Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Herding Cats In Nashville; The Great Name Change Debate

So the muckity-mucks at the home office have decided—again—that we Southern Baptists should consider changing the name of our convention. For several years there has been talk about "Southern" hindering the Gospel, slowing the growth of churches not located in the Southern parts of the United States, etc, etc. blah, blah, blah.

Look, I’m not about hindering growth, evangelism, or even perception. But I do take offence at certain things that are being thrown around out there about WHY we need to change our name. 

1) I, nor any Southern Baptist I have ever known, has ever owned a slave. No Southern Baptist I have ever known has been a slave. Seriously, it’s 2012! It’s time to get over it. If we are forever and always, Amen, going to associate the term Southern with slavery, then we need to change the title of everything Southern. The SEC? I know, let’s call it the Not Northeast Conference. The NNC. How about Southern Bell? Let’s change the name to Irrelevant In A Digital Age Bell.  IIADAB (pronounced Eye-A-Dabs) Or Southwest Airlines? They can be the Nonracist Operators of Planes and Excursions. NOPE for short.

2) If we want to change the name, can we at least not call it something as cheesy as the Great Commission Baptist Convention? If I were a Methodist, I’d be pretty offended at the connotation that I could no longer practice the Great Commission with-out changing denominations. Honestly, what happened to the International Baptist Convention? At least that aligned with what the “changers” say about why we should change the name.

3) If we are offending SOME people who don’t like to be called Southern, (As if that were a bad thing. Again, I mention the SEC, and will add boiled peanuts and grits to the list) how many are we offending? I am so sick and tired of being told that because I hail from the Southern part of the United States that I am an ignorant racist, and that those from the left coast are so culturally and intellectually superior. So, in order not to offend a minority, we will offend a majority. Yeah, that makes sense. 

4) If we change from Southern Baptist, we will offend Baptists from South Korea? What about Southern Manchuria; or Baptists at the South Pole? Dare I ask it???? What about Baptists from Southern California? What about Baptists from Southern North Dakota? HAS ANYONE ASKED BAPTISTS FROM SOUTHERN NORTH DAKOTA ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS? Huh? Have you, Task Force!?

5) Speaking of which…What is the big deal, Task Force? I thought we were already autonomous?  Soooooo…now you are giving us permission to call ourselves whatever we want, but you have already purchased website domain names? ****Ummmm…just in case. ***** Can’t the offended churches in the offended regions just call themselves whatever they want already? The biggest church in our convention, Saddleback, already does not use the term Southern Baptist in their name, correct? 

6) Marketingly speaking, why not pull a Kentucky Fried Chicken move here. When some people thought “Kentucky Fried” sounded unhealthy, they rebranded to KFC. What’s wrong with SBC as our official moniker? 

7) My real concern here is that it seems to me the ones who are fussing the most about “Southern,” also don’t like "Baptist." What’s next? I’m afraid to know. Will we be afraid to call ourselves Christians? Remember back in the late 80’s: there was a coalition formed called RAD? Rockers Against Drugs. An oxymoron of the 80’s if ever there was one. I’m afraid the next step will be a similar coalition; we’ll call this one CAC, Christians Against Christ. Or BASS. Baptists Against Seeming Southern.

All-in-all, this is a big to-do about nothing. I hate to go using Southern speak and all, but to quote my pappy,
 “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

(Great Commission Baptist Convention translation: “If the opportunity for improvement is not strategically aligned in a manner that proliferates the paradigm shift sought out by the focus group’s core competency for a bandwidth of change, consider empowering the static traditional approach to synergize the industry standard. Otherwise, you’re just herding cats.”)

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