For the first time, Texas Baptists will be led by a woman.
I don't know why I don't feel more like celebrating. Maybe because, for the first time in a long time, another camp ran a viable candidate primarily so that they wouldn't have to vote for a woman. Maybe because the vote was one of the closest in history even though Joy Fenner easily and clearly represents the best of Texas Baptists and even her opposition said they could find no fault with her service to missions over the years. Maybe because there was not a single woman (or minority or young person, for that matter) to stand behind the podium the whole time I was at the meeting. In all fairness, I wasn't there today, but there was none on the program. Maybe because Southern Baptists are behind every viable denomination except the Church of Christ on this issue and we're losing our best and brightest to the Methodists and the Episcopalians.
There was much to celebrate. OK, maybe not much, but some. Everyone said that both candidates conducted themselves with graciousness and kindness and God was glorified by that. And change is in the air, which is a good thing. And the addresses by the president of Baptist World Alliance and by Rick Warren called us to a truly global perspective and challenged us to rethink our assumptions about the world and the gospel. And in spite of the heaviness and negativity surrounding the meeting, there are many, many good people who remain passionately committed to caring for children, feeding the hungry, and seeking the lost in Texas.
One more thing: They showed a video to celebrate the outgoing Executive Director of the BGCT, Charles Wade (you know the kind--starts with baby pictures, ends with nice things being said by his friends and kids). As it ended, I looked around the arena to see several grown adults sitting with their arms folded, scowling, refusing to applaud with the rest of the crowd. They looked like five-year-olds. I am sure there is plenty of room for disagreement with Wade's policies and maybe even reason to dislike him personally (although I've never heard of any reason for the latter--but he is only human, after all). But to refuse to politely acknowledge the decades of contributions by a brother in Christ on behalf of us all . . . for crying out loud, grow up!