Texas Baptist Voices

In Touch: Ken Starr clarifies Baylor policy

Recently, the Baylor University board of regents changed the language of the university’s student conduct policy. Baylor President Ken Starr sent us the following memo to help us understand the actions of Baylor and to clarify the misunderstandings that have accompanied this action.

Texas Baptist Voices

Richard Ray: Tell your mountains about your God

As a pastor serving on the small-church mission field, you encounter many obstacles in your life. At times, those obstacles seem like mountains.

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Vacation Bible School: Letting children know Jesus loves them

One summer, my grandparents chose Vacation Bible School week for my annual visit. With an August birthday, I was too young, but First Baptist Church in Marfa’s pastor, Cliff Johnston, welcomed me anyway. Besides, my grandmother Barton provided all the refreshments.

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Leadership Texas Baptists: Game on

Today, we frequently hear the question, “Where have all the leaders gone?” Perhaps a more crucial issue is where are tomorrow’s leaders.

Texas Baptist Voices

Richard Ray: Bivocational/Small Church Association provides encouragement, assistance

The 29th annual Texas Baptist Bivocational/Small Church Conference provided a wonderful time of fellowship, encouragement and education.

In Touch: back at my home church

In Touch: Back at my home church

It was a joy to be back at my home church, Lakeside Baptist Church, in Dallas on Sunday. It’s always great to connect with friends and stay near the home front every now and then.

Kathy Hillman: Symbols: Representing, remembering, reflecting whose we are

Kathy Hillman: Symbols: Representing, remembering, reflecting whose we are

When our older son first learned to talk, he pointed to a neighbor’s house and said, “McDona’s.” We sang “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

Texas Baptist Voices

Kathy Hillman: Courage, kindness & ‘Amazing Grace’

On Saturday following the shooting of the Emanuel nine, my husband, John, and I traveled to Oxford. That first night with heavy hearts, we walked to Christ Church for Evensong.

Texas Baptist Voices

In Touch: Pray for our student missionaries

Please continue to pray for our collegiate missionaries serving all over the world and for our Bounce Student Disaster Recovery and Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery mission trips.

Texas Baptist Voices

Richard Ray: Bivocational/Small Church Conference will provide abundant benefits

You are invited to attend the 29th annual Bivocational/Small Church Conference, hosted by your Bivocational/Small Church Association at Baptist Temple Church in San Antonio, July 10-11.

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.

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