December 2001

Fast Company editor says it's time for a deep breath

December 21 2001 by Greg Warner , Associated Baptist Press

Fast Company editor says it's time for a deep breath | Friday, Dec. 21, 2001
  • Technology. "Life is different," Webber says, "and the life of organizations is different," because of the explosion of technology.
  • Generational shift. Earlier generations said work is not personal, Webber says. "The younger generations are saying, 'We've got the basics covered. We can put food on the table. We want to put meaning on the table.'"
  • Globalization. "Money, technology and values travel globally," he says. The dichotomy between domestic and international is gone.
  • Gender. At one time, every business magazine had the same dominant image on its cover, Webber says - "A white male looking to the right and looking heroic."

    Fast Company's version of a business magazine is unmistakably different. The cover is often a quirky illustration or caricature. Photos of CEOs may look like the adjacent Nautica ad. Sure, there are the stories on the "The Next Big Idea," hot companies to watch, and the guy with the job title of "director of ethical hacking."

    But there are also stories on your job as a calling and the destructive power of success.

    The Fast Company message, Webber says, was built around four values:

  • Work is personal. "Work and personal life are intertwined," he says. "The men and women who lost their lives (in the World Trade Center attacks) did so at work, precisely because they were at work. And the men and women who went in to rescue them who lost their lives were doing a job that was absolutely their calling."
  • The individual is the unit of analysis. "The organization with the best people wins," Webber asserts. "You have to believe in the people you're working with, to believe they've got good judgment, that they share your values, that they're willing to commit themselves, that the more they participate the more they contribute, and you've got to be willing to learn from them."
  • This is the best time to work and find meaning in what you do.
  • There is no division between who you are and what you do. Rather than "compartmentalizing" work as something you do to make a living, work should "express who you are," Webber says. "Nobody should do anything they don't want to do. Life is too short."

    "Not all days are good days," he quickly adds. You have to take the average. There are some things about every job that aren't chock full of meaning. "Everybody has to do the dishes," he says. But overall, work is intended to be life-giving, not life-draining.

    Fast Company doesn't just preach meaningful work and human value. Readers are invited to participate in local forums, where they get to know each other, share work experiences and hash out workplace issues. The forums are more than smart marketing gimmicks to create reader loyalty. They build community. And that's another key to the magazine's success.

    Most business magazines, Webber says, are about "transactions" - two people making a deal across a table. "What we said at Fast Company is let's reframe the interaction. We tried to move the chair to the other side of the table. If we talk to each other, maybe we can figure it out. That's a fundamentally different position."

    "That's the reason there is a sense of community with our readers. ... Fast Company defines success as impact - how many great conversations can we get started."

    Likewise, work and business should be about creating community, not just about creating "winners and losers," Webber says.

  • Friday, Dec. 21, 2001

    Fast Company editor says it's time for a deep breath

    By Greg Warner Associated Baptist Press SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Are you bummed out that the economy is heading south? Numbed by bioterrorism warnings and news of a deepening war? Take Alan Webber's advice: Hit the pause button. Take a deep breath.

    It's time to "regroup, rethink, recalibrate," says Webber, editor of Fast Company magazine.

    That may sound like strange advice from this poster child for fast-thinking, fast-acting entrepreneurs. But Webber says the dot-com crash and war on terrorism are changing the mood of the business world, which is now ready for some self-examination.

    Many workers and companies were worn out by the roaring '90s, when they were told constant change is the new way of life. "They are up to here with change, speed and reflexive response," Webber says.

    The mood now is shifting from reflexive to reflective. After a decade spent learning the "new rules" of business and chasing the latest innovations and strategies, Webber says "this is a good time to hit the pause button and see if they are working or not. In fact, it would be a good idea for the nation as a whole to hit the pause button."

    Webber, who describes himself as a "practicing but not observant Jew," cites an Old Testament story to describe our times. It's the story of Joseph in Egypt, storing up provisions during seven bountiful years, so that when seven years of famine arrived, he was ready for his brothers to visit. Guess which part of the story we're in now?

    Webber shared his take on American culture, the workplace, and leadership in a recent gathering of 1,400 Christian leaders in San Diego, sponsored by Leadership Training Network. "For a short, fat Jewish guy, I feel incredibly welcome here," he told them.

    A native of St. Louis, Webber started Fast Company after six years as managing editor of the Harvard Business Review. Since its launch in 1993, Fast Company has grown to 700,000 subscribers. Webber is credited for the magazine's unique character and style, a decidedly hip and probing magazine in the often stodgy world of business.

    One key to Fast Company's meteoric success is its holistic, even spiritual, understanding of work.

    "Fast Company asks not only what's new, but what matters?" he told FaithWorks magazine.

    "The central tenet of our magazine is that work is about creating meaning. We recognized a fundamental shift taking place in the workplace. Making money isn't enough. People - particularly baby busters - want work to mean something."

    Although the rise of Fast Company paralleled the Internet boom, Webber says he never questioned the magazine's survivability after the dot-com collapse.

    "Our DNA was never about dot-coms. It is about individual, personal expression."

    The changes in the workplace are deeper than any one business sector, he says. It is "a revolution that is demographic, psychographic and global."

    Much of the conversation since the dot.com crash and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has focused on a world changed. And Webber concedes business as usual will certainly be different.

    But some things won't change, he contends. The fundamental forces underlying the new economy and the new workplace will survive war and recession.

    "There are four forces reorganizing everybody's life," he says, and they are revolutionizing the workplace as well.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/21/2001 12:00:00 AM by Greg Warner , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments



    Fifty is nifty, friends are shifty

    December 14 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    Fifty is nifty, friends are shifty | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Fifty is nifty, friends are shifty

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor I passed one of those "mile marker" birthdays recently, and my friends made sure I didn't forget it. My yard was "flocked" with flamingos, not once, but twice. I can only imagine what my neighbors thought when they drove by and saw 100 pink plastic flamingos standing on our postage-stamp lawn, sitting in the trees and perching on the porch.
    An unaltered photograph
    Signs warning of decrepit pedestrians lined the parking lot at work, and my customary spot sported an "Over the Hillsville" marker.

    Friends and staff brought cards reminding me that my faculties were degenerating, my memory was fading, my sight was failing, and my hearing was going to pot. Fortunately, being so hard of hearing, I didn't hear all of the wisecracks. At least, I don't remember any.

    The altered photograph
    My staff prepared a knock-off front page of the Biblical Recorder complete with a photo that was digitally doctored to add a few years. Jimmy started with a picture from the Pastor's Conference about two years ago - when I was still a spry 47 - and worked computer magic to remove most of my hair, add sagging jowls, and carve a few wrinkles into my cheeks. It came out looking like Terry Bradshaw.

    I've included the final product here, not only to see that some good use came from the staff time spent on it, but as a light-hearted encouragement for folks to be nice. We could do this to your picture, too.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



    It smells like hope

    December 14 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    It smells like hope | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    It smells like hope

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor When I first arrived at New York's "Ground Zero" on Pearl Harbor Day, I was mentally prepared for the smell. News accounts and anecdotal reports from the site of the World Trade Center's attack and collapse spoke of acrid air filled with the sharp scents of molten metal and plastic, of scorched earth and swirling concrete dust and other unthinkable odors. When they gave me a respirator, I gladly prepared it for use. But, the fires appear to have gone out now. The wind was blowing and the air, even at ground level, was not unlike that of happier days in New York.

    Which is not to say that my olfactory sensitivities were not assaulted - but it was by Clorox and Windex and Miracle Formula 409. Baptists from around the country, including many from North Carolina, have worked hard to offer the gift of hope by cleaning apartments and simply being present with people far away who suddenly seem like kin.

    On the 26th floor of a high-rise in the Gateway complex, past a door that had been battered in by search teams looking for a hijacked plane's "black box," I met a crew that included Magalene Lloyd, from Inwood Baptist Church in Raleigh. Magalene has done hurricane recovery work at several sites in eastern North Carolina and flood relief work in West Virginia. She helped close down the N.C. feeding unit at the Pentagon, and now she was carefully wiping away dust from pictures of people she didn't know.

    Back in Brooklyn, the smell was of biscuits in the oven and hot food on the table. Miller Garrison, of First Baptist in Stanley, was the "blue hat" for the seven-person kitchen crew. He fell in love with missions during a construction trip to Brazil, he said. Since then he has traveled to North Korea, Honduras and Latvia, along with 19 trips to Ukraine. Disaster relief after hurricanes and tornadoes has taken him to Florida, Illinois and eastern North Carolina. "I just feel like this is what God called me to do," said Miller, now 72.

    Peggy, Miller's wife, had never done anything but office work, she said, until Miller came back from his first trip to Brazil. "He was so changed," she said, "I wanted to go, too." The next year they helped build a missionary residence in Alaska, and both were hooked on missions.

    "I just hope we can help the people who've lost so much, to give them a little hope," she said.

    Out in the sorting tent and the two laundry units, the smell was of detergent and fabric softener and warm clothing freshly folded. Beddie Tarlton oversaw the laundry crew. She had been in New York since the day after the attacks, leaving her temporary home in Grifton to work as on-site coordinator for North Carolina's mission teams. Husband Billy held the fort in Grifton, where they have been heading up recovery efforts since Hurricane Floyd came through in 1999, but he also made several trips to New York.

    Home for the Tarltons is in Wingate, but they don't see it often. They've been involved in full-time mission work for the past several years, and go wherever they're needed. The assignment in Grifton is expected to end in June 2002, and they're wondering where God will send them next.

    "We just fully depend on God that He'll open the door when the opportunity arises," Billy said. "It used to be that self said where self wanted to go," he said, "but we've learned that where you go doesn't really matter. You've got to be satisfied whether He sends you to Grifton or New York or Honduras or whatever. I'm just excited and blessed to know that God will use us."

    The Tarltons miss seeing their three grown children and several grandchildren, though they talk to them often. It's hard to miss things like the grandchildren's birthday parties, but "I'd rather the children know the Lord is first in our lives," Billy said. "You love God first, and He'll take care of everything else."

    I brought my respirator home unused.

    The smells of New York were the smells of hope - and not just for New Yorkers. Wherever I find Baptists whose primary goals are ministry and missions, it smells like hope for us, too.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



    Christmas past helps preserve Christmas present

    December 14 2001 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer

    Christmas past helps preserve Christmas present | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Christmas past helps preserve Christmas present

    By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-treasurer One of my most vivid memories growing up in east Tennessee was the Christmas Eve worship services we attended at Temple Baptist Church in Johnson City. Every Dec. 24th we would crowd into our 1956 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon - two parents and seven children - and go to the "big" church in the "big" city. The rest of the year we were faithful members of Skyline Heights Baptist Church. But since our church didn't have a special Christmas Eve service, that one night of the year we "belonged" to Temple. Establishing family traditions at Christmas is very important. I can still remember the sights, sounds and even smells of those Christmas services. There was nothing in the service all that out-of-the-ordinary - a typical nativity scene, children's choirs, lots of candlelight and Christmas carols - but it all seemed magical to me. Big services impress small children. This was one of those special times when all nine of us were doing the same thing in the same place and at same time.

    I've tried throughout the years to establish similar Christmas traditions for my family. Even though both of our children are married with children of their own, we still try to get together in church on Christmas Eve, although that it not always possible. These Christmas Eve services mark some of our richest family memories. Christmas means family and what better place for family to be together than at church on Christmas Eve.

    The true meaning of Christmas, I believe, can be readily taught in these special services, especially to children. The Jews have long known the value of festivals and special events to foster religious education. The annual celebration of the Passover (deliverance from Egypt) and Hanukkah (rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem) has helped hold together for several millennia a Jewish people living in literally every corner of the earth. These special events somehow give "flesh and bone" to what could easily become abstract and distant historical memories.

    Repeating traditional events at Christmas can be a very important aspect of our religious heritage. In a fast-pace, everything-instant world, we need time to reflect and pull together who we've been, who we are and who we hope to become. Christmas is an excellent time for reflection and renewal.

    I hope each one of you can be with your families this Christmas. But even if this is not possible, you can be with your Christian family at church this season. We can all be together, although in many different locations, and celebrate this greatest gift from God in all of history - the sending of His Son so that we may live more victorious lives now as well as live with Him in the hereafter.

    From all of us at the Baptist State Convention,

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments



    A gift of presence

    December 14 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    A gift of presence | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    A gift of presence

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor NEW YORK CITY - The trucks line up on West Street - the big trucks - the long-bed dump trucks that carry away the steel beams, water pipes, elevator cables, concrete chunks and compressed remains of the World Trade Center and its occupants.
    An American flag flies near two steel beams forming a cross at the site of the terrorist attacks in New York City.
    The trucks line up to be washed so no ash or debris clings to the tires or blows into the streets. A torch-wielding welder clambers over the load, cutting away extraneous bits that might protrude from the tightly drawn cover. Every truck is registered when it leaves and signed in when it delivers its cargo to a nearby landfill for closer examination, and ultimately for recycling or disposal.

    The city of New York is not only working hard to clean up the devastating pile of rubble left at "Ground Zero" after the unforgettable terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but laboring as well to keep it under wraps, out of the public view, antiseptic.

    The city regards the ruinous expanse as a memorial site - in a sense, as an open grave. Thousands of people died there, but identifiable remains from only a few hundred persons have been recovered. The dust and ash that blanketed the area following the fiery conflagration and final fall of the towers is not unlike what emerges from a crematorium.

    New Yorkers want the site to be cleaned, contained, compartmentalized. The thousands of residents who lived in nearby apartments want the same thing. They want their apartments cleaned and made livable, but sometimes they lack the physical, fiscal or emotional resources to do the job alone.

    That's where Baptists come in. More than a thousand volunteers from around the country have traveled to the city at their own expense, settled into a makeshift camp at the Navy Shipyard in Brooklyn, and given a week's worth of elbow grease and listening hearts to the people of lower Manhattan.

    On the scene Removing layers of dust is just one aspect of the cleaning effort - volunteers also enable some residents to vent their feelings and experience emotional cleansing through sharing their pain.

    "Part of our challenge is to be debriefers for the tenants," said Beddie Tarlton, who coordinated North Carolina's recovery efforts. "We want to see if we can help them to talk about it, to release any anxiety they may have."

    Volunteers were instructed not to pry, Tarlton said, or to press tenants to say more than they wanted to say. But people who have undergone trauma often find it easier to talk to complete strangers than to family or friends, she said. "Our first priority is to listen. Cleaning comes second."

    Mike Mullin, a retired Marine from Brookwood Baptist Church in Jacksonville, recalled a man whose apartment "looked like you had poured out two dumpster loads of trash and turned on a fan." Mullin, completing his third trip to New York since Sept. 11, said the man had been living in the apartment, but wearing a respirator full time, even in his sleep.

    The team spent two full days cleaning his apartment and listening to his concerns. By the end of the second day, Mullin said, the man had overcome his fear and given up wearing the respirator. Although he is Jewish, the resident was happy to receive a signed Bible and to pray together with the team, Mullin said.

    Sharing the love of Christ with disaster victims is the main motivation for recovery work, Tarlton said, but volunteers "don't beat them over the head with it." Volunteers typically circle up and pray with a resident before beginning a job, she said, and leave a signed Bible when they go.

    This core motivation leads the teams to help anyone who asks, even those who could afford to pay a cleaning service. "God wants us to witness to them as much as anybody else," Tarlton said. "They may need help more than anyone, because everybody expects them to pay for everything, so nobody ever gives them anything."

    Dave Stanke, an independent systems consultant, is one of those people. His spacious apartment on Liberty Street is hardly a low-rent affair, but he was glad to have the help. When volunteers first arrived, he directed them to a neighbor he thought needed help more. Volunteers later moved on to the apartment where Stanke, his wife, and four young children have lived for the past three years. The family has stayed with friends and in two different rentals since the Sept. 11 attacks, waiting for utilities to be restored and blown-out windows to be repaired so the apartment could be made habitable again.

    "I think this is the greatest thing," he said of the volunteer effort. "It's a very emotional, stressful time for the people who live here - it's tougher on the residents emotionally because it's their home, not just where they work."

    Stanke's family was scattered around the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. Some evacuated to Staten Island, others to New Jersey. They were not reunited until 6 p.m. on the following day.

    The sense of connectedness since Sept. 11 has been a powerful thing, Stanke said. People from around the country have called, contributed to relief efforts and traveled to New York at their own expense to help. "People like you guys give you hope in humanity," he said.

    Jim and Carol Hardee, of Inwood Baptist Church in Raleigh, were well received by the people they assisted in the Gateway apartment complex. "I've been impressed by the residents' appreciation, gratefulness and spirit of humility that someone would come this far to help them," Jim said. Carol said a casting director for ABC saw them on a shuttle bus and said, "We appreciate you so much because you're doing this for the right reasons."

    And what would they say to someone who was thinking about volunteering for similar work?

    "Do it," Jim said.

    "Don't do it," Carol said - "unless you want to be blessed. By all means, don't pass it up."

    Cam Parrish and Connie Yarbrough of Green Street Baptist Church in High Point were also impressed with the appreciative spirit of residents throughout the city, where the "yellow hats" are recognized as good folks who've come to do good work - for free.

    "There's not a person we've seen who didn't thank us, including policemen and firemen," Parrish said. "We sat in front of our TVs and grieved for people we didn't know ..."

    "We feel like we know them now," Yarbrough said.

    "A policeman asked why we were doing this," Parrish said. "We said it wasn't just New York that was attacked, but all of us."

    "I'm here because it didn't happen to me," Yarbrough said. "I'm here out of gratitude - I want to do whatever I can to help."

    Both Parrish and Yarbrough said they found many opportunities to offer comfort and God's peace to people who were hurting. "We've prayed with everyone," they said. "You can see God alive and well in New York City."

    At the end of the day, as a group of tired volunteers climbed into a van bound for the shipyard, a nattily dressed young businessman spotted the yellow hats and hustled over. "I can't tell you how neat it is what you guys are doing," he said, his hands expressive, extended outward. "It's just wonderful, great. I've heard about what you are doing - everybody on the streets knows about the people in the yellow hats," he said. "Thank you! Thank you!"

    Mullin grinned as the man strolled away. "It happens all the time," he said.

    At the shipyard The volunteers who spent their days on the business end of vacuum cleaners and scrubbing brushes were fed and cared for, in large part, by N.C. Baptists who provide the main support services in the naval shipyard, just across the East River, in Brooklyn.

    Beddie Tarlton left Grifton, where she and husband, Billy, have headed recovery efforts for victims of Hurricane Floyd, at 9 a.m. on Sept. 12. She didn't leave New York until clean-up efforts wrapped up on Dec. 11.

    In what may be a first for Baptist Men's recovery efforts, a woman, Beddie, was the "white hat" in charge of North Carolina's recovery efforts. To identify the "go-to" people on site, most volunteers wear yellow hats, while team leaders wear blue hats, and higher-level coordinators wear white hats. Bob Helms of Alabama was the on-site "white hat" overseeing the broader Southern Baptist relief efforts, which are coordinated through the North American Mission Board.

    Crews from North Carolina ran a portable kitchen, maintained a shower unit and operated two laundry units in support of other volunteers. N.C. crews also cooked in the large feeding station operated by the Salvation Army at Ground Zero and helped to clean apartments.

    Volunteers slept behind bars in a former Navy brig located a block and a half away. The building has also served as a New York City jail and is still used by the police department for training purposes.

    Accommodations were far from posh - 25-bed dormitories of hard, steel bunks with thin mattresses, adjacent to open showers and toilets. Many volunteers preferred to use the N.C. shower unit, even though it was more than a block away, because it offered more privacy.

    A kitchen crew provided meals for the 130 volunteers who typically inhabited the site, along with any firefighter or police officer who wanted to stop by. Another crew did laundry for all the volunteers in two new units created by N.C. Baptists specifically for the project (see story on Page 9).

    Most volunteers worked one-week assignments, though many made multiple trips.

    The kitchen crew's day typically began at 4:30 a.m. and lasted until 8 p.m. or later. Most food supplies were provided by the Red Cross and prepared on site. The crew laid out a full, hot breakfast each morning, prepared box lunches for the cleaning crews, and capped it off with an evening meal. Cleaning up and transporting food items took up the balance of the day.

    "It's been a lot of hard work," said Linda Cardin, who was on her first disaster recover trip, "but very rewarding." Cardin was with a group of seven from the Stanley-Dallas area, most from First Baptist Church of Stanley.

    Wanda Lanier and Sue Estep, both of Riegelwood Baptist Church, spent the entire week doing laundry - up to 97 loads a day - a chore that sometimes lasted from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Their work involved sorting, washing, drying and folding volunteers' soiled clothes, then packing them neatly into a white plastic bag sporting hand-drawn artwork (mostly by Beddie Tarlton) and a printed scripture verse. Tammy Dunkum of Virginia assisted with the artwork and selection of scriptures.

    In their spare time, the laundry crew cleaned and maintained the shower unit. Their fingers were sore, tender, and sometimes bleeding at night, they said. "But it's worth it," Estep said, "because we're giving to the Lord."

    The week in New York City was Lanier's first mission trip. Her reaction? "It won't be my last."

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



    Evangelism Conference set for Jan. 7-8

    December 14 2001 by Bill Boatwright , BSC Communications

    Evangelism Conference set for Jan. 7-8 | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Evangelism Conference set for Jan. 7-8

    By Bill Boatwright BSC Communications "Motivated by His Compassion" will be the theme of the North Carolina State Evangelism Conference to be held at Village Baptist Church, 906 McPherson Church Rd., Fayetteville. The conference will begin at 1 p.m. on Jan. 7 and conclude by 9 p.m. the next day. Ben Gault, director of missions in the New South River Association, will serve as honorary chairman. The annual meeting, sponsored by the Baptist State Convention (BSC) Mission Growth Evangelism Group, will also include a pre-conference youth crusade on Jan. 6, from 5-7 p.m. and five early bird seminars on Jan. 7 from 10-11:30 a.m. Both events will be held at Village Baptist Church.

    A major highlight of the 2002 meeting will be two sermons by Ross Bin Frederick Mukri of Southeast Asia. Mukri, whose grandfather was an Islamic Imam (religious leader), is pastor of the Tawau Baptist Church and director of a Bible Institute. He will preach on Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. and the next day at 10:25 a.m.

    The BSC will begin a three-year mission partnership with Malaysia next year.

    Speakers scheduled for the Jan. 7 afternoon and evening sessions include John Phillips, former professor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and author of the John Phillips Commentary Series, and Bob Reccord and John Yarborough of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) North American Mission Board (NAMB). Reccord is president of NAMB and Yarborough is vice-president of NAMB for evangelism.

    In addition to Mukri and Phillips, speakers for the three sessions on Jan. 8 include Alex McFarland of Greensboro, president of the North Carolina Vocational Evangelists Fellowship; Don Wilton, pastor, First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, S.C.; and James Walker, pastor, Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden.

    Other conference speakers will include Brig. Gen. Gary L. Harrell, MacDill Air Force Base in Florida; Jaye Martin, women's evangelism strategist, NAMB; Merrie Johnson, evangelism and church growth team, BSC; and Toby Frost, evangelism section, NAMB.

    Musicians for the meeting will be the Rick Webb Trio, High Point; Luke Garret, Jackson, Miss.; Tony Robertson, Raleigh; Sharon Hinton Smith, Fayetteville; Marten Spena, Village Church minister of music; and The Greenes, Boone. Pre-session concerts will be presented by The Village Church Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra (Jan. 7-8 evenings) and the Protestant Women of the Chapel, Fort Bragg (Jan. 8 afternoon).

    A special Youth Evangelistic Crusade will be held at the Village Church on Sunday evening preceding the conference. It will feature David Nasser, popular youth evangelist from Birmingham, Ala., and Devon McDonald, former professional football player from Indianapolis, Ind.

    The five early-bird pre-conference seminars, scheduled for the next morning are "Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Under Islamic Oppression," by Fred Mukri; "Evangelism Planning - On Purpose," by Phil Stone, congregational services, BSC; "The NET - Witnessing Through Your Testimony," by Marty Dupree, evangelism team, BSC; "Families Reaching Families," by Richard Leach, evangelism section, NAMB; and "Evangelism Response Center," by Toby Frost, evangelism section, NAMB.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Bill Boatwright , BSC Communications | with 0 comments



    Journal issue draws criticism

    December 14 2001 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

    Journal issue draws criticism | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Journal issue draws criticism

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor Two N.C. Baptist divinity schools are reevaluating their relationship with an academic journal that has come under fire for views expressed in an issue on sexuality. One of the Review & Expositor's (R&E) main sponsor schools has ended its support and other minor sponsors are calling for changes in the journal's editorial procedures.

    At issue is the R&E's latest edition, which deals with "Sexuality and the Church." The lead article, "Embodiment versus Dualism: A Theology of Sexuality from a Holistic Perspective," has drawn the most criticism.

    The article, written by Leslie Kendrick Townsend, a pastoral counselor and marriage and family therapist in Louisville, Ky., includes frank, clinical language to discuss issues such as menstruation, intercourse and genital function. Townsend quotes another author to suggest that "the sexual feelings, functions and meanings of our genitals" can be "important modes of revelation" about God.

    The latest issue of the R&E is dated Spring 2001 but was released a few months ago. Schools with ties to the journal started distancing themselves from the publication shortly after Baptist Press published three articles on Dec. 6 critical of the issue.

    Baylor University's Truett Seminary in Texas ended its sponsorship of the R&E on Dec. 10. The seminary's faculty called the journal's latest issue "irresponsible" and "contrary to sound theological scholarship."

    Logsdon School of Theology at Hardin-Simmons University, meanwhile, indicated it could sever ties with R&E if the journal's editorial board does not take steps to prevent similar problems in the future. Both schools are in Texas.

    The Christopher M. White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University said it was "reevaluating" its relationship to the journal and called on the journal to review its editorial procedures.

    Divinity school dean Wayne Stacy said in a written statement on Dec. 12 that the school does not endorse the perspectives in the issue. Divinity school officials were not given an opportunity to review the contents of the issue in advance, he said.

    "Had we done so, we would have expressed our view that some of the articles in this issue incorporate poor scholarship and questionable theology, and that this particular issue casts a shadow over the storied history of one of Baptists' most respected scholarly journals," Stacy said. "While the subject itself, 'Sexuality and the Church,' is an appropriate topic for responsible theological reflection, especially at a time when sexual impropriety in our society is rampant, the Spring 2001 issue of Review & Expositor incorporated some treatments of the subject that were, in our judgment, irresponsible and inappropriate."

    Campbell University President Norman A. Wiggins and Divinity School Dean Michael G. Cogdill said in a statement Dec. 13 that they were "shocked and disappointed" at some of the content in the issue.

    "Had we been consulted prior to its publication, we would have urged those of the Editorial Board who approved the article for publication not to do so," they said. "In content and theological expression we do not feel the article meets the high standards heretofore that made the Review and Expositor one of the nation's finest publications in the field of theology.

    "The Divinity School does not affirm any theological proclamation, oral or written, that is not consistent with our mission to exalt Christ, be faithful to the Bible, and promote the mission of the Church. It is apparent that this article is not supportive of these purposes. Sadly, we will reevaluate our future association with the Review and Expositor, beginning with a review of the process by which articles in this journal are approved for publication."

    Wayne Ballard, an assistant professor of religion at Campbell University, became associate editor of the journal while the Spring 2001 issue was in the development process and did not edit the issue.

    Ballard said the R&E wanted a broad range of viewpoints on the issue of sexuality and the church. He said he is sorry if the issue put any of the institutions in a bad light.

    "The journal up front clarifies we are not the voice of any one institution," he said.

    Ballard said he thinks the Spring 2001 issue is "filled with diversity" on the left and the right of the theological spectrum.

    The lead article is outside traditional Baptist views, but the other articles are "close to home," Ballard said.

    Ballard said the R&E's mission is to be a "quarterly Baptist theological journal dedicated to free and open inquiry of issues related to the Church's mission in the contemporary world."

    Ballard pointed out that issue editor Daniel McGee wrote in his introduction that "We do not necessarily agree nor do we endorse each other's viewpoints on sexuality or the church."

    McGee, an employee of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said later that the views represented in a controversial article are not his own and are "radical" and "provocative."

    R&E, like many academic journals, appoints an issue editor each quarter. That person works alongside the journal's managing editor and associate editor. Nancy deClaisse-Walford of McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta is managing editor of R&E.

    The faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., originally published the quarterly theological journal. In 1996, the seminary faculty declared the journal to be independent of the seminary. A new coalition of sponsor and patron schools was announced.

    The three lead schools sponsoring the journal became McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Va., and Truett Seminary at Baylor. Each gives $1,200 annually.

    Five schools were enlisted as patron institutions: Campbell University Divinity School, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Christopher M. White School of Divinity, Logsdon School of Theology and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. These five schools give $1,000 per year.

    Joel F. Drinkard Jr., a professor of Old Testament interpretation at Southern, remained involved with R&E as its business manager. Baptist Press reported that Southern President Albert Mohler has "formally asked" Drinkard to resign from the R&E position.

    Despite criticism of the issue and Townsend's article, deClaisse-Walford stands by the decision to publish it.

    "When I read the article, I thought, 'This is going to raise some eyebrows,' but one of the things I try to emphasize is that the people for whom this journal is written are pastors and leaders in churches. They should be seminary educated and should be familiar with the language and issues being talked about."

    (EDITOR'S NOTE - Marv Knox and Mark Wingfield of the Baptist Standard in Texas and Jimmy Allen contributed to this article.)

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



    The real story of St. Nick

    December 14 2001 by Jodi Mathews , Baptist Center for Ethics

    The real story of St. Nick | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    The real story of St. Nick

    By Jodi Mathews Baptist Center for Ethics The American view of Santa Claus is a far cry from the true inspiration for this merry, generous, magical character. The Orthodox Christian Church and the Roman Catholic Church commemorate the death of the real Saint Nicholas on Dec. 6 every year. For many Orthodox and Catholic families, Saint Nicholas Day is one of gift giving and celebration.

    Saint Nicholas was born in A.D. 280 in Patara, a city in Asia Minor, or what is now known as Turkey. He was the only son of noble, wealthy and faithful parents.

    As a young man, Saint Nicholas became a priest. When his parents died, he distributed is inheritance and property to the needy.

    Saint Nicholas was a generous man, but one special kindness led to modern images of ole St. Nick, Pere Noel, Sinter Klaas and Santa Claus.

    There was a father living in Patara who had once been wealthy and renowned, but he suddenly lost everything and fell into poverty. Many who respected him as a wealthy man scorned and ridiculed him as a peasant.

    This man had three beautiful, virgin daughters, but had no money to provide a dowry for them. He knew he would have to abandon them to prostitution.

    Saint Nicholas was disturbed by the state of this family and decided to help. But, not wanting to embarrass the man by giving him money, and wishing his own identity to remain hidden, Saint Nicholas decided to deliver the gold at night - in secret.

    Some accounts say when Saint Nicholas threw the bag of gold in the window it landed in a stocking hung by the fire to dry (hence the tradition of hanging stockings on the mantle). The father found the gold the next day, rejoiced, thanked God and used the money to marry off his oldest daughter.

    Saint Nicholas, seeing the good thing the father did with the money, decided he would deliver more gold to the needy family. The father again used the riches as a dowry, this time for his second daughter. Excited and grateful to God for the blessing, the father prayed and asked that his benefactor would be revealed to him.

    The third night when Saint Nicholas tossed the bag of gold through the window, the father heard it hit the ground and ran after Saint Nicholas. When he finally caught up with the saint, the father recognized Saint Nicholas and fell at his feet thanking him for delivering his daughters.

    Saint Nicholas made the man promise that he would tell no one of the gold until he had died.

    Saint Nicholas went on to minister and travel, reportedly performing miracles and helping the needy. He later became a bishop and died on Dec. 6, 343. Today, the faithful still celebrate his memory on Dec. 6. Saint Nicholas is also honored as the patron saint of children and the patron saint of Russia.

    Many Europeans celebrate Saint Nicholas Day by placing their shoes outside their doors on the Eve of Saint Nicholas (Dec. 5), hoping the saint will fill them with fruit and candy. Many Orthodox and Catholic families will attend a divine liturgy in honor of the saint. Still others choose to celebrate traditions of gift giving and community service on that day.

    Because Saint Nicholas Day falls close to Christmas, many countries have combined the traditions for celebration on Christmas day.

    Through years of embellishment and combining several different cultures' stories, Americans have ended up with their own icon for Saint Nicholas in Santa Claus.

    Saint Nicholas' legacy of generosity and compassion has translated even into the fantastic stories of Santa Claus.

    (EDITOR'S NOTE - This story of Saint Nicholas was adapted from various sources including AGAIN Magazine.)

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jodi Mathews , Baptist Center for Ethics | with 0 comments



    Family Bible Study lesson for Dec. 30: The Challenge of Christmas

    December 14 2001 by David Edgell , Philippians 3:1-14

    Family Bible Study lesson for Dec. 30: The Challenge of Christmas | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Family Bible Study lesson for Dec. 30: The Challenge of Christmas

    By David Edgell Philippians 3:1-14 Christmas is a time for Christians to display our love for Christ. But shouldn't we display that love all year long? A popular contemporary Christian Christmas song, All Year Long by Larnelle Harris, illustrates the contrast we often have at Christmas:

    He braced the old ladder with all of his might, And shouted, "Dad have no fear," As I stretched high to store the stockings and trim, In the attic for another year. We were busily packing our Christmas away, While singing a carol we knew. When I heard my son in innocence inquire, Do we store away Jesus too?

    All year long, We must worship day by day. All year long, Tis the season to obey. May the Christmas tree lights, And the sleigh rides at night, Remind us all to stay in God's presence. All year long.

    The Lordship of Christ on our lives should be evident continually. Philippians chapter three states several ways we can display the Lordship of Christ.

    First, we must practice humility and continually surrender our lives to Christ. Verse three indicates that circumcision of the heart, worship by the spirit of God, glorification of God in Christ, and placing no confidence in the flesh are indications of genuine faith.

    These are areas that are daily disciplines. They indicate that we are willing to surrender to Christ daily and live our faith in areas not always seen by others.

    Second, as Christians we have a rich heritage and have seen God's blessings in many ways. However, we must remember that these are never reasons to place confidence in ourselves or even in our heritage.

    Our confidence and dependence must be upon God. Christian heritage is lived out not by confidence in that heritage, but in the God of our heritage.

    Worship should flow not from our tradition but from a daily walk with Christ.

    That daily walk must include placing confidence in God and not in the flesh. It involves worshiping God with genuine surrender, giving glory to Christ, and removing the barriers of sin that separate us from Him.

    Third, the Christmas season reminds us of the work of Christ in our world. He came "not to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them" (Matt. 5:17). He came to show us that tradition is fulfilled in a dynamic love with our Savior.

    The traditions around us should be a reminder that our confidence is not found in the traditions themselves or in our self-righteousness, but in Christ.

    "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith" Phil. 3:7-9.

    Let's remember not to store away Christ with the Christmas ornaments but to live for Him all year long.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by David Edgell , Philippians 3:1-14 | with 0 comments



    Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 6: Inaction to Action

    December 14 2001 by Lisa Horton , Acts 6:1-4, James 1:22-27; 2:14-18

    Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 6: Inaction to Action | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

    Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 6: Inaction to Action

    By Lisa Horton Acts 6:1-4, James 1:22-27; 2:14-18 Is your faith contagious? Whose life has been changed as a result of knowing you? Are there people who will be in heaven because you shared your faith in Christ with them? Is your faith rubbing off on anyone? There was a preacher who was speaking at a conference in Colorado. While there, he purchased $7.02 worth of merchandise in a small store; not realizing that the only money he had with him was a $100 bill. When the preacher laid the bill on the counter, the clerk grasped it in both hands and held it to the light. Then he began to rub the bill vigorously back and forth against a piece of white paper. The preacher watched as the white paper turned green. The ink was coming off the $100 bill! The bill was a counterfeit! His mind began to race as he tried to remember where he had gotten the bill. He imagined the headlines: "Baptist preacher bagged with bogus bill." Suddenly the clerk looked up and smiled. Pointing to the green-stained paper, he said, "Well, it's good. The real thing always rubs off."

    I must admit that I do not know for sure if rubbing a hundred-dollar bill on white paper is a valid test of its authenticity. But I am sure of this: A real, genuine faith always rubs off on other people.

    Is it possible to have genuine faith in Jesus Christ, and not have works that demonstrate that faith? James says that faith without deeds is useless (James 2:14). But, if "useless" is not a strong enough description, then try "dead" (James 2:17).

    A person who claims to be a Christian, but demonstrates no action to back up that claim, is like a person who claims to be a pianist, but never plays the piano; or a person who claims to be a pilot, but has never flown an airplane. It is one thing for a person to say he has faith, and another to actually possess a genuine faith. Real faith demands action.

    Hebrews chapter 11 is often referred to as God's "hall of fame of faith." This passage vividly illustrates the truth that faith is demonstrated by actions. Each person mentioned in this chapter is given an eternal place in God's word, because of his faith. And in each case, we are told specifically how that person demonstrated his faith. By faith, Abel offered a better sacrifice. By faith, Enoch pleased God. By faith, Noah built an ark. By faith, Abraham obeyed God. And so on. Their faith was unquestionably demonstrated by acts of obedience to God.

    I have to wonder, if we were nominated to be in God's hall of fame of faith, what evidence could be given to prove that our faith was verified by our actions.

    Although works are very important in the life of a Christian, we must remember that faith always comes before works. Eph. 2:8-9 says that "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." It is impossible to do enough good deeds to earn your way into heaven. However, there are many people who do not understand this truth. As a matter of fact, a recent nationwide survey by the Barna Research Group revealed that the majority of church-going adults believe that good works are one of the keys to persuading God to forgive their sins. But the message of the Bible is very clear: God will only accept the blood of Jesus Christ as a covering for our sins and as a means of entering heaven.

    Once we have truly received salvation by faith, then out of a heart of love, gratitude and obedience, we will joyfully serve the Lord. Titus 2:14 says that Jesus Christ "gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good."

    Let us demonstrate a genuine faith and a transformed life by our eagerness to do what is good!

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Lisa Horton , Acts 6:1-4, James 1:22-27; 2:14-18 | with 0 comments



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