Thursday, March 8, 2007

Way Over the Top

Allow me a brief narrative. I promise it is going somewhere. My father had a dear friend who was a native of Mississippi. This man's father had served for many years as a county sheriff in Mississippi. Dad went home with his friend to go hunting with the former sheriff. After a long, successful day of hunting, the threesome started their trek out of the woods. They reached the truck and were placing their game and weapons into the vehicle when the host looked at my Dad and said, as casually as if he were pointing out a favorite childhood playground, "Jimmy, that tree over there is where I hanged my first N-----." Shocked and scandalized, my Dad did not know how to reply, so he didn't. And the three got into the truck and drove home. Lynchings were a very real phenomenon. People died. From his use of the word "first," I infer that this particular man perpetrated several. Teeming scores of black people were trapped in a vigilante society with no realistic hope of escape. Whatever your opinion of speaking in tongues, whatever your opinion of Paige Patterson, whatever your opinion of SWBTS, whatever your opinion of Dwight McKissic, whatever your opinion of me—surely we can all agree that the events transpiring within the trustee board of SWBTS are in absolutely no way whatsoever akin to the actions of that Mississippi Sheriff of yesteryear. To suggest any equivalence between them is, in my opinion, utterly reprehensible. Earlier this week I spoke with a denominational journalist and proffered my opinion that the SWBTS board of trustees was overreacting against Dwight McKissic. After all, at two venues with SBTC since his chapel address (the annual meeting and the evangelism conference), Bro. McKissic made not the slightest effort to use these occasions to fan the flames of controversy. I (yes, even I, known partisan that I am) felt compassion for Dwight McKissic and was saddened to see the possibility that he might be removed from service as a trustee. In a single sentence from him, that compassion evaporated. His comment that the trustees are essentially lynching an independent-thinking black man is plainly sinful. It is a racist statement (would he have said the same about a group of black men with whom he disagreed?). Bro. McKissic, please retract this prejudicial and racist statement. We all say things in the heat of controversy that we come to regret later. Cling tenaciously to your other opinions if you wish, but retract this statement. I will be more than happy to forget that you ever said it, if only you will take it back.

3 comments:

Larry Reagan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bart Barber said...

Larry didn't do anything wrong. When I accidentally deleted my blog, I lost all of the prior comments. Because of the specific nature of this entry, I want the comment stream right at the top to reflect what happened in the original comment stream.

Pastor McKissic apologized for the comment in question. I retracted my critique. There was reconciliation on all sides. Later in the week we shared lunch.

Bart Barber said...

The "Larry" in the previous post was the guy whose comment I canned.