Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

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Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby William Thornton » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:36 pm

I presume my mod/lib friends have been reading David Gushee's series, The ex-SBC.

After almost a quarter century, the CBF needs, as Gushee puts it, leadership and a statement of faith.

On leadership:
3) Recover a stronger concept of leadership.
In the backwash of the SBC fight, the ex-SBC world seemed to develop a certain allergic reaction to leadership. The very concept of “president” or “CEO” gave way to a world awash in facilitators and coordinators. No one wanted to seem authoritarian or dictatorial so everyone was deferential and consensual. Too often the result was indecisiveness and lack of clear direction. In the next generation, the ex-SBC institutions that survive will need to recover a concept of authoritative (not authoritarian) convictional leadership.


I'm shocked at the frankness of his language here.

6) Consider drafting a new faith and message statement.

Within five years, especially if we have embarked on meaningful theological and ethical conversations at every level, it would make sense for someone — presumably CBF national — to organize the drafting of a new faith and message statement. Being Baptists, this would not be a creed, but a statement of who we are theologically and ethically and the convictions we can collectively affirm. We have (obviously) rejected the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 statement of the Southern Baptist Convention. What is our alternative? Is it the 1963 statement? Surely we can draft a statement that speaks to our current context and in current voice.


There are other recommendations.

Sandy nailed the CBF years ago as just another club for mod leaders. He put it it more elegantly, I think. And I have always called it "SBC lite."

So...where is this going and is anyone surprised that the CBF has changed leadership and yet someone else is putting forth a bold agenda?

As always, happy to help my mod/lib friends.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:02 pm

I like David Gushee, my wife was one of his students when D.G. was at Southern struggling with Al Mohler's new idenity and I consider him a very competent ethicist. My Ethics mentor Henlee Barnette with whom, at that time I and some of Trudy's classmates had lunch a couple times a week, was impressed with D.G. felt that he demonstrated great potential.

But here again :brick: :brick: :brick: we have William who has never been active in CBF (True - he has attended a few hours of a couple CBF national assemblies and has shared a few meals with some of we BL.Com participants) in agreement with a former active CBF participant who ceased active participation after his choice candidate for a office in the organization was rejected for another candidate was, trying to explain to those of us who have been more active much longer why Gushee who had an affinity with a number of CBF activist for some years before he stopped eating from a SBC table, and moved into a strong CBF supporting institution has sufficient experience with CBF to speak as an authority regarding what we need to do.

I was pleased to see Gushee make the move from Union to Mercer but I am not persuaded that he is as much in touch with the wants and needs of the typical grassroots CBFer .

On the other hand I am not real sure how well Lee ( Sandy) Sanders and William Thornton or I for that matter interpret what Gushee is saying. I think Sanders and Thornton credit it with more weight than do I. Maybe Fox can get him to come here an tell us what he was saying. :)
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby KeithE » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:27 am

What Gushee said was he desired a “stronger concept of leadership” more willing to be out front with theological and ethical public statements. Being authoritative (not authoritarian) which means true to the facts but not imposing sanctions on those who disagree. Not that the CBF was “leaderless” or “rudderless” in serving congregations or missions.

Here is Gushee’s article to give it context.

I concur with Gushee and also find little fault in the CBF (although I have been largely out of touch for several years, choosing to speak publicly herein on theological, ethical and political issues {especially those that have an ethical content which is most everything political}).
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby KeithE » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:51 am

Ed Pettibone wrote:

I was pleased to see Gushee make the move from Union to Mercer but I am not persuaded that he is as much in touch with the wants and needs of the typical grassroots CBFer .

On the other hand I am not real sure how well Lee ( Sandy) Sanders and William Thornton or I for that matter interpret what Gushee is saying. I think Sanders and Thornton credit it with more weight than do I. Maybe Fox can get him to come here an tell us what he was saying. :)


Unlike the US Constitution which directs the federation of states to be for "We the People”, the CBF is not and should not be about just meeting the needs of grassroots CBFers; it should also be a voice bringing the Kingdom of God to our society as well (or at least as close facsimile to the KoG as possible).

As far as understanding Gushee thoughts on the CBF, you might try reading his 3 recent articles.

1st One including his religious autobiography.

2nd One in which he points out a lack of CBFish theological writings and that:

So there is something of a vacuum in Baptist intellectual life. To the extent that “our” people get their ideas about what it means to be a Christian from what they read, they are borrowing from other traditions. So some are reading Richard Rohr and some Shane Claiborne and some Dietrich Bonhoeffer and some Augustine and some Parker Palmer and some Tom Oden and some Barbara Brown Taylor and some Stanley Hauerwas and some N.T. Wright and some Frederick Buechner and some Ann Lamott.


I personally see this as a strength - it is too parochial and arrogant to claim the CBF needs to create their own theology rather than trying to unite with some of the best theological writers from various parts of Christendom.

3rd One where he gives recommendations not in any dictatorial way but in a "consider this" way.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Sandy » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:26 am

Ed Pettibone wrote:On the other hand I am not real sure how well Lee ( Sandy) Sanders and William Thornton or I for that matter interpret what Gushee is saying. I think Sanders and Thornton credit it with more weight than do I. Maybe Fox can get him to come here an tell us what he was saying. :)


Maybe Fox could persuade Gushee to read Bonhoeffer and Francis Shaeffer at the same time, and sit down and have a chat with Billy Graham, Marshall Frady, Trey Gowdy and Molly Worthen in the fellowship hall of FBC Spartanburg. :wink: Sorry, had to do that.

I just read Gushee's part III on the ex-SBC about the the "vacuum" in Baptist intellectual life. All three articles do a pretty good job of characterization of, as he puts it, "life as an ex-SBC'er," and that characterizes, as much as anything else, some of the difficulty that he is expressing. These are people who, for the most part, were well placed, prominent and influential inside of a large denomination with a lot of influence. It was difficult for many of them to realize that they weren't as revered, or as influential, among the grass roots as they thought, and I think their view of their position and influence among Baptists and in the greater Christian community at large is much greater than it really is. CBF is basically a fellowship of about 150 uniquely aligned churches, and another 800 that are still, to a greater or lesser extent, still connected to their SBC identity. They take themselves and their "role" far more seriously than is warranted.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby William Thornton » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:10 am

I take Ed's point about my being an occasional attendee at CBF stuff. If any of my vast number of CBF friends plan to be in Atlanta this year, I will plan to attend, assuming they will be willing associate with a loyal SBCer.

My interest is that of a casual outsider. I thought Gushee was quite bold in addressing the ex-SBC theme that runs through the CBF and what needs to be done about it. The observation about lack of strong leadership seemed to be to be on target and one that might make CBF leaders past and present uncomfortable. Dan Vestal went underground years ago and the new leader might be offended by Gushee's statements on leadership.

A statement of faith from the CBF? The horror!
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:59 am

William Thornton wrote:I take Ed's point about my being an occasional attendee at CBF stuff. If any of my vast number of CBF friends plan to be in Atlanta this year, I will plan to attend, assuming they will be willing associate with a loyal SBCer.

My interest is that of a casual outsider. I thought Gushee was quite bold in addressing the ex-SBC theme that runs through the CBF and what needs to be done about it. The observation about lack of strong leadership seemed to be to be on target and one that might make CBF leaders past and present uncomfortable. Dan Vestal went underground years ago and the new leader might be offended by Gushee's statements on leadership.

A statement of faith from the CBF? The horror!


Ed: Most CBFers I know of are rather content with the OLD "Baptist Church Covenant" But it is not the proerty of any Baptist group Every ABC Church that we have been members of have it pasted inside their hymnals. In The North Creek church some one had lined through the statement on alcohol. Here it was deleted before being printed.

Note Trudy and I are CBFers but Burnthills nor any of the other 3 churches where she has pastored are CBF. An I reject th Ex SBC label. EX suggest a total split but for the first 7 years of CBF and due to moves for educational purpose Trudy and I where in 6 different CBF/SBC churches. 4 of those are now CBF alone one is moe SBC/CBF the other officially identifies as SBC but still has members who designate gifts to CBF and and participate in CBF events. When Traveling in the south I do attempt to locate a CBF friendly congregation but have visited a few SBC only churches. Some of those have pastors who we knew as students at SBTS.

But what is that crack about Dan vestal having gone underground "Years ago" ?
It was only 2012 when Danial Joined the faculty at Mercer.
See: http://baughcenter.mercer.edu/contact/ Unlike, many people who have retired from top positions in the SBC, Danial has purposely assumed a position of being available for consultation but has purposely allowed the incoming leadership to be the LEADERS.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:08 pm

William Thornton wrote:My interest is that of a casual outsider. I thought Gushee was quite bold in addressing the ex-SBC theme that runs through the CBF and what needs to be done about it. The observation about lack of strong leadership seemed to be to be on target and one that might make CBF leaders past and present uncomfortable. Dan Vestal went underground years ago and the new leader might be offended by Gushee's statements on leadership.

A statement of faith from the CBF? The horror!


I'm way further outside of the CBF now than you are William. :wink: And I think that sometimes Sandy is too negative about the Fellowship. But I thought Gushee had good points.

Sometimes Ed being an insider means you know a lot about what is going on but you also have your own biases. You can occasionally learn something being on the outside looking in. :)
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:26 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
William Thornton wrote:My interest is that of a casual outsider. I thought Gushee was quite bold in addressing the ex-SBC theme that runs through the CBF and what needs to be done about it. The observation about lack of strong leadership seemed to be to be on target and one that might make CBF leaders past and present uncomfortable. Dan Vestal went underground years ago and the new leader might be offended by Gushee's statements on leadership.

A statement of faith from the CBF? The horror!


I'm way further outside of the CBF now than you are William. :wink: And I think that sometimes Sandy is too negative about the Fellowship. But I thought Gushee had good points.

Sometimes Ed being an insider means you know a lot about what is going on but you also have your own biases. You can occasionally learn something being on the outside looking in. :)


Ed: Tim I have no problem with you adding your two cents but if you noted One of Gushee's complaints was what he calls a dependence on the writings of people not only out side CBF but from out side Baptist Life.

I make no apology for my biases re CBF which are informed both by reading SBC opponents, CBF leaders and an assortment of folk who write primarily from an interest in many thing religious. And from active participation in two CBF State organizations, Florida and Kentucky while holding membership in CBF churche(s) and two regional Groups, Central, and Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast. Any one who claims absolute objectivity is attempting to fool themselves. Since 1997 I have attended all but two of the CBF national Assemblies. And twice that involved doing CBF and ABC-USA meeting back to bacl and one in D.C. where they overlapped in the same facility . And BTW none of you have ever seen me write anything suggesting that CBF is perfect. Like all organizations we can benefit informed honest critique from both inside and out.

When Sandy repeats his song and dance interpretation of Gushee, where in Sandy writes;

All three articles do a pretty good job of characterization of, as he puts it, "life as an ex-SBC'er," and that characterizes, as much as anything else, some of the difficulty that he is expressing. These are people who, for the most part, were well placed, prominent and influential inside of a large denomination with a lot of influence. It was difficult for many of them to realize that they weren't as revered, or as influential, among the grass roots as they thought, and I think their view of their position and influence among Baptists and in the greater Christian community at large is much greater than it really is. CBF is basically a fellowship of about 150 uniquely aligned churches, and another 800 that are still, to a greater or lesser extent, still connected to their SBC identity. They take themselves and their "role" far more seriously than is warranted.


Perhaps having had a gray beard by the time CBF was founded has something to do with my not sharing Sandy's opinion that "These are people who, for the most part, were well placed, prominent and influential inside of a large denomination with a lot of influence. It was difficult for many of them to realize that they weren't as revered, or as influential, among the grass roots as they thought, and I think their view of their position and influence among Baptists and in the greater Christian community at large is much greater than it really is." or that They take themselves and their roll far more seriously than warranted"

I have been rather well acquainted with a significant number of the CBF people who where well placed, prominent. and influential inside the SBC, prior to the takeover and a few of the newbies. Hal Bass a former Moderator teaches at my Alma Mater (Ouachita University).
At my second CBF national assembly I attended a workshop led By Dan Vestal explaining CBF.
Dan had as you know had been the pastor of a large SBC church. A few of my CBF friends had been concerned that he was somewhat too conservative when his name was offered to replace Cecil. So in that breakout session I asked what some considered a few impertinent questions. One lady even turned around and asked if I knew who I was questioning and I said yes Ma'am, I contribute to his pay check. Since that time we have has one on one conversations at the combined CBF /ABC-USA annual meeting in Washington D.C. and when Trudy was moderator of the BFN Danial was the featured speaker for our meeting held in the Wilton Connecticut Baptist (CBF) church and we had the privileged of siting directly across from him during the mealtime and he ask to hear the stories of our faith journey.

Our Pastor Dr. Winford Hendrix was a leader in the establishment of CBF in Florida and when we went to Tampa we attended Seminole Heights Baptist Church a mention of that on these boards brought greetings from Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler who we latter saw often while in the Central region. Unfortunately the church where her husband pastors was on the other side of town when we where in Cincinnati. When Trudy started Seminary at SBTS we attended Deer Park and some times met with Molly Marshal's Sunday school class and we always look forward to chatting with her at the CENTRAL SEMINARY booth at ABC-USA Biennials. As I am sure you know Molly is now president of Central. One of her former students there is our new Associate Executive Minister for the eastern part of ABCNYS. Dr. Glen E. Hinson was also a member of Deer Park at that time.

You may recall Hinson was the SBTS Professor who was employed by The Seminary at Rüschlikon while on sabbatical which triggered the SBC's cop-out from there support of that institution which in turn was a major factor in the formation Of CBF. When He retired From Seminole Heights Dr. Tom Pinner who had been pastor when we where there became Chaplin at Rüschlikon for a few years he is now a member of a CBF Church in Tampa.

When Trudy did a part of her Student Ministry Experience class at Walnut Street And we where in an adult class with Dr. Keneth Chafin who
) was director of evangelism for the SBC's former Home Mission Board from 1969-72; a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., 1965-69 when he held the Billy Graham chair of evangelism, and returning there as a preaching professor from 1984-87; and as a professor of evangelism and preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, from 1957-65.

He was pastor of South Main Baptist Church, Houston, from 1972-84 and Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, from 1988-92.

His other involvements included service as a Southwestern Seminary trustee and chairman and a dean of the Billy Graham Schools of Evangelism connected with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He authored six books.


Another paragraph from that same ABP story says ""I regret that in later years our differences over theological and denominational issues became insurmountable," Mohler was quoted as saying. "I admired Dr. Chafin's honesty, even when the result was honest disagreement." Chafin was among the founders of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a Baptist organization opposed to the SBC leadership elected by the convention since 1979.

And then in 2007 a few years before his death we met Dr. Cecil Sherman on an elevator at the CBF Assembly in Memphis and had a few conversations with him while standing in various lines. Any one eavesdropping might have thought I had been one of his former church members. Oh I should have included Dr. William Tuck who was our pastor ar St. Mathews in Louisville at the time we where married. And Dr. Tom Smothers who was our Singles S.S. teacher there. For that reason we asked Tom to do our wedding which was the first in the Dillard Chapel located in the Student Center at Southern. Mrs. Tuck (Emily) was in attendance.

I could list others but from my point of view none of these Former SBC and then CBF leaders fit the picture so often offered by Sandy.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby William Thornton » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:43 pm

Ed, that was a name-dropping tour de force worthy of Fox. Blue star for you, bro.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Sandy » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:06 pm

Gushee offers an objective view, which many in CBF are unable to see. That is one of the reasons that it has never been able to shake its image as "the Anti-SBC," or "ex-SBC." It's leaders marched away from the SBC in Atlanta over twenty years ago, expecting half the convention to follow. When that failed to materialize, they tried to recreate their lost structure as much as possible, with significantly reduced resources and a huge loss of prestige. In all honesty, there are fewer than 200 churches that severed ties with the SBC, and are uniquely aligned with CBF, most of the rest, according to their own website not more than a total of 1000, are somewhere along the spectrum of support for the Cooperative Program, from allowing a few SBC loyalists the privilege of giving, to churches that allow a few CBF supporters the same privilege. They are scattered all around the country, with a cluster of maybe 250-300 in North Carolina and Virginia, a smaller cluster in Georgia and South Carolina, and maybe 150 in Texas. The rest are dotted here and there. I would say that a majority are indistinguishable in identity from their SBC brethren, down to holding similar views on inerrancy, ordaining women and homosexuality.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:35 pm

I get it Ed. You are highly experienced and knowledgable about the CBF. I agree with that. All was attempting to say before you gave me your entire history with the CBF was that being very much an insider means you know a great deal but it gives you a potential blind spot because you are so highly committed to the organization. You can believe that or not. Doesn't matter to me.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:41 am

Actually, Gushee is in touch with the evolution of CBF. There is a need for more forceful leadership. CBF was born after a series of SBC movements with presidents, almost all of who could have been named "Dr. Ram R. Jammer" because of their "my way or the highway" approach. For that very reason, CBF shied away from strong roles for leadership. Where CBF is flourishing, especially in VA and NC, there is a strong group of leaders emerging who are not afraid to speak to their stands on issues or theology. I see a greater avoidance of stronger leadership in places like GA and TX, where there are more dually aligned churches. The situation is not the same as it was in 1991, and those who understand this welcome the evolution of CBF. A few weeks before he died, I was with Cecil Sherman who said then, "CBF is waiting for the emergence of its next strong leader." Gushee is simply following up on what Sherman said.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby William Thornton » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:32 am

Dave Roberts wrote: A few weeks before he died, I was with Cecil Sherman who said then, "CBF is waiting for the emergence of its next strong leader." Gushee is simply following up on what Sherman said.


I appreciate your perspective.

"Next" strong leader? Who was the last one?
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:39 am

William Thornton wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote: A few weeks before he died, I was with Cecil Sherman who said then, "CBF is waiting for the emergence of its next strong leader." Gushee is simply following up on what Sherman said.


I appreciate your perspective.

"Next" strong leader? Who was the last one?


Ed: I am inclined to think that should be obvious to you William, but with your extremely limited exposure to him and the difference between he and the controlling denominational leaders who you have experienced. It is not real surprising that you fail to recognize Danial Vestal's strong Servant Leadership.

Thus far I have to little to base an opinion on Mrs. Paynter's leadership strength. Her public appearances at both the ABC Biennial and the CBF assembly last summer where too brief to base any substantial judgment. I hope to have a better tag on that after having an opportunity to observe and interact with her more closely when she attends the Spring meeting of the BFN at Metro Baptist in NYC, the last weekend in May.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby William Thornton » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:08 pm

You guys are closer but I'd have to ask exactly what DV did in the way of strong leadership.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:14 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote: I am inclined to think that should be obvious to you William, but with your extremely limited exposure to him and the difference between he and the controlling denominational leaders who you have experienced. It is not real surprising that you fail to recognize Danial Vestal's strong Servant Leadership.


Other than an attempt at "revisioning" and a structural reorganization that appears to be more or less forced by decline in budget giving, I don't particularly see anything that would lead me to characterize Vestal's leadership as "strong." Traditional, perhaps, in that he served the obligatory prominent pulpits before becoming coordinator, though his tenure at the last two churches he served, the only ones that were part of CBF, was relatively short and one of those has since gone back to full support for the SBC. There wasn't any expansion of ministries or programs to speak of, since he presided over a 35% decline in budget giving which would have been worse had not his former church members John and Babs Baugh chipped in a million or so here and there. I don't really see much in the way of forward movement for CBF under Vestal.

He's a nice guy, as far as personality goes, doesn't appear to be arrogant or snobbish, at least, not in the several times that we've met and had conversation, including a nice chat over Wednesday night supper at church one evening, right after he became CBF's coordinator. His integrity is impeccable, and I have a great deal of respect for him, as I did for Cecil Sherman. But their leadership didn't accomplish much, with the exception of perhaps keeping CBF together and functioning, which may be a bigger deal than I think it should be. As a side note, for all the complaining that's done by the Mid-Atlantic CBF'ers about their conservative Texas brethren who are "not really representative of the real essence of CBF," they can't seem to avoid "Texas born and bred" when choosing their leadership :wink: .

William Thornton wrote:Ed, that was a name-dropping tour de force worthy of Fox. Blue star for you, bro.


Well, if that's the way we qualify ourselves to participate in conversations about CBF, and at the risk of sounding like Fox, I've met a few of these folks as well. In addition to Daniel Vestal, Cecil Sherman was my pastor when I was in seminary, and he and Dot used to host the 5 or 6 of us seminary students who were still members of his church in the late 80's for dinner about once a quarter. I first met Ken Chafin when I was in college, and then, when we lived in Houston, my wife and I sat one row behind he and his wife in church every Sunday. I substituted every now and then in the Mens' class for Dr. James Riley, who was a friend of his, and after a while, he would ask me to sub for his class on occasion. Dr. Riley retired from the pastorate of Second Baptist Houston prior to Ed Young being called there, and we were in a home group that met at their house. In the summer, my wife would drive Mrs. Riley around to visit some of her friends, including Viola Chafin after Ken passed away. Of course, at South Main, prominent CBF leaders were everywhere, at one point eighteen of the members of the church were serving CBF in some capacity.

Among current CBF leaders, Steve Wells was my pastor for a while, from the time he came to South Main until we moved our membership in 2006. I've met Patricia Wilson and Joy Yee, an served on a committee in Missouri with Keith Herron. I would venture to say that David Currie probably knows me by sight and name, given some of the animated conversations we've had though he's a Baptists Committed, BGCT flag waver, not so much CBF. And I'm pretty sure I've met and shaken hands with Suzii on at least one occasion, at Charles Wade's retirement reception. I don't recall any conversations of note with her husband, Roger, though I've met him on several occasions as well.

Is that worth a blue star?
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby William Thornton » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Gold star, Sandy.

I'm curious. Since you knew chafin somewhat what do you make of his gaffe (if that is what it was) on Donahue way back when?
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:05 pm

William Thornton wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote: A few weeks before he died, I was with Cecil Sherman who said then, "CBF is waiting for the emergence of its next strong leader." Gushee is simply following up on what Sherman said.


I appreciate your perspective.

"Next" strong leader? Who was the last one?


I suspect that Cecil, although he might never have said so, was thinking of his own leadership.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:09 pm

I perceive Dan Vestal much more as one who tried to establish firm foundations for the future of CBF. He was in the mold much more of "servant leadership" than ever in the mold of charismatic leadership. He was not the high profile lightning rod that Sherman was. I am anxious to see how our new leader does in her role, but I like what I have seen to this point.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:27 pm

Dave Roberts wrote: I am anxious to see how our new leader does in her role, but I like what I have seen to this point.


And what have you seen from her so far? I've seen that she's made some speaking appearances, here and there, and talked about some possible initiatives in church planting. The real problems faced by CBF, the elephants in the room, mainly related to the dwindling budget, she doesn't seem to be addressing. The Texas Baptist CLC suffered some serious budget cuts during her tenure there, so she has experience working for an organization that has to cut the budget. I think what you've got is a fairly good female pulpiteer whose strength will be representing CBF behind a podium. She'll get some small, inexpensive projects off the ground.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:02 pm

Sandy, I know you will cheerlead for CBF's failure, and that's okay if you want to. One of the biggest initiatives I see right now is the investment into young leaders. The investment in money and in teaching and conference time with younger leaders is already beginning to pay dividends. My son is in the program now. A successor of mine in a church is a person who has developed out of the program. I think that is one of the great stories right now for CBF.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:29 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Sandy, I know you will cheerlead for CBF's failure, and that's okay if you want to. One of the biggest initiatives I see right now is the investment into young leaders. The investment in money and in teaching and conference time with younger leaders is already beginning to pay dividends. My son is in the program now. A successor of mine in a church is a person who has developed out of the program. I think that is one of the great stories right now for CBF.


Ed: Dave, Having attended at least 4 of the Young leaders conferences at CBF Assemblies over the last several years as an observer, I agree. I would point out also every year their are still a good number of middle aged and older for who the Assembly is a new event.

I am sorry that this year we will be missing our third assembly in 16 years due to the fact we have committed 12 days in July to attending an ABC Missions conference, Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Judson's arrival in Burma, which will be at Green lake Wi., in July.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Sandy » Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:02 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Sandy, I know you will cheerlead for CBF's failure, and that's okay if you want to. One of the biggest initiatives I see right now is the investment into young leaders. The investment in money and in teaching and conference time with younger leaders is already beginning to pay dividends. My son is in the program now. A successor of mine in a church is a person who has developed out of the program. I think that is one of the great stories right now for CBF.


I wouldn't call it "cheerleading." I would call it a realistic assessment.

The battle that CBF is fighting is for sustainability and viability as an organization. When I was still with CBF, a decade ago, there was recognition that the number of individual contributors and contributing churches was declining, yet the national office was expanding its ministry, bringing in new staff, and committing to new ministry programs. I heard plans for moving forward as an organization being discussed, but nothing ever materialized. The potential for new churches joining in, or a windfall of new individual financial support does not exist. A visionary leader, instead of flitting around the country making appearances and "representing" the organization at considerable cost, would be immediately immersed in assessment of the viability of current ministry, and repositioning the organization's resources to prioritize what it can do effectively, and do away with what it can no longer support. It is spread too thin, with a budget of around $12 million, and since it is the primary means of financial support for most of its partner organizations, including the scholarship funds at various schools, support for BTSR, and its own international missions program, those institutions are directly affected by the budget decline. The word "Cooperative" is a misnomer. Instead of starting, and trying to sustain, a whole slate of new, dependent institutions and ministries, it would have been better served entering into fraternal agreements and partnerships with existing denominational entities, and conserving its financial support for the missionaries it is committed to, and the theological education via scholarships at schools it approves, not trying to support and run a school, and be the primary financial support for a list of entities that imitate what they used to have in the SBC.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:46 am

Sandy wrote: Instead of starting, and trying to sustain, a whole slate of new, dependent institutions and ministries, it would have been better served entering into fraternal agreements and partnerships with existing denominational entities, and conserving its financial support for the missionaries it is committed to, and the theological education via scholarships at schools it approves, not trying to support and run a school, and be the primary financial support for a list of entities that imitate what they used to have in the SBC.


I'm curious about a couple of your statements here. First, there have been fraternal relationships in several areas--American Baptists, some cooperation with Presbyterian and Episcopal churches in limited ways, and definite partnerships with overseas entities where Global Missions has placed personnel. I would be the first to say that moderates have started too many theological schools, but all those have been started by organizations other than CBF national. Also, as I read the budget for CBF, where is the effort to support and run a school?
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