Friday, October 15, 2010

Atacama Ozymandias, Bruce, et al

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!: This Atacama Ozymandias would be Seventh Day Adventist minister at the Chilean mine rescue site, one Carolor Parra Diaz, who said, "God has spoken to me clearly and guided my hand each step of the rescue. He wanted the miners to be rescued and I am His instrument." Seems there’s competition amongst Catholic, SDA, and evangelicals for the credit here. Tsk. Tsk.

I make a suggestion about disclosure of SBC salaries and get “nut case” hung around my neck.’ Trust the Lord and tell the people’, we once said to one another. Tsk. Tsk.

My dear alma mater, UGA, won a football game last Saturday. Hurrah! The score for the season is now: Wins, 2; Players arrested, 12. Looks like a losing season for these two stats is assured. Oh, and we have a new dog mascot whose name is ‘Bruce.’

Said with a smile on my face: I recommend that the North American Mission Board trustees be put 2,000 feet down in a gold and copper mine for 69 days and let’s see if they can get as well organized as did the Chilean miners.

Still waiting: Surely there is some astute SBCer who will stop blaming us for asking about pay levels long enough to make a good argument as to why such pay should be hidden from the folks who pay the bills.

Will Plodder vote for a Democrat here in Georgia for governor? It's been decades but I'm a little weary of the GOP candidate, Nathan "Sweet" Deal and the way self interest always seems close to his heart.


Anonymous said...

Since your criteria for always wanting to know salaries is who "pays the bills", here is my suggestion:

1. If you can prove that you individually give to the SBC or are a giving member of a church which does, then you have the right to see the salaries.

2. If you are a giving member of a church then you might have a right to see the salaries.

Just a little sideline for you to think about.

William said...

You make points that are already assumed. I am unaware of anyone who has been asking for transparency on SBC pay NOT being a member of a cooperating SBC church - not FBCJax Watchdog, not Les Puryear, not one.

2. It is not the subject of any of my blog stuff (maybe later), but I'd guess that ordinary giving members of most megachurches, perhaps Ezell's (I don't know and don't really care,) do not have access to see staff salaries. That is the megachurch pattern.

It shouldn't be a problem for any Southern Baptist to ask honest questions.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

William - we face the same dilemna here in Florida. I'm faced with voting for a Democrat for the first time in my life. I can't stomach voting for Rick Scott for governor. His company gets fined billions for medicare fraud, he never answers any questions in depositions and goes "Scott" free, and now he wants to be our governor? I have relatives who have worked in his hospitals, and they are conservative Republicans and they absolutely will not vote for Scott.

Anonymous said...

I tried to give an good answer as to why we might not want agency head's compensation available to the public.


Anonymous said...

The megachurches that I know of in Texas are structured in such a way that salaries are handled by the Personnel Committee which is elected by the church. They nearly all do not give out those figures.

That is the way their churches are structured and run so if a person doesn't like it or believe in that structure, then they shouldn't join that church. Go find a church that does it your way and join it but quit harping about how the megas and a whole lot of others do it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:06,

Is this the approach you would have taken towards those in the convention during the 70's? Would you have told those men who rose up and spoke out against the then structure of the convention to go join another one? If not, then why the double standard?

Jon L. Estes

William said...

Anon, 8:06. You will note that this discussion is not about megachurch pastor salaries. While I think that every church member of whatever church size should be able to know such things about his or her church, a local church may certainly put other policies in place. It's their right. I don't question it save for my observation that it is unwise.

...but we are speaking of the CEOs of our cooperative work. Do you have some justification for secrecy on those? If so, please make your case rather than tossing out the red herring of church salaries.

William said...

My friend Tim has offered on his blog [] a very reasonable justification for secrecy in SBC salaries. I appreciate that and will respond to his several points why secrecy is good below:

1. The CEOs don’t want everyone to know what their compensation is because it is personal. It is personal, but so is the pay of corporate CEOs, football coaches, and about all the SBC pastors and staff I know. So what? Am I harmed by my congregation knowing to the penny what they pay me? No. The only reason a CEO might not want his pay revealed if he or she is overpaid.

2. It may be used against you. The secrecy may be used against you, and often is. If trustees have done a good job, then they can easily defend the pay level. If they keep it a secret, people are likely to overestimate the pay and react accordingly.

3. The greater the pay, the greater the vulnerability. This one I don’t buy at all. Robert Reccord was reported to have had a severance agreement that was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was hardly vulnerable. I feel sure all of our entity heads are insulated from harm. In consrast, show me the pastor that has an employment contract. I know of none.

4. Some will say the pay is unfair. This is true at every level of Baptist life. Keeping it secret doesn’t eliminate the problem here. It makes it worse.

5. All trustees should know (hence, ordinary Baptists don’t need to know). I question whether all trustees at NAMB have this information. I don’t know one way or the other but I wouldn’t be surprised if only an executive committee knows it. Again, just because trustees know doesn’t mean we should not.

6. It wouldn’t cure NAMB’s problems. No, not all of them, but it would tell us that the new administration is not afraid to trust the Lord and be open with the people. Two words to remember: Robert Reccord. Three words to remember: Spending God’s Money [].

Again, I thank Tim for his answer here.

Anonymous said...

I think that all SBC entities should publish all their salaries and not just those at the top. That way we can all sit and argue about whether it is too much or too little. At least we'll have something to keep us busy.

Just a little sideline from here in Texas: the only ones who know the salary of the head of the SBTC are a very select few on the Board of Directors. It is not common knowledge even among the Board and that is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Anonymous said...

And just what do you propose doing if you think the salary of the head of an SBC entity is making too much money? I would sure be interested in hearing your response on this one.

William said...

If I thought that any particular SBC entity head was grossly overpaid, I would have a number of options including doing nothing, not giving, contacting trustees, and others.

I am not presuming that anything is amiss here and all I have done is to offer a suggestion to the new NAMB leader about openness and transparency.

Anonymous, do you have an objection to a cooperating SBCer even asking the question? If so, why?

Anonymous said...

I have no problems with anyone asking about anything but it seems that quite a few Southern Baptist bloggers love to intimate that something is always amiss when another person is paid more than they think they should be making.

Just an observation.

William Thornton said...

Anonymous, this discussion is about NAMB. Name one blogger who has intimated such as you said above.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever read David Montoya's blog?

Anonymous said...

OK, nothing about NAMB but since you asked about Montoya, sure, I do read him and even noted in a blog last week that he reported that a Baptist college president in Texas had compensation of around $850,000 for the year. That information was already public. He just picked it up.

Do you think anything is amiss with that level of pay?

If not, do you object to someone who does making an issue of it?


Anonymous said...

Personally I don't care one whit about what anyone makes in the SBC. I leave those decisions up to the people who are empowered to make them and not the opinions of bloggers. If you read Montoya's blog on a regular basis he accuses someone of something every time he writes. Maybe that's why he got sued and his insurance company ended up paying a bundle.

Just postulating about how we don't like someone's salary isn't going to do a thing. If you want to change it, get elected to their boards and then you can do something constructive.

William said...

Is it OK with you if folks have an opinion, like the contemptuous one you have of Montoya and bloggers?

It is OK with you for those who pay the bills to know how their money is being spent?

It is OK with you if those who pay the bills do something constructive like hold both trustees and employees accountable with the only tools available to them?

If you don't care, why hold such contempt for those who do?