Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Time to Despair?

I find myself hoping that the blogosphere does not represent the spiritual temperature of our denomination. If so, we are in big trouble. I hope our denomination is better than the level of spiritual maturity and compassion demonstrated there.

There seem to be two "demons" in the blogosphere. First, there is Dr. Paige Patterson. In post after post at SBC Outpost, in comment after comment on Wade Burleson's site and in other places, Paige Patterson is demonized as a man of overweening pride and arrogance, a man who is only out to build his own kingdom. One lady on another site said that, because he fired Sherri Klouda, he is not a good man. HE IS NOT A GOOD MAN! We cannot see him as a good man who perhaps has made some mistakes. No, he is the focus of evil in the SBC world.

Second, there is Wade Burleson. To those who support Dr. Patterson, Wade Burleson is the focus of all evil in the modern world. Every word he says is ascribed an evil intent. Every action taken against him by the IMB Board of Trustees is justified because he is an arrogant, self-important schemer. They cannot see him as a man who, even with his flaws, may have made a good point or two about the SBC. No, he is only evil all the time.

When I confront Patterson bashers about their Patterson-bashing, they justify it because he has done so much wrong that needs to be dealt with. When I talk to Wade-haters, they can only spread rumors about Wade doing this or that - which, of course, justifies their Wade-hating. Besides, they both say, the other side did it first, or worse.

I read a post today by one of the chief Wade-haters, who has left many mean-spirited comments on Wade's site. His post decries the mean-spiritedness in the blogosphere. Of course, he only means those who are mean to Dr. Patterson. Being mean to Wade, or Ben Cole, or others, that is okay. They are evil. Ben Cole intimated that he had every good reason for his hatred of Paige. Evil people do evil things and they need to be treated this way.

When did God say that "love your enemies" no longer applied to the Southern Baptist Convenion? When did "bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse" pass into oblivion?

Honestly, I am fed up. Does my frustration come through? Why won't those of us who believe the Bible do what it says?


David Rogers said...


I appreciate your heart on this matter. I think the way forward is to focus on actual issues, and not personalities. I agree with you that both sides (not to infer there are only two clear-cut sides on all of this) have been equally guilty, at times, of focusing too much on personalities.

How do we move forward? I believe that we who have certain convictions should not be afraid to express those convictions. But let's try to stick to the actual issues. And, let's try to maintain an open heart and ear to those who disagree with us. And, let's remember to treat each other with love and respect, practicing the Golden Rule, which is not: "Do unto others as they do unto you."

Wade Burleson said...

Both Daves,

I agree with your sentiments. I have attempted to address issues and stay away from personalities or statements that assess character. Not all my friends take the same approach - as you well point out, Dave. However, I guess I don't get frustrated simply because I can only answer for myself, not others.

In His Grace,


CB Scott said...

There are more than two sides of this little set-to just as David Rogers said.

Don't quit yet. It is still possible to see things come to center.