A few days ago, I posted a sarcastic rant about the Southern Baptist volunteers helping hurricane victims in Florida. It seems that a supply of water was donated to their site, with the Anheiser-Busch logo on it. Because the containers had the A/B logo, the host church pastor felt it would be inappropriate to distribute those particular containers of water, so he set it aside.
Here’s the link, in case you want to read it…
One of my responses came from Keith Hinson, public relations associate, Alabama Baptist Convention State Board of Missions, Montgomery, Alabama. You can also read his comments at the above link.
So, here’s the apology…
In spite of the water/label issue, there’s no getting around the fact that the SBC volunteers were there, on site, giving their time to help people who really needed them. I in no way want to take that away from them. In fact, the water thing has made so much news that it has overshadowed the kindness these volunteers have extended. So I want to apologize for not bringing that out.
I also need to emphasize, as Mr. Hinson pointed out in his comments to me, that there was a surplus of water donated to this particular work site, and there was apparently more than enough to give away without using the A/B-labeled water. So no one went without water because of the SBC volunteers’ decision.
I also want to apologize for not getting more facts before writing about this. Although the news article emphasized what WASN’T done – i.e., giving out the A/B labeled water, it minimized what WAS done – people who love Jesus helping other people. For, I want to thank the volunteers and express my admiration for them.
Now, here are my comments…
There was a period of time in my ministry when I probably would have made the same decision as the pastor in this story; I would have refused to give out the A/B water. That wouldn’t be my decision now; I’d give it away. Offhand, I can’t think of any water I would refuse to give away, regardless of the supplier.
In being a Christian leader, I occasionally have to make decisions about issues of right and wrong; in addition, I often have to make decisions about what I want to be known for. If I want to remain effective in my community for the long term, I need to have a relationship with lots of people, Christian or not. There’s no question that to the many people helped by the SBC volunteers’ efforts, these people are known for being loving and caring. And that may be the main thing.
But to many others, in the Clewiston community and around the country, that kindness has been overshadowed by what appears to be an unnecessary religious principle. That’s what concerns me here.
Anyway, in the future, while I’ll still write about issues that are of interest to me, and while I’ll still freely post my opinions, I’ll be more careful to get the whole story straight before posting.
The public relations department could have gotten ahead of this instead of have to go behind and do damage control. Too bad such a good thing got twisted. With some proactive information that probably wouldn’t have happened.
Having been in the Southern Baptist church for so many years, you’ve been privy to the good and the inevitable imperfections found in any church/denomination. You’ve also recently experienced the devastation of seeing sheep crushed under the weight of flesh-fueled leadership and Christian “religion” that doesn’t necessarily please the Lord. In both cases, both good and a lot of nonsense and unnecessary pain can occur. You responded based on what you knew and your own life experiences, and when you realized you’d made some oversights, you had the integrity to apologize. Honestly, a sincere “I’m sorry” can minister just as much as giving out a can of water! Kudos to the Southern Baptists for helping some very deserving people! And kudos to you for helping us remember that sharing God’s love should never be hindered by man-made technicalities! Its GREAT to have standards, but we all need to make sure they’re God’s, and not some weird self-righteousness. You rock, Charley! 🙂 Aloha! Miss Cindy
if the terms of the deal were reversed: a/b volunteers wouldn’t give out something a faith-based org had worked hard to put together to help these victims-for instance, wouldn’t we be upset?
I didn’t think it was fair for you to be called irresponsible for what you wrote in your original post, you just didn’t toe the party line.
I wrote a post about the story this morning, after I stirred up an angry hornet’s nest with my comments on another blog. The hornets followed me. So I re-examined the issue this afternoon and have posted an addendum. What I concluded is this: It’s not about the water. It’s about attitude, and the message we send to those who don’t know Jesus. And yes, saying “I’m sorry” goes a long way.
I’m with you – I want to be known for what I’m for and not what I’m against.–>