I know, I know, we don’t have a pope for several reasons – biblical, practical and traditional. But I still sometimes wish I had papal authority among Southern Baptists for a day or two. I could really make some significant, sensible and sure-fire changes that would forever change the direction of the SBC. Good changes? Bad? Not sure. But the SBC would change, that’s indisputable!
I realize some of these measures may sound harsh and extreme, but we live in extreme times. Here are some of the first actions I would take if I were the Baptist pope.
1) Excessive alliteration of sermons would bring public floggings.
Dear pastor, I knew Adrian Rogers (well, I met him a couple of time). You are not Adrian Rogers. Dr. Rogers’ alliterations flowed flawlessly from his feverishly fertile mind, fascinating and faithful to the text as well as forthright in their meaning. But the alphabetic gymnastics to acquire and assign alliteration to sermon points has become asinine and annoying.
Under the Miller Papacy, first offense over-alliteration would draw a letter of rebuke. The second offense would incur a steep fine. And a third offense would necessitate a public flogging with a hardbound Roget’s College Thesaurus in the entryway to the display area at the convention.
2) Those with extreme CalvOCD would be publicly humiliated.
What, you ask, is a CalvOCD? It is a condition in which someone is obsessed with soteriological debates. Everything is about Calvinism – for or against. Some CalvOCDers link every problem to a lack of Calvinism and advance it as the panacea for all our maladies. Other CalvOCDers devote their lives to opposing the floral favorite of the Genius of Geneva. (If anyone takes the time to explain that Calvin did not actually construct the TULIP acrostic, he is likely a CalvOCDer.) CalvOCDers can make every dicussion, debate or disagreement about the Institutes or the Statement regardless of what the original topic was.
I would issue a papal bull that the ten worst offenders from each side in this debate be used as examples. They would be stripped down to speedo swimsuits and be paraded through the convention center while messengers loudly read imprecatory Psalms and threw wadded up brochures from the display areas at them.
The extreme sufferers of CalvOCD would likely interpret their suffering as “for righteousness sake” and rejoice that they have some eternal treasure stored up. But as we make an example of them, perhaps others would get the message and move on. Granted, watching these guys in speedos would be punishment for all of us, but considering the horror of the constant stream of CalvOCD blogging it might be worth the pain.
3) Boorish Baptists who behave badly at Baptist meetings in Baltimore would be banished to BAMA.
Any Baptist who treats locals (Baltimoreans? Marylanders?) badly will be banished to Alabama, a punishment that is cruel and unusual, but in this case necessary. Anyone who eats a meal at a restaurant and leaves a tip less than 15% (that is a minimum) will be Bama bound. Please remember Miller’s Rule of Restaurant Rectitude: “If you bow your head before the meal you leave a generous tip after the meal.” Those who treat locals with disdain or in any way exhibit brutish, boorish, bad-mannered, bellicose or belligerent behavior during our time at Baltimore will be subjected to “Roll, Tide, Roll” chants until their brains become broccoli.
4) Those who offer silly, annoying resolutions would be forced to mop the convention floor after each session.
Okay, there is a problem here – annoying is in the eye of the beholder. But remember, I’m the Baptist Pope in this scenario, so the final arbiter of annoyingness is none other than me. But I can give you a few hints as to my likely adjudications:
- Any resolution advocating a boycott of anything will be considered annoying. Plan to stay after and mop.
- Resolutions designating Obama as the Antichrist or calling for his impeachment are de facto annoying. Get a mop, dude.
- In fact the vast majority of politically-focused resolutions will earn you a date with a mop
- Your resolution asking the entire convention to speak to some hobby-horse issue of yours that no one in the convention has a clue about – well, plan to mop.
- Also, resolutions which seek to impose one person’s opinion on a minor matter on the entire convention are inherently annoying. Got a mop and bucket?
- If you offer a Calvinism-focused resolution, see item 2. And stay to mop.
Of course, the problem here is that I find about 87% of resolutions annoying, so the convention hall is going to be VERY clean.
5) People who walk out of the convention hall during the closing prayer to get to the restaurant or hotel first should be ashamed of themselves, but that kind of offense is above my pay grade and they will answer to a higher authority.
Aren’t you glad I will never be the Baptist Pope?
On the other hand, if I were Baptist Pope, we would open the convention with the Hokey-Pokey and do the wave in the convention hall during one of the seminary reports (to be chosen by urim and thummim). Of course, the wave would move from left to right. A leftward direction is never acceptable.
I might be capricious and cruel, but I also want to be fun.