Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Independence Day, political freedom & religious liberty

Brilliant red, white and blue fireworks lit the night. Strains of the 1812 Overture echoed across the water. The sky glowed as cannons volleyed and church bells rang. But that memorable evening, I wasn’t watching on television. Mother and I experienced the scene overlooking Boston Harbor.

Lessons from Hispanic Baptists in Texas

João Chaves: Lessons from Hispanic Baptists in Texas

Preface from Baptist University of the Américas President René Maciel: The Baptist University of the Américas exists to train and prepare Hispanic church leaders to, in turn, grow Hispanic Baptist church work. Our connection to Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas goes back to the beginning. Many Hispanic Baptist churches have supported and cared for our school and our students over many years. The Hispanic convention continues to pray, care for and support us as we still train more Hispanic Baptist church ministers than the eight other Texas Baptist universities combined. The majority of our students come from Texas Baptist Hispanic congregations, although many enroll from other states and countries. One of those is João Chaves, whose thoughts appear in this column. Thank you, Convención, for encouraging and supporting BUA nearly 70 years.

I became Latino when I exited the plane in Miami, Fla. Before then, I was just a Brazilian, and one who enjoyed the pleasure of identifying with a somewhat privileged sector of Brazilian society. If anyone had asked me what “race” I was, I would have—after quickly recovering from the shock of being asked such a strange question—reluctantly answered “white.” 

joao chaves130João ChavesIt was only after my involuntary and unexpected metamorphosis from Brazilian to Latino that I began my journey toward acknowledgement of the importance of place. From the vantage point of my recently inherited minority status, I noticed the profound ways in which social contexts influenced knowledge claims—how characteristics such as race, nationality, gender, education and income have a bearing on the way reality is imagined. 

Only after I enrolled in the Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio was I able to learn how, given my realization of the importance of place, I could engage the Latina/o community of which I became a part in fruitful, thoughtful and effective ways. My time at BUA was challenging and special, and the more I look back at what I learned there, the more I realize how much I was impacted by the BUA experience.  

I remember, for instance, my post-BUA experience in seminary, when people tried to talk about diversity and global perspectives, and I had come from a place where some of my classes included people from 13 countries—from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Américas. It was only then, in seminary, I finally fully realized the depth of BUA’s mission: “The formation, from the Hispanic context, of cross-cultural Christian leaders.” 

Education comes from a place

The first deep recognition in this statement is the unusual and even odd recognition that education comes from a place—a socio-cultural environment heavily informs the way in which the educational event happens. Education always comes from a place, from a context, but if one looks at the mission statements of institutions of higher education around this nation, one hardly will find this recognition. 

But this word in BUA’s statement—“from”—is a word whose power became clearer than ever to me in seminary, when I encountered many seminarians who wanted to speak from nowhere, as if they had a monopoly on truth rather than a perspective. The “good, the true and the beautiful” are things we need to strive for. But in our globalized, pluralized society, the search for truth must begin with the acknowledgement we come from a place; we speak from somewhere. 

So paradoxically, BUA’s mission to form students “from the Hispanic context” is precisely the recognition that opens space for authentic appreciation of insights coming from other contexts. This recognition, that education comes “from” somewhere, helped me navigate the difficulties of dealing with people who act as if they came from nowhere. 

BUA helped

The cross-cultural education at BUA does not begin, in principle, with a disposition toward conformity, but it begins with the acknowledgement of place. This is extremely helpful and more unusual than it should be. BUA helped and still helps current and former students and me navigate the politics of difference in a pluralized and flat world in which difference is increasingly becoming the norm. 

texas baptist voices right120As I look in retrospect to my experience at BUA and in prospect to whatever God has for me, I am thankful for BUA and for how it helped me and many others make sense of life “from” somewhere. 

João Chaves is a graduate of Baptist University of the Américas and Baylor University’s Truett Seminary. He teaches as an adjunct for BUA while pursuing a doctor of philosophy in religion degree at Baylor. 

Texas Baptist Voices

Richard Ray: Bivocational/Small Church Conference will help ministers, families

I now turn your attention to the upcoming 29th annual Bivocational/Small Church Conference, hosted by your Bivocational/Small Church Association on the campus of Baptist Temple Church in San Antonio.

Texas Baptist Voices

In Touch: At the Legacy Award ceremony

On June 7, Kathleen and I had a great day at Independence Baptist Church near Brenham for the annual Legacy Award ceremony.

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Fathers, ‘Father’ Buckner & the Heavenly Father

Choosing the perfect Father’s Day gift presents challenges. A totally unscientific Internet survey and personal interviews with guys of all ages yield one overwhelming favorite. The gift of time and togetherness ranks first.

Kathy Hillman: Graduation - Ending, beginning and thanks-giving

Kathy Hillman: Graduation - Ending, beginning and thanks-giving

Images of graduation splash across the computer screen—from grinning kindergarteners in miniature caps and gowns, to seniors bidding high school farewell, to university and professional graduates embarking on their careers.

Your work ethic … is your second mission field

Richard Ray: Your work ethic … is your second mission field

Have you ever wondered how you can promote the word of God in such a way that it makes a difference in a person’s life?

Texas Baptist Voices

In Touch: Executive Board meeting

Hello, Texas Baptists. Thanks to the Executive Board directors who attended committee meetings and sessions recently. It was a great few days of rejoicing in what the Lord is doing and planning for the future. I also want to thank Albert Reyes and Buckner International for honoring Texas Baptists with the Jeremiah’s Hope Award. The Baptist General Convention of Texas is proud to partner with Buckner in ministry.

hardage david130David HardageThe BGCT’s new leadership development program, Leadership Texas Baptists, is now accepting applications. Our hope is to identify, educate and develop Baptist leaders to serve the local church, state convention, denominational institutions, agencies and committees. Click here to learn more.

Thanks to Cody Knowlton, president of the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, for inviting me to sit at his table a few weeks ago for the San Antonio prayer breakfast celebrating the National Day of Prayer. It was a great morning of worship!

Houston Baptist University recently received a gift of $15 million from Archie and Linda Dunham. This is the university’s largest single gift in history. It will go to provide scholarships, assist the Dunham Bible Museum and result in naming the school of business. Praise God for cheerful and generous givers.

Congratulations to the Dallas Baptist University Patriots for hosting an NCAA regional baseball tournament. Play well!

Texas Baptists welcome Mitch Wilson as our new director of church evangelism. We are excited to have him serve alongside us in this role. Click here to learn more about our church evangelism effort and how you can get involved.

texas baptist voices right120Thanks to Texas Baptist Men for their disaster relief efforts. We are proud to partner with them in ministry. Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the natural disasters around our state in the last several weeks.

To all of those who have lost loved ones in and through U.S. military service, I pray the recent Memorial Day was meaningful and fulfilling. I am grateful for those who have fought and who continue to fight for our freedom. 

David Hardage is executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board.

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Texas Baptists’ ‘Hall of Fame’

The Texas Baptist Legacy Award and its predecessor designation, Elder Statesman, honor individuals who have made lasting contributions that significantly impacted Texas Baptist life, particularly in Christian education and missions.

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Go and Go Now - Evangelism and discipleship

This summer, Texas Baptists will send 280 collegiate missionaries to locations around Texas, throughout the United States and across the world.

Texas Baptist Voices

Richard Ray: The true meaning of ‘bivocational’

Growing up in a bivocational minister’s home, I never thought of my father as a part-time pastor, much less knew what the word “bivocational” meant. Now I am learning “bivocational” still is misunderstood by both laymen and ministers.

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: 'You can do it!'

The graduates at Waco’s Christian Women’s Job Corps glowed with nervous anticipation in their royal blue caps and gowns. As I looked into their faces, I knew this would be no ordinary ceremony.

In Touch: Congratulations to Bible Drill winners and competitors

In Touch: Congratulations to Bible Drill winners and competitors

I was happy to be at your Baptist Building Saturday, May 2, for the finals of the State Bible Drill Competition and Speakers Tournament. Those students worked diligently to make it so far and really are remarkable.

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Shaky times—golf, marathons & recovery

At the Texas Baptist Golf Classic April 27, which raised about $15,000 to benefit Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery, my thoughts turned to the tragic explosion in West and how my own family received ministry afterwards.

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Mothers and the 'great cloud of witnesses'

Early last Mother’s Day, I held Mother’s hand in our home as she slipped into her forever home. I picture her along with my grandmothers and great grandmothers in that great cloud of witnesses described in Hebrews 12:1.

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