So far, I have proposed that the Baptist Center for Ethics will step up its public witness with a more prophetic and practical edge.
We will do this by:
–Advancing the global evangelicals’ campaign for the Micah Challenge.
–Enabling our readers to listen to and learn from Baptists abroad, who have a greater commitment to pursuing God’s will for social justice than Baptists of the South.
–Challenging the religious right’s claim that the GOP stands for God’s Only Party through a focus on social justice and profiling the many Democrats and Independents, who are people of faith.
–Continuing to provide the most affordable, timely educational resources available.
EthicsDaily.com readers have voiced their overwhelming and energetic support for this series of editorials, save a few dear brothers who have never agreed with anything we posted.
What I do not know is whether BCE can find the financial support to pursue this agenda through our Web site, EthicsDaily.com, and our online curriculum imprimatur, Acacia Resources.
The Web site and its e-newsletter are free sources of news and information for worldwide Baptists and other Christians. Acacia Resources curriculum orders are a far stretch from achieving financial sustainability.
Simply put, BCE needs your financial support.
On one hand, we face declining revenue streams from two partner organizations. On the other hand, we want to expand our public witness. These conflicting realities create a conundrum.
Martin Luther King said, “Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Consensus asks the question: Is it popular? Conscience asks the question: Is it right?”
What we want to do will not be safe. Where we want to go will not be popular. That we should take this new road is clear. I think it’s the right thing to do. I feel it as strongly in my bones as when we started BCE.
I also know that the path ahead is steep and narrow. What I need to know from our readers is whether enough of you believe in this cause to help underwrite it.
Here’s what we face:
We have seen our budgeted support from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship drop from $100,000 to $81,555 over a two-year period. Ironically, this sharp reduction in support came as our Web site readership more than doubled.
We have also seen decreased support from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Through October, we are some seven weeks behind the level of giving from last year.
While we are grateful for the individuals and churches which support BCE through CBF and BSCNC, we believe the signs of the times necessitate that we secure new sources of funding, instead of continuing to make bricks without straw.
Here’s what we need:
We need a much larger base of individual donors for two reasons.
First, individuals have the discretionary giving power. Unlike institutions, individuals don’t get locked into giving patterns to organizations that get stuck in ruts and fail to show productivity. Individuals are free to support initiatives with which they agree.
Second, a larger individual donor base will enable BCE to have a sharper edge.
As June McEwen, a former BCE board member, reminded me during a recent visit in my Sunday school class, BCE can be prophetic because it isn’t controlled by a denomination.
What BCE needs is significant support from individual Baptists who have a commitment to the biblical mandate for social justice, a discerning awareness of the distorting power of the religious right and a vision for an authentically faithful pan-Baptist witness. We need individual donors who expect proactive and constructive results from their contributions.
Stepping up our public witness and stepping into a needed leadership role for centrist Baptists will require our many readers to make support for BCE a regular part of their giving plan.
If you want BCE to go forward on the path these editorials have laid out, then we need your financial support. If you vote yes, then click here to make a donation at a secure site.
Robert Parham is executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.