The Bifocality of Interest and Sentiment

   An interest is practical, focused, persistent and likely to be defended passionately. A sentiment may be more sporadic, oddly moralistic and tentative.

    Some of us have an interest in missions, the exhibition of the gospel, and cooperative missions (not surrogate) missions as the highest demonstration of implied Christian behavior. This is not a time to time, as the whim strikes kind of thing. We remain practically focused on the prize of the highest calling.

   Nearly a hundred years ago now baptist Christians decided they could do more together than separately. This, even though they maintained their independence and autonomy, was, for them then the best possible way to support institutions of higher learning, homes for the homeless and missionary interprises around the world.

   As with all programs in a hyper sensitive, complex world, bureaucracy grows up around it. If we are careful the system itself becomes our higher expression and not the cooperation that gave it birth. When I worked for our state convention I spent as much time out of Dallas in the field as possible. Often, someone would introduce me to a congregation as "one of the big boys from Dallas."

   I take this in the jocular attitude in which it was offered. My fear is some took it seriously, including some of those from Dallas.

   The real Big Boy is the pastor of End of Caliche Road Baptist Church, trying to hold a group of 100 people together while he works three jobs, lights the stove on Sunday and is the last one out on Wednesday. This is not to diminish the influence of the large church guys; there are more large churches than ever.

   We are losing sight of informed cooperation. The miracle of 1925 was not the program that came out of that meeting. The program itself has been changed numerous times since its inception. The miracle was the union of persons, some of whom really, really did not care much for others in the room, around their similarities.

   To see what might have been written in stone scratched on the winds of time, shifting in form as new technologies made themselves available, is to realize the real genius of the founders. With what they wrote and what they did not, it is as though they were forming a living document, with bifocal power in looking at the needs; accepting the needs visibly as they looked at their feet but seeing them disappear as they lifted their eyes to the future, in informed cooperation.

2 thoughts on “The Bifocality of Interest and Sentiment”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.