Monday, September 26, 2011

A Baptist By Any Other Name.

Looks like my former beloved Southern Baptist Convention is considering changing their name.

I'm reminded of that great theologian Lewis Grizzard who once had to comment on the Dixie Redcoat Band at the University of Georgia changing their name in order to become politically correct:

That prompted my stepbrother, Ludlow Porch, the famous radio talk show personality, to fire off a letter to the editor suggesting the following: "I applaud the dropping of 'Dixie' from the name of the University of Georgia band, but let us not stop there. 

"How can we allow the word 'red,' which stands for communism? And the word 'redcoat' itself is an affront to the memory of all those Americans who fought against the redcoats of England in the Revolutionary War.

"And 'band.' Pancho Villa had a 'band' of desperadoes and we had to send brave young soldiers to Mexico after him. So 'band' should go, too, and that just leaves 'The,' which is a dumb name for a large number of musicians, so I guess they're just out of a name altogether." 

So, using that set of parameters, let's change the name of the SBC.

"Southern" definitely has to go.  The SBC has churches on every corner of every town in the South and has been making inroads on every corner of every town in every other part of the world for years.  "Southern" no longer applies.  And it's politically incorrect since the first thing the word "Southern" reminds me of is The War of Northern Aggression.  And let's face it, I'm probably the only unbiased arbiter of politically correct definitions you'll find.

"Baptist" won't survive, either, since most SBC members (especially pastors, paid staff members, denominational employees, etc.) have been fighting (see "Southern", above, for clarification) over what it means to be "Baptist" for years.  Theology doesn't make you Baptist.  Cooperation sure won't make you Baptist.  Attendance doesn't qualify you, since, ministerially speaking, SBC church members comprise the largest Protestant denomination in the world.  But you can't find most of 'em in church on Sunday.

What's the difference between a Baptist and a Methodist?  A Methodist will speak to you in the liquor store.

"Convention" will never make the cut.  Sounds too much like politics (see "Southern", above, for clarification).  SBC churches hold State and nationwide "Conventions" once a year, but that doesn't qualify them as a true convention.  How do I know?  I looked it up.

The primary definitions of "convention" are Noun. 1. A way in which something is usually done, esp. within a particular area or activity.  2. Behavior that is considered acceptable or polite to most members of a society.

I've observed Southern Baptists for years, both from the inside and outside.  Trust me on this one...only Number 1 comes close to defining them ("That's the way we've always done it" is the National Motto for Southern Baptists, see "Southern", above, for clarification).  They've never even come close to Number 2.

So, that leaves the former Southern Baptist Convention with "The", which, to paraphrase Ludlow Porch, is a stupid name for a large number of church people, so I guess they're just out of a name altogether.

Not to worry, though.  SBC folks are a resilient, stubborn bunch.  It won't be long before they'll be arguing over how to use "The".

Two Methodists, two Presbyterians, and two Baptists were stranded on a desert island.  The two Methodists promptly started the First Methodist Church.  The two Presbyterians started the First Presbyterians started the First Presbyterian Church.  The two Baptists started First Baptist Church.  And Second Baptist Church.

I have a suggestion for a new name.  Believers Untied under the Term "The".  Or "BUTT" for short.

That oughta fix things.