First of all, let me define my terms. I’m glad that people who are not able to attend the Annual Meeting of the SBC are able to live stream the proceedings and share their opinions on blogs and tweets and Facebook – that is great.
But there has been a big push in recent years to decentralize the SBC, either by having regional sites or by allowing people to be messengers and participate from their homes and offices via computer. I can understand why people say that.
It costs a lot of money to attend the convention and offsite participation would allow more people to be a part. If we simply want more people to attend, online and offsite electronic means are certainly the way.
I have some questions about the wisdom of that. It seems to me that regional or computer participation would have some drawbacks – opening the door to some registration and voting abuses. Hate to think that might happen, but it could.
But there is one primary reason I think the way we do it now is the better way. Of course, one of the reasons I love the SBC is the chance to fellowship with some folks I don’t get to see any other time. But there is another reason that is more important to me than that. It crystallized in my mind when someone asked me a question after having observed the way people tend to interact on blogs.
“When people get together at the SBC, do they behave better than they do on the blogs?”
The answer to that is generally yes. People simply behave better when they are face to face, in the same room, with flesh and blood people around them than they do when they are interacting on computers. I am afraid that if we gave up the face to face, in-the-same-room concept of SBC participation, we might regret it.
Do we want the general behavior of the blogs to become the standard of behavior for the SBC Annual Meeting? If the general tone of interaction on blogs is an indicator, then face to face is the way to go.
By the way, just for the record, the vast majority of bloggers and commenters are godly, restrained folks under self-control. Just wanted to make it clear I’m not indicting everyone. But there is enough trouble on blogs to make me wary.
I know there are some good arguments on the other side on this, and my argument will certainly not convince those committed to regional or online messenger participation, but I think we do better at seeking God’s will together when we are in the same room at the same place.
You are free to disagree. This is certainly not an issue I’m going to go to war about, but with all its problems and possibilities of abuse, I like the current system and hope it does not change.
Oh, when I’m in the nursing home, you young whippersnappers can change everything. But not now, okay?