missouri, lines are being drawn. A group called "Save Our Convention" met in St. Louis (yes, I was there) to talk about how Project 1000 was playing kingmaker with the convention. Their solution was to start nominating a different slate of nominees and slugging it out. I’m all for a good honest horserace in convention politics, and I agree that our state’s leadership should be drawn from a wide range of Missouri Baptists, I also think that the tactics this group is going to use would be dangerous even in times of peace. Given the state of turmoil in Missouri, such tactics may only serve to destroy the convention. And I am discouraged.

On a national level, San Antonio is shaping up to be quite interesting (see Bart Barber’s latest on this). At the moment, I am applying for a Ph. D., and in the off chance that I’m accepted, my vacation time will be spent doing class work, not allowing me to attend San Antonio (or really anything else for the next 5 years). In this whole mess I find myself in an odd position. I personally agree with the IMB’s new guidelines, though I also agree that theological minutia shouldn’t take center stage on the national level. I believe it wise to be tolerant of bible believing Christians, though I also believe that anyone widening the tent to the point to let in Jimmy Carter has gone off the reservation. I believe that Trustees should be trusted to set guidelines for their particular organization beyond what messengers have specifically stated. I also believe that this should be done carefully, within the framework of oversight from the convention at large. Really, no matter what happens there, some one is going to cry foul & say that they’re really speaking for the mainstream in the convention (even though they really aren’t). And thus, I am discouraged (and just a little glad I have to miss San Antonio).

So what should I do? I am remaining apolitical. I am going to keep pastoring my church, and we are going to do it according to God’s way here. And if anyone has a problem with what we do or how we do it, it will remain just that – their problem.

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?


Blogger Bro. Heath said...

I completely agree on your take regarding the "Save Our Convention" group. Initially as I read the story, I could understand some thinking it is necessary. However, after reading their own statements that they are tired of the political machine, and then trying to become one by asking you to vote for their candidate slate, seems a bit disingenuous. I'll remember you as you go through this PhD process. I don't plan to take that step, at least not for a while. It's been so nice actually reading what I want to read now a days.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Bart Barber said...


I'm sure the Ph.D. application will come off without a hitch. God's blessing upon you for that.

The next time I'm at the in-laws' family homesteads around Plato, MO, we'll have to get together (is Camdenton about halfway?) for lunch or something.

In Christ,

7:17 PM  
Blogger Pastor John said...

Good to hear from you again, welcome back to the Mighty MO, how's FBC King treating you?
Concerning the SOC group - I don't think its necessarily a bad thing, its just going about in a bad way. Missouri does need to bring new voices to the table in the State convention. Last I heard, there is only 36 MBC pastors under the age of 30 & the average MBC pastor is nearing retirement age. If guys in our age bracket don't start learning the ropes soon, we may well have to start from the beginning again.

Dr. Barber,
Thank you for the kind words concerning the Ph. D. Up to this point the application process has been a doozie, but this program is a great opportunity & blessing, so I'm looking forward to it.
I'm honestly not sure where Plato Mo is (I'm from just south of St. Louis originally), but Camdenton is about 45 min away from Eldon. If you ever get up this way let me know, I'd be glad to meet you.


8:15 PM  
Blogger Bart Barber said...

I'll be up that way this summer, as in every summer. Let's plan on it.

BTW, Plato is approx 10 mi. south of Ft. Leonard Wood (as the crow flies, which is not the way to measure true driving distance ANYWHERE in the Ozarks!)

7:38 AM  
Blogger Pastor John said...

Dr. Barber,
Sounds like a plan, there's a lot to see in the Lake area. Shoot me an email when you're up this way & we'll show you around.

2:13 PM  

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