Saturday, January 11, 2014

If you were a victim or have any information...

... please contact the authorities! Do not contact a pastor, a church, or anyone but the police in the applicable jurisdiction. If you need help finding the appropriate agency to notify, please contact a member of S.N.A.P. and they will help you.

Attention Bellevue members. You need to read this as it mentions one of your former fair-haired boys:

Southern Baptists, the ERLC and the "devil-haunted universe"

Here Amy Smith does a great job of illustrating the cognitive dissonance between the problem of clergy sex abuse in the SBC and the continuing policy of the SBC leadership ignoring it or at best giving passing lip-service to it while crowing about "apply(ing) the gospel of the kingdom to the major cultural issues of our day."

This is the stated purpose of the SBC's recently-formed "ERLC Leadership Network" in the words of Russell Moore. I still laugh every time I read this.

The ERLC Leadership Network is about ministering in the midst of a devil-haunted universe," ERLC President Russell D. Moore said. "As we come alongside one another, we'll talk about crucial ethical issues confronting churches and how we can engage the culture with a Gospel-focus. We'll think through issues that aren't yet confronting churches, but will, and how we can best go through the difficulties of life and local church ministry with a joyful warrior kingdom expectancy-marching toward Zion on the triumphant side of history.

Who talks like that?! Such flowery language to describe a do-nothing bunch of self-righteous, back-slapping good old boys! (No women are allowed on the council.)

As Amy Smith observed...

How about start with the crucial issues already confronting churches? What about the "devil-haunted universe" of child sex crimes committed by their own Baptist ministers? Or are we really looking at a case of the ERLC picking and choosing "crucial ethical issues" based on selective moral outrage? I can't think of any issue more pressing and damaging to churches and kids within churches today than the ravaging of souls by child sex offenders.

Why, yes. Yes, they are picking and choosing. Because we all know that the "crucial ethical issues" of gays and women in leadership positions and wives who refuse to "respect" and "submit to their husbands in all things" are at the root of all of the church's problems.

I'm reminded of quotes from Bill Gothard (whose seminars Bellevue bused members to during the '80s and whose books and "principles" Adrian Rogers endorsed), or more recently, members of The Fellowship, aka "The Family," as documented in Jeff Sharlet's The Family and C Street. While I don't always agree with Mr. Sharlet's political views, he exposes (with copious footnotes and personal accounts from living among them) the influence "fundamentalists" have had on the world. The "conservative resurgence" is but a microcosm of this much larger organization whose "face" is the National Prayer Breakfast, the purpose of which is not to focus on God and prayer (surprise!) but "to be a forum for the political, social, and business elite to assemble and build relationships."

"The ERLC helps me think biblically and in Gospel-responsible ways about the issues confronting our people every single day," said [J.D.] Greear. "To not speak and think about these issues would be doing our people a great disservice. Russell Moore has assembled an excellent team to both represent us well, and help us lead our people well. The ERLC is a gift to our church and to the larger body of Christ."

Well, J.D., you and your buddies are doing your people a great disservice! Y'all can form all the good-old-boy committees you want, but until you put actions behind your flowery language, you're only making noise while victims continue to suffer in silence. It's time to man up, boys!


Jonathan S. Jenkins said...

The article is wrong in that the council is only for men. If you follow the link in the article, it tells you women are available for membership.

While i would hope that there will be a robust discussion within the Sbc about the abuse that is all too prevalent. I think it is premature to say that there wont be any. Just my thoughts.

New BBC Open Forum said...

The article is not wrong. I wrote, "No women are allowed on the council." That is a true statement, and I stand behind it.

There are the "network" and the "council." Women can join the network. Pretty much anybody can join the network, even people who aren't Southern Baptist.

Membership on the "council," which is the ruling body of the network, is by invitation only and only men are invited.

From the ERLC FAQs...

The network:

Who can join the ERLC Leadership Network?

The ERLC Leadership Network is open to men and women — leaders, pastors, and lay people — who resonate with the vision of the ERLC and desire intentional equipping. The Network is not limited to only Southern Baptists. Instead, the ERLC welcomes all like minded Christians to join the network. Network members do not represent the ERLC in any official capacity. The ERLC reserves the right to add or remove network members at its discretion.

The council:

What’s the difference between the Leadership Network and the Leadership Council?

The Leadership Network is the broad group that the Leadership Council serves. The ERLC Leadership Network Council is a collection of SBC pastors and leaders who serve as an advisory council for the broader Network and receive intentional investment from the ERLC team. While any like minded Christian can choose to be a part of the Network, the Council is an annual invitation-only opportunity for SBC pastors and leaders. The reason there are no women on the Leadership Council is because a requirement for membership is that members have previously served or are currently serving in pastoral ministry.

Can I join the Network Leadership Council?

No, the ERLC Leadership Network Leadership Council is invitation only. Additional council members will be invited for future annual terms on the Leadership Council. But you are invited to join the broader ERLC Leadership Network.

New BBC Open Forum said...

While i would hope that there will be a robust discussion within the Sbc about the abuse that is all too prevalent. I think it is premature to say that there wont be any.

I think you just illustrated my point. The time and opportunity for "robust discussion" is long past. All the discussion and flowery language in the world doesn't help protect children when predators continue to be protected by the men who run the churches and their members kept in the dark. When I hear a church staff member quoted as saying "everyone knew he was a pedophile but no one wanted to report him," my blood runs cold, and we have a problem, a very... huge... problem! It's time to stop talking (not that we ever seriously started) and start kicking some Southern Baptist staff rears! It's time for some serious accountability.

This stuff is not rocket science, folks. It may be "uncharted waters" for someone in that he or she may have never dealt with such a situation before, but even most kids know what you do when confronted with such a situation. You pick up the phone and call the police. Period. You don't conduct your own investigation, you don't deal with it as a "church discipline" matter, and you certainly don't sweep it under the rug and allow a predator to quietly leave and move on to another church to prey on more victims. A potential crime has been brought to your attention. You call the police. I cannot believe how seemingly intelligent, educated men can be so ignorant when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse.

The SBC voted in 2007 to form a committee (what SBCers seem to do best) to consider implementing a database of Southern Baptist ministers who have "been credibly accused of, confessed to, or legally convicted of sexual harassment or abuse" and then in 2008 let it die on the vine without ever having even formed the committee they voted the previous year to form.

People like Christa Brown and Wade Burleson in the years since have urged Southern Baptists to revisit the issue of clergy sex abuse only to be met with the sound of crickets.

While more individual churches are taking steps to protect children, we continue to see far too many pastors and leaders protect the criminals by letting them quietly resign, and then other churches hire them without being warned by the churches they just left. I'm not convinced that in some cases there weren't those on staff at the receiving churches who knew what they were getting and agreed to keep quiet. One church's pastor was quoted as saying they knew a predator they hired had "issues" but wanted to give him a second chance. Good grief! A second chance to do what?

I'm not holding my breath for there to be any discussion whatsoever in the SBC about this problem because men like Jack Graham are too busy trying to sweep it under the rug to discuss it, much less actually do anything about it. They don't want to discuss it, and they don't want anyone else to discuss it. They want it to quietly go away.

Thank you for your thoughts. Those are just some of mine. :-)

New BBC Open Forum said...

The ERLC Leadership Network is open to men and women — leaders, pastors, and lay people — who resonate with the vision of the ERLC and desire intentional equipping.

Is it just me or do the words "vision" and "intentional(ity)" make your skin crawl?

If only they put half as much time into exposing and protecting defenseless children from the wolves in their ranks as they put into composing this nonsense....

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Southern Baptists, the ERLC and the "devil-haunted universe"

"Devil-Haunted Universe"?

Is that anything like "The Demon-Haunted World", Carl Sagan's book on present-day superstition?

Straight Path said...

New BBC Open Forum:

After reading your original post, it now appears that you advocate homosexuals/gays in church leadership positions? Is this accurate?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Then you need to reread my original post because at no time did I infer that nor do I believe that. The practice of homosexuality is a sin. Being a woman is not.

My comment had to do with (one of several examples) how the "leadership" of the SBC zeroes in on churches that openly welcome gay members, some even appointing them to leadership positions in their churches, while ignoring or covering up the much graver issue of sexual predators in their own ranks. They say every church is autonomous, and that's the reason they can't compile and maintain a database of convicted, credibly accused, and confessed abusers, but just let a church call or ordain a woman, and they're screaming to "excommunicate" that church from the SBC. You can't have it both ways. I do believe that women are wrongly excluded from leadership roles and I'm sick and tired of seeing "women in leadership roles" lumped in with gays and devil worshippers, but you know what? I'm past the point of really caring what the SBC does. The SBC is on a downward spiral, and I have all but abandoned the sinking ship.

I'm just an outside observer now, shaking my head and sometimes getting a good laugh at the absurdity of it all, and I will continue to comment from time to time on the ridiculousness that the SBC has become, but it doesn't really personally affect me anymore. Besides, FBC Jax Watchdogs and others do an excellent job of following the circus the SBC has become.

New BBC Open Forum said...

This is a good example of how women in the ministry have been treated by the leadership of the SBC.

Adrian Rogers (who started the whole mess): "Christian courtesy calls us to allow this little lady to speak."

Maybe it's just a southern thing, but men referring to women they don't know with names like "honey," "sweetie," "darlin'," or referring to her as "the little lady" is an insult. In many cases that's exactly how it's meant, too. Just reminding the "little lady" of her place in the food chain.

New BBC Open Forum said...

And let me just add that it would probably shock you just many "homosexuals/gays in church leadership positions" there are. In the very same churches that speak out the loudest against the practice.

Note the difference in the coverage of this recent story by the Baptist Press and the Associated Baptist Press:

Baptist Press >> Ala. pastor charged with murder

Baptist Press >> Minister's murder arrest was 'unexpected news'

Contrast those articles with these:

ABP >> Interim pastor supports arrested minister

ABP >> State says murder suspect planned to wed boyfriend

There hasn't been one peep in the BP about that last one.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Eddie Struble