The first is a YouTube video* of a Baptist minister preaching on a phrase in the KJV that probably offends certain elements of contemporary taste. It was forwarded to us by a professional colleague who savored it as an example of, shall we say delicately, biblical interpretation that eschews thoughtful principles. And let's just say that it represents what is one extreme of the Baptist movement in the United States at present.
The second is an article from the utterly necessary WSJ detailing the recent "Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant," a gathering of Baptists sympathetic to the views of former President and current Embarrassment Jimmy Carter. We quote this paragraph as a taste of an event not widely covered in the media:
Novelist John Grisham offered an audience of several thousand his advice for how "we as Baptists [can] disarm our critics" (as if that should be their main concern). "Stay out of politics," he advised. Of course, it all depends on what you mean by "politics." Mr. Grisham made sure to mention the need to eliminate the death penalty. Earlier in the day, activist Marian Wright Edelman advocated reaching out across political divides to solve the problems of America's children -- by making sure, for instance, that the Bush tax cuts don't become permanent. (Just how such folks will handle fiscal matters when they get into power became clear when a Covenant official addressed the crowd: He asked for several dollars more than had been previously requested, since each printed program ended up costing $3 to produce, not $2.)
We SWNIDishly enjoy exposure to these extremes of someone else's ecclesial family, reminded that our kooks are not much different from anyone else's kooks.**
*We link rather than embed out of respect for those gentle readers who would rather not hear a minister of the gospel repeatedly use an English term that was more socially acceptable in the 17th century than it is today.
**Thanks to Professor Jacob Neusner for once formulating the dogma of kooks on a Firing Line program in the 1990s.