Thursday, September 30, 2021

What Part of "Wrong Way" Do You Not Understand?

TUESDAY NIGHT (September 21st)

I posted the following rant to Twitter & Facebook...
"Woe (judgment is coming) to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness..." (Isaiah 5:20 AMP)
So much anger at leaders who are more concerned with "protecting insurance" than finding truth & loving well.

I am the SBC version of Paul in Philippians 3 - Mission Friends, graded choirs, Sunday School, RAs, youth group, surrendered to ministry at Centrifuge (at Glorieta, no less), graduated from Baylor & SWBTS, summer missionary with the HMB twice, served 5 different SBC churches as a youth pastor and lead pastor, planted a church, wrote for Lifeway... and still a strong supporter as a layperson of the SBC church I attend.

And this is not what y'all taught me. This is not integrity & truth... this vote by the SBC Executive Committee is "the woman gave me the fruit" or "when I saw the men scattering" or "I threw it into the fire and out came this calf." 

You have buried your talent in a hole, Executive Committee . Do not be surprised about what comes next.
“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making."
(Amos 5:21-22 MSG)
"...let justice roll on like a river..."
(Amos 5:24 NIV)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint & dill & cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice & mercy & faithfulness." 
(Matt 23:23 ESV)

TUESDAY MORNING (September 28th)

I sent this letter to SBC Executive Committee - and also posted it on Facebook & Twitter:

My life has been profoundly shaped by my history as a Southern Baptist layperson and pastor. Funding through the Cooperative Program helped create the Centrifuge camp experience where I surrendered to vocational ministry, the two summers I spent with the Home Mission Board doing summer missions, and made my seminary education at SWBTS affordable. So many faithful Southern Baptist ministers and volunteers poured the love of Jesus and the truth of Scripture into my heart and mind... and I was privileged to serve six different SBC churches as pastor or youth pastor over the last 35+ years.

The longer I served as a pastor and church planter, the more I realized how many people have been affected by sexual abuse... and how often those behaviors and choices were swept under the rug, particularly when they involved church staff members. Resignations for "personal reasons"; avoiding asking or answering difficult questions during reference checks; pressuring victims to keep quiet "to protect the church"... all in the name of the "kingdom of God". 

Enough is enough. Our pious political games must end. We must be a people who do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8) We must be a denomination who "give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute, rescue the weak and the needy; [and] deliver them from the hand of the wicked" (Psalm 82:3-4 ESV). Words are not enough... "thoughts and prayers" and public offers of assistance are meaningless if they are not followed up with action (James 2:14-24).

For the members of the Executive Committee, it is time to stop protecting insurance coverage and instead protecting survivors of abuse. It is past time for concern about the bottom line; instead, it is the right time to show godly compassion for those who have been harmed by the actions and inaction of the Executive Committee and its staff. The clear will of the messengers - the sole member of the Executive Committee - is for full transparency and the waiving of attorney/client privilege for Guidestone's investigation. Anything less speaks volumes about the EC's institutional disdain for SBC polity and rightly invites those who question the gospel to hold up such behavior as "corporate" and un-Christlike.

"...let justice flow like water,
and righteousness, like an unfailing stream." 
Amos 5:24 HCSB

I am praying for wisdom, for compassion, for justice, and for truth. May righteousness prevail over good business practice.

in Christ,
Mark Jackson

TUESDAY EVENING (September 28th)

Yet another Facebook post following the insanity...

This article from Baptist News does a good job of summarizing the basics... but it leaves out one Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee member complaining that the question "what is a little girl worth?" is "emotional blackmail" - and another EC member declaring that "They [the messengers] do not have the power to tell us to do anything. The Convention appointed us." 

Some salient observations from Tuesday evening...
"Y'all, I don't know. After the meeting tonight, I'm beginning to think @drmoore probably wasn't lying when he said he got resistance from the SBC Executive Committee in dealing with sexual abuse..." (the sarcasm is clear when you see the GIF he posted this with)
Aaron P Swain (pastor)
"Y'all, the tone deafness of everyone's busy schedule while people have been dealing with this for years and years is absolutely way too much. @SBCExecComm - I'm sorry to inconvenience you with the sin of those you're supposed to be holding accountable." (This is in response to complaints about the five hour long dumpster fire of an online Executive Committee meeting going on so long.)
Jennifer Lyell (survivor)
"If the @SBCExecComm cannot even agree to a special master process then what they are saying is NOT that they have fiduciary concerns, but that they are unwilling to allow themselves to be investigated without being able to control the outcome of the investigation."
"The emperors have no clothes... and are demanding that we put blindfolds on. 
This is not justice; this is not righteousness (Amos 5:24). This is David telling Joab to send Uriah to the front lines to cover up his sin (2 Samuel 11)."
Mark Jackson (aka me)
"When it would have broken our polity to prevent slaveholders from being missionaries, we insisted upon the rights of the churches.
When it would have broken our polity to support Southern Baptists in favor of integration and oppose Southern Baptists in favor of segregation, we insisted upon the rights of the churches.
When it would have greatly hastened our battle for biblical inerrancy, we followed our polity and worked through the will of the messengers.
And when it was a reason to do less in defense of the abused, we stuck to our polity, which the @SBCExecComm articulated more than once.
I would rise to the defense of our polity in any situation, but it will be a lasting disgrace, a stain that will not be erased in generations, that, having refused to violate our polity to do good things, we finally trampled it underfoot to facilitate a coverup of wickedness."

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