June 21, 2006

Welcome Bell Baptist Association Pastors!

Earlier today I had the privilege of addressing the pastors of our local association of churches, the Bell Baptist Association, at our monthly fellowship luncheon. (For those of you who aren't familiar with Baptist polity, an association is a cooperative fellowship of churches in a geographical region.) My dear friend Roy Parker, pastor of Memorial Baptist Church here in Temple, who coordinates the meeting, had heard me speak on church unity last year and asked me to share the same message with my fellow pastors. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity!

At the end of my talk, I invited my colleagues to take a look at this blog, particularly if they share my burden for a broader and deeper unity among the followers of Christ. If that's how you found your way here, welcome! In case I didn't get to tell you personally today, I'm thankful for you and consider myself blessed to serve alongside you here in our community!

As promised, below are a few links to things I've written here on the topic of unity. I hope they will bless you in some small way. Feel free to look around...brouse through the archives (in the right sidebar near the bottom) or share your thoughts on what I've written by clicking on the "comment" link at the end of each post. Clicking on one of the words under the heading "del.icio.us Tags" in the sidebar will take you to a list of the web pages I've bookmarked that deal with that particular topic. And once again–thanks for listening today and for dropping by!

From July to September of 2004 I wrote a series of meditations on the questions and challenges of unity. My inspriation was a song by a popular rock band, U2, called "One." Each article in the series begins with a line from the song, considers the global, "big-picture" unity issue it raises, and ends with personal, micro-level reflections on improving the situation. The series is still unfinished; I hope to pick it back up someday soon.
In June 2004, the Southern Baptist Convention voted to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance, bringing a decades-long cooperative relationship to a somewhat bitter end. These are my thoughts on the vote and the fallout. Bottom line–a sad day for Baptists of all stripes.
The naming of avowed homosexual Gene Robinson to the bishopric by the Episcopal Church in America, closely followed by a Canadian diocese's authorization of same-sex union ceremonies, sparked a furor in the global Anglican Communion and began what may prove to be the biggest church unity story of this decade. In October 2004, the Communion's Lambeth Commission issued a formal report on the matter. These are my thoughts on that report and the implications for unity.


At 3:00 PM, Anonymous John Witte said...

Your sermon on Church Unity at the Bell Baptist Association pastors luncheon today was greatly appreciated. It was clear, to the point and honest. Thank you for sharing with us on such an important and relevant topic. I don't believe most Baptists realize how divided we are, both within ourselves and with other Chrisitans in the world.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

John, thank you for the words of encouragement. I think you're right--many of us live in a "Baptist bubble" of sorts, with very little appreciation of our need to be connected integrally with other Christ followers. There is both ignorance and arrogance at work here, I think.


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