I’ll leave it to others to comment at more length on Jimmy Carter’s speech during the opening session of the “Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant.” The speech was quite good and called Baptists to remember what being Baptist means, but my favorite part came before Carter had said a single word.

Everyone present knew how hard Carter has worked to bring people of the world together, including Baptists. His efforts have not always been successful, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying, and even his detractors should recognize that.

Carter was greeted with a sustained standing ovation that didn’t end until he motioned for the congregation of well over 10,000 to be seated. That expression of spontaneous appreciation for a man I admire was special, something that was clearly meaningful to the former president. It’s a moment that I (and my digital picture file) will remember for a long time.

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