Happy Saturday, everyone!
I'm in the middle of teaching a monthlong summer school course on Comparative Political Systems at Georgetown. Veronica will be squeezing in another condensed, weeklong seminary course at TCU later this month as well. Even if the pace of our blog posting has slowed somewhat, a lot is going on behind the scenes. We're continuing to build collaborations with other teetering Baptist institutions and learning from their experiences. (Take a moment to read Save Our Shorter's description of its trustees' negligence. Then say a prayer of thanksgiving that OBU still has good trustees!)
This week, we noted that OBU conferred an honorary doctorate upon Rev. Fred Luter, the New Orleans pastor who will be elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention next week. I still don't have a straight answer on whether a committee decides who should get honorary degrees or whether it's based on the president's unitary executive authority. But we were fairly alarmed to learn that OBU has given doctorates to two post-Takeover SBC presidents in the past year alone. Until now, we hadn't typically used the honorary degree as a way to cozy up to fundamentalist SBC elites, especially one without any OBU or Oklahoma connections besides being Stan Norman's friend. If you look at the list of post-Takeover SBC presidents, OBU has only honored Luter and the Rev. Dr. Tom Elliff. Though Elliff did enough damage on his own, it would be horrendous for OBU to go back and start giving honorary doctorates to Takeover-era SBC presidents, since many of them shamefully abided the destruction/fundamentalization of once-proud Baptist institutions.
On Thursday, I took at pass at blaming the SBC's membership decline on fundamentalism. It took some restraint.
The Next Two Weeks
Next week, the SBC Pastor's Conference and Annual Meeting take place in New Orleans. We'll be providing updates through our Facebook and Twitter feeds, but here on the blog we'll be taking a holistic look at the history of fundamentalism in the SBC. Clayton Mauritzen ('06) who has written here before, will be leading us through a six-part series that seeks to understand and explain the causes and consequences of the convention's institutionalization of fundamentalism.
The following week, past contributor Caitlin Dacus ('11) will lead us through a four-part examination of the Takeover's effect on Baptist missionaries. This is a tragic story that not many people know, and Caitlin's interests and experiences make her the ideal person to tell it. I definitely look forward to welcoming Clayton and Caitlin back to the blog!
We also have some exciting guest posts planned for later in the summer. Of course, we'll also be releasing the results of our BGCO pastor/church staff survey. And we have some interesting facts to present that will highlight Oklahoma Baptists' need to beef up their BCM funding, even if it comes at the expense of subsidizing OBU.
Save OBU Connections Continue to Build
Now that our movement is more than six months old, we're starting to see the positive, snowballing effects of connecting geographically- and temporally-dispersed faculty (current and former), alumni, retirees, students, and concerned Baptists. I'm hearing reports of Save OBU helping people connections, sharing stories, and building friendships at conferences, churches, and educational institutions. This is so wonderful to hear! Please keep the stories coming! (jlupfer [at] gmail [dot] com).
We didn't act in time to get a booth at the CBF General Assembly (June 20-23 in Ft. Worth), but please don't let that stop you from talking up OBU at an event where many concerned constituents will be present! We'll try to have a formal presence at next year's CBF assembly. And since next year's SBC is in Baltimore, I may just go myself. Until I get kicked out along with all the other barnacles and parasites :-)
Finally, if any of you are going to be in the Washington, D.C. area this summer, let me know! I'd love to compare notes and get to know you better.