I realize that what I am about to say is going to anger people, but it’s an observation many have made in the seconds after the nomination speeches. I’ve never seen such a difference in tone and spirit in the two nominating speeches for president.
Jarrett Stevens (was that the right name?) gave an upbeat, positive, and hopeful nominating speech for Dr. Bart Barber, talking about the wonderful job Bart has done as president of the convention this year, how he has earned second term with his good work, his faithful service as a pastor at First Baptist, Farmersville. It was joyful, hopeful, and encouraging.
Then Willy Rice stood up and there’s no other way to describe it. He was seething. Since my first convention (Houston, 1979 when Adrian Rogers was elected and the CR began), I have never seen anything like it. Not even close. It was as if the thunderstorms outside came into the convention center. Pastor Rice, whom I’ve liked and respected, seems to believe that our efforts to deal with sexual abuse are destroying us and we need to elect Mike Stone to bring the process to a halt. It was stunning how much negative emotion came through.
One tweet said the choice was clear – vote for joy or vote for anger. It sure seemed that way. I know a lot of you are Stone supporters, but that was the most shocking thing I have seen – the angriest nominating speech in my 40+ years of conventioneering. I do not know if it was a good strategy – the results will tell us – but I remain hopeful that Bart’s vision – living in the joy of Jesus Christ – will prevail.