In the annals of history, artifacts tend to play critical roles in the events they shape. What would the 95 Theses be without the Wittenberg door, or the dissemination of Luther’s ideas without the printing press? Artifacts are not just matter in history’s past; they matter significantly in the formation of history. Though the significance of an artifact is not always immediately perceived in the making of history, later historians are often able to evaluate the significance of an artifact in the writing of history. Unfortunately, many historians are separated from artifacts by the distanciation of time. When contemporaries neglect to preserve an artifact’s role in the shaping of history via oral or written communication, later historians are unaware of the artifact’s role and significance in the shaping of the event. The role of the artifact is lost and the historical record becomes more difficult to analyze. This reality means that it is incumbent upon contemporaries to record for posterity the artifacts involved in the shaping of history. To serve later generations, I would like to highlight an artifact that proved pivotal in the historic election of Dave Miller to the 2nd vice presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2012.
Miller and the 2012 SBC Convention
While there are a multitude of reasons why Miller won the 2nd vice presidency, there is no artifact more significant than Miller’s neon green suit . If SBC Voices was Miller’s printing press (allowing him to disseminate his ideas with deftness and ease), Miller’s suit was his Wittenberg door (allowing him to confront the public in garish and confrontational neon green tones). Like staring at a lime colored sun, there was no denying Miller’s dynamic presence at the 2012 Southern Baptist Convention. Indeed, Miller was a force to be reckoned with.
Miller’s neon green suit originated in obscure and humble beginnings on the electronic auction site known as eBay. Because of Miller’s stature and frugality, he prefers to purchase all of his clothing on eBay instead of a big and tall store. For years, Miller has subscribed to an automatic eBay search that collates all the auctions that fit his measurements and then delivers these auctions to his email inbox. One day, a neon green suit appeared in the automatic search results. Miller had never seen anything like it, and its minimal price made it clear that he would never have another chance to buy a suit of that particular color in his unique size for such a minimal amount of money. It was a mere $25 . As the old adage goes, the time to buy is when it’s for sale. When he placed the winning bid, Miller could sense destiny.
Green Behind the Ears
Once the suit arrived, Miller would begin wearing it at church functions at Southern Hills Baptist Church, where he is the senior pastor. This included a variety show and a wedding rehearsal. The more he wore the suit, the more people clamored for it. This was proof positive that the suit needed to play a part in his run for the 2nd vice presidency. Miller already had his platform, but now he was ready for the red carpet.
While Miller had made a name for himself in the blogosphere as editor/writer/contributor/moderator of SBC Voices, he was only virtually known. In another sense, he was virtually unknown. This was only true until Miller slipped on his green suit of destiny. Miller made it known to the blogosphere that he could be found at the convention in his green suit . As no one else would be wearing a green suit at the convention, Miller was easy to spot. This meant that people who knew of Miller by name could meet him in person. The people found the man in the green suit, and the people found their man. After meeting and talking with Miller in person, his constituency responded by blowing up Twitter with a call to elect Miller as the 2nd vice president. The more people learned of Miller, the more desirable he became as a candidate. As a candidate, the people knew that Miller was not a lemon; he was more of a lime. It is clear that Miller’s unexpected victory at the convention was made possible by an unexpected wardrobe selection. It was perhaps the first time in Southern Baptist history that a man’s attire became the deciding factor in an election at the convention.
For traditional Southern Baptists, it may seem preposterous that something so garish as a neon green suit could garner a man so many votes, but this is an indisputable fact. Dave Miller was suited to be the 2nd vice president in 2012 because he was suited in green. You cannot downplay the significance of Miller’s neon green suit, because really, can a neon green suit ever be downplayed?