Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seems Like We've Been Here Before?

Thanks to PGBB commenter Scott Shaffer for first tipping me off, and for Dr. Albert Mohler for speaking so plainly against President Obama's government censorship of public prayers.

Apparently, President Obama has staffers engaged in the task of reviewing, critiquing, and revising(?) public prayers offered at official presidential events.

It all seems very inefficient to me. I mean, how many hours are these staffers having to put into prayer scrutiny at taxpayer expense? Wouldn't it work much better for the Obama White House just to compile a book of approved prayers? Then they could ask Congress to approve it as the national prayer-book. Prayers offered from the text with the President's imprimatur would be legal to offer in public.

It's so simple; it's amazing that nobody's thought of it before.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Time for a New "Bloudy Tenent"?

Roger Williams's most famous work is entitled (in part, and you can thank me for sparing you the whole thing) The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience.

A story in today's New York Times (see here) reports that President Barack Obama intends to reverse regulations protecting pro-life doctors and hospitals from persecution for the cause of their consciences. Let us pray that something might happen to his conscience to remind him how atrocious it is to persecute someone for mere adherence to the sixth commandment.

Really, this case is not even about whether one is pro-life or pro-abortion. I support the participation of our nation in just wars, but I also support the liberty not to take up arms that we give those with conscientious objections to war. Surely our pro-abortion President and the other pro-abortion elements in our society can reach down deep into themselves and find some way to extend this same sort of protection to medical professionals?

Maybe we need some modern-day Roger Williamses to make that argument convincingly and take it to the people?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama, God, and the State of the Union

Some will cheer; some will weep; some will wonder why anyone keeps up.

With last night's speech it has become clear that the day of frequent reference to God in presidential speeches is over. Apart from the obligatory benediction at the end, there was no mention of the Lord in the (non-)State of the Union address.

This represents not only a departure from the era of President Bush, but also a departure from the pro-religious tone that we saw in candidate-Obama as early as his 2004 DNC speech in Boston.

Some Honest Realism I Appreciate

A recent post by Timmy Brister (see here) has been critiqued (see here and here) as attempting to place a non-existent wedge between so-called "Baptist Identity" and "Great Commission Resurgence" ideas in the SBC. I do not regularly follow Mr. Brister's blog, so I only discovered his post after seeing the controversy. Although I agree that Brister is attempting to separate that which belongs together, I actually want to commend something that I read in his post.

Brister said: "…the heroes of my generation are, in large part, found outside the SBC rather than those inside the SBC."

I believe that Brister is absolutely correct with regard to the circles in which he travels. From the context, I conclude that both Brister and I are in agreement that this situation spells trouble for the future relationship between those he has in mind and the SBC. The part where we differ, I imagine, is that Brister takes this situation as indicative of problems with the SBC, while I take it as indicative of problems with him and his cohort at least as much as it highlights problems in our convention.

What I find most refreshing, encouraging, and honest about Brister's sentiment is the contrast between his statement and the autohagiography that Dr. Steve McKinion recently posted (see here) extolling the walking-on-water virtues of the "third generation" of descendants of the Conservative Resurgence. See the contrast in these two statements:

McKinion: [The third generation, in apparent contrast to all their predecessors in the SBC,] have taken seriously the admonition not to look to men but to look to Jesus.

And again, Brister's statement

…the heroes of my generation are, in large part, found outside the SBC rather than those inside the SBC

Brister is right and McKinion is wrong.

To be fair, McKinion did later list a group of men to whom these third-generation people are listening, but apparently he sees their relationship with Piper as far different from their "grandparents'" relationship with Rogers or Vines or Criswell. The essay genuinely reads as though McKinion has discovered an entire generation of pastors who are entirely free from avarice, ambition, eisegesis, and an undue affection for hairspray. In them the hopes and dreams of the radical reformation are finally realized—a pure, direct connection with the teachings of Jesus.

I think that I can see the color of McKinion's glasses from all the way over here in Texas. His essay would have been much stronger had he been able to see weaknesses in this generation about which he is so enthusiastic. When we can't see our own weaknesses, we have no hope of growing.

I teach people from the same generation as McKinion. They're good people. They have strengths (passion, idealism, love for the Lord). They have faults (I've encountered some who aren't bothered by a little Modalism here and there, who think that penal-substitution makes too much of a meanie out of God, etc.). Do these strengths and weaknesses really belong to generations, per se? Most of the strengths of the new generation, if they aren't apparent to Dr. McKinion in his observation of our 40-to-80-year-old pastors today, might possibly have been more evident in those same pastors back when they were in seminary, don't you think? Perhaps some of the exciting things that Dr. McKinion and I see in seminary students today are not so much a facet of which generation they are in, but are part-and-parcel of being a seminary student just starting out in ministry? Dr. McKinion and I have not been teaching long enough to have seen generation-after-generation come through the classroom, so we have the disadvantage of not having lived long enough to make sound comparisons from our own experiences.

Brister's observation, on the other hand, is undeniably accurate. Prone just as much to hero-worship as their predecessors, a generation of Southern Baptists is upcoming whose heroes are not Southern Baptists—perhaps not Baptists of any stripe. As a historian (a.k.a. knower of past Baptist secrets), I know that the Baptist "heroes" of a century ago were no better qualified for heroism than are our leaders today. They were real men and women with real faults. Furthermore, because I really do believe in the depraving effects of the Fall, I presume that the men listed by McKinion and intimated by Brister are also walking about on feet of clay too often unseen by their throngs of admirers. In other words, there is nothing to prevent this generation from having Southern Baptist heroes, but they have chosen to admire people outside our convention. This is our zeitgeist.

Mark my words: This is a big deal. The implications of these facts for the future of our convention are as yet unseen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Was Jesus a Racist? Is Miguel De La Torre a Christian?

(HT: Dr. Thomas White for bringing this article to the blogging world's attention.)

File this one away with…OK, I admit that I don't even have a category in which to file this one. Under 'R' for Rank Heresy? Or, unfortunately, under 'A' for Associated Baptist Press? It's far less my business than it would be if this were in Baptist Press (and I'm thankful to say that I can't even imagine that happening), but ABP really needs to take down this tripe. I think we all know that there are false teachers and purveyors of heresy out there, but does ABP really want to be in the business of providing them with a platform? Until we left BGCT, our church was helping to fund things like this. It sure helps my conscience to know that now we are not at all responsible for the dissemination of the views of Miguel De La Torre and those like him.

You can read for yourself: Miguel De La Torre's latest opinion piece on ABP is entitled "Was Jesus a Racist?" His answer to the title question becomes pretty clear in the piece.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Do I Have to Claim This on My Tax Return?

My blog is worth $51,373.14.
How much is your blog worth?

I just thought that all you bloggers out there would enjoy this. Somebody has concocted some cockamamie system for calculating a monetary value for your blog.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why I'm Buying

I haven't changed my retirement portfolio at all, even though my Internal Rate of Return for 2008 was around negative-38% overall. Here are my reasons:

  1. I felt good about my asset allocation before all of this happened, and I have no reason to believe that any other allocation is going to perform any better in the future.

  2. I have a portfolio that has tracked well with the overall market.

  3. I really don't want to retire for another thirty years, if then.

  4. If the stock market goes back up in thirty years, then I'm buying on the cheap, and will be doing GREAT for having stayed the course now.

  5. If the S&P does not go up for thirty straight years, my retirement portfolio will be among the least of my worries. In such a circumstance, we'll be facing worldwide chaos. I'll be poor, but so will you and everybody else.

Monday, February 16, 2009

An Exemplary Pastor

When I was an impressionable tween, my home church (First Baptist Church, Lake City, Arkansas) lost one beloved pastor and gained a new one. As many pastoral transitions are, the period was somewhat tumultuous. The pastor whom we called became a cherished mentor, and his sons became my dear and lifelong friends. He served at FBC Lake City throughout my Junior High and High School years, and well into my further education.

He had taken a cut in pay to come to FBC Lake City, but came anyway because he believed that God had called him there. He worked hard. During his ministry at the church, a heavy snowfall caused structural damage leading to the condemnation of the sanctuary. This man hammered more nails, cut more boards, and hung more sheet rock on the new facility than did anyone in the congregation. He visited the sick. He witnessed to the lost. He kindled a warm fellowship at the church. He worked hard at preaching and teaching.

After his tenure at Lake City came to an end, he moved back to Mississippi, where he continues to this day (far past retirement age) to serve as a pastor of tiny country churches. If he has uttered a curse word in the past thirty years, I didn't hear it (even if I knew some people in the church worthy of one or two such syllables!). He never embarrassed the church. He never caused anyone to doubt his morality. If people ever criticized him, they did so to suggest that he was too good, too cautious not to offend or to cause anyone to cast aspersions on the Lord and His church. He has spent a lifetime living cautiously and wisely.

But, God never called him to a large church.

Pastor Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has been the focus of Southern Baptist headlines this week. If Pastor Driscoll has made mistakes, we ought to be gracious about them. I have faults. You have faults. We all make mistakes. If unwholesome words come out of his mouth, we ought to be gracious about that. If his church's web site will lead you to pornography in three or four clicks, then we ought to realize that they may not realize that—that they don't create the content of the sites to which they link. Clearly this is a man who wants to proclaim the gospel to people, and like all of us, he meets that task with personal foibles intact and in the way.

But here's the thing: A great many Southern Baptists and some of our institutions have come to the conclusion that people like Pastor Driscoll are exemplary pastors, while my former home pastor is not. This conclusion is put on display by the fact that Driscoll is invited to speak at seminary conferences, is featured in media coverage, is extolled by SBC trendsetters, etc., ad nauseum. My former home pastor and the thousands like him never were and never will be.

How big your church is and how "cool" you are—that's what some segments of our convention value. Respectfully, I wish to submit that these are the wrong values. And thus, the question before us is not whether Pastor Driscoll ought to be tarred and feathered. He shouldn't be. But neither should we be putting him up before ministers-in-training as an exemplary pastor. The line of people more qualified than he for that honor is far too long, and far too many of them have gone completely unrecognized.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Sincere Question from a Thoroughgoing Creationist

Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin. Darwin's theory of naturalistic evolution by natural selection as the explanation of the origin of species has been hailed by many as foundational to modern science. The inerrancy of the Darwinian scriptures (that there are no weaknesses in the theory of evolution) is now the official dogma of even the state of Texas. Thinking this way, we are often told, is a bedrock of all that science has accomplished over the past sesquicentennial (that amount of time, and a little more, has passed since Darwin published Origin of Species).

I'm willing to consider that. Even if I believe that naturalistic evolution does not accurately describe the origin of the world or of human beings, in the strange world of human thinking sometimes a wrong presumption can actually lead us to find the right answer for the wrong reasons. So, I'm open to the concept that Darwinian evolution is somehow a bedrock concept for all of our progress.

Still, trying to be good and scientific about it all, I'm wondering whether anyone could provide some substantiation of the claim.

  1. Why is it that a creationist could not have figure out how to split the atom?
  2. Why is it that a creationist could not have launched a man to the moon?
  3. What modern drug or medical procedure do we have today that a creationist could not have discovered?
  4. What electronic device has been developed that no creationist could have devised?
  5. Can creationists not mix chemicals?
  6. Did Alexander Graham Bell rely upon evolution to develop the telephone? Marconi? Curie? Fermi? If so, then how?
  7. Is there some mathematical breakthrough, the discovery of which is dependent upon evolution?
  8. Could creationists not have discovered DNA?

We've developed a lot of technology in the two hundred years since Darwin was born. I just am having a hard time seeing how believing in evolution is responsible for that progress. Indeed, I'm having trouble seeing how believing in evolution accomplishes anything substantive other than the avoidance of the jeers and dismissal of evolutionists. And if creationists could have accomplished any of these things as well as an evolutionist could have, then why, again, is it so critically important for the coercive power of the state to ensure that every eight-year-old be whipped into conformity on this point?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Incredible Spiritual Power of Apology

A sitting Republican president launched a sweeping program of socialism. His Democrat successor, not to be outdone, is pushing for even more. All of these efforts to "fix" the American economy have driven the stock market down in a free-fall, with a precipitous drop coming upon the news that "help" was on the way from the U.S. Senate. I'm not sure how much more help we can stand!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some GOOD news. And among some of the most encouraging and inspirational news of the past fortnight, in my opinion, has been the apology received from and forgiveness given to former Klansman Elwin Wilson by the man whom he beat during the Civil Rights Movement, now-Congressman John Lewis.

It's a story that shows the power of the gospel (I hope). Wilson reportedly took this action upon the realization that he was bound for Hell. Being advanced in years has apparently helped Wilson to start thinking about his eternal destiny. Published reports give very little more in the way of details. I hope that Wilson is not under the (false) impression that his reconciliation with Lewis will change his eternal destiny. What Wilson needs to realize—what every person needs to understand—is that he sinned against God by rejecting the personhood of a human being made in the image of God. He therefore needs to ask for God's forgiveness and salvation for Wilson's rebellion against God. I'm hopeful that this is precisely the message the Wilson received, that he did seek God's forgiveness and find his salvation, and that he went to Lewis in contrition because his heart has been changed.

If this is indeed the case, then it just goes to show the power of the gospel to transform the lives and hearts of those whom society has written off as beyond hope of redemption. It also reminds us of the continuing importance of the doctrine of Hell to evangelism.

It's a story that reminds us of the importance of seeking and giving forgiveness. This is the key to so many problems plaguing our world today. An amazing number of families could be saved merely by the practice of asking for forgiveness when we're wrong and granting forgiveness when we're asked. Imagine how inner cities would be transformed if this were the ethic of urban gangs. I believe that this simple principle is also the great hope for racial reconciliation in our country, and that now is a great opportunity to exercise it. Here's hoping that Wilson starts a trend of white apologies toward victimized blacks. And then, I hope that black Americans, if they have falsely accused any white Americans of racism, will also begin to seek the forgiveness of those whom they have wronged.

It is not a panacea, for substantive differences separate Republicans and Democrats, pro-life people and pro-abortion people, opponents of the family (feminists, homosexual activists, etc.) and defenders of the family, as well as conservatives and liberals in many areas beyond secular politics. Nevertheless, there is incredible power in an apology, and for those who know Christ as Savior, an incredible spiritual power in the discipline of seeking and granting forgiveness that honors our Lord greatly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Adoption Tragedy that Shatters the Stereotypes

If your current television programming provider blesses you with anything akin to the Lifetime Movie Network, you've seen one. If you ever settle upon 20/20 or 48 Hours or Dateline NBC for an evening's entertainment, you've probably seen one. I'm talking about the adoption horror story. A bitter "who's baby is it" contest over a three-year-old, or an adoptee who's life is empty, or an adoptive family that turns out to be a clan of despotic brutes. Scary!

But the year 2008 gave us a different type of adoption horror story, even if it was rarely reported that way. Unless you've been living in a Pakistani cave, you've heard about the story of Caylee Anthony, whose funeral takes place at FBC Orlando today. Anthony was not yet three years old when she was murdered, and the evidence points strongly toward Casey Anthony, Caylee's mother, as the perpetrator of this barbarism.

Perhaps you have followed the case closely enough to know that Casey Anthony wanted to place Caylee for adoption, but was pressured by her own mother into keeping Caylee.

It is not mere lipservice when I praise as heroes the mothers who place their children for adoption. The heroism lies partially in their courageous and principled refusal of abortion. It lies partially in their grueling decision to do such a difficult and anti-instinctive thing. But make no mistake: Among the most heroic aspects of this decision is the way that birth mothers often have to take a stand against others who browbeat them over their decision.

In one situation, the hospital employee cleaning the birthmother's hospital room told her she was a bad mother for putting her baby up for adoption! We've had people who love us (adoptive parents) but who have repeatedly said, "I just don't understand how any mother could give away her baby." They're not trying to be critical (they're thrilled that we have adopted), but the intensity of those sentiments subtly communicate the idea that mothers who place children for adoption are somehow abnormal or defective. In Casey Anthony's situation, her parents (the birth-grandparents) were responsible for pushing her into keeping little Caylee, with disastrous results.

A caveat or two is in order here. Whoever murdered Caylee Anthony (probably Casey) is responsible for her death. I'm not trying to take her off the hook in the least. Nor is it my desire to heap difficulty upon her parents in such a trying time. Since Google lists nearly 1.7 million references to Caylee Anthony's name, I sincerely doubt that this post will attract the attention of her grandparents.

I write this because there is a lesson here worth the rest of us hearing. Anyone can understand why people would struggle to think of their grandchild—maybe their first…and therefore potentially their only…grandchild—departing to become a part of another family. If, as the old saw says, grandchildren are God's reward for letting your children survive (probably the wrong joke to tell in this context), then it must be a terrible thing to imagine relinquishing your reward to some other set of grandparents out there. I can also imagine wanting to encourage your daughter to take responsibility for her actions, grow up, and take care of her coming baby. I can imagine thinking how difficult it will be to place a child for adoption, and wanting to protect your daughter from that struggle.

But there's another side to consider. You may get more of a blessing than you think in your grandchildren—you may wind up raising them yourself. And although you may be willing to do so, is that the best situation for the child? Also, placing a child for adoption IS your daughter taking responsibility for her actions, growing up, and taking care of her coming baby. It is a very mature and selfless thing to provide for your baby in that way. And the Casey Anthony story reminds us that it is too late to protect your daughter from struggle and heartache once she is pregnant. To abort is to have the heartache and guilt of a lifetime. To place a child for adoption is a difficult and painful decision. But to try to raise a child by yourself before you've even grown up is, just as much as the other two, sometimes a lifetime of struggle.

I'm not suggesting that parents should push their unexpectedly pregnant daughters into placing children for adoption. But if you are in contact with a young woman who has mentioned adoption as a possibility, please don't take it upon yourself to try to talk her out of it. And if you are the parent of a daughter who is contemplating the placement of her baby for adoption, try to be supportive of her decision. Love your daughter—and, incidentally, love your grandchild—enough to tell your daughter that she should do whatever is best for her baby, and that you'll be proud of her for doing precisely that, whatever it is.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Advice to SWBTS

Because I love my alma mater, I offer this sagacious advice. Everyone from the President down to the bottom of the organizational chart should be required as a condition of employment to "leak" at least one piece of information to Wade Burleson each semester. No locale breeds more petty and inaccurate rumors than an educational institution. Let the yellow journalists of the SBC Tabloid Press publish more reports of meetings that didn't happen with Presidents who weren't even in town on that day. Let the Jerry Springer of SBC life "revise and extend" his remarks thrice daily to try to cover his derri-errors. Those whose "leaks" make it onto a blog should receive a bonus per occurrence.

No approach that I can imagine would do more to reveal gossip for the sin, slander, and error that it is.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shocking New Revelation!

Very reliable sources indicate that NONE of the six SBC seminaries will hire an Arminian. Those not holding to eternal security have reportedly been denied employment by the narrow, exclusivist, fundamentalist, arrogant, unintelligent, Landmark, lice-infested, inbred, dog-hating, Satan-worshipping, Nixon-loving cretins now in control of the SBC (all of whom I love so much that I'd like to have them come perform my daughter's wedding someday).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Beginning to Serve: The Greatest Promotion

Today I depart for Northeast Arkansas and my niece's sixteenth birthday celebration. This will also be my last opportunity to visit my nephew, 2nd Lieut. Alex B. Smith, before he reports for duty in Iraq. The photograph is from Alex's graduation ceremonies at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

I went to visit Alex on post a year and a half ago. The commuter rail line runs today on the opposite bank of the Hudson from West Point, but from the Garrison station you can look across the river and see the old train platform. As I sat outside and sipped from a bottle of water, idly gazing across the river while awaiting the train, I couldn't help but think of all of the boys who had disembarked at that very platform down through the years. The Pattons and Lees and Eisenhowers went on from there to greatness. Many others, no doubt, served their country just as faithfully, albeit without the same level of recognition. Many paid the ultimate price of service.

Some call graduation from West Point "the greatest demotion of your life." West Point students regularly entertain grandees and receive VIP treatment on tours of Washington, New York, etc. Then they graduate to become lowly 2nd Lieutenants. Or so some people say.

In my opinion, it is no demotion to move into a place of service. My nephew will soon be leading men, perhaps in combat. It will be his responsibility to keep men safe, to help men grow, and otherwise to serve them while leading them. I'll repeat what I've said before: I'm proud of him. He could have gone anywhere, but he chose military service in the post-9-11 era. He and his comrades in our all-volunteer army are heroes—every last one of them—and I'm very excited about spending a few hours with him before he goes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Log in the Eye of the SBC Tabloid Press

My favorite blog logo on the web is Kevin Bussey's—partly because the picture truly does speak a thousand words, and partly because Matthew 7:1-5 is among my favorite passages in the Bible. The label of Pharisee is much abused, I think—the Pharisees were LOST, you know; and Jesus was no Libertine—but there is no segment of Christianity, either in any portion of Christian History or in our present state, that could not benefit from self examination in the enterprise to help others.

Southern Baptist bloggers are no exception.

What some people were so convinced would become the Southern Baptist "new media" has become instead the Southern Baptist "tabloid press." Throw up lies or half-truths in a sensationalistic manner, appeal to Populist themes, hope that one in twenty turns out to be right, and try to use your sometimes-accuracy to fuel your agenda and get people to follow you. Camps have formed, and as each side ratchets up its own version of yellow journalism, the other side faces a choice: Raise the level of rhetoric to meet the challenge, or walk away.

I genuinely pray that God will allow me to live long enough to be a part of a more honorable season of Southern Baptist life. I'm ashamed to have been involved in the events of the past two years, although I'm extremely proud and honored to have been associated with many of the God-called and devout men whom I've come to know and love through blogging. I'm proud to note for posterity the many ways that they have resisted the temptation to join the gutter along the way;

  1. Although Wade Burleson has repeatedly thrown around such labels as "Spooky Fundamentalists", "Crusading Conservatives", "Junior Pastor", "Neo-Landmarkers", and today's gem, "ideological, independent, Landmark Baptist"; the men who have become my blogging friends and brothers have restrained themselves at every turn from calling Wade Burleson the wild-eyed liberal that he either always was or has recently become. I believe that they can be proud of themselves for not going there.
  2. When Wade Burleson takes pot shots at those whom he regards as his enemies and seeks his own vengeance, these men do not do the same, and they should be proud of that. Prominent leaders on Wade's side of things have had profound problems in their churches too—have even found it expedient to move—but you haven't read about it at places like SBC Today.
  3. I've made mistakes in blogging. So have all of my blogging friends. Several have had to apologize at one point or another, and have done so. I have done so. It isn't fun to do, but integrity demands it when the occasion arises. Wade seems constitutionally incapable of admitting when he is wrong or saying that he is sorry. Usually his differences with other people amount to just a difference of opinion, but there have been a few occasions where he simply presented demonstrable factual error (like the latest figment of his imagination, refuted not by SWBTS administrators, but by one of the very people whom Wade's post purported to defend).
  4. Although several of us have received veiled or explicit threats of legal action against us (all of which proved to be bullies' bluffs), none of these men have responded in kind.

Conservative bloggers have plied their trade in a restrained manner in the midst of rampant yellow journalism. I'm proud of them. I don't know how they have kept their composure for so long, but I do have a suspicion. I think that they've been emboldened and inspired by the example of Dr. Patterson himself, who has exemplified restraint in the face of constant attack. He has no blog. There have been occasions when I would have LOVED to obtain ammunition for blogging wars and have requested it, but to no avail. Among those who have blogged in defense of Dr. Patterson against these attacks, I know of few who have labored harder than I have (OK, maybe not lately, but in the past). Yet I testify before you today that Dr. Patterson and his colleagues have not once given me any information to publish in derogation of anyone else, have not once put me up to any sort of attack, and have consistently been reluctant even to aid in their own defense. If anything, it has been the Pattersons and their colleagues who have urged me to have a thick skin, to let things pass, and not to dignify with response the constant slander against them.

A few years ago a movement in the SBC arose critiquing "slanderous, unsubstantiated accusations and malicious character assassination against our Christian brothers." (see here). The statement was directed against others in convention leadership, and the movement making the statement gave rise to the heyday (to date) of Southern Baptist blogging. The time has come—nay, has far passed—for an examination of the log in the blogosphere's eye before proceeding to try to save the convention from anything.

To a large degree, it is my reluctance about this entire tabloid forum and the yellow journalism that it spawns that led me to announce last year a dramatic change in format (beginning with a promised post on Catechisms) to strive for something higher. Then came our horrible accident, and with it my capacity for doing anything quite so grand. I reaffirm that vision today. The time has come to harness blogging to do something nobler by and for Southern Baptists. I see the need, even if I do not know fully the solution. But I hope to be a part of bringing it to be.