It is no secret that I am weary of the incessant and petty bickering about Calvinism that has marked so much of the SBC’s discussion, and has been the driving force on blogs. Frankly, that is all that some people want to talk about. But maybe that is only because that is all we’ve given them to talk about.
We have a big God and a big Bible and there are lots of interesting topics to write about. Ecclesiology. Ministry strategies. Missions. Engaging culture. There are a lot of things that we could talk about that are more important than the kerfuffle that has marked us. Honestly, I never thought I’d long for the good old days when we were arguing about baptism and private prayer language. But I’d rather revisit some of those topics than hear one more soteriological brouhaha.
I have a great team of guys who contribute here, but they are all busy and several of them are on blogging breaks. I need stuff. When I took over SBC Voices a couple of years ago, I had this idea that we should post two or three articles a day. I did this for several reasons (one I have not really published until now).
1) We get a lot of traffic through here because of the aggregator, and I want a constant stream of new articles for people who stop by to stay and read.
2) More articles means more variety. We have a wide variety of posts on a wide variety of topics by a wide variety of authors. If you are one of those guys who only reads the Calvinism-related articles you ought to expand your horizons and read something else. It’s there, even if perhaps it has been overlooked.
3) Here’s the reason I haven’t talked about. I’ve noticed something in my years of blogging. The longer a comment stream goes on, the more likely it is to get petty, mean-spirited and away from the topic of the post. Look at any comment stream that goes over about 50 comments and I can just about guarantee you that they aren’t talking about the post anymore, but are talking about some other topic and the likelihood is that the conversation is degrading the longer the comments go on.
So, simple solution there. Start a new topic. Let a topic have the board for 4 or 5 hours then post something new. Hopefully, people move on. It doesn’t always work, but it’s one of the reasons I did what I did.
Anyway, unless I am going to abandon that, I need more articles. I need well-written, well-thought-out, incisive articles on issues that relate to Baptist life today. I don’t really have time to post more than about 3 times a week, so I need people to contribute articles. My regular contributors aren’t able to do that right now, so I’m opening this up others who want to publish some articles. Right now, I’m not looking for any more regular contributors, but if things work out, it could happen. But I want articles. Perhaps its an idea you have been thinking about. Perhaps you have a post you wrote on your personal blog that you would like to repost (or revise and repost) here. I can’t offer you any money, but one thing that SBC Voices can offer you is an audience. People will have an opportunity to read what you write. Maybe they will like it, maybe not. But quite a few people will get to read it!
If you have something, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (that is my “complaint” email for Voices, but you can use it to submit as well). But before you submit, here are some points to consider.
1) I am not likely to be interested in Calvinism-focused articles on either side. Our regulars have the right to post on the subject if they choose, but I’m not likely to be interested in any submissions that come in on the topic, unless you have a brilliant new take on it (and what is the likelihood of that?).
2) Provocative topics are always welcome, but they should be done in a spirit representative of the highest Christian standards. Pieces that blast other Christians are not likely to be posted, especially if they tend to be mean-spirited. There is a fine line between discernment and meanness.
3) I would especially love topics that focus on Baptist life, missions, evangelism and such. When the Baptist Identity vs Reform/Big Tent Baptists wars were flaring, we hammered a lot of those types of questions to death. But maybe we are ready to have a more ordered conversation on some of those topics: Valid Baptism. Open/Closed communion. The role and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Cessationism vs. Continuationism. There are so many topics.
4) One of the better blogs out there is “Practical Shepherding” (by Brian Croft) that deals with topics of interest to pastors. I’d like to get a lot more articles about theological, practical and leadership aspects of ministry. Most of us here, but not all, are pastors in real life.
4) Devotional material is good, but (unfortunately) doesn’t always spark interest here. That may say something about us that we don’t want to hear. But if you have devotional posts you’d like to share, please feel free.
5) I’d love to hear from the distaff side of the SBC family (for you young whippersnappers, that is an old fogey term for the female side of the family!). Blogging is largely a male domain, but I’d love to hear from some female voices here.
6) Remember, this is a pretty active and opinionated site. The hardest thing for me to get used to was writing something from my heart and then having someone else say that it was a really stupid idea. Not everyone can handle that – I certainly couldn’t at first. But eventually, my skin thickened a little and I became a little less sensitive. On the other hand, some find it difficult to write something and almost no one comments on it. Why are they ignoring me? Honestly, I think some of our best posts are the ones that get only a few comments. The reasons people comments and that which makes a post high-quality are not always the same thing. But, these are the things that happen when people write here. I wanted you to know.
So, if you are interested in having an article published here, send it to me (or a link to it). Also, write out whatever background info you want about yourself. If it seems to be something that will work here (some good articles may just not fit our needs here), I will publish it. We’ll see what happens and just go from there.