One result of Rome controlling the interpretation of the Bible was the allowance of secret and unbiblical practices to flourish without question. If you questioned the Church, you were questioning God. Stake burnings were a powerful silencing tool.
In Southern Baptist life, why have blogs come under fire from leadership? It's simple - no, it really is. In a convention that prides itself on democracy, blogs have allowed those outside of power an effective tool to pose questions and disseminate opinions amongst the laity.
Proof of this incredible effect can be see by the election of Dr. Frank Page as President in June of this year. Inconsistencies were noted, the "party" line was questioned, and business-as-usual received a violent wake-up call. Bloggers can now quickly coalesce together to shine light in previously dark corners, showing all the world what they find.
Are blogs like the modern printing press? That can definitely be debated, yet the view here acknowledges similar results and reactions. The "dissenters" become emboldened and more organized, while the establishment are afraid and condemn the technology. These are generalizations, as there are those within the institution that blog, and there are bloggers who disagree with the folks who helped elect Dr. Page.
What happens from here within the SBC is unknown, except for what is known: self-appointed watchdogs versus a resisting establishment always creates fireworks. Adding faith and southern culture will make it all the more interesting.
How do moderate Baptist bloggers, such as myself, respond? Personally I act as an interested spectator. I try to refrain from commenting as it's not my struggle.
One thing to remember is that moderate bloggers do not share the same stimuli for starting blogs and organizing online. The SBC bloggers share a common desire for accountability - what do (or can) moderate bloggers unite around?
As tempting as it is to bash "the other side", we cannot identify ourselves by what we are against but what we are for. Watching the SBC bloggers has taught me that we actually share quite a bit in common, but the differences we do have are definitely stark.
Eliminating poverty is one idea that has been proposed. What else? Part of Moral Contradictions' focus is to identify the logical inconsistencies arising when faith intersects politics - there's plenty of room for more on that subject.
Next week I start school and this blog will change. I'm working on a project to help increase moderate Baptists' presence on the web. The Mainstream Baptists group blog has been started and seems to be off to a great start.
What now for you?