NBC Report

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NBC Report

Postby KeithE » Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:01 pm

I can't believe this forum has practically shut down waiting (I guess) for some news from the NBC. So here's one person's reaction.

Great to meet with Neal, Ed, William, Timothy and very briefly Bruce. Seem to keep running into Ed and Neal throughout the meeting. Ed and Tim were taking pictures.

Great also to attend with my pastor and another Keith (from our church). I know both of these guys a great deal more for doing driving/talking with them.

My wife came over Thursday in time to hear her beloved John Grisham and loved the whole conference.

Put simply this was an outstanding gathering (~ 16,000- 20,000 was the estimate) - best sense of being part of a truly moving spiritual and important gathering of the ~ 6 such national gatherings (mostly CBF) I have attended. Almost as moving as a Walk to Emmaus experience.

Contrary to what ya'll probably thought, I did not sign up to see Al Gore. I had no great desire given my interest in meeting people, perusing book tables and besides I'm more interested in the GW science for which Gore is not an expert. I passed on buying a ticket from right from registration time. Initially I planned to meet other BLers at the Baptist Today booth at that time (Thurs noon). Instead I went to lunch with my driving compatriots and perused the book offerings - Best buy was Twentieth Century Shapers of Baptist Social Ethics by Mc Swain and Allen. Also run into Dutch and Gail Coulter (an old church friends, and Dutch was a work mate). Gail is now the "Senior Pastor" at her church in Hendersonville, NC.

Other Impressions:
The NBC is truly a National (if not international) movement not just southern. Talked with 3 gentlemen from San Francisco (my home area). There were reports from Burma and Gaza of human rights abuses. Also a very good Canadian view of better ways to do prisons.

It was approximately 30-40% Afro-Americans. Although they worship and dress differently, there was no perceieved disrespect for these different practices or even any clickish behaviour. I got into several extended discussions with Blacks. One black minister (50 years in one church) from Anniston, AL told of his education later in life at New Orleans Sem from my friend and our iterim pastor Fisher Humphries. We exchanged emails and will be talking (I'll try to visit his church at some point at minimum).

Several people felt the NBC was all about politics (and I can understand why). But it clearly was not. I only remember one brief sentence in any of the sessions I attended that could possibly be considered as such and I forgot who said that - something to the effect 'remember as we elect new leaders this year to vote for those with a heart for the poor, mariginalized'. But no one said vote for xyz or for party ab.

That being said, the social gospel of feeding hungry, healing sick, setting the captives free, welcoming the stranger were certainly emphasized and rightfully so. Baptists have too longed focussed on individual salvation and little about Jesus's direct commands/example in such verses as Luke 4:18-19. Rauschenbusch lives on!

Tony Campolo in particular challenged me in my comfortable materialist lifestyle.

The general "plenary" session speakers were excellent (although I did miss Julie Pennington-Russell and Joel Gregory).

William Shaw was humorous and focussed us on following the lead of God to set us free. That effectively set the stage on Wed night.

Jimmy Carter showed great humbleness but determination to make something from this event.

Tony Campolo was more serious than I have previously seen him and not as humorous in terms of having people ROTFL (but still reminds me on Don Rickles).

Marian Edleman (Children's Defense Fund) effectively outlined many disturbing facts in our country and the world wrt social/family conditions. She really impressed me with her knowledge and her heart.

John Grisham was funny, insightful on southern Baptist culture/practices over his lifetime. Said we should fight over issues like most rival football fans do (brag about their team/idea on Friday, root for our team/ideas on Saturday/Sunday but go back doing our main Christian functions on Monday w/o rancor) - except of course those Alabama/Auburn people.

Sen Grassly was fine but didn't expire me much. Lindsey Graham didn't show for some reason (maybe William intervened in east Georgia somewhere :wink: )

Charles Adams gave the most stirring talk of the event, imo - a rendition of gospel preaching which besides being remarkable physical feat in speech was very intelligent - the cadence was not just words but had substance and were carefully chosen (unlike some TV evanglists of Afro-American and white preaching). Brought the audience to its feet many times.

Clinton surprsied me and made some real good points about how biblical literalists neglect 1 Cor 13:12:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face, Now I know only in part; then I will know fully.
If Paul in writing what we call scripture could say this, we should not be so sure about our interpretations/applications. He cautioned against too much divisive words towards the cons - they might be right - on some matters he said. No mention of Hillary or Monica.

Carter ended the meeting with some personal experiences of doubt in the 60's and his hopes for the future.

The Special Sessions I went to were also outstanding. Perhaps the one that promises to be followed through most on was:
Engaging the Criminal Justice System. It sounded to me that many present (including me) will be meeting soon again to get some good ideas into the national consciousness.

Other sessions I went to were:

Peacemaking (with an emphasis of proactive peacemaking before nations get to the point of war),

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty (learned about Christian Women's Work Corp? and the Church under the Bridge in Waco and the need to live among the poor and learn their plight first hand) and

The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me (which encouraged listening prayer guiding into action).

I heard great things about the "Reaching out to the Sick" special session as well but did not attend.

All this to far too brief but these are my impressions.

Oh the music was good as well . My compatriot musician Keith P thought so.

Will this all fade? That is a good question. Somehow I do not think it ALL will fade.
Last edited by KeithE on Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: NBC Report

Postby Lamar Wadsworth » Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:21 pm

Clinton's comments on I Cor 13:12 remind me of a great quote from the late J. D. Grey: "I have no quarrel with those who believe that scripture is inerrant. I do beg to differ with those who think that they are inerrant."
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Re: NBC Report

Postby David Flick » Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:12 am

KeithE wrote:Sen Grassly was fine but didn't expire me much. Lindsey Graham didn't show for some reason (maybe William intervened in east Georgia somewhere :wink: )

That's humorus, Keith. I hope you don't "expire" any time soon. We need you around to hold up your end of the global warming debate... :wink:

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Re: NBC Report

Postby KeithE » Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:27 am

David Flick wrote:
KeithE wrote:Sen Grassly was fine but didn't expire me much. Lindsey Graham didn't show for some reason (maybe William intervened in east Georgia somewhere :wink: )

That's humorus, Keith. I hope you don't "expire" any time soon. We need you around to hold up your end of the global warming debate... :wink:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Image


Hey I'm just an engineer who didn't even notice there was a separate forum for NBC.
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Re: NBC Report

Postby KeithE » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:47 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:I've fixed it so that this thread shows up in both forums.


Thanks
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Re: NBC Report

Postby Haruo » Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:56 am

Speaking of fixing it so that this thread shows up in two forums, how about putting all of the threads from this forum* in the BF&P forum so that when this forum* is closed down (it was billed as "temporary") they don't go away. Some of this stuff is both more important and more pertinent than a lot of what gets eternalized on BF&P, I think.

Haruo

*"this forum" = the NBCC forum; if you are reading this in the BF&P forum this may help
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Re: NBC Report

Postby Cathy » Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:05 pm

Even though I was rolling around all alone at the NBC I really enjoyed it and would go again. Next time I will consider getting a couple of my girls to join me. I called my 18 year old a couple of times to tell her about what was going on and how great it was.

I was very impressed with the first Plenary session I made it to Thursday morning with Tony Campolo and Marion Wright-Edleman. I had heard Campolo on some podcasts. He really keeps you tuned in. M W-E was very good and I plan on transcribing her Poem/Prayer to use sometime. (Is there already a transcript?) From where I sat there was a good mix of ages and I was pleased with that as well as the ethnic mix.

I walked into the Al Gore lunch and there was a fellow church member and her husband. We had already figured out that we had a lot of the same leanings (in church polity class) so although I didn't expect to see her I was delighted and there was one and only one empty seat at that table right next to her. Empty seat no more. Should have exchanged cellphone numbers so we could meet up again.

I went to sessions on Healthcare and public policy. They were good. The public policy a bit better than healthcare, but it was not pitched to physicians. I think one of the speakers in public policy was a republican!! I think I have seen him on TV before. Public policy was well planned and good presentations from all. A Canadian woman there was quite bright. Faith and public policy in her case I believe was an academic pursuit as well as vocational.

I noted that the sessions seemed to have mixed ethnic and gender presenters for the most part. All audiences had a mix as well.

The evening session was great and the spirit of the entire day was wonderful. What an honor to have John Grisham there and I was very impressed with what he had to say. It mirrored the frustration of many Baptists in the South. I went back to the hotel and listened to Shaw from the night before, Wow!!

I made the mistake of signing on the the VPN and doing a bit of work on Friday morning so was late to the session. I watched the videos later. Went to the Gore Film but since it was just an out of date version of the previous day I could probably have used my time more wisely. "Poverty" was already in session when I got out.

Friday at lunch I sat down at the table with a CNN worker and later was joined by a woman I knew who had left our church and gone to another. She had a friend there and others joined us including a man that went to seminary with my father and knew him and some of his old friends. At dinner I sat down with a local sitting alone again and then was joined by a couple of women from a Georgia mid size city FBC church. They told an interesting story of their pastor sort of gingerly broaching the subject of the meeting and indicating that they should not believe everything they hear about the political nature of the gathering and that he would be going with an open mind. Immediately a woman in the church that was very missions oriented endorsed the meetings purpose and said that they should very definitely be supporting the meeting. That church had a group of about 14 there she said. She was sharing a room with another woman who asked me about my Georgia roots. We are cousins!!! Both descendants of Angus McCurry through his son John McCurry and are a bit more distantly related through the Herndons. So I guess you are never alone in a Baptist meeting in GA.

Friday night.....Wonderful. Not much more that I could say that hasn't been said about the sermon and messages. Of course, when Clinton wandered into the SBC history I thought to myself I don't think he is suppose to go there. Again I will say that for some of us in the South that still belong to churches in the BGCT that have not entirely broken from the SBC there is a lack of identity that sometimes requires a bit of reflection to flesh out who we are and where to go from here. I think it was definitely a healing thing for me to hear.

The music Friday night was spectacular. The childrens choir, congregational singing, special music adult choir, saxophone (do I have the service time off on this?), Morehouse Glee Club (I almost wish Clinton was a little later arriving than he was). I sat between two preachers wives sitting with their husbands. they were both great and at least one of the husbands was a very hardy singer. It was a wonderful spirit filled service that I will not forget.

I listened to a couple of the speakers I missed during the evening and have watched a couple more videos here in Athens. I continue to be extremely hopeful and prayerful that much will come from this meeting. I hope to retire in less than two years. I put my MD and position on the session sign ins and would be pleased to be able to offer my services (just occasionally able to work at a church sponsored clinic now).

Could we get the scripture passages that were read added to the schedules on line? If they were in our published schedule I failed to get home with it. And I would like to have the names of the songs with the info on those.

Don't think I mentioned how fascinating and inspiring I though Satchers story was. Wish I could have met his Mama. Just so much more than you can tell without the schedule in front of you and probably could not do it justice then.

Ed, thanks for the rent car advice. I cancelled the airport rent car took Marta in to the hotel and got a rent car at a better rate off the airport on Saturday. Marta was two blocks away and I will just ride Marta to the airport from there.
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Re: NBC Report

Postby Neil Heath » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:17 am

It was great to meet some more of the BL family this past week, but I see in reading these forum posts that I missed many more who were there. I was a commuter, coming in from Macon on Wed. and Friday just for the afternoon and evening sessions...sort of. I left before Carter and Clinton spoke, knowing I could catch them online later. I wanted to get home earlier than midnight.

It was a wonderful event to be a part of, and I was inspired and affirmed by the time I spent there. How nice to be a part of a meeting where fellowship and worship and information were the focus rather than voting on divisive issues! I hope it does lead to further meetings and joint projects of all kinds as we each share our gifts and expertise within the body to do more together than we could separately, even as denominational entities. I think the kingdom of God will be impacted positively as a result of what has begun. If it continues, and I think it will, we may be quite surprised at the forms it takes. Never underestimate the creative power of the Spirit. :)

I saw several former Ga. Baptist employees like myself, all enjoying the freedom to attend such a meeting. I know there were others who gladly joined us in spirit and wished to be there. But I also know there are Baptists in Ga. who never knew the NBC meeting happened, including some moderate friends who are still in the SBC fold and don't make the effort to stay connected and informed. How sad. I grieve for those I consider to be in bondage today, even as we celebrate anew the wonderful freedom in Christ that simply cannot and will not be constrained by human words or deeds!

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