#SBC19: home runs and whiffs

Probably my most enjoyable convention in quite some time, partly because I stayed in the HQ hotel with the SBC heavy hitters. I spent my own money doing so. They surely did not. Good to see Kevin Ezell in the lobby very early in the morning, 5:30-6:00, working for us.

The Westin had some very helpful people. They worked out a problem for me: Home run

Hey, Westin, your restaurant and coffee shop opens at 6:30 which is 7:30 real (Eastern) time: Whiff.

Yeah, that’s Johnny Hunt ahead of me walking at about the same pace. Well, we are about the same age. SBCV colleague Todd walked with me one morning, brisk three miles. He hikes the Grand Canyon. I hike downtown Birmingham, such is life, but I enjoyed the company.

All the cranes and construction equipment fascinate me as much as they did when I was a kid: Home run.

This convention had a different look and feel to it. It was less pretentious, more diverse; had a more sensible schedule, panels that actually addressed things that were relevant and current: home run.

J. D. Greear spoke everywhere and, seemingly, did so effortlessly. Hit the right notes: Home run. Take a day off, JD. I wasn’t present for the last session.

Here’s Jason Allen in the elevator with me. Tall, suave, GQ ready. I think Kevin Ezell needs to get him for next year’s Send luncheon and maybe mess his hair up or something, if he can reach that high. No question about the enhanced recovery of MBTS under his leadership. It looked for a while that we should downsize to five if they couldn’t get their act together.

Explain to me how you can get thousands to a Monday night panel session, a late Monday night session, for a  subject like sex abuse in the SBC. Yet, that’s what happened. Give the ERLC credit and Phillip Bethancourt credit for leading the panel. Yes, I’m aware that panels don’t solve problems but no one would have predicted that SBC convention attendees would set aside time for this sort of thing: Home run.

Rachel Denhollander called out one SBC church and pastor for their poor handling of a sex abuse case and chastised the SBC Executive Committee for quickly “clearing” most of the SBC churches called out by JD Greear in February: home run. If abuse victims and advocates can speak forcefully and specifically, then SBC leaders can as well. We’ve got these unwritten rules that leaders should never criticize each other or churches. Let’s toss that rule aside.

OK, brethren and sistren, we have high level committees and boards. Leaders want to communicate that the composition of these is more than old white male insiders and denominational good old boys. No one would say, “We are really pleased to have on our committee, Joe Smith,  an articulate African-American.” Can it be understood that saying, “We also had a really sweet lady, Jane Smith, on our committee”  is just as bad? Why emphasize what could be said about a baby or child when referring to a woman? Why not make the statement that would communicate the competence and contribution of the woman rather than to essentially infantilize her? Can leaders give these things more thought, please? This is the 21st century, after all. Whiff.

Explain to me how you get 3,500 people to come on Monday, before the convention starts, to a lunch? Kevin Ezell has more personality in his little finger than all the other entity heads combined. Thanks for the chance to have some fun and remind the suits, some Armani I hear, that we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought. I judge the four newest entity heads a whiff as a glam rock band. Greenway, Chitwood, Floyd, and Dew sounds more like a stuffy law firm. Kevin Ezell and the Send luncheon: grand slam home run.

Yeah, brothers, I saw those salmon colored and mint green colored pants. Might be a home run for you but a whiff for me. My sartorial opinions may not be challenged.

Adam Greenway has a great speaking voice, Rodgersesque: Home run. Hair would be nice but stuff happens with age I suppose.

The BJCC is Byzantine. Some facilities had 1960s style faucets. If Alabama can pay Nick Saban about $8m per year, do some upgrading. Whiff.

BJCC personnel: Home run.

I attended my first Executive Committee meeting as an incognito observer. Distinguished looking bunch. Sedate, respectful discussions of relevant business. Wait, there’s an Executive Committee member sucking on a Blow Pop. How about setting a standard for decorum in the SBC curia? Thanks. Whiff on that. Overall, the EC staff was impressive and the meeting well run well and open to the hoi polloi: home run for those.

Here’s the drill: You have a motion. You present the motion. You don’t prattle on about the motion. Some messengers with motions: whiff.

The most important motion was that of Morris Chapman and concerned reporting by SBC entities to the Executive Committee. The EC should use this motion to improve  and strengthen these requirements. Entities should be legally required to provide sufficient data to the EC. This information should include, I say, the salaries of executive level leadership for all of our entities, but good luck on getting that. Home run, Morris. Let’s see what Ronnie Floyd does with this.

Babies in infant carriers at the convention: always a home run, but better you young parents than me.

Saw a one or two year old girl who plopped down on the skywalk and issued a world class pout: home run. I’ve seen that before, very cute.

Hey, mom and dad of the precocous, articulate, red headed kid that got platform time, be sure you understand this is humor: The kid will never obey you again. He’s a celebrity now. Parents are toast.

I’m sick of hearing about complementarianism in general and especially when accompanied by a sack full of modifying adjectives: Whiff.

Rachel Denhollander, Beth Moore, Susan Codone: home runs.

So, an SBC youth minister can sexually abuse a teenager who confesses the abuse to her pastor who fires the youth minister and then continues the sexual abuse of the teen where the youth guy left off. And the pastor can continue on in ministry? That was Susan Codone’s story and is the essence of the problem of sex abuse in the SBC. Disgusting, disheartening, and deplorable.

You didn’t notice but the average church Cooperative Program percentage dropped slightly: whiff. Maybe Ronnie Floyd can inspire enough pastors and churches to stop this.


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