Convention Stuff: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

   You know you are in trouble when the only group that has a clear idea of its mission, consistent rhetoric and an unquenchable will to fight is your staunchest foe. In this case, the ConventionFomerlyKnownAsTheBaptistGeneralConventionofTexas (they changed their name for professional reasons, I did not do it, do not blame me) have an implacable foe in the SBTC. Say what you will about anyone over on that side of the aisle (SBTC); they work from a clear mandate, stay on message and never, ever stop their work for navel gazing.

   What are the four clearest signs of decay in a democracy? Low-quality policies and procedures; apathetic, dependent constituents; outside aggression (the natural predator) and overall poor leadership, according to J.M. Burns. I contend any study of the empirical data suggests TCOKATBGCT is a declining democracy. As Ken Coffee writes, the coming convention meeting in McAllen could be held in a phone booth.

   For those who have never seen a phone booth, it is a very, small enclosed space, less than the size of a jet-liner bathroom.

   Ken's point? The convention meeting will not be well attended.

   This is not necessarily an indictment. What is an indictable is this; the thing is about to vanish and apparently no one is thinking about what comes next.

   Let me say it a different way. No one is thinking, or acting, about what should come next. I read about this or that left-over leader who is "positioning the convention for the future" but such plans as seep down to the hoi polloi seem much more likely to maintain the slow, agonizing dissolution of the present reality.

   I started out this little series because Marv Knox put down an even smaller editorial on how and why his convention cannot afford to do all it tries to do (status quo ante). He argued for a return to fiscal sanity (frugality) in order to restore excellence and the moral reputation of his convention. 

   Then, Ken Coffee posted a well thought article on the possible return of Machine politics in his convention, as embodied in officer elections. He has since rethought his facts, under some pressure, but Ken, one should note, has not changed his position. Consistency, stability, decency; perhaps you fellows should elect Ken Coffee as president of your convention in November in that phone booth in McAllen.

Opinions expressed here are mine alone, not those of any other person or organization or the church that blesses me every day, makes me happy to be a minister again and restores my belief in local congregational autonomy.

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