Texas Baptist Voices

Jeff Johnson: Historical Collection helps us identify ourselves

At 50, it is said, everyone gets the face they deserve. Whoa! I am 53.

My wife headed to the middle school track meet (a school annual sponsor) this past week with PFS 120 sunscreen slathered on her face. Who of us over the age of 30 would dare go out for a day in the sun without a thick coating of zinc oxide? Of course, for me, this probably is all too late. The damage has been done. I have, yes, wrinkles! Lines! Creases!

jeff johnson130Jeff JohnsonWhat an image! No wonder the multi-million-dollar cosmetics industry provides so many moisturizing, micro-encapsulated, mega-drenched, money-sucking methods for combating the effects sun, rain, wind and life exact on our faces.

Have you ever wondered what we as Texas Baptists look like? Our image? Our identity? Our distinctives? How old we are? How old we appear? Do we look our age?

Alan Lefever leads a group that helps us identify ourselves. The Texas Baptist Historical Collection partners in collecting, preserving and communicating the history of Texas Baptists by working with churches, institutions and associations. They help provide a better look at where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going. They also provide information on a particular church’s history or particular minister’s biography.

Texas Baptist Historical Collection

Need someone to help you formulate and articulate your church’s heritage? Frame your image for those who would build on your church’s spiritual foundation? Contact the Texas Baptist Historical Collection team: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , director; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , associate director; and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , ministry assistant.

First Baptist Church in Commerce recently texas baptist voices right120hosted the annual Baptist General Convention of Texas Church Library Conference. Naomi is the person on our BGCT staff responsible for organizing and leading this meeting. Her expertise as both a librarian and an archivist helps churches like ours transform old facilities and practices to meet the demands of 21st century church libraries, media centers and reading initiatives.

Image is an interesting thing, especially in religious life. Over the years, I have noticed Jesus’ image showing up in all sorts of bizarre places. In Texas, I can remember Jesus’ image reportedly appearing in a bathroom window, a flour tortilla and a Willie Nelson photograph.

One year, he had the good sense to appear on a mass-produced piece of pizza billboard advertising. I then resolved to take no more foolish treks to Southwest Texas lavatories just to see Jesus.

See the image of Jesus in Texas Baptist history

I see the face, the image of Jesus in Texas Baptist history. Our foreparents encountered God, and I have a passion to experience God in the same way. What does your church’s heritage reveal about your relationship with God? What Texas Baptist facemarks testify to our experiences with God and Main Street encounters with those Jesus died to save?

As a Texas Baptist late baby boomer, I may just be willing to concede I should begin to “act my age,” but it is abundantly clear I have no intention of looking it. When I look in the Baptist historical mirror, I am encouraged toward a bright future built on a firm foundation. Oh, in pictures, remember I’m the one with the neon green zinc oxide nose and outback hat.

Jeff Johnson is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce.

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