Quit Waiting

May 24, 2007

My latest column came out today in the May issue of the BGCM E-Message, the free monthly email newsletter of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. It is entitled "Quit Waiting." In it I talk about why I am excited about the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, to be held January 30-February 1, 2008 in Atlanta (and I also critique John Mayer's hit song "Waiting on the World to Change"). Here are a couple of excerpts:

Our world today is divided and polarized. People are hurting. People are in need of the love of Jesus. People are in need of compassion and assistance. Rather than waiting on the world to change, it is time for Baptists to step up and become the change we wish to see in the world.

... It is time for Baptists to quit waiting for the world to change. It is time for us to come together and stand up. We need to focus on our shared calling and put aside our differences. We need to put forth a more positive image of Baptists so that we can become more effective in reaching people. And we need to unite to share the love of Jesus because our world desperately needs it.
By the way, I'm the one in the blue shirt in the photo taken at the Carter Center.

There have been a lot of comments about the Celebration over the past week (and I've enjoyed discussing it with some Baptists with different perspectives). Here is a sample of what others are saying about the Celebration or related issues:

* Roy Medley, Executive Director of the American Baptist Churches - USA has a good column entitled "Why I am Excited About the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant." He makes some great points as to why the Celebration is needed.

*Marty Duren has an excellent blog post entitled "A Tale of Two Kingdoms." Wade Burleson has a good blog post, which is entitled "Do You Know What In the Sam Hill a Baptist Is?" And Art Rogers makes some great points in his blog post entitled "Carter Quandary."

*There have been a lot of misstatements about the Celebration. Some have really missed the boat by calling it a "Liberal Baptist Event." However, there are not only conservative speakers but also conservative Baptist groups involved. I hope the critics will at least pray for the gathering and even consider attending it.

*The New York Times reports that former presidents have often attacked current ones, which shows that Huckabee's claim about Carter breaking the "unwritten rule" is inaccurate. As historian Tim Naftali, the director-designate of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, stated, "I love how because of our short memories, we come up with these eternal rules that don't really apply." Attacks have included Ford on W. Bush, Eisenhower on Kennedy, the H.W. Bush on Clinton, Nixon on H.W. Bush, T. Roosevelt on Taft and Wilson.

*Jay Leno joked last night about Carter's comments. He poked fun at Carter by saying that Bush might be the worst "for those who don't remember 20 percent mortgage rates." Then, after mentioning Carter's work with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for the poor, Leno remarked, "Today President Bush lashed back at Jimmy Carter. He said, 'hey if it wasn't for me there wouldn't be that many poor people for you to build houses for.'"

I am sure there will be much more in the coming months.