After the fact, we picked up more information about the resistance to the election of Springdale pastor Ronnie Floyd as president of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention. Many opponents cited his church’s paltry contribution to the convention’s cooperative program (only about $30,000 out of $12 million in revenue). But conservatives also resented some of the modern techniques Floyd has used to build First Baptist of Springdale and a sister church in Rogers into giant congregations.
A number of Baptist bloggers who opposed Floyd linked to articles by the Associated Baptist Press about the church’s children’s ministry and a “fire-truck baptistry.” One article, quoting Christianity Today, said: “The unique baptistry, created by Disney designer Bruce Barry, is part of a $270,000 high-tech project for the church’s children’s worship area that includes video games, a light show, music videos and a bubble machine, according to Christianity Today. When a child is baptized in the fire-truck-shaped baptistry, sirens blare and confetti is fired out of cannons.
“Putting a talking head in front of kids for an hour doesn’t work,” the children’s minister told the magazine. “This is a visual generation. We need to use technology to the max.”
Floyd told Arkansas Baptist News that creative evangelism was needed to package the gospel “in ways the culture can understand and receive.”
There are limits to Floyd’s acceptance of modern culture. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported last week that Floyd had pulled back his unconditional endorsement of a sales tax to build a minor league baseball stadium in Springdale after learning beer would be sold there. He says he prefers no beer be sold there. Might as well not sell peanuts.
Over-the-road: Arkansas to Baghdad
Cindy Morgan’s recent truck-driving career would make a snowy drive over the High Sierras a walk in the park. The DeWitt native who attended Arkansas Tech spent a year in Iraq driving a supply truck in combat zones for KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton. She came back alive and has written a book on the experience: “Cindy in Iraq: A Civilian’s Year in the War Zone.” The $25 book was published by Free Press. She’ll be at the Books-a-Million in Little Rock July 6 to sign copies. Convoy on out.
If you can’t plug your own, who can you plug?
So we tout today Mike Gauldin, the former Clinton press aide who draws editorial cartoons for us. Among many other “leisure activities,” Gauldin manufactures a line of action figures taken from the pages of American history, with a heavy emphasis on Indians and the American West. He’s tickled because one of the props is appearing in a movie opening this weekend, “Waist Deep,” starring Tyrese Gibson. The lead character, an ex-con, buys his son a 10th U.S. Cavalary Buffalo Soldier figure just before the kid is taken in a carjacking. If you’re interested in Gauldin-designed action figures and related gear, check out www.dogsoldiersfigures.com. It’s an outlet for the Dog Soldiers American History Action Figures made in Alexandria, Va.