Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

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Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Sandy » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 pm

The threat that donors withholding contributions for Southwestern Seminary because Patterson got fired may not be as ominous as it originally sounded. There is evidence to suggest that at least a third of that money went to buy pianos for the music school. Yes. You read that correctly. Pianos. Six million dollars worth of Steinways.

https://baptist-blogger.com/2018/08/08/ ... no-cattle/

And if that's the case, perhaps a fair amount of that threatened $16 million or so wasn't funding anything related to the budget, it was just enhancing the decor and furnishings of the campus, perhaps much of it going to the building where the Pattersons were supposed to be the first "Theologians in Residence."

The party is over.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:59 am

Sandy wrote:The threat that donors withholding contributions for Southwestern Seminary because Patterson got fired may not be as ominous as it originally sounded. There is evidence to suggest that at least a third of that money went to buy pianos for the music school. Yes. You read that correctly. Pianos. Six million dollars worth of Steinways.

https://baptist-blogger.com/2018/08/08/ ... no-cattle/

And if that's the case, perhaps a fair amount of that threatened $16 million or so wasn't funding anything related to the budget, it was just enhancing the decor and furnishings of the campus, perhaps much of it going to the building where the Pattersons were supposed to be the first "Theologians in Residence."

The party is over.


Ed: Here I am reminded of those who criticized the woman who anointed Jesus with a very expensive perfume and of his response to them.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Sandy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:19 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:
Sandy wrote:The threat that donors withholding contributions for Southwestern Seminary because Patterson got fired may not be as ominous as it originally sounded. There is evidence to suggest that at least a third of that money went to buy pianos for the music school. Yes. You read that correctly. Pianos. Six million dollars worth of Steinways.

https://baptist-blogger.com/2018/08/08/ ... no-cattle/

And if that's the case, perhaps a fair amount of that threatened $16 million or so wasn't funding anything related to the budget, it was just enhancing the decor and furnishings of the campus, perhaps much of it going to the building where the Pattersons were supposed to be the first "Theologians in Residence."

The party is over.


Ed: Here I am reminded of those who criticized the woman who anointed Jesus with a very expensive perfume and of his response to them.


I am intensely interested in seeing how you would put that analogy together in a context that would convey the same intent and application, in any kind of way, that Jesus did. I have somewhat of an idea of what you might be thinking. I had a few thoughts of my own along the lines of another Biblical example, but I think this approach might just be more interesting, or humorous as the case may be.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby JE Pettibone » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:17 pm

Sandy wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:
Sandy wrote:The threat that donors withholding contributions for Southwestern Seminary because Patterson got fired may not be as ominous as it originally sounded. There is evidence to suggest that at least a third of that money went to buy pianos for the music school. Yes. You read that correctly. Pianos. Six million dollars worth of Steinways.

https://baptist-blogger.com/2018/08/08/ ... no-cattle/

And if that's the case, perhaps a fair amount of that threatened $16 million or so wasn't funding anything related to the budget, it was just enhancing the decor and furnishings of the campus, perhaps much of it going to the building where the Pattersons were supposed to be the first "Theologians in Residence."

The party is over.


Ed: Here I am reminded of those who criticized the woman who anointed Jesus with a very expensive perfume and of his response to them.




Sandy I am intensely interested in seeing how you would put that analogy together in a context that would convey the same intent and application, in any kind of way, that Jesus did. I have somewhat of an idea of what you might be thinking. I had a few thoughts of my own along the lines of another Biblical example, but I think this approach might just be more interesting, or humorous as the case may be.


Ed: I am tempted to insist that you go first by telling us what you see as improbable with that analogy. However I believe critics are being unfair to the donor who seems to take the concept of, "Give of your best to the Master", seriously.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Sandy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:12 pm

Well, first of all, Patterson is not "the Master," and giving to projects that enhanced the residential comfort of he and his wife on the seminary campus is not the same thing as the women who bathed Jesus' feet with perfume. Second, neither is Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in any way the equivalent of Jesus. The woman who anointed his feet was involved in an act of worship related to the Jewish custom of foot washing, because the Pharisee who had invited Jesus to dinner had been rude by not doing so. I do not believe that buying Steinway pianos for the music school of a seminary is anywhere even remotely connected to the context of that scripture, is certainly not an act of worship, and if it were, would be idolatry.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is an institution which exists to train ministers of the gospel. It is not Jesus, nor is it a church, though I find it hard to justify spending the kind of money on a Steinway piano for a church and equating that to the anointing of Jesus' feet. Raising money to provide an opulent living space for a "president emeritus" and wife, and to furnish a church music school with a particular brand of piano at a cost of six million dollars is nothing more than poor stewardship, especially in light of the fact that Southwestern continues to struggle financially, is laying off employees, including professors, due to rapidly declining enrollment, is raising tuition and fees because of declining cooperative program revenue due to enrollment, and is becoming increasingly unable to perform its mission and purpose. That's just a demonstration of a complete lack of accountability, not to mention misplaced priorities by the trustees, and incredible incompetence of leadership, nothing more. Or blatant selfishness, if you want to put it in those kinds of terms.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Haruo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:03 pm

But giving pianos to seminaries may honor the Master.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Sandy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:00 pm

I think giving to support the theological education of students would be a much better way to honor the master.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Haruo » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:35 pm

Sandy wrote:I think giving to support the theological education of students would be a much better way to honor the master.

Sure, but music is absolutely central to theology, and piano music is much more orthodox than the country rock rap that would otherwise grace (?) the chamber.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby JE Pettibone » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:31 pm

Haruo wrote:But giving pianos to seminaries may honor the Master.



Ed: Thank you Hauro !
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby JE Pettibone » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:59 pm

Sandy wrote:I think giving to support the theological education of students would be a much better way to honor the master.


Ed: Why? Prior to the takeover the School of Music at Southern centered on enhancement of the worship experience. The required course named the Worshiping Church was co-taught by a Theology professor and the Dean of the Music School.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Sandy » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:34 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:
Sandy wrote:I think giving to support the theological education of students would be a much better way to honor the master.


Ed: Why? Prior to the takeover the School of Music at Southern centered on enhancement of the worship experience. The required course named the Worshiping Church was co-taught by a Theology professor and the Dean of the Music School.


Does it take $6 million worth of pianos to enhance a worship service? Especially in a day and age when acoustic piano is rarely, if ever, part of worship.

Way, way off context here. And I guess your attitude about the alleged "takeover" has changed, since one of those who "took over" is the one who did this. Of course, that's just semantics anyway, since you can't "take over" something in which you are already a full participant by virtue of your church membership and participation under the rules.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Haruo » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:34 pm

Well, we use acoustic piano weekly at Fremont, and the Japanese-language service uses it weekly at JBC (the English service, I believe, only has an electronic one, poor folks). Queen Anne Baptist has a begging-and-pleading want ad out for a pianist. I certainly wouldn't have donated six million for pianos (how many instruments did this get them, did you say?) but if rich donors want to do it I won't jump to the conclusion that they were giving it to an elderly Southern Baptist jerk rather than to the Lord.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:22 pm

Acknowledging that pianos is way off topic here, we use an actual piano in at least two of our three services and sometimes all three. Two of those services are forms of contemporary worship. Church music is also hugely important in teaching theology. Probably more people learn their theology form the songs they sing in church than from the sermon, frankly.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Sandy » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:30 pm

Haruo wrote:Well, we use acoustic piano weekly at Fremont, and the Japanese-language service uses it weekly at JBC (the English service, I believe, only has an electronic one, poor folks). Queen Anne Baptist has a begging-and-pleading want ad out for a pianist. I certainly wouldn't have donated six million for pianos (how many instruments did this get them, did you say?) but if rich donors want to do it I won't jump to the conclusion that they were giving it to an elderly Southern Baptist jerk rather than to the Lord.


I'm not sure how many. But we are so far down and away from anything close to the context of the woman who bathed Jesus' feet with her hair and expensive perfume, that the discussion is pointless. I doubt any seminary student, even one in church music majoring in piano pedagogy, would prefer that a donor buy a Steinway for the music department, rather than do something practical to defer their own expense. Southern Baptists have their heads buried so far in the sand of wealthy privilege and prominence that they take it for granted any good Caucasian Southern boy worthy of Christian service, raised in a Baptist church would have plenty of family resources to draw on to pay the increasingly steep tuition and fees for the privilege of studying at Southwestern. So donor money can buy Steinway pianos and build million dollar apartments for former presidents, and we can justify that with the story in the New Testament about washing Jesus' feet with expensive perfume. I'm not sympathetic to that perspective, though I guess Ed's disdain for the "takeover crowd" has lessened to the point where he's now willing to use Bible passages to justify their actions.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:34 am

Special "donor money" is a problem for most church institutions and for many churches as well. I am aware of churches that have funds tied to the wishes of people who died in the 1920's or earlier, churches with memorial funds that can only be spent when the item is approved by the surviving family, trust funds that cannot be touched except for certain needs, and hidden money in foundations and other separated funds. I often wonder how many of these funds benefit the kingdom. I agree with Sandy that the costs of theological education have risen sharply with the decline of the sponsoring denominational money. Free seminary was never fully practical, but the costs today are also not practical for tomorrow's ministers, whether they are in denominational seminaries or other schools. Ministerial salaries will never allow repayment of those debts.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby JE Pettibone » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:48 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Special "donor money" is a problem for most church institutions and for many churches as well. I am aware of churches that have funds tied to the wishes of people who died in the 1920's or earlier, churches with memorial funds that can only be spent when the item is approved by the surviving family, trust funds that cannot be touched except for certain needs, and hidden money in foundations and other separated funds. I often wonder how many of these funds benefit the kingdom. I agree with Sandy that the costs of theological education have risen sharply with the decline of the sponsoring denominational money. Free seminary was never fully practical, but the costs today are also not practical for tomorrow's ministers, whether they are in denominational seminaries or other schools. Ministerial salaries will never allow repayment of those debts.


Ed: Dave, I am not aware of how much the cost seminary education has risen since I graduated in 1992 or when Trudy received her 2nd Masters from Hebrew Union in 2000 but I do know that the debt on for my 2 MCE and her M .Div. and Masters In Cognitive languages from HU was paid off by us in 2010 thanks in large part to living in the parsonage of the small town churches where Trudy pastored .
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:27 am

Just to give some quick support using the websites from SBTS and BTSR, the costs at an SBC seminary or tuition, books, and a one-bedroom apartment run in the neighborhood of $15,000 per year (for an SBC student entitled to 1/2 tuition reduction) and the costs of a CBF-affiliated seminary would be around $25,000 per year. (Interestingly, Fuller Hall where Dawn and I lived for four years cost us between $85 and $100 per month for a one-bedroom furnished apartment. Now Fuller rents for $750 per month.)
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby JE Pettibone » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:30 am

Sandy wrote:
Haruo wrote:Well, we use acoustic piano weekly at Fremont, and the Japanese-language service uses it weekly at JBC (the English service, I believe, only has an electronic one, poor folks). Queen Anne Baptist has a begging-and-pleading want ad out for a pianist. I certainly wouldn't have donated six million for pianos (how many instruments did this get them, did you say?) but if rich donors want to do it I won't jump to the conclusion that they were giving it to an elderly Southern Baptist jerk rather than to the Lord.


I'm not sure how many. But we are so far down and away from anything close to the context of the woman who bathed Jesus' feet with her hair and expensive perfume, that the discussion is pointless. I doubt any seminary student, even one in church music majoring in piano pedagogy, would prefer that a donor buy a Steinway for the music department, rather than do something practical to defer their own expense. Southern Baptists have their heads buried so far in the sand of wealthy privilege and prominence that they take it for granted any good Caucasian Southern boy worthy of Christian service, raised in a Baptist church would have plenty of family resources to draw on to pay the increasingly steep tuition and fees for the privilege of studying at Southwestern. So donor money can buy Steinway pianos and build million dollar apartments for former presidents, and we can justify that with the story in the New Testament about washing Jesus' feet with expensive perfume. I'm not sympathetic to that perspective, though I guess Ed's disdain for the "takeover crowd" has lessened to the point where he's now willing to use Bible passages to justify their actions.


Ed: Sandy that last sentence is a cheap shot. I in no way did I attempt to justify the actions of any one in the takeover crowed. I said that the reaction of those objecting to the large gift of several Steinway pianos to the Music Department of Southwestern reminded me of a well known Biblical story (it did and still does), I have not claimed any exact parallel . It is true that My disdain for the principal players in the take over has softened as more and more of their deeds have come home to roost.
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Re: Donor Money may not be missed all that much at SWBTS

Postby JE Pettibone » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:39 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Just to give some quick support using the websites from SBTS and BTSR, the costs at an SBC seminary or tuition, books, and a one-bedroom apartment run in the neighborhood of $15,000 per year (for an SBC student entitled to 1/2 tuition reduction) and the costs of a CBF-affiliated seminary would be around $25,000 per year. (Interestingly, Fuller Hall where Dawn and I lived for four years cost us between $85 and $100 per month for a one-bedroom furnished apartment. Now Fuller rents for $750 per month.)


Ed: Unfortunately neither Trudy or I recall what we paid for either of the large corner apartments in Fuller that we occupied when each of us where in school. When my mother died shortly after Trudy started Seminary we moved from Fuller into Southern's Springdale, 2 BR Apartments with a LARGE Closet that we shared as a study, solely to satisfy my sentimental attachment to the many items we took from the house where I spent my Jr. High and High School years but had no intention of returning to, we where still paying less than we had for my Dorm room and her nearby efficiency apartment before we married. We ended up leaving most of that stuff In the parsonage at Burnt Hills. When she retired and we became full time RVers. While I was in School Trudy worked as a paralegal for a Louisville Law firm I received a $1000 gift from the church we had attend in Florida and had my early retirement income plus some quarterly, limited stock dividends. While she was in school I worked 3-11 as a desk clerk at a nursing home. She also worked in the post office at the seminary.
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