Friday, September 22, 2006

What Does the July 17 "Call" Mean? Evidently, Absolutely Nothing!

After reading the strong statement of July 17 (and the vehement reactions by AWAB voices), many predicted that Dr. Medley had alienated everyone. The August 7 edition of AWAB's Associational e-newsletter consisted of nothing but reaction pieces to Medley's "Call." And, Durable Data has already blogged ( this week on the PCBA response by Paul Hardwick .

Recently an executive minister explained to his pastors that the July 17 call came when he and a few other executive ministers confronted Dr. Medley and strongly urged him to write the "Call." Reportedly, Medley initially demurred, opining that every time he speaks out on this subject, it only serves to hurt those on the left. The report this month to the local pastors explained that the executives persevered, informing the General Secretary that the future of the denomination was at stake and he simply "had to do it."

Cynical reactions abound. Too little, too late for the conservatives and a slap in the face to the left. But, what does it really mean? A hint as to the implications may be discerned in a recent report in the Portland, ME, press. According to the Portland Press Herald, Dr. Medley will speak this Sunday at the Immanuel Baptist Church, Maine's only AWAB congregation (also affiliated with both the Alliance of Baptists and the BPFNA).
Rev. Roy Medley to speak Sept. 24 at Baptist Church
The Rev. Roy A. Medley, general secretary of the American Baptist Churches of the United States, will preach at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 24 at Immanuel Baptist Church.

Medley is the pastoral and administrative leader of the 1.5 million member American Baptist denomination, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa. All are welcome.

For further information, call 775-2301. The church is across from the Eastland Park Hotel on the corner of High and Deering streets.

So, what did Dr. Medley's reluctant "Call" to sexual integrity really mean? Dr. Medley holds personal views on any number of subjects, those corresponding to General Board resolutions he will enforce on the handful of employees who work for the Office of the General Secretary. However, his seemingly clear moral call to live by the standards of the New Testament and the resolutions of the denomination functions as little more than a timid suggestion to be factored into one's thinking along with other weightier considerations.

UNLESS he dons the mantle of the prophet for his sermon in the AWAB church, the impact will be to signal his friends in AWAB that whatever he meant by his July 17 call, it has little to do with them. He will fellowship with them in normal backslapping manner as if nothing had been said. And, unfortunately, if you really analyze it, nothing real or important was . . .

[His Barking Dog has been unusually quiet of late. Part of this owes to an unusually heavy schedule at work. Another aspect relates to some outside studies for a science/faith course I am taking. Finally, my computer has been down. Rather than the dog eating my homework, it was the computer this time! Really! My yips and yaps are still unconnected to any of my masters who really try to keep my leash short. Blame me, not them. Bad dog! Bad dog!]

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