Early this week I received word from a friend that the SBC convention was underway. So I watched part of it, sometimes via archives, sometimes streaming.
These people are crazy. Seriously. They're worse than fundamentalists. Or, at least, they are just bad as fundamentalists. They embrace a kind of pseudo-conservatism, but it ends up being really silly in the end. Their preaching is endemic of the most revivalistic types within fundamentalism. All they did was sing the praises of the SBC and its mysterious second person "the Cooperative Program." I think their meeting can be essentially reduced to:
Praise the SBC. Glory to the SBC.
Praise be to the SBC and to the Cooperative Program and to the President of the SBC. World without end. Amen.
I don't need to argue this point. All you need to do is watch for yourself. This is the beauty of this post. It argues itself. Their convention is not edifying; it's entertaining. It's all entertainment. Don't watch a movie this weekend, watch the SBC Convention. It's a hoot. Here are some highlights:
- They clap for everything.
- They have baptisms (lots of minorities!).
- They have Baptist commercials about soul-winning and the Cooperative Program.
- They have plenty of worship-frenzy.
You could spend hours at the archives, so I will highlight a particular session: the Wednesday evening session. To watch, you can either click "Wednesday evening" session at the archives, or you can follow these instructions:
- Copy the thread embedded here (right click and select "copy link location").
- Open Windows Media Player and hit Ctrl-U.
- Paste the thread into the box that appears.
- Hit "okay."
The evening begins with some outstanding and exemplary youth leading in a native call to worship. This may be the most edifying part of the whole convention. Evidently, garbage cans are now accepted instruments for Christian liturgy. The Word of Christ was dwelling richly here. The evil spirits being called among the presence of the Baptists, a very excited and passionate elderly man, young beyond his years, begins to lead them in some "great old hymns": "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart," and "He Keeps Me Singing." Some good looking people are singing behind him, each holding their own microphone. I have no idea why. Then there's the choir. The choir has more people than a small village (they say over 1600 people). The Southern Baptists, while maybe not emphasizing quality, sure have the corner on the quantity market.
After they appease the older folks with the "hymns," they get down to business. The frenzy begins here. They start singing something about God. I am not really sure what it means. Something about God being great. I got that, at least. They have some kind of 600 gallon crown sitting in the middle of the stage. I have no idea why. The second song is something about preparing the Lord's way. I have no idea what they are the saying. The Lord is riding or something. About half-way through is where it gets really good. They start chanting "There's no God like Jehovah," just like the children of Israel did at the foot of Mt. Sinai before the golden calf. Then this guy in a yellow sport coat starts coming out and hopping all over the stage and yelling a lot. No kidding. That's about all I could take.
If you're feeling up to it, you can also watch their "celebration of God and country" (follow the instructions I gave above). They begin by singing about Jesus' blood. But it's after about 37 minutes when they start singing about the 4th person of the Quadrinity, the USA. This is really, really, really bad. They forget the words, and they are off-key. Did I mention this was bad? The quartet that follows is even worse. No really. BAD. BAD. BAD. Following all the worship of America, they have a fitting conclusion: baptisms.
Of course, I am only skimming the surface here. There are many other worthy highlights that because of time I must forego. Like I said, the SBC has issues.