Hope your Valentine’s Day was a good one! This week’s DHD spotlights four people who have been in the news lately or have been promoted through blogs. I’m also featuring a Christian college making a bold announcement and concluding on a great traditional song that needs to be shared more frequently.
Here we go!
1. Bravo Augie Boto
August Boto, interim president of the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, handled an extremely difficult issue rather well this week.
As the Houston Chronicle is publishing an investigative report involving hundreds of instances of sexual abuse by pastors and other leaders of Southern Baptist churches, Boto gave superb responses to the Chronicle. Here’s a snippet of the Q&A narrative that the Chronicle published featuring the investigative reporters and Boto with “Sing” Oldham also commenting:
Q: Since the SBC does not keep stats, we went out and tried to quantify this problem. We found roughly 200 SBC ministers and volunteers and youth pastors who had been criminally convicted. We’re going to be posting those records online in a searchable database in order for people to use it as a resource…
Q: What’s that?
Q: I guess I have to ask … that’s not quite the response I expected. Why do you think that’s good?
Boto: Because your posting of it is going to heighten awareness. It’s going to harden the targets. I told you at the outset of this phone call that my perception of your doing a report is probably more positive than you would suspect. … I think sometimes people presuppose that our initial reaction to a report of Southern Baptist failure anywhere is embarrassment. I can assure you that is not my initial reaction. My initial reaction is anger.
Oldham: But not at you.
Boto: No, not at you. My initial reaction is anger that it happened.
I love how the reporters appear to be caught off guard by Boto’s answer. I guess they were expecting him to be more defensive and contrary.
And I especially love “Sing” Oldham’s input. I’m a huge fan of that Southern gentleman, formally known as Roger Singleton Oldham who serves as SBC vice president of convention communications and relations. Sing is the perfect P.R. man, knowing that timing and verbiage are very important.
But Augie Boto, as I said, handled his part in exceptional fashion. I also enjoyed this comment he made to the Chronicle: “Guys, you are not my opponent. You are not the opponent of the Southern Baptist Convention in your reporting. You’re helping us. I’m all for shining the light of day upon crime.”
These are difficult times for Southern Baptists, but it’s important that key leaders handle the storms well.
2. Pratt’s pontification perfect reply
Hollywood actor Chris Pratt is saying and doing a lot of encouraging stuff. I liked watching his interview with Stephen Colbert. Talking about his shepherding activities and his involvement with the Daniel Fast was great banter (“Lion fighting is sick cardio”). Pratt, for sure, is an extremely likeable guy.
However, actress Ellen Page took exception to Pratt mentioning his church in the interview. She tweeted that Pratt’s church is “infamously anti lgbtq.”
I must confess. Whenever the word “infamous” or its derivatives is used, I naturally think of the movie Three Amigos—“He’s not only famous. He’s infamous.”
But seriously, Pratt’s response to Page’s criticism was great. He tweeted a respectful reply which included “I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.”
And that’s how all churches should operate. There are those of whom we disagree, but that doesn’t mean we discard. Welcome anybody and everybody who desires to worship the Lord and study the Bible with you.
3. Reading Rosaria
Speaking of someone who relates to the LGBTQ community, Rosaria Butterfield’s book “The Gospel Comes With a House Key” was reviewed this week by WordSlingers’ blogger Karen Kinnaird.
I’ve said in previous DHDs that I’m a huge Rosaria fan and have been since I first heard her speak at a conference in Nashville, Tenn. about five years ago. A former English and women’s studies professor at Syracuse University, Rosaria’s lifestyle embraced the LGBTQ worldview. However, after meeting with a pastor and his family over multiple dinners, she made a profession of faith in Christ and is now a pastor’s wife who lives in North Carolina.
I have not read this book, but I can understand Karen’s conclusions, as I’m familiar with Rosaria’s passion for evangelism through hospitality.
4. Caleb continues
Another regular DHD personality is Caleb Freeman. I wrote about his appearance at a recent OU basketball game, where he was recognized as honorary sixth man.
It’s exciting to see the progress Caleb has made since his car accident in Dec. 2017. God is moving in a powerful way through this young man.
5. Louisiana College makes bold decision
Baptist Press reported this week that Louisiana College (LC) has withdrawn its membership from the Council of Christian College and Universities (CCCU). The decision was made by LC President Rick Brewer, stating the school is distancing itself from the organization’s decision to endorse legislation “to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of federally-protected classes.”
“Sometimes the answer to such matters is to agree to disagree,” Brewer wrote. “But the import and impact of the ‘Fairness for All’ initiative calls for Louisiana College to respectfully disagree with the CCCU’s stance.”
This is the second institution of higher learning DHD has featured within the last few weeks that made profound decisions based on biblical instruction on sexuality and marriage. The Jan. 25 DHD reported on Montreat College making major decisions that led to increased enrollment, and one decision included no longer affiliating with PCUSA churches, which now have a more liberal stance on sexuality and marriage.
6. The words of Jesus Loves Me
I went to a concert last night of the Singing ChurchWomen of Oklahoma. There were some great moments of powerful singing and worship. One song the ladies sang was a variation of the well-known children’s song “Jesus Loves Me.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve reflected on how powerful they lyrics are of that song, written in 1860 by Anna Warner. So I decided to conclude this week’s DHD by featuring the words of “Jesus Loves Me”:
Jesus loves me! This I
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
Jesus loves me! This I
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.”
Jesus loves me still
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.
Jesus loves me! He who
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.
Jesus loves me! He
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.