Sunday, May 20, 2007


What Are Baptists Coming To?

Oliver "Buzz" Thomas, a minister and a lawyer (Whew! There's a lethal combination!), has a new book out that goes by the snappy title: 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You: (But Can't, Because He Needs the Job).

As this review puts it:

Thomas makes it clear he believes that God created the universe, but that such claims are religious claims. The idea of a creator should not be part of a public school science curriculum, sneaking in as either creationism or intelligent design. However, Thomas also believes the controversy surrounding the evolution/ creationism debate should be taught in public schools as history and social studies.

A perfectly reasonable position. Baptists aren't supposed to have those are they?

While he maintains that the Free Exercise clause of the Constitution prevents government from requiring churches to hire women for ministerial roles, he goes on to say:

... there's something inside every American that is offended anytime discrimination takes place. Especially in the name of religion.

And on homosexuality and marriage, Thomas advocates supporting the separation of church and state through something like the system common in Europe, where the contractual relationship is established through civil unions and "marriage" is a religious rite.

Thomas acknowledges that evangelicals want to "make disciples of all nations" but he also admits that they have the right to say no and "failure to protect anyone's right to religious freedom diminishes everyone's religious freedom."

I hate it when people don't live up to my stereotype.

What is really amusing is to look through the reviews at Amazon. There are eight. They just about alternate between 5 stars and 1 star. Actually, there are 3 with one star, 4 with five stars, and one with four stars. Talk about bimodal distributions!

The title of the book, with the fear of losing your job, seems pretty apt. I think it is a common problem in some churches. The pastor is involved in study of the material, and over time their view shifts to be out of step with the normal expectations for the religion. In extreme cases, a pastor loses faith altogether; and what can they do then?

This author is not in that category; but he is out of step with his flock. You can find more about him at
Talk about bimodal distributions!

Why, it's almost like you could predict the outcome somehow! ;-)

... he is out of step with his flock.

Maybe, if we are lucky, he is just out in front of them.
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