by Keith Bassham
We sometimes promote ourselves as potential world-changers, but we forget we are also competing with other world-changers. Since we last went to press, the world changed in major ways without my efforts. An example — no one in the past 600 years had ever seen two living Catholic Popes standing and greeting one another, but it happened last month when Pope Benedict retired and Pope Francisco, an Argentine, was named head of the Catholic Church. Big changes there.
From South America also came the news of the death of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. I was fascinated to read that the Associated Press obituary of the dictator characterized him as a “populist” crusader for the poor, while the same news service said of Lady Margaret Thatcher, who passed just as we were going to press, that she was “divisive,” an autocrat who “imposed her will” while she was prime minister of England. Really? World-changers, perhaps, but someone is fairly adept at truth-changing as well.
May means graduation time. Our Fellowship colleges will be hosting their alumni and supporters for the events, and Baptist Bible College will combine their own homecoming with a meeting of the Baptist Bible Fellowship, a tradition since 1951. You can show your support for the institutions and the students by attending.
My first Fellowship Week experience was in 1972, though I was not yet a student. The next year, May 1973, I was anticipating the end of my freshman year at BBC and beginning my first “real” job in a church. By summer’s end I had accomplished two major things as far as the church was concerned — I had run a car through the church’s auditorium wall and, in spite of the former, been licensed to preach the gospel by the church. Both my driving license and preaching license remain intact.
So I commend those churches everywhere who take in summer interns, newly-minted Bible college and seminary graduates, and others who want to bolster their academics with some practical experience. Those churches may never know what good may come from their patience and investment, but I will be always grateful for the leaders and congregations who saw some value in my early ministry and pushed me forward. And hardly anything can jar a congregation out of the doldrums better than a young voice and new ideas — provided the owner of that voice keeps the grillwork far away from the sanctuary wall.
I need to remind readers we alter the publishing schedule in May each year. The next issue will not go to press until after Fellowship Week, usually the third week in May. There is no issue published in June, so there will not be a Tribune mailed after that until July.