David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
October 23, 2007

Next week, we - as Texas Baptists - gather to celebrate our cooperation in missions. But we will also be celebrating our precious freedom and autonomy as a state Baptist convention - something that many state conventions no longer enjoy. We are free Baptists. What an exciting truth!

I hope and pray that the messengers attending the meeting will stay focused on missions in their hearts and that our time together will center around this focus. Rick Warren will preach, and I know that he will bring a powerful message. David Coffey, president of the Baptist World Alliance, will also preach, helping to remind us that there are millions of like-minded Baptists around the world who are focused on love and grace . . . missions and ministry.

We will also, of course, conduct the business of the convention. We will elect new officers for the coming year. TBC has, for many years, recommended candidates for BGCT offices, and we do so again this year. As committed Texas Baptists who have been deeply involved in our convention, we consider it part of our responsibility to recommend leaders who have demonstrated experience, integrity, and vision in their lives and service. This year, we are excited to recommend Joy Fenner, Mike Massar, and Jeff Raines to the messengers. These three Texas Baptist leaders combine years of experience with a fresh vision of missions, and they will lead us well during a year of transition if the messengers choose to elect them.

We will discuss and vote on a $50 million budget that supports 27 institutions and ministries. Yes, giving is down some, and that concerns us all. Unfortunately, some are claiming that giving has decreased because not all Texas Baptists are valued and included in convention life. This claim rings hollow, especially when you realize that all of those making this claim – as best I can tell – serve on key committees in Texas Baptist life. I do not know of any state Baptist convention that is as open and inclusive as the BGCT.


Sadly, I hear talk of plans by some people to make motions that appear to be mean-spirited. While I realize that some anger is justified – or at least understandable – and that mistakes have been made, I also know that there is much for which we can be grateful as a state convention. So I hope that messengers will take a long-range view of things and work together to get through a time of transition. I hope that persons will not make motions based on anger alone.

As I consider all of this, a Frederick Buechner passage comes to mind:

“Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel of both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”

I look forward to seeing many of you in Amarillo. I thank you for your prayers and support through these past 20 years. As you come to meet together, I hope that you come with a sense of excitement and commitment to celebrate our freedom as Texas Baptists.