As Council works through its business two questions stand behind much of what we do.
1. Snog, Marry, Avoid? Asks one BBC TV series; what are the limits of diversity and inclusivity in how we handle people who disagree with us is less snappy Baptist version. As Baptists we believe in the Lordship of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We have a high view of Scripture and desire to be a people who are shaped by it. So how do we handle others who disagree with us because they interpret Scripture differently? Can we recognise some voices and opinions as legitimate even when we disagree with them? At a Union level we are committed to ministry being open to men and women but some churches are opposed to women’s ministry; should they remain in the Union? What if the issue is the treatment of people from other ethnic groups, or who affirm Gay and Lesbian Christians? Are we willing and able to discuss these things or would we prefer to avoid them?
2. BBC parliament’s remoteness to most people’s lives means most people don’t watch it. BUGB Council wouldn’t make gripping TV either. Council spends hours talking about initiatives, policy and the work the Union is involved in; but what difference does this makes in the wider church? We get to read interesting reports, listen to presentations about future plans and many of the Union’s staff put hours of work into all of this but when I get back home too little of it seems to make any difference in the local church. We need to define more robustly what the churches want and need from the Union and focus our limited resources on it.
But perhaps this post is a cable channel repeat of an earlier Council!