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Revolutionary Propaganda Organ

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Blogging Baptist

Wade Burleson is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Oklahoma. He recently got dismissed from the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board for blogging too openly about his disputes with the other members of the board, who have been (like other zealots in the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC) purging whatever "un-fundamentalist" elements from the various sections they have taken over.

They have successfully purged anyone remotely "charismatic" or "pentecostal" from the ranks of the missionaries, as well as moved closer to identifying an SBC creed. (Those in the know recognize this trend to contradict basic Baptist tradition, which values not having organized theological positions to which all must agree. Of course, Baptists also used to be known for their voluntary, non-binding organizational structures... Look where that went, right?)

Anyway, Burleson's predicament reminds me of Ellen Hampton's recent decision not to publish publicly about work. A wise decision, and one that we all must make--how confessional, how personal should our blogs be? One of Ellen's commenters points us to the expression to be dooced, which means "to be fired from one's job because of one's blog." Heather B. Armstrong is the blogger, at dooce.com.


At 6:12 PM, Blogger nelmezzo said...

For the record, Mr. Burleson has not been dismissed. The IMB trustees have passed a motion recommending to the convention that he be dismissed. Should that recommendation still exist at the time the convention is held, the convention will make a decision on the recommendation.

The "dooced" aspect of this is fascinating indeed. It appears that one of the reasons Mr. Burleson is being treated in this unprecedented way is because he was blogging. It appears that many on the IMB board do not understand the medium or even know what it is. See this post for an example of an SBC entity trustee who used the MSM to criticize his board and who faced no consequences.

The fact that this is happening in an ill-understood medium seems to be fueling the harshness of the response . . .

At 10:15 AM, Blogger LN said...

My decision was not to blog publically about work (though, I still want to write about it, so will do it password protected) but sometimes wonder whether blogging about my personal life might get me in trouble, (though I hope it wouldn't, and in fact, librarians, being information and technology/internet savvy, blog in quite high numbers, so I would hope that blogging in general wouldn't be grounds for discipline/dismissal...

However, when applying for a job, someone could google my name and pull up my blog quite easily. I wonder whether this might be not a good thing. I have a friend who was told that she got googled when she was interviewing, but they couldn't find anything on her, as she had just gotten married and they were googling her married name, whereas if they had googled her maiden name they could have found all kinds of dirt!

At 11:24 AM, Blogger John Schaefer said...

Yes, I've seen problems not only with bosses but also with family members, when the blogging gets too personal. The Internet is curiously intimate, but also breathtakingly public.

David, thanks for stopping by!

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Warren said...

"Those in the know recognize this trend to contradict basic Baptist tradition, which values not having organized theological positions to which all must agree."

I'm curious, in light of this, what your opinions are about the first and second London Baptist Confessions, the Philadelphia Confession adopted in 1742, or any of the historic Baptist confessions that are listed here.

Just curious.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger John Schaefer said...

Welcome Warren! I was probably thinking of the Baptist faith and message, which (as I remember) states clearly that it isn't a creed. The idea being that the SBC is a convention of independent congregations that are free (like Roger Williams) to adopt any creed they so choose. Please correct me if I'm wrong.


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