I recognize that most SBCers think that if it doesn't involve the SBC it's not worth thinking about, so here's my list of top SBC stories for 2011. The rest of Christendom can have their list, but none of that counts here (however, if the world had ended as Harold Camping said it would a couple of times in 2011, I would have been happy to include that non-SBC story in the list).
1. Bryant Wright appoints an informal, unfunded SBC name change committee. And thereby stirs up the ire of many who resent his ability to do this. Get over it. You will get a direct vote, if it comes to that, next June.
2. Tom Elliff elected as new head of IMB. Whenever our flagship agency has a new leader, that's big news. I wish him every success in leading the SBC's flagship entity.
3. SBC Cooperative Program receipts show a slight increase. The Executive Committee reported this for the fiscal year ending September 30th; however, the next two months showed a steep decrease. Maybe they back-loaded September to make 2010-2011 look good? Whatever...an increase was unexpected.
4. Southern Baptists bash Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Start with Robert Jeffress, pastor of what used to be the SBC's top church, FBC Dallas. Add a few others and not a few bloggers who display their religious bigotry in foreswearing voting for a Mormon candidate. Perhaps the brethren should start a re-elect Obama SBCers group.
5. State conventions move towards 50/50 Cooperative Program split. State conventions get credit for good intentions; however, Plodder takes the Matthew 24 approach to these - cuts and rumors of cuts, but don't be alarmed, the checks haven't been written.
6. Surry (NC) Baptist Association kicks out church with female pastor. And does so summarily. How dare the church call a female and ignore the association's doctrinal purity and unity? And some in the SBC say that our name ("Southern") is the cause of our bad image.
7. Frank Page puts Calvinism at the top of his list of challenges for the SBC. Since he hears from a lot of Baptists, I'd listen to him on this.
8. SBC annual meeting attendance lowest since 1944. Only 4,814 at Phoenix, a group which didn't include moi (I've already been to Phoenix in 110 degree heat in June). So, it was an off election year and ther was no raging controversy. Still, SBCers used to like to spend some expense money.
9. New biography of Lottie Moon published. Regina Sullivan's new bio is the first in about three decades. It calls into question the use of Lottie's starvation death narrative as a fund raising tool but what good are facts if they don't get the money flowing? SBCers should read the book.
10. Plodder resigns his church and retires. Well, this one is pretty big news around my house if nowhere else. I reserve the right to undo this one if the Lord leads.