January 2002

Paperwork partners

January 25 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Paperwork partners | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Paperwork partners

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

NEW YORK - N.C. Baptist volunteers continue to assist with disaster-related ministry projects in New York City, though some are more likely to leave with ink-stained hands than with dirt-stained clothes.

More than four months after terrorist attacks leveled the World Trade Center, thousands of people remain out of work or displaced from their homes. Yet, the rent is still due and bills need to be paid. Millions of dollars have been donated to assist persons affected by the tragedy, but distributing the funds in a fair and timely fashion has been a monumental task.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called on Safe Horizon, a non-profit organization that normally assists crime victims, to assist in distributing the funds. Safe Horizon then called on the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) to recruit volunteer workers who could help process the avalanche of applications for assistance.

CBF called on David and Shirley Hall of Burlington to serve as project coordinators. The Halls, members of First Baptist Church of Elon, accepted the role and have been in New York since Oct. 19.

They identify areas where local agencies need volunteer support and request CBF to enlist needed assistance. When volunteer workers arrive, the Halls provide orientation and remain on call to assist them at all hours of the day and night.

Volunteers pay their own expenses and are asked to serve for at least five days. Many have worked with Safe Horizon to assist aid applicants in navigating the system.

When Ed and Laura Ann Vick of Raleigh's First Baptist Church arrived in New York the week after Christmas, they were assigned to work in the Family Assistance Center at Pier 94, a large exhibition hall located by the Hudson River near 54th Street and 12th Avenue. There they interviewed clients to help determine what assistance they were eligible to receive. People who lost their jobs and have been unable to find work or obtain unemployment compensation can get some temporary income, while persons who were displaced from their homes can receive funds to assist with relocation, hotel bills, meals and other expenses. Applicants must re-apply periodically, usually at two-week intervals.

Volunteers record the needed information, make calls to confirm its accuracy, then present each individual's or family's case to those who actually release the funds.

The Vicks were impressed with the wide variety of people seeking assistance. Many were undocumented immigrants typically paid in cash for low-paying jobs in the Chinatown area. Many did not speak English. One man who sought assistance had worked as a translator for Japanese groups visiting Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Another was a self-employed energy broker who had lost all of his records when the World Trade Center collapsed.

Volunteers provide crucial assistance in filling out needed forms, but that is not their most important role, according to Shirley Hall. "The greatest gift is not the paperwork, but listening to the needs and experiences of the applicants, by being really caring with that person," she said.

Applicants are often amazed that volunteers would pay their own expenses and give of their time to come and assist them, she said. Applicants and volunteers often pray together.

New York City officials closed the Family Assistance Center at Pier 94 after the first of the year, dispersing aid workers to smaller Family Assistance Centers throughout the city. The new centers are located in vacant buildings, bank lobbies and other scattered facilities. Conditions are often cramped and far less user-friendly than in the Pier 94 building, making the caring role of volunteers even more crucial.

During the Christmas season, CBF volunteers also helped out in the Salvation Army Toy Shop, distributing some 12,000 toys and working to foster an atmosphere of joy. Still others have assisted the Salvation Army at the large feeding station near "Ground Zero" and at a variety of canteens around the city.

A group of 10 volunteers from First Baptist Church in Kannapolis worked in the main feeding station Dec. 27-31. Some, like Lara Cabaniss, served food to public safety officers and others working at "the pit," while others restocked drink boxes and organized supplies. Cabaniss, who is an elementary school curriculum coordinator, distributed more than 300 handmade cards from students in Kannapolis. She said team members had meaningful conversations with aid workers. "We were so impressed that when they came through the feeding line, they thanked us for our help," she said. "We were there to honor and thank them, but they appreciated us."

Pastor Tom Cabaniss said the trip had a dual purpose. "We wanted to serve God first and share Christ's love," he said, "but it was also a way for us to serve our country and contribute in a small way to the rebuilding efforts."

The trip had a noticeable impact on the church family, Cabaniss said. Church members are now spearheading a drive to collect items still needed at the site. Working conditions are often bitterly cold, so there is an increased need for wool socks, warm gloves and lip balm, along with individually wrapped cough drops and pain medications.

About 20 percent of the New York volunteers working through CBF are from North Carolina, according to the Halls. Teams will be needed through the month of March for current projects, and afterward for other initiatives.

Prospective volunteers can obtain more information by calling the CBF Resource Center in Raleigh at (877) 856-9288 toll-free or (919) 754-8649 locally.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Parents keeping SEBTS child center operating as independent non-profit

January 25 2002 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Parents keeping SEBTS child center operating as independent non-profit | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Parents keeping SEBTS child center operating as independent non-profit

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor

A group of parents is carrying on a ministry for children that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary closed last summer.

The parents have created a non-profit corporation and plan to relocate the Ruby Reid Child Development Center from its location on the seminary campus into a new building in early March. The new building is about twice the size of the present facility and is about three miles south of campus.

"The focus on Christian values and morals at the center ... will continue on," said David Robbins, who chairs the non-profit's board of directors.

The move will come about nine months after parents learned that the seminary's president, Paige Patterson, decided to close the facility, stating the child development center didn't fit into the seminary's "Statement of Institutional Purpose." Patterson also said at the time he had ideological problems with the seminary sponsoring a child development center although he said that was not a reason for closing.

The decision to close gave parents six weeks to find other care for their children. Shortly after receiving the letter, parents met to discuss their options. Ruby Reid was not only more affordable than most commercial child care centers in the area, it was the only four-star rated center. And it was the only Christian-based center that operated all day five days a week.

"We looked into all the options," Robbins said. That included interviewing people interested in creating a for-profit center.

On Aug. 1, Ruby Reid became an independent non-profit center after 42 years of seminary sponsorship. The seminary has continued to allow the independent center to operate in the original building on campus.

None of the parents desired to start a day care center, either non-profit or for-profit, Robbins said. But the parents wanted other children to experience what their children had at Ruby Reid, he said. Robbins said his son, Noah, who attended Ruby Reid for two years, loved the school.

The new facility is not only larger, it contains a multi-purpose room where the whole school can gather. The new site is in a new business park located off South Main Street in Wake Forest.

The quality of Ruby Reid since its founding has been a direct result of the seminary, Robbins said. Southeastern no longer sponsors the child care center, but 75 percent of the 22-person staff is directly related to the seminary, either by studying at the school or being married to a student, he said.

"We're still going to recruit teachers and staff from the seminary," Robbins said.

About 25 percent of the center's 86 students are children of seminary students, he said. Last year at this time, more than half of the student body was composed of seminary students' children. When the seminary removed its support from Ruby Reid, it also took a $40 per week subsidy per child for seminary students, Robbins said.

One of the reasons Ruby Reid was ranked a four-star facility was the training of its teachers, he said. Several teachers have college degrees in early childhood development. To encourage that education, Ruby Reid will pay for teachers to take classes related to their teaching.

Robbins is also hoping the new facility will allow the child development school to increase its rating from four to five stars.

Ruby Reid is leasing the building but had to pay about $500,000 to upfit the facility for a child development center, Robbins said. The weekly rate parents pay ranges from $131 for older children to $141 for 1-year-olds. The amount covers operating costs, including the lease.

To help pay for the building's upfit, Ruby Reid is promoting a capital campaign. Contributions can be sent to Ruby Reid Child Development Center Inc., P.O. Box 1124, Wake Forest, N.C. 27588.

"We really need everyone's thoughts and prayers as we move forward," Robbins said. "We've already seen God work. Every time we've reached a wall, God's opened a door. We continue to move ahead in faith."

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments



Second Missouri convention slated to launch in April

January 25 2002 by Bill Webb , Editor, Missouri Word and Way

Second Missouri convention slated to launch in April | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Second Missouri convention slated to launch in April

By Bill Webb Editor, Missouri Word and Way

SEDALIA, Mo. - About 350 Missouri Baptists representing more than 100 churches laid the groundwork on Jan. 17 for a new state convention.

They agreed to formally launch what is tentatively being called the Baptist Convention of Missouri on either April 18-19 or April 19-20 at Fee Fee Baptist Church in suburban St. Louis.

Saying they had grown weary of factional strife in the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), speakers said the time had come to consider something new.

Plans call for the new convention to relate to the Southern Baptist Convention and commit to the welfare of all nine Missouri Baptist agencies, with particular attention to support the five institutions that were defunded during the MBC annual meeting in October.

The five institutions include: The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist College, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, the Missouri Baptist Foundation and Word and Way, whose decisions to elect their own trustees drew the ire of a strong majority of messengers last fall.

A second state convention in Missouri would bring to three the number of states with separate organizations relating to the SBC. Conservatives formed breakaway conventions in Virginia and Texas, both moderate strongholds. The alternative Missouri convention would be the first for moderates in a state controlled by conservatives.

Speakers described what they view as a growing exclusiveness in MBC life and criticized recent actions to seek legal opinions in an effort that could result in lawsuits against one or more of the five institutions.

Other grievances include the state convention's decision to escrow Cooperative Program and missions offering funds budgeted in 2002 for the five institutions and the unseating of messengers from Second Baptist Church in Liberty.

The meeting featured presentations by host pastor Drew Hill and his brother, Jim Hill. Jim Hill resigned as MBC executive director last year, saying he opposed defunding the institutions and would not be a part of proposed legal action against them. "The only reason Baptists should form a new convention in Missouri is if they believe it is the will of God," he said.

Other speakers, who described themselves as lifelong Missouri Baptists, gave testimonies under the title "Why I would consider becoming a part of a new Baptist state convention."

Randy Fullerton, pastor of Fee Fee Church in Bridgeton, lamented the rancor at the MBC annual meeting. "The world looked at us last fall," he said, and couldn't see any difference between messengers and themselves. "I don't recognize the Missouri Baptist Convention anymore. That's why we must begin a new convention."

H.K. Neely, vice president for denominational relations at Southwest Baptist University, called for a convention (1) "that is willing to represent all Missouri Baptists;" (2) "that understands the nature of Baptist cooperation;" (3) "that recognizes the nature of Baptist confessions of faith;" (4) "that understands the relationship between conventions and agencies;" and (5) "just to do the work."

Bill Miller, pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmington, said he was concerned that if a church sends funds to the MBC with instructions that the money is to go to all the budgeted entities with nothing escrowed, those funds are classified as "designated" gifts and are not counted as part of the Cooperative Program unified budget.

"When Cooperative Program giving is not called Cooperative Program giving by the entity that receives it, then that spells the beginning of the end of the Cooperative Program," he said.

Miller also expressed concern that the MBC nominating committee rejected a respected member of his church for re-election to a Missouri Baptist board position.

Questions surfaced regarding the new convention's proposed relationship with the SBC and whether Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) churches would be included.

"As far as cooperating with the SBC, we're not all on the same page," Drew Hill acknowledged. Citing a respect for local church autonomy, he said, "There are many, many Missouri Baptist churches that are committed deeply to the SBC."

"In order for a new convention to really honor our heritage and history, two kinds of people in our churches are going to have to be willing to come together," he said. "Churches who have gone through the process of pulling from the SBC would have to be respectful of the others" and vice-versa.

"What matters is the kingdom," he said. "What matters is reaching our state."

Fullerton added, "We're Southern Baptist. That's who we are."

Jim Hill predicted some churches that relate to CBF would be interested in the new convention and others would not. He and others said they did not necessarily feel that churches should be excluded from participation in a new convention on the basis of where they send their money.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Bill Webb , Editor, Missouri Word and Way | with 0 comments



Top leaders resign at Mars Hill College

January 25 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Top leaders resign at Mars Hill College | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Top leaders resign at Mars Hill College

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

MARS HILL - President Max Lennon and Chancellor Robert Knott resigned their positions at Mars Hill College on Thursday, Jan. 24. The resignations were announced in a statement from the executive committee of the college's board of trustees.

Board chairman Kyle Carver said "It is with much reluctance, but with a firm focus on the future, that we accept the decision of these two distinguished gentlemen. The leadership, service and passion these two educators have shared with the College will be missed."

Carver announced on Friday that Dan Lunsford will serve as interim president. Lunsford has served as dean of the School of Education and Leadership since Oct. 1998.

"With a measure of reluctance and a great sense of humility, I have agreed to accept the unanimous offer of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees to serve as interim president of the College, effective immediately," Lunsford said. "I do this for two reasons: my concern for and devotion to Mars Hill College and my absolute respect and appreciation for the faculty and staff of the college."

Lunsford added that he hopes to lead the college forward in a constructive, positive manner, focusing on "what Mars Hill College is about: teaching and learning in the Mars Hill environment."

Lennon, who had served as president since March of 1996, had come under fire from faculty members who expressed disappointment in his leadership of the small liberal arts college. Areas of contention reportedly included faculty pay, hiring practices, and the creation of a foundation in 1998 to raise more money for the school.

Lennon's previous experience was mostly in larger universities, including Clemson University, where he was president from 1986-94. He came to Mars Hill from Eastern Foods, Inc., where he was Chief Executive Officer.

Representatives of the school's 85 faculty members had met with Lennon in December and with a committee appointed by the trustees to address outstanding issues between the faculty and administration.

Associate professor of English and elected faculty spokesperson Carol Boggess told the Biblical Recorder that no one doubted Lennon's commitment to the college. "He had noble, honest intentions," she said. "We just felt his leadership was not effective for this time, at this school. Partly it was fund raising. It was also choosing the right personnel and keeping the right personnel, and keeping focused on our primary mission ... our main mission is to equip students ... his focus sometimes did not seem to stay on the primary goal."

Faculty representatives had planned to meet with trustees during a special meeting of the board's executive committee on Jan. 24, expecting the meeting to include a discussion of their concerns. However, trustees opened the meeting by announcing that the board had already chosen to accept resignations from both the president and chancellor.

The faculty had hoped Lennon would resign, but Knott's depature came as an unwelcome surprise.

Kathy Meacham, who teaches religion and philosophy at the school, told the Asheville Citizen-Times that faculty members were extremely disappointed the board agreed to accept Knott's resignation.

Boggess said the faculty still had complete confidence in Knott. "We are very indebted to Dr. Knott. He has really been the glue that has held us together the past few years."

Students reacted even more sharply after packing into Belk Auditorium Thursday night for a forum with faculty representatives. An estimated 400 students - about one third of the student body - were present. Many expressed dismay that they had been uninformed about the issues and left out of the faculty/trustee discussions. Some said they first learned of the resignations from newspaper accounts.

Students expressed appreciation for both leaders, though they related most closely to Knott. Students rallied the following day, posting numerous signs that pleaded "Don't Untie Our Knott," and wearing knotted ribbons in school's trademark blue and gold colors.

Knott, who taught philosophy at Mars Hill from 1969-75 and 1980-82, returned to the college in 1998 as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and was elevated to Chancellor in August 2000 when trustees restructured the school's top leadership. At that time, Knott was given responsibility for relating to the faculty and for day to day operations at the college. Lennon retained the title of President, with his primary emphasis to be on fund-raising.

Troy Day, a college trustee and chair of the board of the Mars Hill College Foundation, told the Citizen-Times that trustees accepted both resignations because they wanted to start fresh.

"Dr. Knott and Dr. Lennon are the top leaders of the school. The ultimate responsibility lies in their hands," he said. "We felt the best answer to the situation was to accept the resignations of both holding the responsibility."

During Lennon's tenure, the college experienced strong growth in fund-raising, including a number of six and seven figure gifts from private individuals, the securing of a $10 million bond issue from the State of North Carolina, and the development of a $5 million capital improvement fund. The college's endowment grew from approximately $20 million to over $45 million, according to a college press release.

Lennon also worked to establish the Mars Hill College Foundation and led the college through the "Toward 2006" strategic planning process and implementation.

Mars Hill College will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2006.

Lennon responded to the situation with grace, telling the Citizen-Times he believed resigning was the right thing to do in the face of faculty unrest. "We have been really blessed here," he said. "We've had lots of successes. I think it's time that we have fresh leadership to build on our successes."

Knott served as president of Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn., for eight years prior to becoming chancellor at Mars Hill College. He recently led the school through a successful accreditation process, provided leadership for the college's current organizational structure, and oversaw an extensive restructuring of the college's finances.

Knott received the Golden Circle Award, which is bestowed by the faculty and staff of the College, in May 2001.

Knott told the Citizen-Times that his offer to resign was not an empty gesture. "I've always said I'm willing to step aside for the good of the college," he said.

[Editor's note: Additional reporting or information provided by BR assistant editor Jimmy Allen and by Marla Milling, Director of Communications for Mars Hill College.]

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Intrigued: Recognizing limits?

January 25 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Intrigued: Recognizing limits? | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Intrigued: Recognizing limits?

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

A plumber I am not.

I don't have any of those special low-rider pants, for one thing.

When a toilet started leaking in our building a few weeks back, I tried to save the Biblical Recorder a few dollars by tackling the job myself.

I added Teflon tape to the leaking junction, and tightened the plastic nut.

It still leaked.

I tried replacing the whole intake line, thinking fresh washers would do the trick.

Nope.

The valve and flapper inside the tank looked worn and the middle stack was broken, so I decided to take off the tank and replace everything inside.

I read the instructions carefully, and followed them to the letter, except for the part where I may have gotten a little dyslexic. I paid special attention to the washers and bolts holding the tank to the bowl. "Tighten one half turn beyond hand tight," the instructions said. "Do not over tighten or tank may crack." I didn't want that to happen, so I measured it. One half turn precisely.

Smiling with satisfaction when everything was neatly re-assembled, I turned on the water - and the tank began to leak profusely around those two bolts I had treated so carefully.

What else could I do? I grabbed my pliers and began to tighten things up. "Just another half turn or so," I thought, "and surely it will stop leaking."

About three quarters of a turn later, there was a loud pop, the bottom of the tank cracked open from right to left, and water cascaded down my legs, flooding the bathroom.

There was nothing left to do but turn off the water and clean up the mess. Feeling flushed, I grumbled all the way back to my office.

My efforts to save a few dollars cost us several hours of my time, plus the funds required for a whole new toilet and a plumber to install it.

I should learn a lesson from that, but the experience didn't stop me from hovering and "helping" when the plumber came to install the new toilet.

You never know when another one might start leaking - and I think I've got it now.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Thinking: Buried in books, and no time to read

January 25 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Thinking: Buried in books, and no time to read | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Thinking: Buried in books, and no time to read

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

My first love was books. Long before I first started paying attention to girls, I fell in love with books. Big books, little books. Seuss books and science books. Adventure books and educational books. I once read all six volumes of the "Child's World Encyclopedia." I even started on the "World Book Encyclopedia" dictionary, but I couldn't keep up with all the plot changes. I read the Bible through long before high school, along with most of the science fiction books in our school library.

Books can take you places you've never been.

Books can teach you things you didn't know.

Books can touch your emotions, stretch your mind and expand your horizons.

I love books, so long as they're not by William Shakespeare. I've probably bought thousands of books, and read even more.

These days I face a real quandary. My job gets me all sorts of books for free, but I don't have time to read them.

Publishers like the idea of getting inexpensive publicity for their products, so they often send unsolicited "review copies" to newspaper editors. Others will send a catalog and let us choose the books we find interesting.

It leads to the same problem I have in a buffet line. I wind up with far more books than I have time to read. I have three stacks of books in my office now, all of them calling my name.

There's Taylor Field's account of church planting and ministry on Manhattan's lower east side in "A Church Called Graffitti," and a couple of interesting church administration books like "Size Transitions in Congregations," edited by Beth Ann Gaede, and "Conflict Management in Congregations," edited by David Lott.

I'm also interested in more heavyweight books like "A Baptist's Theology," edited by Wayne Stacy, and Theologians of the Baptist Tradition, edited by David George and David Dockery.

I've been meaning to read James Johnson of Fayetteville's "Combat Chaplain: A Thirty-Year Vietnam Battle" for months, but it's still on the shelf beside Calvin Parker's The Japanese Sam Patch. So are "Food and Love," by Gary Smalley, which tweaks my curiosity, and Jess Moody's "God, If You Have a Plan for My Life, Where Were You Last Thursday?"

And that's just the top of the pile - not to mention the 66 books of the Bible that I need to read more often.

Since Christmas, I have managed only to read through "Finding God in The Lord of the Rings," by Kurt Brunner and Jim Ware, along with two editions of James Draper's book on biblical authority, a science fiction novel by Greensboro's Orson Scott Card, and Robert Alter's new translation of Genesis.

I started on Michael Blackwell's "A Place for Miracles," but then Margaret Brouillette's "Famous Jerks of the Bible" showed up. Who could resist that?

Some books we read for love and others for laughs.

Some we read for learning, and some we read for life.

I'm looking for a book called "Finding Time to Read Made Easy" - and hoping I can find time to read it.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Baby Boomers and the budget

January 25 2002 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer

Baby Boomers and the budget | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Baby Boomers and the budget

By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-treasurer

The first time I came across the term, "Baby Boomer," (in the book "Great Expectations"), I suddenly realized they were talking about me - people born between 1946 and 1964. We are perhaps the most studied age-cohort on the planet. We have been the subjects of literally countless research projects that have charted and scrutinized our ever-waking moment.

Now George Barna, the respected church growth demographer, has uncovered some rather unsettling characteristics about my generation in terms of church attendance and support. While seen as the "wealthiest generation of all time," we are also the most self-absorbed with "tenuous ties to the church." Barna goes on to warn " ... in the days to come, I see them dropping out (of the church) as their children continue leaving home." All of this, Barna continues, will lead to financial woes for many congregations.

The financial changes may already be appearing on the horizon, with a drop of six percent nationwide in America in charitable giving in 2000, following a nine percent drop the year before. Even among born-again Christians, says Barna, there was a 16 percent decline in dollars contributed to all non-profits (including churches) in 2000.

What can we do about all of this? Throw up our hands and accept whatever comes (or doesn't come) our way?

To begin, we must acknowledge that many of the traditional methods of church support may be headed for some significant changes. In most churches today, people over age 55 provide most of the financial support. As Baby Boomers move into that age bracket (the oldest Boomers turned 55 last year), Barna warns us not to look for Boomers' stewardship habits to continue in the pattern of their elders.

Boomers, while less inclined to give money than older generations, are more willing to give of their time. Volunteerism is at an all-time high. There is a renewed excitement about hands-on missions, motivating people to give up their vacation time to go somewhere on a mission trip - even paying all or most of their own expenses. They want to be doing, not just giving.

In my lifetime there has never been a greater need to teach Christian stewardship. Too often, churches and conventions have responded to stewardship needs with quick fix fund raising tactics and emotional pleas. Many church members will no longer give simply because we need the money. Where's the money going? Who is it going to benefit? What are my other choices?

There is no easy, one-step solution to the situation at hand. Perhaps we are reaping the harvest of what we failed to do in teaching stewardship and mission support to an entire generation of people. Or maybe we're seeing the results of what we did do: becoming too focused on ourselves - our denominational differences - rather than staying focused on missions and evangelism.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments



A call to maturity

January 25 2002 by Can you recall growing up as teenagers trying to sing along with the songs coming over the car radio? Of course, our rendition of each song, at times, had much to be desired. Somehow, though, all of us knew in the back of our minds that if we could m

A call to maturity | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

A call to maturity

1 Corinthians 2:1-16 Can you recall growing up as teenagers trying to sing along with the songs coming over the car radio? Of course, our rendition of each song, at times, had much to be desired. Somehow, though, all of us knew in the back of our minds that if we could master each tune we would be so much more "mature" around our peers.

A song I remember that helped me age in other ways was a popular tune, "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin. Chapin relates in the verse how a relationship develops over the years between a father and his son. He sings at the end of the song that all the father's bad habits had now been passed down to his son. Now, too late to change, the father laments, "He'd grown up just like me. My boy was just like me."

The significance of who we model our lives after is critical for not only our personal day-to-day existence, but also, more importantly, for our spiritual well being. Paul knew this to be accurate for the young believers at Corinth. The examples they follow would dictate their maturity as a Christian.

The Messenger

(1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

If anyone had a life-changing experience with God, it was Paul. From his Damascus Road salvation to his successful itinerant preacher stops, he could easily have claimed greatness in the early church movement. Yet we see him sharing in these verses his Christian maturity by way of his humility. He directs them to Christ and not to himself.

A sincere act of growing up in the faith for us today is to be arrows pointing others to Jesus.

We also see the human side of the apostle. Even the great Paul in verse three shared with them that he struggled as a called out one for the Lord. His strength rested not on his ability but on his dependency on God. His main concern was to have them understand that faith is not based on anything human, but on God's power.

The Message

(1 Corinthians 2:6-16)

Paul sets out sharing his message of what is true maturity. In verse seven we are reminded that true wisdom was around before time began. God was the author. Anything else made by man falls severely short of the goal.

Going further to prove his point in verse nine, Paul states that this wisdom is reserved for those of us who are believers. It is always amazing to hear many new believers share one of their first insights as a Christian as finally understanding the meaning of the Gospel story. This dose of true wisdom brings so much joy to their lives.

In verses 10-12 we discover that this wisdom is revealed and interpreted through the Holy Spirit. The benefit of having the Spirit is to enable us to understand our gifts that we use for God's glory. Not only do we have the reassurance of the Trinity with us, but also we are now blessed with talents to share with others. Christian maturity is not complete until we give ourselves away.

Another characteristic of this message is found in verses 14-15. Divine wisdom given to believers will provide right judgments. The ability to discern between what can be done and what should be done is something people have craved throughout the ages. As followers of Christ we now have that portion at our disposal.

More than anything else, Paul is trying to convince the Corinthians in verse 16 that they can measure maturity when they approach life like Christ. Do they see the world through Christ's eyes or their own?

And what about us today? From our viewpoint are we being diverted to something or someone else besides Christ? Can you and I say that we are trying to grow up just like Him?

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Can you recall growing up as teenagers trying to sing along with the songs coming over the car radio? Of course, our rendition of each song, at times, had much to be desired. Somehow, though, all of us knew in the back of our minds that if we could m | with 0 comments



Alliance of Baptists considers revisioning

January 18 2002 by Sue Harper Poss , Associated Baptist Press

Alliance of Baptists considers revisioning | Friday, Jan. 18, 2002

Friday, Jan. 18, 2002

Alliance of Baptists considers revisioning

By Sue Harper Poss Associated Baptist Press OAKLAND, Calif. - As it prepares to celebrate its 15th anniversary convocation in April, the Alliance of Baptists has formed a task force to reassess its role in Baptist life. The Alliance recently co-sponsored a one-day mini-convocation in Oakland, Calif., with the Pacific Coast Baptist Association, an association of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

The meeting, rescheduled from last fall because of travel difficulties following Sept. 11, included morning and afternoon worship services, a town hall meeting at which the effects of Sept. 11 were discussed, and several workshops including one on conflict resolution and another on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations.

A small organization numbering 105 churches, the Alliance's strength has been its ability to make connections, said Executive Director Stan Hastey. Those denominational connections include international partnerships in Cuba, Zimbabwe, and Canada. In the United States, the Alliance works closely with the United Church of Christ, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In 2000, the Alliance was accepted as a member of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, and it maintains a relationship with the Institute of Christian and Jewish Studies.

Prior to the convocation, the Alliance board of directors discussed a process for looking anew at the organization's role.

"We are at a point where the challenges we face strongly suggest an organizational reassessment," said immediate-past president Welton Gaddy of Washington. "The niche that we filled 15 years ago is now much larger and has much more potential for ministry than we are equipped for."

Gaddy's comments sparked lengthy conversation about what the role of the Alliance should be, and prompted current president Paula Clayton Dempsey, chaplain at Mars Hill College in North Carolina, to appoint a four-member task group to bring a suggested "revisioning process" to the board in April.

Appointed to the task group were Cherie Smith of St. Louis, Relma Hargus of Baton, Rouge, La., Cathy Tamsberg of Raleigh, and Gaddy.

"One of my ongoing concerns is the degree to which we are providing resources to our churches," Tamsberg said. "Members of our progressive Baptist churches need materials to teach children, youth and adults, materials to help people form spiritually. I would hope that, as we begin this revisioning process, we would look hard at what our capacity is and what do we want our capacity to be."

Currently the Alliance does not provide regular ongoing study material for congregations but does have several resources available on specific subjects, including human sexuality and the environment.

Also at the Oakland meeting, the Alliance board approved a 2002 operating budget of just under $290,000 and a mission offering goal of $95,000 to be distributed among 24 organizations. The board also heard a report from Donna Poynor of Gainesville, Fla., that 53 chaplains have been endorsed by the Alliance since it attained endorsing status in 1999.

The board also heard a report about the upcoming annual convocation, scheduled April 5-7 at Wake Forest Baptist Church and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Past Alliance president Richard Groves, pastor of the host church, chairs the convocation committee. The theme of that meeting will be "Serving You by Loving All," focusing on one point of the Alliance covenant that emphasizes servant leadership.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/18/2002 12:00:00 AM by Sue Harper Poss , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Baptist Foundation collapse similar to Enron, Arizona official says

January 18 2002 by Mark Wingfield , Texas Baptist Standard

Baptist Foundation collapse similar to Enron, Arizona official says | Friday, Jan. 18, 2002

Friday, Jan. 18, 2002

Baptist Foundation collapse similar to Enron, Arizona official says

By Mark Wingfield Texas Baptist Standard PHOENIX - The alleged swindling of $600 million from investors in the Arizona Baptist Foundation could provide clues to how the Texas energy giant Enron collapsed, according to the Arizona attorney general. The two bankruptcy cases are related by the fact Arthur Andersen was the auditor for both Enron and the Arizona Baptist Foundation.

"I am very troubled by the similarities between the allegations against Andersen by Enron's investors and the facts our office has discovered in our various investigations of Andersen," Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano wrote in a Jan. 2 letter to three Senate leaders. "I am seriously concerned that Andersen has engaged in a pattern of deceptive auditing practices that have had the effect of defrauding the investing public, including the state of Arizona and the Arizona State Retirement System, out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

"The Baptist Foundation of Arizona matter alone cost investors approximately $590 million, and we believe that the Enron matter has cost investors billions of dollars, including losses in excess of $700 million just to the various states' retirement systems."

Napolitano urged the Senate Commerce, Transportation and Science Committee "to closely examine Andersen's role in auditing Enron's financial statements." "The investing community, including the state of Arizona, needs to know whether Andersen has undertaken a systematic campaign or practice of fraudulent financial auditing," she said.

Congress and federal law enforcement officials are investigating what role the accounting giant might have played in hiding Enron's financial instability from investors. Arthur Andersen currently is defending itself against allegations that its auditors were complicit in hiding the shaky financial condition of the Arizona Baptist Foundation.

Pati Urias, public information officer for the Arizona attorney general, said Napolitano's offer was made to Sens. Tom Daschle, John McCain and Ernest Hollings.

Arthur Andersen has denied any wrongdoing in the foundation collapse. Its response to the Enron bankruptcy is still unfolding, with internal investigations under way, one key employee fired and others suspended.

Andersen media representatives did not return a phone call seeking additional comment on the cases.

In both the Enron and Baptist foundation cases, the auditing firm had given its clients clean bills of financial health, despite the fact that huge losses were hidden from investors in a maze of subsidiaries.

Enron's collapse is the largest bankruptcy of a publicly traded company in United States history. The Baptist Foundation of Arizona's collapse is the largest bankruptcy of a non-profit charity in U.S. history.

Arthur Andersen is tangled in a series of legal actions and accusations related to the collapse of the Arizona Baptist Foundation.

Criminal charges have been filed against eight people formerly associated with the foundation. Three of the former foundation officials have entered guilty pleas to the criminal charges, while five others have been indicted but entered not guilty pleas.

A class-action lawsuit and other civil litigation have been filed against Arthur Andersen. The Arizona State Board of Public Accountancy also has filed an administrative complaint against Arthur Andersen, seeking $600 million in restitution to victims of the foundation bankruptcy.

Andersen is battling in court now to prevent the class-action suit from proceeding. The accounting firm contends foundation investors should be required to bring individual lawsuits rather than a class action.

Depositions on Andersen's claims should be completed by Jan. 25, and a hearing date is set for Feb. 25.

Meanwhile, the BFA Liquidation Trust has distributed $56 million to creditors of the foundation to date. The trust is charged with liquidating assets of the foundation, such as real estate, and distributing the proceeds among those who lost money in the bankruptcy.

Foundation investors, many of whom are elderly Baptists who wanted their money to be invested in ministry causes, have their eyes on the Enron debacle now, according to individuals involved in litigating the class-action suit.

"We're obviously very alert to what's going on with Enron," said one of the Arizona attorneys related to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/18/2002 12:00:00 AM by Mark Wingfield , Texas Baptist Standard | with 0 comments



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