Wednesday, April 05, 2006
The old boy network meets the fearless generation
"The 'old-boy-network' won the battle and openness, transparency, and principled dissent lost."
No, this isn't about how the Widow's Son's local lodge brothers conspired to protect the child molester in their midsts while drumming out the one who told the truth, and no, this isn't about how the Grand Lodge of Georgia conspired to "erase" Masons from the rolls of their lodges for seeking further Masonic education on their own in the Rite of the Rose Cross of Gold.
While that quotation does aptly describe what has been going on in Georgia and Alabama Masonry the last several years, that's not what the opening quotation is about.
The quotation above, which bears repeating — "The 'old-boy-network' won the battle and openness, transparency, and principled dissent lost" — was written about the trustees of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, by a Southern Baptist pastor and blogger.
It seems the old-boy-network that has run the Southern Baptist Mission Board since dinosaurs roamed the earth took offense when a young minister who had been elected a trustee, Wade Burleson, spoke his mind, complaining about their rule-making about things that should be handled by local churches. In response to the criticism, the board lashed out with new rules forbidding criticism, and by doing so, stirred the ire of a lot more young pastors, who raised a ruckus.
The chairman said that the trustees are now more aware of the younger generation of Southern Baptist pastors and leaders who rallied to Burleson's defense. "This high-tech generation is fearless," he said, adding their fearlessness is often taken for insolence.
Discipline against Burleson has supposedly been dropped since the brouhaha began. Burleson was originally accused of "broken trust" and "resistance to accountability" for speaking his mind on his blog. Trustees say they will take no further action against Burleson, but Baptist bloggers laugh at that promise.
One Baptist blogger writes, "New guidelines require trustees 'to refrain from speaking in disparaging terms' not only of fellow trustees but — after an amendment — of all IMB personnel."
"Individual IMB trustees must refrain from public criticism of board-approved actions," notes the section on trustee conduct. "Experience has shown that it is not possible to draw fine lines in this area. Freedom of expression must give way to the imperative that the work of the Kingdom not be placed at risk by publicly airing differences within the board."
Not publicly airing differences.... I've heard that before! "Don't air the lodge's dirty laundry!" they cried, when notice of the child molester's Masonic trial was published, pursuant to Masonic Code.
There's no need to go any further with this story — in and of itself, it's not that interesting. I just found the parallels to Southern Freemasonry noteworthy, but not unexpected. After all, one of the problems with southern Freemasonry is that it's been taken over by these same Baptists with their own agenda.
It's time for the Old Boy Network to get out of the way of the Fearless Generation.
— Widow's Son
Artwork: "Culture Clash" by Robert Jackson
Southern Baptists | Freemasonry | Religion | Grand Lodge of Georgia | Grand Lodge of Alabama | International Mission Board | Southern Baptist Convention | Fearless Generation | Wade Burleson