Every Family Has a Crazy Uncle

You know…the uncle that you’re scared to introduce your new girlfriend to at Thanksgiving. Every family has one. And one way or another, the crazy uncle always finds a way to make himself known.

The Southern Baptist Convention is no different.

A lot of you got all riled up last Tuesday when a few ultra-minority and obviously off-mission people made some off-the-wall motions in the business session. The Twitter-verse, or whatever it’s called this week, lit up like a Christmas tree with people saying the SBC is going to boycott Pepsi, pull Driscoll off the shelves, and kick out everyone who cusses. As I read those tweets, my heart broke. Two reasons…

One, we allowed 10 minutes of nonsense to push out 3 days worth of gospel-centered, mission-driven movement. Seriously…10 minutes totally ripped out of context began to dominate the airwaves. All the chatter made it sound like someone got up and preached a hellfire and brimstone sermon condemning Driscoll, Pepsi, cuss words, public schools, and whatever else and then gave out a Braveheart-esque yell at the end while they were met with vigorous applause from a captive audience ready to jump at the chance to boycott stuff. SO NOT TRUE! The reaction and chatter stems from a lack of understanding of Baptist polity and a lack of understanding what is really going on in the SBC right now.

What happened was a few voices made a few motions…motions that never even made it to the floor, never were voted on, never were supported from the stage, and never had any merit in the big picture. The motions were made AT the SBC, not BY the SBC. Big difference.

Second, it seemed that there was a waiting world ready to jump on the “SBC Gone Wild” train. I saw Christian brothers immediately begin ripping the SBC without having a clue as to what was really going on. Almost like everyone was waiting on the crazy motions to come so they could throw the SBC under the proverbial bus. As Lee Corso says….”not so fast my friends.”

If I met the crazy uncle in your family, you’d probably beg me not to judge your family as a result of my encounter with him. He probably said something that was not representative of the family, he probably dressed a little different, may have even smelled a little different…

I would ask the same of you. Please don’t judge the SBC because of the crazy uncles in our family. There are a handful, no doubt. But that’s a small handful…and getting smaller.

As Dr. Mohler twittered during the 10 minute fiasco last week, “Keep in mind, the motion process allows us to see where we need to do the most work.” Yes, we need to do some work – that’s why the Great Commission Resurgence, the money raised to send 2000 stalled missionaries to the International mission field, and the Adoption and Orphan Care resolution are such significant marks of this convention. We’re moving in the right direction!

Let’s celebrate those initiatives that the ENTIRE convention adopted almost unanimously rather than making much of the 10 minutes when a handful of our crazy uncles made themselves known.

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14 Comments on “Every Family Has a Crazy Uncle”

  1. youthpastoradam says:

    Amen!!!

  2. Rhett Burns says:

    the Lee Corso reference makes me wish it was September. Go Gamecocks!

  3. Missy says:

    Ever since the SBC voted to boycot Disney I’ve been done with them. Boycots do NOT bring people to Christ, they only feed into the negative sterotype of “Christians”. When the crazy uncle is allowed to control the party, there is a problem!

  4. jayhardwick says:

    Missy,

    I understand your frustration. But you have to understand some things.

    The Disney boycott was passed in 1997 when the SBC saw itself as the moral police. That was not a result of the crazy uncles controlling the party…that was the result of bad, off-mission leadership. In those days, the crazy uncles at the SBC were probably pushing for a focus on the Great Commission!

    It’s that season that we are desperately trying to recover from…and it’s happening. The Disney boycott was officially lifted in 2005, in case you didn’t know that. As a sign that times have changed and the SBC has recovered focus on the Great Commission and not on boycotts, guess where the SBC annual meeting is next year? Orlando!

    I guess I’d ask that you not judge based on 12 years ago…judge based on the fruit, movement, decisions, etc. you see today. You can read in this post and the post I wrote last week to see more of what kinds of things are happening in the SBC now. It’s good stuff or else I wouldn’t give my time to be there, write about it, or be involved.

    Hope this helps, Missy.

  5. beth says:

    Jay-

    I really appreciate the way you explained your position not only regarding the convention activities, but especially in response to Missy’s comment.

    I just want to chime in that I hope everyone who recognizes that there was a season of ‘bad, off-mission leadership’ recognizes the damage that was done. In many cases, the belligerent, discriminatory, exclusive attitude of the SBC at large trickled down with great force and power to influence smaller congregations, with disastrous results. After coming to Christ, with some innocence and naivete, I got connected with an SBC congregation and ‘lifestyle’ that left a powerful imprint upon my understanding of being a ‘good Christian’. It included very little grace. After a failed marriage and a decade of trying to win the approval of a God described by some as only pleased with a tally sheet of those impacted by EE and how many people were in our club (as opposed to the Methodists and Lutherans and Catholics, all of whom were undoubtedly hell-bound), I praise God today that a church showed me GRACE, and that I am now fueled by a passion for Christ and the local church that is beyond anything I ever imagined. I am even serving in an SBC-affiliated church!

    But that decade of boycotts and craziness impacted me GREATLY, and not necessarily for good. I’m grateful for God’s steadfast love, but worry that we don’t always appreciate the damage done when we’re unaware of how far flies the influence of the crazy uncles.

    Thanks for your post!

  6. Wow! Thanks Jay. I don’t go and really have no plans to go, but it was surprising. I heard nothing positive and all i heard was negative. It’s funny how that has way of influencing your thoughts. So cool to hear about the motions that were passed.

    Thanks for your perspective and words.

  7. Jay

    Great insight into the polity of the SBC. There will always be a “crazy uncle” trying to get attention. The larger the family , the crazier the uncle. I have been attending the SBC for over 20 years and have seen and listened to my share. Their rants seldom amount to more than “sounding brass and clanging cymbals.”

    Thank goodness there are those who see the SBC for what it is, the greatest missionary sending agency in the world and the largest protestant denomination in North America. There must be a reason.

    Good job!

    Marshall

  8. Chris Elrod says:

    I’m pretty offended by your blog post. I’m not real sure what took place at the SBC this year or what all the hub-bub is about…but I’m the crazy uncle in my family…and I would appreciate if you would apologize for letting one or two crazy uncles in your life taint the entire lot of us. 🙂

  9. We in another part of the Baptist family tree are ripe with weird uncles. We ABC folks get painted with the most liberal brush, when many of our tribe are Christ-following, gospel sharing evangelicals, not the whack jobs that get all the press.

    Great post, that’s exactly the kind of thing people need to hear from the inside when stuff like that gets out. Brave to step up and call it like it is.

  10. jayhardwick says:

    @ Beth – You are correct…there was certainly a trickle down effect and undoubtedly, it left a lasting mark on pastors and church members/attenders. That is why we have a few of those voices that rise up every year in our annual meeting. We certainly won’t completely fix this in a year, but over time and with our current convention leadership, vision, and direction, I am confident that we will move steadily towards a singular focus on the Great commission. Thanks for sharing your heart and your story, Beth.

    @ Philip – The fact that all you heard was negative breaks my heart and that’s why I wrote this post and will write more this week. Glad that I could shed some light as one who was there and left encouraged, and definitely not discouraged.

    @ Marshall – Thankful for your leadership in our state and in my life, Marshall! Our best days are ahead and I am honored to lock arms with you to see those days come sooner rather than later!

    @ Elrod – And now, Chris, you are the official crazy uncle of this blog! Thanks for providing the comic relief…I would expect nothing less!

    @ Bill – Thanks for your kind words. Like you and your denomination, we have to keep doing all we can to live out the mission of Jesus and let people see that we are not what you think we are. All the best to you!

  11. rknelsfam says:

    Jay,

    I appreciate your post. I am one who posted regarding the disappointment I heard out of the convention. It wasn’t so much because I want to post against the SBC. It was really more about the disappointment I have had in “The Church” taking a passive-aggressive approach to living out their faith and proclaiming what they are not instead of what they are. I want to let you know that I am going to post this link on my blog to give people the opportunity to hear what else has happened. You wrote a good post that offers a perspective that many of us can relate to. Blessings to you.

    Ryan

  12. jayhardwick says:

    @ Ryan – Thanks for your honest comments, Ryan!

  13. Michael Criner says:

    great word.


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