One of the unmatched and undeserved blessings of my adult life is heading up and its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics. Where I am is where I ought to be. And where I am is made possible by you – our readers, donors and customers.

A line from what is known as an old Shaker hymn conveys my sense of oughtness: “‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free, ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be.”


At Thanksgiving on the eve of our 20th anniversary next year, I want to thank you for what you have entrusted to me and for giving me the gift to be where I ought to be.


Goodwill Baptists and others have given me a platform to address knotty issues. You’ve given me praise when I’ve gotten it right and patience when I’ve gotten it wrong. You’ve spoken up for me when I’ve cut against the grain of cultural Christianity or challenged the prevailing culture or headed off into uncharted waters. You have given to me a personal gift.


You have also given a corporate gift to all those involved with our staff, columnists, movie reviewers and other content contributors – those who make the site a must-read every day.


I believe that we are successful in no small measure because we have a shared platform. That is, we provide a place for goodwill people of faith to address a variety of issues mostly from a biblical vantage point and always out of a desire to advance the common good.


Of course, we do hear from readers who are displeased, even outraged, about what we’ve said, done or produced.


In response to my editorial bragging about our skyrocketing readership, one reader wrote that our readership was up because people like him were keeping “track of those who are the enemies who would destroy America from within.”


He said we provided insight to “a fringe element who claim to be Christians but who are really first and foremost, liberals, Socialists, Communists, ecologists … or some combination thereof.”


Wow! Little did I know that folk were keeping track of because we are perceived as enemies of the United States.


What I do know for sure is that I owe a word of gratitude to our readers, writers, donors and customers. I also owe a word of thanks to our board, previous board directors, current staff and former staff members. After all, we all warm ourselves on fires we didn’t kindle. We all drink from wells we didn’t dig. We are dependent on those who have come before us and are interdependent with those around us.


We endeavor to provide a practical pastoral word, an inspirational note, a prophetic critique and useable resources for congregations.


A Ghanaian wood carving of a hand holding an egg sits atop the filing cabinet stacked high with books next to my desk. The carving’s symbolism is that leadership is fragile and, like an egg, it must be handled with care.


I recognize and appreciate that reality. I hold what you have entrusted to me with care.


Know that is brought to you this year by funding provided by the Baptist General Association of Virginia, Baptist General Convention of Missouri, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, a host of local churches and a handful of foundations – including the Baugh Foundation and Christian Mission Concerns – and several family trusts.


And is brought to you by readers – readers just like you, readers grateful for the value they receive from our site.


Robert Parham is executive editor of and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.

Share This