My Thoughts on Day Two of the MBC:
1) Debate around the lawsuits dominated this morning's session. The issue that received the most attention was, "Until the next annual meeting, do we give the Executive Board the right to do what they think is best with the lawsuits?" (Including the right to bring them to an amiable end, if that is the best thing?) In explaining the rationale for this motion, the executive board noted the constantly changing circumstances around the cases, and the importance of having the ability to make strategic and timely decisions (i.e. not waiting a year for the next annual meeting). There was a vocal minority that said any decision should be made by a full vote of the messengers and, furthermore, "Aren't the messengers entitled to all the information the executive board has access to? And why can't we have it right now?" Then the MBC attorney stood up and reminded the messengers that our convention is being streamed live to the web, and also, there was a good chance that opponents were in the room. He also, as nicely as he could, explained the lunacy of divulging legal strategy and sensitive details about the cases to a room of 1,000+ people. In the end, it was decided that "yes" the executive board is elected by the messengers to do the work of the convention during the time period between annual meetings. We can, and must, trust them to make important decisions.
2) I think the above fuss is largely a result of congregationalism run amuck in many of our churches. When we get to a point where we refuse to follow leadership, or trust our leaders to make decisions, something is out of whack. Why should people act any different at the state convention, when they give their own pastor no authority to lead in their own church? (Glad Selmore is NOT this way!)
3) As expected, there was also much debate around using CP dollars to fund lawsuits against the breakaway agencies (assuming those lawsuits continue). The executive board presented a compromise plan that allows churches to request their offerings NOT be used for lawsuits, if it violates their Biblical convictions. Some didn't like this compromise, but it's pretty hard to argue with. At the time of writing this, the results of the ballot vote on the budget have not yet been counted.
4) Micah Fries preached the annual sermon this morning. Micah just turned 31. I think it is fair to say he is the foremost young pastor in Missouri (Frederick Blvd. in St. Joseph), and one of the leading young pastors in the nation. All I can say is WOW. That dude can preach. Micah did a great job calling us to unify around the Gospel, and not to be divided by lesser issues. He closed with a great illustration about peanut butter. Remind me to share it with you sometime.
5) Before Micah preached, a young lady from his church sang, "In Christ Alone." I believe this to be one of the greatest songs ever written. It tears me up every time I hear it. I can sing it in the shower, and start crying. Powerful. Some day when I'm old, some punk young kid will say, "In Christ Alone? That's an old song! We don't need to sing that anymore!" And then I will hang him from his toenails and beat him silly.
6) For you Beth Moore fans, her personal worship leader, Travis Cottrell, led our worship this morning. I almost got past the "Bethiness" to the point where I could worship, but couldn't quite overcome it. (Just kidding. I am probably fired now.)
7) Had the new BBQ chicken salad at Applebees for lunch. Probably the best salad I've ever eaten. (I also had spinach dip, which Rachel will not let me get when I'm with her.)
8) The Applebees I ate at was near a new Walmart. The new Walmart is where Blue Ridge Mall used to be, if you're familiar with KC. I don't know if this is a company strategy, but I think they are buying old, abandoned malls and turning them into new Walmarts. They did the same thing with Northtown Mall in Springfield. If this is indeed the case, what a great service to the community! (These old, abandoned malls can become quite scary places, riddled with crime.) Walmart is kinda like mega-churches. It's big, so it catches a lot of criticism. (Usually from people who are jealous.) But it does a heckuva lot of good things. Walmart, in particular, gives back a lot to its communities.
9) Bruce McCoy, a St. Louis pastor, was re-elected president of the convention.
10) For all the debate this morning at the MBC, there was a spirit of civility and order. I think we are seeing the spirit of Missouri Baptists gradually improve. Praise God for that.