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Home About Editorial Cartoons Store Comment Policy Contact Lis Southern Baptist News fp Commentary SBCOUTPOST SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscribe to 93COutpost.corn by entering your email address:. ISti bst . ri bo tia:tts.’in a tame? ay oorp,40 ‘roam What’s ln a riatne7.That question. is reasonable and should eightly be asked when one comes face to face with something that they . have learned tdtrUeX.H:: but y{hic has ::: undergone any sort of serious renovation. 10 relationshiO to SiKoutbost.corn many of you have learned to : ice both .great trust and high expectations in the material you have.found here. Marty Duren spent a’ tremendous amount or time and effort making a hen* that can betrusted., Sint* Marty announced he is backing away, some of you . . . . Illy 2007 MT WT F S S 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101112131415 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 its church space, but recently decided to devote energy to social ministries instead of raising the $25 million needed for a new building. His blog is . In 2005, Burleson discovered that the. IMB planned to accept missionary candidates on new, stricter criteria. The IMB trustees eventually voted to require missionaries to be baptized in an SBC church \(the theological particulars are language”a form of speaking in tongues that one does in private, or as the Baptists like to put it, in one’s “private prayer closet?’ Speaking in tongues, also called glossolalia, is a form of ecstatic prayer that sounds like babbling. Baptists generally deride tongues in public worship, though they’ve had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to private prayer language because it isn’t explicitly forbidden by the Bible. “I don’t speak in a private prayer language, I don’t have one, and I don’t want to have one,” Burleson says. “I think it’s a minor issue of the faith, but I’m not going to exclude from missionary service my brothers and sisters in Christ who pray in tongues in their prayer closet.” At first the IMB justified its move, saying there had been reports that Baptist missionaries were threatening the purity of their churches by hanging out with Pentecostals and even speaking in tongues. \(The IMB has since admitted there Others say it was an attempt to embarrass Jerry Rankin, the IMB president, who claimed to have a private prayer language. To Burleson, it looked like an underhanded way of narrowing what it meant to be a Baptist. The Baptist blogosphere rallied around Burleson, including his new friend Cole, who returned to a more active role in SBC politics and, in the spring of 2006, started posting satire, gossip, and theological commentary to his blog. When Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Dallas announced it would be offering a bachelor’s in homemaking to future pastors’ wives, Cole posted YouTube videos of women threading sewingmachine needles. He supported Sheri Klouda, a professor at Southwestern who was fired because she’s a woman. He listed various malfeasances, many of them financial. “From the highest levels of denominational leadership to the smallest church 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JULY 13, 2007 “We are a convention of half-truths, hidden agendas, and careless misrepresentations.” and the numbers it reports on the Annual Church Profile,” he wrote in May 2006, “we are a convention of half-truths, hidden agendas, and careless misrepresentations:’ In April 2007, he mocked Patterson for saying that the shootings at Virginia Tech might have been averted if students had carried guns. Cole often receives criticisms along the lines of what someone wrote in the blog’s comments: “Again, you fail to bring out any good in a situation, you only lift one portion of the service and use it to elevate yourself above all others. You fail again to point me to Christ, and you only make me feel sorry for you. Please, ask the Lord to show the evil in your ways. Your [sic] not doing Kingdom Work, and you are constantly bringing attention to yourself.” Cole emerged as one of the most visible and notorious of the new Baptist bloggers. Their impact was felt. At the 2006 SBC convention, they flexed their political power by supporting an outsider for president, Frank Page. The night before the election, Cole and Burleson invited bloggers to their hotel suite for a strategy talk, an old esprit de corps tactic of the conservative resurgence. When Page won, he stopped by to visit. Then controversy enveloped another pastor, Dwight McKissic, when he admitted to practicing a private prayer language in a sermon at Southwestern. When Southwestern looked poised to kick McKissic, one of three African-Americans, off its board, the bloggers threw support behind him. And in May of 2007, Cole, Burleson, Duren, and Scott met with former President Jimmy Carter, who has called for all North American Baptists to unite in what is being called a “New Baptist Covenant.”