The convention was most interesting, for me. It began Sunday morning, when I visited at Calvary Baptist Church at McLeansville, about 10 minutes east of here. I'd read that Wade Burleson was preaching there on his blog, and Peg and I went. We had a terrific worship service (LordSong .. a trio .. sang and it was wonderful) and had a lot of fun meeting the Burlesons. Wade's wife Rachelle is beautiful and an intense lady. Wade, himself, is soft-spoken except when he's preaching, and is an admirable and principled man.
The Religion reporter for the Greensboro News & Journal was there that morning, as Wade has gotten a lot of attention for his blogging. She talked to him afterwards and when she asked him about bloggers and those who read and commented on them, Wade told her I was a regular commentator. So she came and interviewed me.
We talked about a number of things, most particularly about the IMB BoT rulings against tongues and the controversy abvout Calvinism. I told her that folks who held calvinistic views, and folks who had a prayer language were a lot like beer drinking among baptists .... they've both been going on for years, but nobody wants to talk about them.
In talking about blogging in general, I said: if the SBC had started having "town hall meetings" everywhere there were baptists, and had SBC personnel there to discuss SBC concerns and actions, and get opinions from the laity, they'd have been hailed as forward-thinking and progressive. I said that's all that the blogs really are, and why didn't the SBC do that, themselves, years before?
Lo and behold, when I read the paper Monday morning, there was an article about Wade, and the reporter quoted my comment about blogs. We met the Shaws & the Moores for lunch, and Brother Mike good-naturedly razzed me about showing up for my first-ever convention and getting quoted already in the press (Sunday & Monday was the Pastor's Conference ... the Convention itself was Tuesday & Wednesday).
We haven't seen the Shaws since, but I can't wait to ... I was quoted Tuesday, too, for my remark about tongues & Calvinism. Oh, boy. I understand that generated, shall we say, a stir at FBC Pelham, from folks who wondered why this "messenger' .. which I wasn't as the convention didn't even start for 2 more days .. was saying unconventional things. Such is life.
The convention was conventional in most respects, except for the biggest news. The candidate of the"establishment" was viewed as being Dr. Ronnie Floyd of FBC Springdale, AR. He was somewhat of a lightning rod, as his church gives something under 1/2 of one percent of undesignated offerings to the Cooperative Program. (FBC Pelham gives 10%). That raised a great controversy on the blogs.
The second candidate, the "new young leaders' candidate" was Dr. Frank Page, and the third one announced was Dr. Jerry Sutton. Some viewed him as a "ploy" by the "establishment" to draw votes from Dr. Page.
Sutton was interviewed very shortly after announcing, and he stated, with reference to Dr. Page's conservatism, that there was a 'suspicion and a concern there". That, properly, drew a lot of fire.
The biggest news of the convention was that Dr. Frank Page won the 3-way election outright on the first ballot! For observant folks, that's huge. The information about Dr. Floyd's church, and Dr. Sutton's remarks, was principally disseminated via the blogs! In my mind, that's a stinging rebuke for the "establishment"
That was the biggest news.
I did have occasion to speak to 2 different motions, in the general sessions. If you've never raised an objection to what would be viewed as "establishment motions", on a live microphone in front of 10,000 or so people, with 3 giant TV screens in your field of vision with your face on them ... well, you really, really have something to look forward to. I'll share the substance of what I said in a later post.
I had some opportunities to minister, too, and I'll also share them later.