Service Interrupted: A Political Memoir-Chapter Sixteen (Continued)

   We might lose our aversion to thinking. If we actually prefer a baptist democratic polity we may have to become active citizens of the convention again.

   This monolithic structure did not invent itself. It is, quite literally, what we used to joke about in reference to a camel. You remember the old joke. What is a camel? It is a horse put together by a committee.

   So it might be better to say, this ungainly, unseemly, spitting, kicking, biting, shaggy, flea carrying, uncomfortable ship of the desert, with its ability to endure long dry spells, run fast and haul cargo, did not create itself. This Baptist General Camel of Texas is indeed a sleek thoroughbred put together over a century by a constantly changing "committee of the whole." If it looks like a camel instead of a Palomino, that is by "design but without zoning" (parenthesis mine, for emphasis).

   Baptist Christians want to meet every need. We believe we have a God big enough to meet every need. We believe we can get together to make the desert bloom.

   Since we want to meet every need we often wander around looking for our initial purpose. We miss missions/evangelism, then remember that is what we are about and so start to call everything missions/evangelism. Church health is missions/evangelism, as is Sunday School, as is Church Music, as is religious liberty, as is Church Starting, as is, well, everything we do.

   Then we get a chief administrator who is a little bit juvenile, unable to focus on doing more than starting and starting and starting over again when something bright, shiny and new catches his eye. If he had been dealing for Manhattan Island, he would have bought back his own beads and sworn it was a good meeting.

   We should not think, we are told, one little fellow can wreak such damage on a group. On the other hand, we hear, we should believe a new fellow brought in can restore the lost, lift up the fallen and reunite the seceded states. I do not think one person should be able to destroy so much but I know he did it. I do not think one person will redeem the years of the locust but I think he will not restore the union without a major call to love the Lord with all our mind, as well as our heart and strength. The outgoing administration is the least rationally justifiable in our history, which is saying something.

   Despite constant assertions to the contrary the BGCT was not an airplane being built while flying under the former administrator. It was a stranded Spruce Goose, marvelous to behold but shot through with design flaws and corrupt in its structure.

    If we are to use, not lose, our minds, again, we will not be able to let some well placed experts dictate policy. We will not be able to allow a few to orchestrate policy for the whole. Choices are tough and life is messy but democracies are to be run by citizens, not a few "experts."

   We are dying as we are now. It is time to wrest the scalpel from the errant surgeon. Failing that, it is at least time to stop being his patient.




3 thoughts on “Service Interrupted: A Political Memoir-Chapter Sixteen (Continued)”

  1. Rick:
    I’m interested in what you think about democratic rule and convention life. I agree with some of what you wrote in your last post … less in this post … but your thoughts are intriguing.
    What does democracy look like in a convention like the BGCT or SBC or CBF? Rule by the people? Not American democracy. It is not a pure democracy, but more a representative form of government … the people do not directly decide policy. The elected representatives do. Once elected, those representatives have no required mandate to make decisions based on the wishes of the populace that elected them. Of course, if they don’t they may not get elected the next time around … but that’s beside the point … once elected, the representatives (not the people) decide policy.
    On the national level, the people decide very little (except who represents them … and then, only every four years). In fact, technically, according to the rules of the electoral college … the electors from each state do not even have to vote according the wishes of the populace (I don’t think it’s ever happened … but you’re a better historian than I am).
    So, what does Democracy look like with an entity as large and complex as a country (or even a large convention)?
    I was on the BGCT Administrative committee for one year. I resigned because I didn’t have the time to read the reams of information I needed to read in order to make informed decisions. I’ll admit, too, that administration is not my gift (I don’t know what I was thinking when I said “yes.”) Anyway, much of the policy making cannot be made by the convention at large. It’s not practical.
    If a committe of 20 creates a camel out of a horse … what will the horrid beast look like after a committee of 5,000 gets a hold of it?
    I admit that the “voice” and the “vote” of the convention at large has been relegated to such a minimal place in convention life as to make it practically obsolete. That needs to change, to a certain degree. So, I really am interested in hearing, more specifically, your ideas on what this will look like.

  2. Dear Ellis,
    A committee of 5000 would have probable come up with a horse rather than a camel. The larger the participation the more pragmatic and practical the outcome (non-linear systems demonstrates that). It all depends on the power of strange attractor. Right now, in BGCT life, the strange attractor is the Shadow convention and the perks that come with convention employment (i.e., large salary and benefits that about double that of the average Texas Baptist pastor), thus an adminstration like that of Charles Wade. If, however, the strange attractor was that of wage war against the culture corrupt, then perhaps we might again have a throughbred that is fast enough to take us into the future.

  3. Ellis,
    You have so many gifts, it would have been unfair of God to give you administration as well.
    Although, your comment this time came in as anonymous, with no chance of private reply and I did not know it was from you until I noticed your name on it. Then, I wondered if it were from my friend Ellis in the Valley.
    I think the reason you may have not as agreed as much with this post is because it was so poorly thought out and presented by its writer (me, Rick Davis, sole proprieter here). I will not presume to correct your history or political theory but you might want to check the presidential election of 1800 as a potentially problematic one with electors.
    Vis a vis the “Convention once called Baptist General of Texas” I still have to stand by the meaning of my comments even if I didn’t express myself well.
    A true democracy does not involve voting; it is about consensus. America is a representative republic, with some aspirations to be a Messianic Empire but that is a conversation apart from what I wrote yesterday.
    The camel we have created (nothing wrong with camels, I like them) is different from the American National Camel now on display in a presidential campaign (Ellis, if I were to correct your political theory it would be about elections every four years; in fact, every year is an election year and all politics are local) is the American Camel is secular, has massive legal power and can tax its citizenry. The BGCT camel is, or should be, sacred, has no legal power and only such moral power as it can prove it deserves and must depend for its support on contributions and investments.
    Ellis, if one is to ask people for money they do not have to give, there must be some persuasive moral/ missional reason for them to give. Moral does not simply mean ethically excellent, though, frankly, that is and should be assumed, but also suggests an ongoing reason for cooperation. Texas did not win the World War. America did and Texas could not have done so alone. If there is a reason for us to be on mission together, let’s hear it. Don’t take me for granted, as this convention has done for some years now.

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