Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jesus loves the little children

Sometimes it’s hard not to be cynical about the things Baptist leaders say. For me, this is one of those times, as I watch the stuff spewing forth from the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Louisville. If I didn’t poke fun with a bit of sarcasm, I’m afraid I might dissolve into a puddle of weeping.

They issued a “pro-adoption” resolution. That’s nice. I’m all for adoption. But it started looking a little weird when it started looking as though Baptist leaders might be promoting adoption, in part, simply because they want to raise their membership numbers. “More kids” means “more Baptists.”

Seminary president Danny Akin made this view clear when he urged families to “have a bunch of kids” as a way of reversing the denomination’s decline. He also suggested that it would be a way to keep the Muslims from taking over.

I kid you not.

But hey… I digress.

The SBC’s pro-adoption resolution said this: "We pray for an outpouring of God's Spirit on Southern Baptist congregations so that our churches will proclaim and picture, in word and in deed, that 'Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.'"

Isn’t that sweet? I’m already singing along in my head. “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.” That just about covers all the children, doesn’t it?

But I don’t think Baptist leaders really believe that. The average 5-year-old believes the words of that song more than the average Baptist leader does. For Baptist leaders, it’s “Jesus loves the little children” except the children who are chosen for abuse by Baptist clergy. And those children? Well… they just need to go away and shut up.

If Baptist leaders really believed that “Jesus loves the little children,” wouldn’t they take action to work toward protecting the kids in their own churches?

Isn’t that what this convention was supposed to be about this year? “Actions speak louder than words.” Remember? So why are they giving us feel-good songs instead of real action to protect kids?

The more I thought about it, the more I remembered a Southern Baptist resolution from about a decade ago. It was a resolution criticizing something an author said in an article published in a journal of the American Psychological Association. Even though the American Psychological Association had already issued a public statement clarifying its associational view against the article's authors and "opposing child sexual abuse," the Southern Baptist Convention decided to use the occasion to toot its own horn with a public resolution about “precious” children.

Here are some excerpts from that resolution, with what I imagine Baptist leaders might have really been thinking in brown italics. (Did I mention that I’m feeling a bit sarcastic today?)

"...children are precious gifts from God..."

UNLESS you were a child who was molested or raped by a Southern Baptist anointed one, and then you're automatically transformed into a pariah and banished forever. There's nothing "precious" about pariahs.

"The spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being of children is our sacred duty."

UNLESS you were a child who was targeted by one of our own Southern Baptist anointed ones, and since that means you were predestined to be less-than-human anyway, we can't possibly have any sacred duty toward you.

"No civilization can long survive without protecting and nurturing its children."

And THAT'S why we have to keep covering this stuff up. It's for our own survival. We have to make sure that people in the pews will keep putting money in the offering plates and won't realize that, in reality, our denomination is NOT protecting children in the churches.

"The sexual abuse of children is a particularly heinous assault on the dignity of children"

UNLESS you were a child who was molested or raped by a Southern Baptist anointed one, and since that automatically makes you less-than-human anyway, it can't possibly be so heinous, and besides, if you're less-than-human, you don't have any dignity anyway.

"We...commit ourselves afresh to protecting our children against sexual abuse...."

UNLESS they're children who were predestined to be targeted for molestation and rape by our own Southern Baptist anointed ones, because those children will automatically become pariahs anyway, and so they aren't worthy of our protection to start with.

"We encourage those who are victims of sexual abuse to seek appropriate spiritual counseling in order to find the support and strength they need...."

UNLESS you were sexually abused by a Southern Baptist anointed one, and then we just want you to shut up and go away... and we sure don't want you to get any counseling, because we don't want you to have enough strength to talk. Besides, the only creatures worthy of counseling are humans, and those who have been sexually abused by Southern Baptist anointed ones are automatically deemed less-than-human.

"...we commit ourselves to pray and work toward the creation of safe communities for all children."

EXCEPT that our first and primary priority is to create safe church communities for our Southern Baptist anointed ones so that they don't ever have to worry about even the possibility of a false accusation from one of those less-than-human creatures - the pariahs.

Think I’ve become too cynical? Well, it’s hard not to be cynical when you see the things Baptist leaders say and then start looking around for deeds that back up their words. The deeds don’t exist.

Where are the actions to show that Southern Baptist leaders care about protecting the kids in their own churches against predation by their own clergy?


Ramesh said...

SBC is sowing seeds of its own demise, by not following through with strong protections against sexual abuse towards children and women. Like RCC, they will realize when their own children turn against them. It is only a matter of time.

Likewise the policies of encouraging creating lot of children and encouraging women to be caregivers. There is nothing wrong with this if a person chooses of their own volition, rather than scriptural mandate. But I feel sorry for the women who think they are doing good, when their own conscience leads them differently. My gut feeling is women will also rebel against this.

I personally am not big on numbers. I am in more soulfulness and intimacy with God in a deeper way than in horizontal numbers. Though this is what the scripture teaches, that we are to preach the Gospel to everyone.

Many are called, few are chosen.

Also, this rejection of children who have been abused sexually when they speak out ... seems to reflect the trend within SBC of retaliating against church members who ask questions. To me all this is interrelated. This is all one tapestry. The threads weave all through.

Richard said...

Christa, you have no reason to apologize for your sarcasm. Sometimes “up-in-the-face tell-it-like-it-is” sarcasm is the only way people understand things. Don’t we have some good ole Baptist Preachers that do the same thing?

Cynical: “based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest (a cynical ploy to cheat customers) (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

The actions of the SBC ARE “motivated primarily by self-interest” and, in my opinion, deserves the cynicism.

God speed in your mission.

Christa Brown said...

Richard: Thank you so much for the dictionary definition. I think I needed that.

It helps me to realize that the fact that I'm feeling cynical isn't so much a negative thing about ME as it is a simple fact-based reflection of the reality that I've been shown.

Anonymous said...

I attended the SBC convention and I came away with one nagging thought of the real underlying theme: The Adulation of man.

That is basically what it was. Oh, sure they mentioned Jesus now and then but mostly it was all about how wonderful the next speaker was...a man of God...wins lots of souls, how many baptisms at their church, etc. Jesus hardly ever got any credit. The sermons were about missions but sounded strangely more like desperation to increase the numbers. Another sub theme was money, money, money. Giving to get it done! Numbers and money.

These are folks that see the bell curve downturn has started and were pulling out the stops.

Everyone was talking about this great sermons and that great sermon and comparing the up and coming GREAT young preachers. It could have just as easily been a Greek oration contest. And boy they worked to outdo each other.

One 28 year old new mega church pastor with 5 degrees is now all the rage. Can I at least see how he turns out when he grows up before I start following him? Perhaps some time in the hardness of life might change him from the coolest new preacher into something else? Who knows?

I felt the man centered approach to it all so keenly.

They would have done much better to just have a fall on your face repentence weekend. This whole area of sexual sin is a pock on all of us because it has been ignored and victims trampled.

We are so full of ourselves. We cannot win one single soul. We can only be obedient to the Word and God does the saving. So far, obedience to the Word is missing.

But really, the SBC is mostly about adoring and following man and paying them for the pleasure of doing so. The crowds were in rapture. It made me sick.

Ready for home church and a true priesthood of believer.

Anonymous said...

June 25, 2009 12:38 AM

Thank you for you post. I found it be right on the mark, insighful and it also ministered to me. The reason why is because I move from despair to disgust at the state of the church, especially the SBC and mega churches. Then I get outraged that it seem so few people "get it." I take comfort in like-minded people of discernment like you, knowing I am not crazy and nor am I alone.

The church, for the most is simply about entertainment. It is a business enterprise with maybe a "spiritual" veneer, at best. I am sickened by the pastor-worhip, man-elevation and slick "Hollywood" production value of most services, esp. at the so-called contemporary worship services.

I could go on but I won't. I just want to give you a shout-out for your post and even more importantly, I want to thank Christa for what she is doing. Don't ever give up. Godspeed to you.

Ramesh said...

Wade's Blog > Reflections on the 2009 SBC in Louisville, KY.

For reasons that are not of my making (at least in my opinion), I have been involved in the politics of the SBC for the past three years.

It is now time for me to step aside.

Anonymous said...

I saw a Youtube compilation of the pastor you are referring to. He did nothing for me. He's all the rage of course, becuz SBCers are all impressed by 5 degrees. They are impressed by worldly accomplishments. So what. That means NOTHING to the Kingdom. How many degress does Billy Graham have?

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with a pastor having degrees. It shows a lot of sacrifice and commitment and usually done to help him be a better preacher and pastor.

Over the years I have found those criticize education are the ones that don't have any.

Please find something else to criticize other than a man's education.

Michael said...

I am looking forward to listening to you in person in Washington later this summer. If you speak the way you write, it will be well worth the trip.
Keep the pressure on!

Christa Brown said...

Anon 10:30 said - "I take comfort in like-minded people... knowing I am not crazy and nor am I alone."

Glad to have you here on the blog, Anon. If we're crazy, we're crazy together. But of course, the ones I think are really crazy are all those Baptist leaders who convince themselves that the purity of their radicalized polity is more important than the protection of kids against clergy predators... and all those blind-eyed church leaders who decide to "extend grace" to staff members and keep quiet about child molestation... and all those church leaders who are so reckless that they'll take an admitted child molester's word that there was "no reoccurrence" and keep quiet (as if once is okay?)... and all those pew sitters who send a "it's no big deal" message by keeping a pastor in the pulpit who knowingly kept a child molester on ministerial staff.

It's a surreal reality out there in Baptist-land. If that's what constitutes sanity, I'll take crazy any day.

Christa Brown said...

Michael: I'll look forward to meeting you in D.C.

For those who don't know... I'm going to be one of the speakers at the SNAP conference in Washington D.C. August 8-9. I hope some of you will be able to make the trip. I cherish this blog-community, and I'd really like to be able to meet some of you. Plus... I think you would all find support and a heap of information there.

Anonymous said...

June 25, 2009 9:11 PM'

I wrote the post you criticized AND I DO HAVE A DEGREE - TWO OF THEM ACTUALLY.

MY POINT was that what I saw of the pastor was not 5 degrees worthy. I was not impressed like you were, who let the creditials do the talking.

Now go away.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with a pastor having degrees. It shows a lot of sacrifice and commitment and usually done to help him be a better preacher and pastor.

Over the years I have found those criticize education are the ones that don't have any.

Please find something else to criticize other than a man's education.

June 25, 2009 9:11 PM

Oh, I have enough paper gracing my walls to no longer be impressed with myself.

I find it interesting such things impress you so much. Gaines' PhD did not help him when it came to coddling a pedophile minister of prayer. You will find that most of the perverts and those who coddle them in our SBC have 'education'. Patterson has a PhD.

Sorry, I do not see the link between education and spiritual maturity.

What I found are those isolated in ivory towers teaching others their narrow views with no real world experience. Patterson has mentored a ton of them to be just like him.

I just made the point that the hot new pastor that everyone is so impressed with has 5 degrees which meant he has spent most of his young adult life in school and now, at 28, is pastor of a mega church. He did not start the mega. So, where is the real world life experience?

He is a good orator. And we have tons of those. Nice try with the insult about education.

Richard said...

I has been said that man is the only one of God's creatures that can be educated beyond his intelligence.

Anonymous said...

I has been said that man is the only one of God's creatures that can be educated beyond his intelligence.

June 26, 2009 10:15 AM

I was sitting at the convention back near the doors and a very educated man who, as dean, is being groomed to take over one of our seminaries was back there standing with his entourage of young men. They stood there for hours.

This man is very dynamic on stage and also considered one of the up and coming leaders of the SBC.

He is tiny in stature but I was stunned at his behavior. he acted like a 10 year old kid the entire time. He was texting, laughing, joking and literally jumping up and down like a 10 year old boy while Johnny Hunt was giving a heart felt sermon and practically crying.

So, he has a lot of 'knowledge' from education and is a dynamic speaker IF on stage or teaching but what else? His behavior off stage was so childish I could hardly believe it. And he was followed around by his many young admirers who think he is a great leader to emulate.

This same man is also calling for more Patriarchy in the SBC.

Education does not mean common sense or even civil sense. No, I am not that impressed with what is coming out of our seminaries.

Richard said...

Christa, I copied this from an anonymous poster to Tiffany Croft's blog. I checked it out and it's legit.

The vehicle is in place for his re-emergence when Darrell Gilyard gets out of prison. Makes me curious if it is accepting donations right now.

As Jimmy Swaggert so eloquently put it to his congregation after his second incident with a prostitute, "The Lord told me it is flat none of your business."

Go to to see this...

Imagine this...Darrell Gilyard had started another ministry

Detail by Officer/Registered Agent Name
Florida Non Profit Corporation

Filing Information
Document Number N08000002808
Date Filed 03/20/2008
State FL
Effective Date 03/17/2008

Principal Address
STE 4-143

Mailing Address
STE 4-143

Registered Agent Name & Address

Officer/Director Detail
Name & Address

Title PRES

Title VP

Title VP

Annual Reports
No Annual Reports Filed

Ramesh said...

Off Topic:

VTMBottomLine [Paul Burleson] > Following An Example.
Four years later we have received word that Wade is laying aside writing anything of a political nature. Don't hear that as laying aside anything controversial because his theology will be that thank you. But he will be refusing to write anything that addresses the political state or condition of the SBC for the next year. I have not spoken to him since his announcement and am writing my thoughts without him knowing anything about what those thoughts might be. But I do have some thoughts.

In my humble but accurate opinion, [:)] Wade has been operating under a real calling of God for these past four years. He has suffered rebuke, revilement, questioned motives, and has been called too many things/names to begin listing them here. But the truth is, he could care less because of a belief that he HAS had a calling of God for what he has done. It has always ONLY been a principled thing for him like him or not.

Phyllis Gregory said...

To the two Anon's who can't seem to agree with each other. I know one of you is Southern Baptist -- otherwise why would you be at the convention. For some reason I thought you both were SB.

Whatever, I love the fact that you read and respond to Christa's blog. You are the pew sitters that are often mentioned on this blog. You are the ones who have chosen to remain in the church no matter how flawed you know it to be. You are the ones who can make the changes in the local church because you are probably leaders in your individual churches -- maybe you are the pastor, I don't know.

On this blog and website, you can read the stories of the people who have been damaged or destroyed by some of the very people you worship with every Sunday. You must have a level of concern or you would not be reading this.

My plea is that you try to change things in your own churches. I don't even know what that would involve -- I couldn't do it which is why I left the church. But I think there are those people who can make a difference within the church. If you are there to stay, please give it a shot.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

The only degree that would impress me right now is for the perps to be cionvicted of first degree assault and rape!

Richard said...

Religious leaders critical of Vines

Muslims and Christians alike said yesterday they were hurt and saddened that the pastor of Jacksonville's largest church publicly attacked Islam and called the prophet Muhammad a "demon-possessed pedophile."

"The Rev. Jerry Vines, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, caused a national outcry with a speech he made Monday night at a Southern Baptist pastors' conference in St. Louis."

Link to article dated June 13, 2002:

So he can bash pedophiles in the Muslim religion but hide the fact that they exist in the SBC? Amazing.

Christa Brown said...

Yes. Amazing.

Many, many other religious leaders from all sorts of other faith groups took a public stand against the hateful, inflammatory nature of Vines' words... but Baptist leaders just don't seem to learn, do they? Too many have become too infected from too many years with the virus of unchecked power.

Thanks for the link to the Florida Times-Union article, Richard.