Concubines, the Kingdom & other interesting topics from the Southern Baptist North Central States Rally

Here I am in Indianapolis for the 2012 North Central States Rally of the Southern Baptist Convention and I don't think I've been around this many white people in years. Nor have I seen sadder looking bartenders.  But, while I am bound by my blogger oath to utilize a fair amount of witty sarcasm, I am actually having a good time and feel pretty encouraged by things.  In some ways, these big SBC meetings are a bit like a family reunion for me.  There are always those things that your "relatives" do that drive you crazy, but overall they kind of endear themselves to you.  Like it or not, these are my people.  Southern Baptists . . . ah, what a funny group we are.  

Anyway, tonight I wanted to share some of the highlights of my day with you and thought I'd do so by means of sharing some of the more interesting one-liners that I heard today.  To protect the innocent/guilty I will withhold the names of those who actually said these things:

1. "There are more scriptures that support you having a concubine than that we should have a Lifeway."

Okay, this was the only time of the day that I actually laughed out loud - hard.  But beyond the humor, this line came in the wider context of a very important and encouraging emphasis.  Tonight the attendees of the rally were presented with a strong call to embrace the work of the Kingdom of God.  I like this very much.  It is, I think, an encouraging sign of strength for Southern Baptists to be talking about the Kingdom of God rather than simply denomination building.  

2. "The new name for the Southern Baptist Convention will not be 'The Particularly Strict Baptist Convention'." 

Nor will it be several other silly things that a group of us guessed as we unsuccessfully sought to pry the top-secret details from our tight-lipped friend who is a member of the task force that has been assigned to research the possibility and viability of changing the long held name of our denomination. What we know is simply that the task force has done their work with much prayer, diligence, and skill and will be presenting a report very soon.  

3. "Hey Cody, is this room your 'Jerusalem'?"

Sometimes I am surprised that people actually pay attention to what I tweet.  This line refers to something I tweeted during the opening session.  Some of you know that I have written on the book of Acts elsewhere and there offered some exegesis of the pericope surrounding Acts 1:8.  It always amazes me to see how deeply this one verse has become ingrained in the mission language of Southern Baptists.  Everyone seems to talk about reaching their "Jerusalem" or their "Samaria".  This, of course, is an application of a particularly symbolic reading of Acts 1:8 that isn't necessarily illegitimate.  However, I think there is a danger in using Acts 1:8 as a metaphor in that it obscures proper exegesis.  There is a tendency for pastors to kind of skim past Acts 1:8 instead of actually exegeting it.  Instead of spending so much time telling people to identify properly their Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria we should spend more time teaching them to understand what Acts 1:8 means in relationship to 1:7 and 1:9 and so on.  That's all I'm saying.

4.  "Where do all these dots come from?" 

The Send Chicago Coalition met for the second time today to continue to move towards the creation of a comprehensive church planting strategy for Chicagoland.  At one point, I kind of chuckled as I read some of the notes I had been recording.  See, everyone kept talking about representing the particular church planting needs of Chicagoland as "dots on a map".  At one point someone asked honestly, "So, where do all these dots come from?"  It was funny.  There was also a lot of talk about "eating the elephant" and a fair amount of discussion as to whether it was better to eat it one bite at a time or rather that it requires a whole village.  Towards the end, there was even a cake-baking metaphor thrown in.  So, yeah, I'd say we're solidly on track.  No, actually, we kind of are.

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