2013: The year in quotes

Following are some memorable quotes from news and commentary articles published by ABPnews in 2013.

For some reason, in our immaturity, the assumption always is that our Christianity is the standard and our Baptist Christianity is the standard. And, of course, it’s not.” (Kathe Traynham)

"No one outside the tribe is going to celebrate these men, so they might as well celebrate themselves." (Alan Bean)

When we believe an opinion or perspective is seriously flawed, we challenge each other as beloved family members rather than as strangers and enemies. Even the correction of perceived errors must be done in love.” (BWA Covenant on Intra-Baptist Relations)

I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together." (Al Mohler at BYU)

"Something's terribly wrong when ESPN is calling for the truth, but the church remains silent.” (Amy Smith of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), countering claims that there is no place in the church for whistleblowers.)

"If you believe you need Millennials in your church, equip yourselves to risk boldly for the gospel and delight in the Jesus they know and love. Let them inspire you as they become change agents of God’s transforming love in the world and in your church." (Emily Hull McGee)

"What we are now is mission outposts. We are islands in a world full of increasingly adrift people. We are places of solace and hope, community and hospitality for people who are too smart to believe in God and pretty convinced they don’t need the church — until they do." (Amy Butler of Calvary Baptist in Washington, DC)

Our role is not to dictate the processes. … Our role is to work with staff and take the things that staff and the councils want to do, and we set policies.” (CBF Moderator Bill McConnell)

rfra buzz verticalThey like religious freedom for themselves, but they’re not so sure they like it for witches or Moonies or Muslims." (Buzz Thomas)

We’ve done mission action in our own silos of geography, of race, of Baptist ideology, of theology, of politics, of ethnicity and so forth. And we’ve been separated from each other by boundaries and by fences that are not of God’s making but of humankind’s making.” (Jeff Haggray)  

The effectiveness of any democracy depends on an informed constituency, and if Baptists don’t know, they can’t do.” (R.G Puckett)

This is a time when the church should be church with a big capital ‘C,’ and not with all our denominational small 'c's.” (Chris Moore of Mayflower Congregational UCC in Oklahoma City)

The slaughter of innocence in Newtown awakened our nation to the tragedy of gun violence throughout our land, and we shall neither slumber nor sleep. Rather, by tireless commitment, loving hearts and the sustaining promise of our many faiths, we believe that Newtown shall be remembered as the bridge to a new and kinder world.” (Open letter to U.S. senators from more than 4,000 congregational leaders)

Rather than having ended the racial class system, we have simply revised it by targeting black men through the war on drugs and decimated communities of color in the United States.” (Michelle Alexander of Ohio State University)

"Just when you thought he had confirmed all your sacred cows and reinforced your sociopolitical 'enemies lists,' he jumped ahead, taking the ax to the roots of your own ideological forest." (Bill Leonard on the death of Will Campbell)

I cannot understand why any Christian would be opposed to an ordinance that is about fairness and equal protection of rights under the law. Of course, I can’t understand why so many Christians opposed civil rights legislation either, but they did.” (Chuck Queen of Immanuel Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky.)

I thought I was retiring yesterday. We were looking forward to enjoying retirement in our cabin at Glorieta.” (Charles Goodyear of Arlington, Texas)

"CBF has held high the value of women and laypersons in leading our churches and our cooperative work. That these should come together in one person beautifully personifies who we have been, who we are, and who we should be." (George Mason, pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas on the nomination of Suzii Paynter as next CBF executive coordinator)

Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking even the courage of a personal hatred." (Wendell Berry)

"I heartily recommend the practice of marking each year in some intentional way. … Plant a garden. Run a marathon. Finish writing that book. Try talking to God. Try listening to God. Forgive somebody. Forgive yourself. Climb a mountain. There are a million ways to bow your head and say thanks for the gift of life." (Julie Pennington-Russell, lead pastor, First Baptist, Decatur, Ga.)

suzii paynter mugMy dream for CBF is for us to become the most vital and vibrant religious community in the United States and to reach our arms around the world. I think we have a voice that we can be proud of, a voice that reflects the heart of our churches and exemplifies the best that we want to give.” (Suzii Paynter)

"Sometimes we have no choice but to confront the beast; help us to do so in ways that will not cause us to become the beast. Show us how to overcome evil with good." (Michael Ruffin of First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald, Ga.)

We would all do well to remember that it is the lack of an established religion that has enabled so many religions to flourish side by side with a freedom in our nation unparalleled in any other nation in the world.” (Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance)

While legislative prayer (using a government forum to exercise religion) is controversial, government declaring an official state religion is off the charts.” (Brent Walker of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty)

I don't view people who disagree with me as my enemies or my opponents. I hope to speak with civility and with kindness and in dialogue with people with whom I disagree.” (Russell Moore of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission)