When I had to write papers in college and seminary, I would almost always come to a point where my thinking process would leave me hanging and I'd have to take a break until I could find my creativity again. Judging from the gaps in time between some of my blog entries, you could say I still occasionally suffer from this malady.
One thing that the news never seems to run out of is controversial issues upon which to report. Newspapers and television stations get particularly giddy when state and national Baptist conventions get together for their meeting times each year. These media outlets do their best to draw national attention to the issues that Baptists are dealing with, forgetting that while although these issues get voted upon, each individual church is autonomous when it comes to its membership in the conventions.
That's why this headline from the religion section of my local paper made me chuckle today: Convention of Baptists Less Divided than Usual. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) certainly leans more left than the national Southern Baptist Convention, which can make for some interesting (and sometimes contentious) debate each yearly gathering. The media loves this, making sure that they interview the most intense and controversial figures on each side of the issue, painting a picture of two side in coat and tie slugging it out.
But this year was different. I'll admit - I didn't go to the NCBSC meetings this year and I abstained for two reasons. First, there was no real big issue on the agenda that I felt needed my immediate vote. The big ticket item in my mind was unifying the giving plans from 4 separate plans into one, but I believed that the majority of people (delegates are called messengers) in our state favored that so I assumed it would be a moot issue (not to leave out the WMU of CBF issues of course, but these have been a long time in developing). My pastor told me that it was rather quiet this year with basically no real conflicts to ruffle the feathers of most the messengers.
The second reason I didn't go to the state convention was that I find these meetings intensely uninteresting. I'm not anti-convention and I am a Baptist, but I think I'd rather change a stinky diaper than to sit through all of the monotonous proposals and motions. Think I'm being harsh? Think again. The monotony and blandness this year was a good thing.
It's a good thing when there's no "dirt" for media outlets to report. It's a good thing when the local news barely covers the NCBSC and I find a one column article buried on page 6 of my local news section. There has been lots of justification as to why the media has savored covering the dissent amongst Baptists, and much of that blame falls squarely and rightly upon the denomination. The solution for that isn't to neglect to address real issues but rather to honestly address them in a civil manner and to stand on the authority of God's Word to make final decisions. Perhaps the BSCNC is turning a corner.
I'm proud of the NCBSC for being so vanilla this year at the convention. As one of the younger guys in the convention, I've been worn out by the tedious and contrary rhetoric that seems to come out of each yearly gathering. Seems like this year might have been a pretty good year for me to go and be bored.
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