The taste of crow feathers…

The past year has taught us a few things about Southern Baptist life, not the least of which is the degree of schadenfreude that poisons our denominational well. We at Baptist Blogger have been encouraged along the way to keep the heat on some convention leaders, and not others. We’ve been told to back off some convention personalities, and to pursue others. Our readers have laughed or cringed depending on whether our blogtarget was a friend or enemy. Hero worship exists in Southern Baptist life, as well as the villification of one’s ideological opponent.

And yes, there are clear lines of demarcation between the two.

Along the way, we’ve had a few moments of regret, forcing us to contemplate the removal of a post. So far, We’ve only taken down one post, and that because it was crude not because it was cruel. We’ve had some time in recent weeks to reflect on the weight of responsibility that we at Baptist Blogger have as one of the most widely read dissident blogs in denominational life. Today, we owe some apologies.

But before we get to those, let us be very clear. While our blog will not publicly pursue Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and its First Couple with the intensity and regularity of the previous twelve months, we will continue our efforts to press for an accreditation review and justice for Sheri Klouda. We do not retract any syllable written about these issues or personalities, and our book will explore even more.

Second, we will not apologize for shaming our grammatically incompetent brethren. Words are the chariots that ferry the legions of men’s thoughts. If one wishes to communicate his ideas with any credibility, it is necessary for those ideas to be conveyed with clarity, literacy, and precision — at least if men would attempt to articulate those ideas in the comment threads on our blog. Incidentally, there are a number of commenters who owe us for having corrected a plurality of grammatical faux pas.

Third, we cannot apologize for accusations of intellectual arrogance. We at Baptist Blogger realize that God Almighty could remove at any moment our cerebral excellence, but we rather enjoy it while it lasts. Often, we have discovered, charges of arrogance are offered by men with various insecurities about their having wasted opportunities for scholarly pursuits. We cannot, and we will not, own responsibility for the slothful torpor of our harshest critics.

Now, for the apologies.

First, we owe an apology to Ronnie Floyd. Last year, in the heat of convention politics, we exploited an opportunity to cast unnecessary and excessive aspersions upon his character and ministry. First Baptist Church of Springdale is a great church with a good pastor. We regret having posted as we did for purposes less than noble. In honesty, our pursuit of Ronnie Floyd had very little to do with him, and much more to do with the explosive anger we experienced when denominational leaders used their institutional resources to endorse his candidacy. Our primary desire was to bust up the college of cardinals, not to harm the candidate whom they had proffered. The election in Greensboro was, for us, more about defeating Paige Patterson than about defeating Ronnie Floyd. We deeply regret that Pastor Floyd got caught in the crosshairs, and we will take an opportunity very soon to make restitution.

Second, we owe an apology to Claude Thomas. The former pastor of First Baptist Church of Euless, TX, deserved no rehashing of the circumstance of his departure on our blog. At the time, our efforts were to expose the blatant hypocrisy of Southwestern’s president more than a difficult season of Thomas’ ministry. Not only did our posting documentation related to FBC Euless hurt Pastor Thomas, but his sons — all of whom are in ministry — were needlessly brought into the injury. For this, we are truly remorseful.

Third, we owe an apology to Parkview Baptist Church. While we have made every effort to meet all of our ministry objectives, we have too often failed to make visits that were needed, prepare sermons that were fresh, and pray as they deserved. In January of this year, Parkview’s membership affirmed unanimously their pastor’s efforts in the current denominational crisis after having heard more than an hour of the documentation currently in our possession. Their affirmation, however, was followed by my personal commitment to refocus on church ministry as soon as the San Antonio convention. Their patience has compensated for my distraction. Their prayers have supplemented my prayerlessness. Their encouragement has kept me afloat.

Fourth, we owe an apology to lost people in Arlington, TX. Their eternal destinies and immortal souls are of infinitely greater importance than the passing pettiness of Southern Baptist fracases. I have only baptized two persons this year, and I have only led four to Christ. The city of Arlington is increasingly rife with crime, gang violence, economic disparity, AIDS, and moral degradation. Any pastor whose ministry is more consumed with the nonsense that occurs fifteen miles away on a seminary campus or hundreds of miles away at convention headquarters than he is with the lostness of those living within a stone’s throw of his church office is in dire need of immediate repentance and grace.

Fifth, we owe an apology to three young, beautiful ladies who’ve had the kind hearts to date — at different intervals, mind you — a very intense person who denied them the attention and interest they deserved. They tolerated a man whose conversation was too often steered toward issues completely uninteresting and superfluous. I spoke when I should have listened. I cancelled when I could have gone. I returned phonecalls from Wade Burleson, Dwight McKissic, Marty Duren, Art Rogers, and a host of others before I returned theirs. If singleness be my curse, then I owe it to my own carelessness and selfishness. This, too, will change.

10 thoughts on “The taste of crow feathers…

  1. Ben,
    I thank God for Christians like you who stand for the Truth. I have seen your Heart from the time I first started Blogging and continue to see your Heart.
    You are in our Prayers as is Parkview Baptist Church.
    God gave you the gift of Prophecy.

    Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit – Jan. 8, 2006
    Dr Charles Stanley’s Sermon on The Gift of Prophecy.

    I. Characteristics of someone with the gift of prophecy:

    A strong need to express himself verbally.
    A strong ability to discern the character and motives of other people.
    Wholehearted involvement in whatever he is doing.
    Very open to correction.
    Extremely loyal.
    Willingness to suffer for what is right.
    Persuasive in defining truth.
    II. Misunderstandings about someone with the gift of prophecy:

    His sense of right and wrong is often judged as intolerant.
    His strong desire to proclaim truth is often interpreted as disinterest in listening to other people.
    Frankness is viewed as harshness or impatience.
    Interest in groups may be misinterpreted as a disinterest in individuals.
    II. Misunderstandings Cont.:

    Efforts to gain results may be seen as using gimmicks.
    Interest in decision may appear to be neglecting spiritual growth.
    Public boldness and strict standards may hinder intimate personal relationships.
    III. The Gift of Prophecy: Spirit vs. Flesh

    In the Spirit In the Flesh

    1. Truthfulness Deception

    2. Obedience Willfulness

    3. Sincerity Hypocrisy

    4. Morality Impurity

    5. Boldness Fearfulness

    6. Forgiveness Rejection

    7. Persuasive Conentious

    In His Name
    Wayne Smith

  2. It is always good to look backward to recount one’s collateral damage, view the burned bridges, and treat the wounded. Even if the accidental hurts of this effort are a millionth of the wholesale injuries and untended ministries resulting from the troubles of the resurgence/takeover, yet they will not be ignored in Heaven. At least you baptized two more people than a dead man in the most economically blessed nation in the world while worrying over – who?
    There, now; don’t you feel so much better?

  3. Ben-

    <i>Words are the chariots that ferry the legions of men’s thoughts.</i>

    It is sad to see that so many of those chariots are up on blocks.

    re: intellectual arrogance–You’re just a smarty pants.

  4. dude…come on…when I read your apology to the three gals you bombed with I almost choked on Diet Mt. Dew going down the wrong pipe! bro…don’t sound so desperate…if we were in Bible college right now I think I’d body slam you for that one…or rip on you for…pretty much ever…with the guys…

  5. “Words are the chariots that ferry the legions of men’s thoughts.” – Ben Cole

    Going on my facebook profile right now as one of my favorite quotes. I love you as a brother in Christ, and I apologize for my insults as well. If only we had met in Longview as kids… perhaps a black eye would have settled our differences long ago.

  6. I hope that you had the decency and/or courage to apologize to these men in person. Your minimized, overly qualified apologies can not make resitution for the enormous amount of damage that you have caused. The slanderous, one -sided position paper on Dr. Thomas (the one in which you implied criminal activity) is abhorrently written to cause damage (intentionally or not) to a man that has impacted the lives of thousands, just so you can make another indirect point about how you depise the leadership of Dr Patterson.

    As to your defense of your “cerebral excellence”: It would behoove you to understand the difference between intellect and godly wisdom. I cannot contest that you are gifted researcher and writer; however, I am astonished at the lack of wisdom and discernment you have displayed through this blog. Although I understand that you have probably just categorized me as insecure and “having wasted opportunities for scholarly pursuits”, I am smart enough to know that crow goes down best with a tall glass of authentic humility.

  7. James,

    I would encourage you not to underestimate the power of forgiveness. You say that the damage cannot be undone. You might want to ask those from whom Ben is seeking forgiveness if they feel the same way. I would suspect that in most cases they would not. No doubt they have had to practice the words of Matthew 6:12 before and I suspect they can do it again.

  8. So is there a forthcoming apology for your brother Paige, or have you thrown that one out the window?

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