The following resolution is one that I sent before the deadline to the Resolutions Committee. I presented this resolution after a time of grapplying with the issue. Allow me to present a brief history and then I will present the resolution.
In a comment thread on another blog the issue of race was being discussed. In that discussion my Brother Dwight McKissic made a statement that caused me to think very deeply. Brother Dwight said that on a recent visit to the Executive Committee building he noticed a very strange phenomenan. As we traversed the hallways he was moved by the lack of minority presence. Thus, he inquired concerning the highest ranking African American. He was told that the highest ranking African American was the head custodian. I openly argued that I trusted the hiring process that Dr. Chapman has in place at the EC. However, deep inside I had concern that we had no minority representation. It is not that we had little, but we had no minority representation. The comment concerned me because I know that I went to school with some very bright African Americans. One Brother and I studied for tests together and he usually had a much better grasp of the material and his grades reflected his intellect. He is now employed in our state convention.
Before anyone thinks this is solely about African American minorities, it isn’t. As a convention we have many minority churches but in leadership we have few minority voices. After much prayer and wrestling with what to do, I contacted Brother Dwight with the possibility of presenting this resolution as a joint venture. He helped me word it and we came to a consensus of statement in order to ask that our leaders begin to pray. We just want them to do what I did. Look at the landscape and pray about what God would have us do. This is not about quotas. It is about finding God’s people–red, yellow, black, and white–to fill the positions of leadership. This leadership could be in the committees, or in the employment positions. Just pray about it as you look to fill the positions is the action called for in the resolution.
On Equality in Ethnic Representation
WHEREAS, In 1995 Southern Baptist expressed a commitment to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry; andWHEREAS, we have committed ourselves to be doers of the Word (James 1:22) by pursuing racial reconciliation in all our relationships, especially with our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 2:7), to the end that our light would so shine before others, that they may see (our) good works and glorify (our) Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16); and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptist publicly express our gratitude to God for his reconciling grace, and reaffirm our intention to love our neighbors as ourselves, denouncing in strongest terms every expression of racial and ethnic prejudice, discrimination, and hatred; and
WHEREAS, According to Lifeway there are 2,416 African American churches and 684 missions, 1,307 Hispanic churches and 1,665 missions, 583 Korean churches and 27 missions and 137, Chinese churches and 71 missions affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention; and
WHEREAS, there is among our minority Brothers and Sisters an emergence of strong leadership, pulpit ability, administrative capability, and denominational, theological, and scriptural fidelity as is represented in the Baptist Faith and Message; and
WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention does not appear reflective of this racial diversity among her entity heads, employees, the various boards of trustees, executive and cabinet level leadership to any significant degree. Therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, express our appreciation to entities seeking to address a balanced representative of minority leadership; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge our entity leaders, working under God’s timing and at their discretion, to help resolve any imbalance of minority representation within their entity; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we encourage our President and all committees to identify ethnic leadership from within the Southern Baptist family to serve on boards, committees, and programs of the Southern Baptist Convention so as to reflect more completely the oneness in Christ we share as a denomination and as a witness for our Lord everywhere and with everyone.