Financial pain at SWBTS

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is hurting financially.

As of 7/31/17, the situation before SWBTS was absolutely challenging. But with the help of the Lord through faithful trustee and administration leadership, I’m hopeful for the financial future and kingdom impact of this theological institution in the days to come. In the meantime, pray for wisdom for the trustees as they continue to search for a new president who can lead the school through, and far beyond, these days for the sake of the gospel.

Yeah, well … ho-hum; it seems that the school has been living on borrowed money a long time, and a lot of notes will soon come due. It is far more likely that seminaries will continue to decline and fail, because the Christian narrative is false and they’re running out of people to fool.

It so happens that a prominent local Southern Baptist pastor is a Southwestern grad, and among the dumbest people I’ve ever met. I’m not going to say the dumbest because civil engineers spend a lot of time on construction sites, and you meet a lot of substandard minds there. But the pastor I have in mind believes the earth is less than 10,000-years old, that pleasing The Invisible Wizard is more important than parental and marital obligations — the whole fundy schtick. If he’s a typical representative of the sort of morons that school produces, it would be a good thing if it failed and were sold.

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Christa Brown, one of the heroes of the effort to hold clergy accountable for sexual abuse of children, takes up the implications for the Southern Baptist Convention of a recent series of articles about the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists.

An exposé by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on clergy sex abuse in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches blared yet another wake-up call to America’s religious leaders, including those of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Baptist News Global columnist Bill Leonard rightly observed that the IFB cases “sound strikingly like predatory acts committed against children by Catholic priests.” They also sound a lot like clergy sex abuse and church cover-up cases in the SBC.

I know because between 2006 and 2012 I maintained a website on which I logged hundreds of news articles about sexual abuse in all types of Baptist churches.

[ … ]

So what are SBC officials waiting for? Sooner or later – and probably sooner – Southern Baptists will get their turn in the spotlight of still another media exposé on clergy sex abuse and cover-ups. Journalists will document the widespread SBC scandal, just as they did for IFB churches.

I don’t fault Ms. Brown (and so many others) for her impatience, but, No, it ain’t going to happen. Underpinned by the doctrine of Original Sin, Christianity is innately degrading — a variety of psychological predation. Reform will have to come from the outside, or it will not come at all, because the damaged, screwed-up people trapped in that sickness cannot see clearly.

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Trump’s unforced category error

Why government needs professionals

As everybody must know by now, Nancy Pelosi sent the president a letter yesterday which suggests that the State of the Union Address should be delayed.

Dear Mr. President:

On January 3rd, it was my privilege as Speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on January 29th. The Constitution calls for the President to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” During the 19th Century and up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, these annual State of the Union messages were delivered to Congress in writing. And since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown.

In September 2018, Secretary Nielsen designated State of the Union Addresses as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), recognizing the need for “the full resources of the Federal Government to be brought to bear” to ensure the security of these events. The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants.

The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events by Public Law 106-544, December 19, 2000. However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.

Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.



Speaker of the House

I don’t doubt that Pelosi enjoyed sticking a finger in Trump’s eye — What sane and decent person wouldn’t? — but it is a rational letter that rests upon defensible premises, and it does not frustrate a legitimate governmental activity. After all, the President’s annual State of the Union address to Congress is a relatively recent innovation; he could just send a written report, which was good enough for Thomas Jefferson.

Trump retaliated today with a vastly different category of act — by interfering with Congress’ legitimate oversight function by denying eight Democrats, including Pelosi, and an unspecified number of Republicans, the opportunity to visit a war zone.

President Donald Trump hit back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, canceling a planned congressional trip to Afghanistan because of the government shutdown.

The remarkable counter-punch came in the form of a terse letter to Pelosi blasted out to reporters and promoted by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Twitter. It marked the president’s first public response to Pelosi’s Wednesday morning request to postpone the annual State of the Union address at the end of the month, citing security concerns stemming from the lengthy shutdown.

Clearly, Trump’s reaction is disproportionate and of a wholly different type than Pelosi’s suggestion. Granted, Trump is a vain and dishonest and stupid man. Unfortunately, because the professionals bailed-out of his administration a long time ago, he is surrounded by people who are equally dishonest and stupid, or worse. This is what you get when you have a government run by insecure and mean-spirited amateurs.

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Dismal theology-related tweet for the day

Because the cult cannot prevail against skepticism.

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Giuliani updates his position

Now that everybody with a properly functioning mind has figured-out that the Trump campaign was cooperating and coordinating with Russian intelligence agencies during the 2016 presidential campaign, Rudy Giuliani has updated his previously stouthearted denials.

After months of blasting the Russia investigation as a hoax, President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, appeared to abruptly walk back his client’s “no collusion” mantra on Wednesday night with the bombshell claim that neither he nor Trump had ever ruled out collusion by other members of the campaign.

“You just misstated my position. I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign; I have no idea,” Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence that the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

Recalling his masterful leadership of New York City following 9/11, I can’t help feeling just a little bit sad for Giuliani; from “America’s Mayor” to the humiliated, quavery-jowled dupe of a cheap, blinking-neon con man is quite a fall.

But Giuliani can’t possibly be the only person coming to terms with the facts, and Trump is bound to find himself increasingly isolated as the rats abandon ship.

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