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September 1996 Issue

Dear Friend:

I received your letter in reference to the recent Southern Baptist Convention resolution on the Disney Company and family values. Thank you.

News of the resolution has been widely disseminated, if not particularly accurate. One inaccuracy is that the SBC action was principally a protest of employment policies for homosexual employees. In fact, the resolution referred to that as one of five illustrations which indicate the Company "has given the appearance that the promotion of homosexuality is more important than its historic commitment to traditional family values."

These five illustrations could have been expanded to fifteen, or twenty-five. Disney has clearly changed. Whether you personally approve or disapprove of the changes, it is impossible to argue that Disney is the company you and I grew up with.

It boggles the mind as to the depth of change in Disney. From ...

After 15 visits to Walt Disney World, Kim Jones won't be returning. The Sarasota, Fla., woman plans to boycott the Magic Kingdom after her experience at this year's "Gay and Lesbian Day" June 1.

Not only did many lesbians make suggestive remarks to her and her mature-looking, 10-year-old niece, homosexual men were whistling at her fiancée and yelling crude remarks at him, said Jones, who attends Bay Haven Baptist Church in Sarasota.

"It's disgraceful," she said.

Jones said the most embarrassing incident was taking one of her two daughters into a restroom and seeing two men dressed in skirts entering the stalls. It was obvious they were males because of their hairy legs, she said, and two more were coming in as she and her daughter exited the restroom.

Outside, many other men with long fingernails and long hair were wearing skirts, skin-tight tights or muscle shirts, while the majority of the "Gay Day" pa...

Church Secretary Vital to Ministry

With the election of Tom Elliff as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Marge Malone made history by serving as secretary to three men who have served the SBC as its highest elected official.

Malone, who retired recently as pastor's secretary at First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Okla., has not only been secretary, but advisor, friend and constant source of encouragement to Elliff, Bailey Smith (SBC president, 1981-82) and James T. Draper Jr. (SBC president, 1983-84). Another former pastor of Del City, John Bisagno, as well as Elliff served as president of the SBC Pastors' Conference, and Smith was president of the Oklahoma state convention in 1979.

"I have never known a staff member anywhere in any capacity who was kept by every successive pastor," said Bisagno, who hired Malone 31 years ago. "All the pastors saw such marvelous skills, spirit and gifts in this woman, that they said, 'Let's keep Marge.'"


Amidst the celebration and fireworks of Independence Day, 1986, Frank Cox leaned across the hospital bed of his 27-year-old wife, whose unsteady breathing signaled the approaching end of her mortal life. Gripping the one good hand left on a body ravaged by cancer, Cox whispered into Debbie's ear a thank you for being his wife and the mother of their 4-year-old son, Stephen. Within moments she was gone, and Cox, 30, was a widower.

"What do you do when you lose something that is precious to your life?" thought Cox, and it was a thought he would wrestle with for a long time as he sat and cried at the grave of his wife, telling God it hurt so bad that his life was spinning round and round. At one point, Cox demanded that God give him his wife back. "I want her back," he said. "With a full head of hair, and I don't want there to be a bum arm or a splint on her leg. I didn't bargai...

We asked the six Southern Baptist seminary presidents to name three books they encourage every student to read. We agreed that the Bible is foundational to anyone in ministry and that seminary students, particularly in our increasingly biblically illiterate society, should have an intimate knowledge of God's Word. In addition, we stressed this list was not to be exhaustive — obviously seminary students must read much more — rather this list was meant to generate discussion.

Mark T. Coppenger
Midwestern Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
In a ministerial culture increasingly preoccupied with careerism, we must be reminded of the utterly Christian standard of self-forgetful sacrifice. These saints faced death when many of us will not tolerate inconvenience.


'Reach All People...': Media Comments on Jewish Evangelism

American Jewish leaders called (the resolution) offensive and divisive ... "We respect your right to propagate your faith to all nonbelievers," (wrote) Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie ... "But singling out the Jews for special missionary efforts runs contrary to the spirit of the times and the movement toward dialogue and cooperation." - "Southern Baptists offend Jews with conversion resolution" by Mary Foster in the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger

• • •

"The Bible teaches us that Jesus says, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Light,'" (said Dale Shields of Green Memorial Baptist Church on The Plaza). I'd like to see (Jewish people) right alongside me as Christian brothers and sisters." ... Rabbi James Bennett of Temple Beth El on Providence Road called the resoluti...

Appeal Set for Sept. 15

On the soil where American soldiers fought to secure freedom, Robert Hussein passes each day unprotected from tyranny.

Once a wealthy contractor, Hussein, 44, has been stripped by Kuwait's courts of his civil rights and his material wealth — assets totaling $4 million — and driven into hiding. Now his enemies would have his life as well.

His crime? Refusal to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ and embrace Mohammed, the founder of Islam. Claiming the Kuwait government is actually behind the attacks against him, Hussein has gone into exile. His wife and two children, ages 4 and 7, and his brothers and sisters risk death if they communicate with him.

Like many nations, Kuwait declares by its constitution it allows freedom of religion, while its Muslim-dominated court system con...

Fairbanks, Alaska. Three a.m. on a cool spring morning in the parsonage of Salacha Baptist Church, near Fairbanks. Pastor Richard Faught is awakened from a sound sleep by the ringing of his phone.

The cellular caller is an Alaskan state trooper. "Moose hit three miles south of the town of North Pole on Richardson Highway. Come and get it, preacher." Faught calls a layman from his congregation. "Moose down on Richardson. Go sit on it till we get a wrecker out there." He repeats the trooper's directions.

The layman calls a friend. They drive to the location where a 1600-pound bull moose has been hit by a pickup truck. The driver is telling the trooper the accident wasn't his fault. "That big booger ran right in front of me. Just look what he's done to my truck." Another pickup pulls to a stop. Two men jump out and trot over to the trooper. "Can we have a shoulder?"

The trooper points to the moose sitters. "So...

Nothing is worse than religious legalism unless it is media legalism. Back when I was a boy growing up in Oklahoma, almost every two-week revival (we took them seriously back then) ended with the evangelist making an appeal for all good Baptist Christians to come forward and lay their besetting sins on the altar. Some surrendered their snuff. Some, their canasta decks. But if the sermon was really good, half of those sen-sen-breathing, cover-up smokers would come forward and lay their Lucky Strikes on the altar.

Well, media people thought Baptists were only legalistic in those days. Of course, everything changes with time, Baptists notwithstanding. The President of Baylor would have sparked nationwide revival if he had confessed to rhythmical movements (a term that we used to use at Baptist colleges to keep from saying the "D" word) 30 years ago. But now that Baylor's CEO has become more open, Baptists don't feel it so necessary to preach against you-know-what an...

You're born with personality. You can see it in the crib. Some babies are quiet and calm — submissive. Others seem to be born with a baseball cap on backwards saying, "make me."

There are two types of people, Type A and Type B. Type A people have a hard time relaxing. One man's New Year's resolution went this way, "I'm going to learn to relax if I have to spend seven days a week, 24 hours a day trying to learn to do it." Now that is not relaxing. Type A's are the competitive, hard-driving movers and shakers. They think things like, "If I could do this in the microwave, I could do it more quickly." I heard about a guy who put the VCR in the microwave and watched "Gone With the Wind" in 14 minutes. They switch from lane to lane on the highway and read their mail while talking on the phone and driving.

Type A's are very competitive. Take a church softball game for example. They want to beat the Methodis...

At 92, She's Still at the Keyboard
by Don Kirkland

"It doesn't look like I can retire," Inez Croft said matter-of-factly. Then, with a smile suddenly appearing, she added, "I may have to play for my own funeral because there isn't anybody else."

Not that Inez Croft is thinking about retiring. Not even with her 93rd birthday coming in October. She wants to keep doing what she's done for the past 45 years -- play the piano at Pine Bluff Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C. "They depend on me," she said of her fellow church members.

Croft began playing for her home church, Double Pond Bapti...