I’m not quite ready to let the story below go yet.
I need to understand.
A Southern Baptist Church in Lexington Kentucky name Porter Memorial held a Men’s Night out on January 28th. About an hour after the event, a young man who was concerned by what took place, posted his observations and pictures on the web.
In 2003 this church took a group of volunteers to Iraq and it was reported by AP and written up in an inhouse magazine called The Western Recorder. Eight members of Porter including the minister Bill Henard took food and bibles to northern Iraq.
The distribution began at a stadium temporarily housing people and continued at three tent villages scattered throughout the city.
At the stadium, Henard told the leader the food was a gift from the American people to help them in their struggle for freedom.
The chief replied, “We are not friends, we are brothers,” before embracing the pastor and kissing him on the cheek.
When Henard followed up with the offer of a New Testament, the leader put the Bible on his head and said, “If this is a gift from you, I must receive it and I must read it.”
…They also worshiped at an Assyrian house church, where they served the Iraqi Christians their first Communion.
If I read correctly the trip occurred in December 2003. The event below occurred a couple of weeks ago at the same church and is called Men’s Night Out Held the last five years it was formerly called Men’s Wild Game Dinner.
Active duty military participated. Army chaplin Captain Sturecker preached.
At this point Captain Sturecker preached to us in full dress uniform about his early faith was based in fear of going to hell, but now he doesn’t need to fear death, and about his experiences in the black hawk afair. In particular he prayed after his first drive back to base (If you‘ve seen the movie, he was the humvee driver with the injured man on strecher in the back. He was also the guy that said, “The difference in between heroes and cowards isn‘t the fear it‘s what they do with it”), and after that even though the vehicle was shot to hell, he had no casualties. He even watched an RPG barely miss its’ mark and deflect off his hood. Every word of this might be true, but it was also part of a “The lord will protect you in the military” themed sermon.
According to the original poster:
Even as I had already taken these photographs of something that I clearly know is wrong, hell we ended with “I‘m proud to be an American”, after a sermon and a combined rendition of all the services anthems. I was conflicted. I knew, and know that almost all of the people I’m depending on to bring this to light disagree with me on virtually every issue. I wasn’t going to release this unless they were recruiting. They were.
The comments under the mirrored post show the conflict various people had about this event, including vets and pastors.
According to comments here, SBC churches are independent.
Rebecca:**Yes, each Southern Baptist church is independent. At least, that’s what I think I know about them. I suppose I’ll find out when you get your answer from them.**
Randy: **Patriotic expression in the context of worship is grossly inappropriate. The church is so much bigger and more important than a nation.
I think people just get their passions mixed up. They can’t see past their own little world. Not an excuse, just a reason.**
So no one is accountable.
RLP:**The people in the church are probably fairly innocent and ignorant. Many Southern Baptist leaders like their people to be kept ignorant nowadays.
And yes, Baptist churches are completely autonomous. There is no action that a higher ecclesial authority can take because there is no higher authority for Baptists than the local church. The local association or state convention could toss them out of fellowship, but that doesn’t mean anything.**
The military, the Southern Baptist Convention, Porter Memorial Church…
No leadership to step in and say this was inappropriate, we’re sorry, it won’t happen again. We are beginning to understand how fellow citizens and international believers see this.
No one is accountable.
Maybe the senior pastor Bill Henerd can tell that to the next Northern Iraq chief he gives a bible too.
Along with Bartholemew, Fark, and relpased catholic; no touch monkey, cruel.com, buzzflash, japantoday, old American Century, metafilter, connexions and whisky bar are asking questions too.
If I hear from Porter Memorial staff I’ll post.
Update: It isn’t like key people in the Southern Baptist Convention don’t know about web blogs and what it means to have information regarding the event at this church circulating online. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary reviews Hugh Hewitt’s book on blogs and the impact on the political and media branches in the US.