Well Marilyn and I are in Louisville, Kentucky for the annual Southern Baptist Convention. We're back in the room for a few hours while we take a break from the seemingly endless reports from committees and institutions. It's not all boring however, there are some moments of intense emotions and even laughter. Always there are opportunities to engage in my favorite activity, people watching.
Pastors and messengers from all over the country are here in the blue grass state. I've noticed from simple observation that the new attitude of praise and worship is to keep your arms folded high on your chest, often resting on top of the belly, and look absolutely dis-interested. I know this must be a posture of praise because so many pastors adopt this position and I know they know how to praise the Lord. A look of disgust has also replaced tears and the occassional smile in worship as a way to express your gratitude for Jesus saving your wretched soul.
I have also discovered the style or genre of music is no longer an issue when it comes to worship. I have heard praise, southern, traditional and classical music. Pastors respond the same way to all types of music now. See paragraph above for further details.
I am happy to report that others have discovered that ties, since the invention of the button, are no longer needed for shirts to be worn without being im-modest and showing too much chest hair. At least 75% of the speakers and designated prayers were without ties! I think it must be a sign of the end times.
I have also noticed while people watching that Southern Seminary students, whether male or female, are not as fashionable as their counterparts in the other 5 SBC institution of higher education, partcularly the one in San Francisco. Which means they will probably be great pastors but their wardrobes will not qualify for mega-church status unless their is a fashion intervention.
I have also noted that lay people are better "worshippers" than those of us in the professional ministry, regardless of their age. One couple who has been in the same seating area with us for the last two days are a perfect example. I know he is not a pastor because when a man asked all pastors and their wives to stand for prayer, they did not stand. ( I can look remember, I am a professional.) This elderly couple worships out loud and proud. She raises her hands high and sings to the top of her lungs. He would too, but his hands are not able to get too high and his lungs aren't what they used to be. Neither is his hearing evidently, and I am glad for it. They talk loudly to one another and I have not heard one single negative word out of either of them no matter the style of worship of the identity of the preacher. I've considered taking them home with me. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to get lost. Whenever, he goes to get coffee or to attend matters in the men's room she looks worried until he returns. She will usually find him a few sections over looking for his chair and wondering why they keep rearranging the room.
I am glad to report that Dr. Johnny Hunt was re-elected president of the SBC without opposition. He is a great man of passion for the Word of God and compassion for the lost. We are blessed to have him as our president for a second term. He has been a great example to me and many others who have gotten to know him and his lovely wife Janet.
Let me leave you with this quote from our president. Making remarks about the sorry condition of our finances and the uncertainty of our country in the world he said, "Many people want to end their speeches with God bless America. We should be crying out that American should bless God." Then, and only then, may we begin to emerge from the mess we are in. Preach on, brother!
God bless and I talk with you soon.