Monday, February 06, 2006

Back To The Future At IMB

In the not so distant future, the following exchange might be overheard in the bowels of the IMB Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, unless we halt the current trend toward narrowing the theological parameters for SBC missionary service.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: This will be your final interview before the appointment process is completed. I will review certain issues and then introduce some new questions which you will be required by IMB policy to answer. Is that understood?

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: I understand.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: In our previous interview it was determined that you do not have a private prayer language now and have never had one. Is that correct?

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: Yes

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: You were also instructed to return to your home church, a Southern Baptist Church, and be re-baptized since you had not been baptized in a SBC church before. Have you done that?

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: Yes sir, and here is my new baptismal certificate signed by my pastor and the chairman of deacons. It was also witnessed by the IMB staffer who had been assigned to be there. You should have his statement in my file.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: Yes, I see it here. Now for the other line of questioning that must take place according to the new guidelines of the IMB. These were approved since we last talked. Does your home church use the 1991 Baptist Hymnal?

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: Yes, I believe that is correct.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: Fine, now let me be more specific. Have you ever sung hymn #48 in the 1991 Baptist Hymnal? That would be “Morning Has Broken”.

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: Gee, I don’t really remember. But our minister of music was kind of eclectic in his selections so we probably did. I was a member there for 20 years so I guess so. I know the song so I must have heard it first at Church.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: Well, I have to inform you that this is a problem that could very well hinder your appointment. Are you aware that the writer of this so called hymn was a secular poet?

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: No, I had no idea.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: Did you know that she was paid to write this hymn? Did you know that she was never married and had a long term love affair with a man? She was even a friend of D.H. Lawrence and we all know what kind of man he was!

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: I really don’t understand how all this pertains to my service as a Missionary.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: Yes, and that’s the problem. Don’t you know that this hymn was sung by none other than Cat Stevens who is now a Muslim and that this hymn was at the top of the pop charts? We can’t have our foreign missionaries singing pop songs that were popularized by Muslims!

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: But it’s in the hymnbook.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: Well, we’re working on that. In the meantime I have a form for you to sign where you will affirm that you will never sing this song again as long as you are under the appointment of the IMB.

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: Well, I really don’t see the purpose but I’ll sign it if this is all that’s keeping me from serving. I never really liked the song anyway. Is that all?

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: No, I’m not through. Have you ever sung “Majesty?”

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: Of course I have. Every Southern Baptist I know has. It’s a great song!

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: You really don’t know do you?

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: Know what?

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: “Majesty” was written by Jack Hayford, a pentecostal! And we all know that all pentecostals speak in tongues and don’t believe in eternal security. How can a Southern Baptist Missionary sing “Majesty” and not be espousing the theology of the songwriter? For crying out loud don’t they teach sound doctrine in our churches any more?

MISSIONARY CANDIDATE: You want me to sign another form?

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: Yes, and we’re just getting started. I’ve got a whole stack. You see, the trustees have discovered that most of the hymns in the Baptist Hymnal don’t qualify for use in worship by IMB missionaries anymore. We’ve even discovered that Fanny Crosby was a Methodist and also really into the Holiness movement.

Missionary Candidate: Well, give me the forms, I’ll sign them all. I’m not much into singing anyway. I just played the drums at our church.

CANDIDATE CONSULTANT: YOU DID WHAT? PLAYED THE DRUMS? YOU ENGAGED IN RHYTHMIC TRIBAL ACCOUSTICAL PULSATING THROBBING IN THE CHURCH? DON’T YOU KNOW THAT LEADS TO SEXUAL PROMISCUITY? GET OUT OF HERE!

4 Comments:

Blogger T A Blankenship said...

Jim,
Though these words and thoughts may be a slight exageration you make a good point.

2/07/2006 3:44 AM  
Blogger Rod said...

What a hoot! It's not fair that you have so many creative genes!

...I always thought "It's a Brave New World" was fiction...but we're close to living it now, so maybe you're not that far off?!?!?

2/08/2006 1:11 PM  
Anonymous bill freeman said...

absolutely hillarious and unfortunatey the very case at hand.

2/10/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger kpjara said...

and we wonder why there are so many "de-churched" people in the world! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH....

2/13/2006 2:11 PM  

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