A Tough Decision Just Got Easy
I originally got involved in SBC affairs, beyond the local church, via the blogs in 2005. As someone upon whom God visited the dreaded scourge .. at least among Baptists & Presbyterians ... of unknown tongues. That came about as a result of reading The Alabama Baptist, and the "Blogging Trustee" ... Wade Burleson. He's pastor of Emmannuel Baptist Church in Enid, OK, and was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Mission Board.
The article was written as a result of Wade's openly disagreeing with the IMB decision to disqualify from eligibility to serve as missionaries, anyone who spoke in what the Bible describes as unknown tongues. Also those who were baptized in churches ... I'm not sure the IMB thought of them in that terminology ... which didn't hold certain theological views.
One of the things that convinced me I had something to say was a response to a letter I immediately wrote to the Editor of The Alabama Baptist in response to their article. I won't delve into what I said, but a local pastor here in our county looked me up in the phone book and called me. He said his wife had spontaneously spoken in an unknown tongue while giving birth to a child. She'd felt marginalized by the IMB action, and her husband said she was very much reassured by my letter. That she wasn't alone in her experiences.
Knowing this stuff was going to come up at the Convention in Greensboro, in 2006, I asked around if guys like me ought to go. Everyone encouraged me to do just that. They said we need more ordinary laymen to attend; that it wasn't some sort of elite gathering of Southern Baptist Pros. So we went.
I got involved in lots of stuff since then. Spoke to several different issues. Who knows ... maybe even made some sort of difference, somewhere. And I enjoyed being there, immensely.
A little background: I traveled extensively from 1975 to 1984. Was in 100 airports during that time, on business travel. And I enjoyed it at that time.
Fast forward 30 years. My years of business travel, plus the habit of going away for a week with Peggy every year to celebrate our anniversary and her birthday ... exactly one week apart ... and my travel card has been pretty well been punched.
I now view travel as a treatment, rather than a treat.
Plus, a fair case of arthritis, coupled with 2 knee replacements, has made trudging through airports even less attractive than it ever was. Which wasn't much. So I committed to Peg ... who really doesn't care for all the folderol. of the SBC Convention anyway ... that we were not going to go to Columbus.
That was a couple weeks ago, or thereabouts.
THEN: Lo and behold, the IMB reversed their decision of 2005, barring Missionary candidates with certain experiences from participating in the Wonderful World of World Missions. SBC-style, anyway. In one fell swoop, the reason I got involved in SBC Conventions went away.
After I decided not to go.
You can also factor in that 10 years have passed, energy has diminished, and the aforementioned knee replacements and arthritis have come on the scene. I've concluded, in the face of all that, I need to focus my energies right here where God put me.
Thanks, God. For the change in the rules, and also taking away the original reason I started going. Make no mistake about it: I enjoy, immensely, being at the SBC Convention. But I abhor the process of going to those meetings.
So I'm not.