COVID-19, politics, and CRT/I sucked almost all the air out of this place last year. While one hopes that the pandemic will recede and that in a non-election year discussions will focus on subjects more positive in our Grand Convention, I’m not at all optimistic that they will. Executive Committee leader, Ronnie Floyd, announced a grand vision statement early in 2020. It was swamped. Our IMB announced a plan to add 500 missionaries over the next few years. It’s not dead-in-the-water but was quickly kicked off the front burner by other matters. Whatever progress the SBC has made in race relations (African-American churches have been the fastest growing segment of SBC life, is somewhat in danger. I’m optimistic for the long haul on this but pessimistic on the short haul.
Our venerable Cooperative Program, remember that? It has been declining for over a generation but the hits from the pandemic, the CRT controversy, and the new takeover group will almost certainly cause it to diminish more rapidly. The CP goes down like a ratchet with declines locked in. Give me a reason for more optimism. If I had one I would post it.
“Woke” (I hate the idiotic, snarling term), CRT/I, Resolution 9, and race in general will be with us all year. There were around two dozen articles on CRT/I/R9 on Voices in 2020. In my hacker and plodder view from the SBC hinterlands the rump SBC takeover group, Conservative Baptist Network, has an issue that resonates in our convention. I’d liken it to the ire-arousing value of secular humanism and liberalism. The hearer supplies their own definitions as they resolve to vote against these, whatever they are.
NAMB will generate hate and opposition, and “hate” isn’t too strong a word for some NAMB critics, as long as NAMB persists in implementing change in the traditional ways of spending their budget. Earlier NAMB policies, seems to me, had no connection to advancing Southern Baptists other than to fling money at distant places where we could brag about how ‘we gotta guy’ in some place where there are few people and nice scenery. If this isn’t a fair assessment, then let’s dig up the numbers (such as Alaska where NAMB put $8 million over a period of a decade or so and the numbers of churches increased by about one per year; can NAMB and the state conventions do better than that?).
This is an SBC election year this year. No more JD Greear whose three terms as president were quite splendid in my view. The third year, a gift from a nasty virus.
LifeWay has divested itself of Ridgecrest conference center, alas, but it will still service SBC needs. I wonder if the new owners plan to continue pastor (and, ahem!, retired pastors) discounts. I hope so.
A few African-American SBC pastors (I don’t know if these were solely or dually affiliated with the SBC) have left the SBC, loudly. Will more do so? Whatever CRT/I is or isn’t, it is absolutely a racial test in the SBC, like that or not. It’s the reality on the ground.
Southern Seminary puts $5 million into scholarships for African-American students. The only word not used in this was “reparations.” Will the other seminaries follow?
Will the Council of Seminary Presidents make further statements…other than statements to explain and expand on their previous statement? Maybe it’s a good time to lie low.
You may have more subjects. I’m wasting a good Saturday morning for yard work.
College football? Maybe a full season this year?
Baseball? Who cares?