According to a Baptist Press story, Bill Dodson, a retired Kentucky pastor, attended 65 straight Southern Baptist Conventions.
He said his first was in 1945 (though my reference indicates there was no SBC annual meeting that year but I don’t doubt that they have run together for him) and this past June he missed his first since then.
That’s a lot of meetings. Let me ruminate a bit on that.
I'd certainly give him a trophy for sweltering so many years in New Orleans and Houston, regular convention host cities. I mean, I can make New Orleans work with the beignets, crawfish and all, but Houston? If only Dante knew about Houston…
Did Brother Dodson notice the dramatic change over the past couple of decades? No, not the Conservative Resurgence (he approves of that) but the decline in number of SBCers whose tonsorial signature was a toupee. Well, let’s be honest, an ugly toupee. They have gone the way of the dusky seaside sparrow, replaced by shaved heads and goatees. Not sure the brethren have improved their image with this, though.
How long did it take Brother Dodson to tire of the old SBC backslap? You know, where some bigwig grabs you with a vigorous handshake and a hearty slap on the back, all the while looking over your shoulder for someone more important than you to talk to?
Would he confess like some of the brethren, that when in Kansas City in '84 and all the restaurants around the convention hall were jam-packed with SBCers, he found ready seating in Hooters and had lunch there?
And, let’s get personal here. Did he actually sit through all the mind-numbing hours of boilerplate reports, presentations, spiffy charts, and lately, multimedia shtick? Surely not. Everyone deserves a break.
Well, I attended my first in 1982 and have about 20 under my belt. My favorite was Las Vegas, 110 degrees but more tolerable than 90 in New Orleans. I even got offered a job in a casino while I was there. I’m on an every-other-year or so pattern now and hope to hit Phoenix again next year (it was 100+ in 2003, but vastly preferable to 90 in Houston) which would put me on schedule to miss New Orleans in 2012, but then the world is supposed to end that year, December I think, so the rest of you can get your last fill of crawfish etouffee.
Hats off (toupees off, too) to Bill Dodson, SBC conventioneer extraordinaire.