Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Happy (Belated) Anniversary!

It seems hard to believe, but it was just about a year ago (November 23 to be exact) that The View from the Hill made its debut. As I mentioned in my first post, the main reason I set up this blog was that some of the blogs I wanted to comment on required a Blogger account, and I figured if I established an account I might as well go all out and set up a blog.

I could not have begun to imagine everything that has happened as a result of this blog. I have personally debated theological issues with seminary professors and other SBC leaders. I have learned more about SBC missions work over the past year than I had in my previous 20 or so years in Southern Baptist churches. My thinking on a number of issues has changed as I have been challenged to try to set aside the lenses of culture and tradition when studying the Bible. People from all over the United States and even around the world are praying for me as I seek the place where God would have me serve. I have been removed from consideration for the pastorate of at least one church because of what I have written on this blog. I have discovered that there are serious problems that threaten the future of the SBC. And I have met a number of pastors, missionaries, and laypersons who give me confidence that the SBC's greatest days may very well lie ahead. I also got a free Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XL championship t-shirt because of this blog (thanks, Kiki & Doug)!

As much as I enjoy blogging, I must confess that at times I have been tempted to stop operating my own blog. These thoughts usually come when I am feeling sorry for myself because I have worked 3 or 4 hours on a post and only 5 people comment or when I have several days when I sit down and can't think of anything to write about and thus hardly anyone visits my blog. Sometimes I feel like I really don't have anything to contribute to the conversation and that I'm just restating what others have already written. But then I remind myself that I really didn't have any grand expectations when I started this blog, and yet it has resulted in so many good things. I have also been greatly encouraged by the affirming statements that many of my readers, most of whom are far more accomplished than I, have made. I've even been encouraged by the fact that some people go to the trouble of writing to express their disagreement with me!

So despite my occasional bouts of self-pity, this blog will go on. Maybe I'll actually post more regularly. Maybe I'll finally come up with a post that gets 100 comments. Maybe I'll even write a post where the reader won't have to scroll halfway down the page to read the whole thing. OK, probably not, but it never hurts to imagine! Anyway, to everyone who reads this blog, I want to express my gratitude for taking the time to read what I have to say.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What It's All About

The following statement in Baptist Press by Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page is a clear reminder to Southern Baptists of the reason the SBC exists---to facilitate cooperation among believers and churches so that we can effectively carry the gospel to all peoples. He urges Southern Baptists to focus not on those things that divide us, but to center our attention on the great task that we are all called to.

I am calling for Southern Baptists to renew a passion for a worldwide evangelistic and mission thrust. I believe that God’s Holy Spirit can empower a unified mission movement which truly shares the relevant message of Christ with a lost and dying world and continent. It will not be done as long as Southern Baptists "fuss and fight" among themselves. It will not be done if we seek to promote personal agendas and political initiatives. It will be done only when we---even though we are in varying interest groups---decide that the common unified mission task is our prime agenda!
Amen! May it be so, Lord!