A moderate Baptist leader and communications co-chair for the New Baptist Covenant Celebration has volunteered to publish an unofficial Web log monitoring news and views about the confab scheduled early next year in Atlanta.

Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists started the New Baptist Covenant blog in mid-April. On Monday he pledged to daily “scour the blogosphere” between now and Jan. 30 to see what people are saying, as well as write his own comments, about the gathering aimed at uniting Baptists in North America around issues like poverty, justice, the environment and diversity.

“Mostly, I’ll just be scouring the Web to see what people are saying,” Prescott said. “Then I’ll be making it easy for readers to view the broad range of opinions about the possibility that some Baptists could rise above their differences and work together to share the good news about God’s love for all people.”

On Monday Prescott observed an apparent “vendetta” against the organizers of the meeting being carried out by leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“The leadership of the SBC has been working overtime to denounce and discredit the meeting,” Prescott said, evidenced by withdrawal from the meeting by GOP presidential candidate and former Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee, criticism by current SBC President Frank Page and negative coverage by Baptist Press.

On Friday Prescott featured the release of an online curriculum, “The Agenda: Eight Lessons From Luke 4,” being produced free and available online by the Baptist Center for Ethics in partnership with several organizations and churches to help prepare Baptists to engage the foundational Bible text for the 2008 gathering.

Robert Parham, executive of the Baptist Center for Ethics, commended Prescott’s initiative.

“This blog could become an online public square for those of goodwill to express concerns, fears and hopes for North American Baptists,” Parham said. “It might help us to recover our historic democratic polity of open discussion and community discernment, much needed practices today.”

The New Baptist Covenant blog includes links to the official New Baptist Covenant Web site, covenant partners, news and video links and a number of Baptist blogs.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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