|EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
GuideStone Financial Resources
University of Mobile
World News Service
CCCU journalism professors participate in
faith track at College Media Conference
NEW YORK (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) -- Can a believer be a first-class journalist? Don't reporters have to get their hands dirty chasing the news?
CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) journalism professors will answer some variation of these questions March 10-12 when more than 1,500 students from across the nation converge on Times Square to study the craft of news gathering and reporting.
Since 1954, the College Media Association has worked with student media to improve their media operations. It will host the spring conference in New York City. Associate executive director Lori Brooks wants to promote the work of CCCU professors and others from Christian universities in what is commonly called the faith track.
"CMA works to further the cause of collegiate journalists and their advisers from all types of institutions," Brooks said. "Ensuring we have sessions to train and educate those from religious schools and backgrounds, as well as those more secular, is an important part of our programming."
According to Brooks, CMA's conference supports the goals of advisers such as Michael A. Longinow of Biola University who says, "Students at faith-based schools are sharp, driven and, with some prompting, bring home awards hardware regularly. The advisers of these schools are like advisers at state schools, but they also want to talk about their very real faith in God -- and how it integrates into what they do and how they do it; it's part of their professional DNA."
This March CCCU journalism professors including Washington Journalism Center's Terry Mattingly (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tmatt/) and from Baylor University, Lee University, Bethel University and others will be showcased at the national event.
Mattingly noted that economics and professionalism influence whether CCCU faculty can take advantage of national conferences of this kind.
"Low budgets," Mattingly noted as a key issue with many member schools who don't attend the CMA conventions. Another problem, he said, is that many CCCU members don't have journalism professors with mainstream experience, advisers who seek out these kinds of real journalism venues for learning.
Veteran journalist Michael Ray Smith (http://michaelraysmith.com), professor at Campbell University and adviser of The Campbell Times, worked with Longinow to contribute about 20 sessions to the 320-plus sessions that will be featured in the mid-March gathering.
Among the coups, Smith recruited newsman Russell Pulliam, editor at The Indianapolis Star and director of the Pulliam Fellowship, to present one of the plenary sessions at CMA. Pulliam is well-known for his work as a freelance journalist for Christian periodicals and his commitment to excellence in journalism (http://www.indystar.com).
Journalist and CEO of The Media Project Arne Fjeldstad likes to quote Martin Luther, who said, "The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship."
For Donna Downs of Taylor University, Christians bring value-added to their craft.
"As Christian journalists vs. journalists in Christian media, students need to understand one of the key components that will set them apart is how they handle interviews and reporting in delicate situations," Downs said. "While writing an unbiased story, student journalists can still do their reporting in a Christ-like fashion that ministers to those who are grieving or going through difficult times."
Downs will present a session Monday, March 11, on Covering Death on a Christian Campus. "I hope to help students understand what this process might look like and how they can be the hands and feet of Jesus in difficult or dire circumstances," she said.
Phyllis Alsdurf of Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., noted that CCCU schools are not exempt from facing issues of great difficulty.
"Rarely does a semester go by without an unexpected death, a serious car accident, a major illness or an embarrassing situation involving someone within the college community," said Alsdurf, adviser of the student newspaper, The Clarion. "As painful as these situations are, they also are an important learning lab for student journalists as they learn how to tell the community's narrative with clarity, sensitivity and accuracy. Unfortunately, being a campus "truth-teller" can sometimes put students at odds with administrators who see their task as controlling the message."
Blending faith and teaching students to do more than assuming a pose of neutrality is a daunting task. Some CCCU professors follow syndicated columnist Cal Thomas's mantra: Work hard, write well, be accurate and don't preach, adding the time to offer a testimony will come. Others assume the advocacy model and insist students include a biblical worldview in their prose.
Nonetheless, for 20-year veteran CMA adviser and journalism professor Wallis C. Metts (http://blog.thedaysman.com/), the life of a reporter offers a rich canvas on which to paint the journey of life. Metts is director of graduate studies in communication at Spring Arbor University.
"If Christians are going to be involved in the marketplace of ideas, journalism offers the perfect platform for exploring and explaining where redemption is necessary and where hope is revealed," Metts said. "We are often unwilling to do this because the audience is skeptical and the issues are complex."
Among the CMA workshops Metts will present include one on writing as vocation, where, he said, "Christian journalists need to see their work as a calling -- one that places their giftedness at the service of the truth. The truth, as Jesus said, will set us free."
Smith and Metts recently produced a free iPad-only book for Christian writers called "A One-Step Guide to a Byline" with the hope that Christian journalists will profit from the insights of successful writers featured in eight video interviews and other enhanced content to inspire writers to do high-quality journalism. The book urges Christian journalists to seek excellence and not be shy about identifying the tension that is at the heart of hard news.
Metts went on to urge the Christian subculture along with CCCU members to harness the energy of the next generation of Christian students to storm the field of the popular press.
"Christian universities should elevate the craft of telling stories well in order to help transform a broken profession and speak to a broken world," he said.
Longinow echoed that idea, saying, "Too many Christians avoid careers in mainstream journalism because they fear they'll be asked to compromise their faith," Longinow said. "They also believe that negative influences will shadow their ability to report news or tell stories that uphold a biblical world-view. The irony is that those same believers will pursue careers in business where the pressures are similar."
Executive director of Advisers of Christian Collegiate Media (http://jrn.biola.edu/accm/blog/), Longinow works to advance Christians in journalism from CCCU members and others. ACCM helps with navigating it.
Alsdurf said CCCU can profit from practical insight gained at the convention.
"It's not often that you get a chance to spend days in the company of several hundred other college students as interested in journalism as you are," she said. "Attending the CMA convention gives you a chance to hear inspiring keynote speakers, get in-depth training through early bird sessions, make valuable contacts for internships and attend an amazing array of workshops -- many of which are designed just for student journalists from church-related colleges."
The on-site student newspaper critiques are a bonus, Alsdurf added.
The Christian subculture tends to keep an eye on media for its pathological tendencies. The CMA conference is a chance for CCCU institutions to plant the cross in the newsroom as the best approach for the next generation of journalists and the church.
To overcome the tide of mediocrity, Mattingly says, the church must see the struggle as one that is worth the investment. For now, he says, some Christians are more comfortable with a Christian niche culture with its own media. "Choosing to stay in the niche feels safer, professionally and spiritually," he said.
Alsdurf likes to remind CCCU journalism professors that excellence among believers is possible and points to Audrey Martin at Trinity Western University, whose students have won awards from Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association.
Smith said CCCU advisers should seek him out in Manhattan for the conference and he will arrange meetings with kindred spirits. His email is email@example.com.
Southern Baptist Business Officers Conference returns to GuideStone
By Roy Hayhurst
DALLAS (GuideStone Financial Resources) -- Business officers from Southern Baptist churches and ministries are invited to attend the annual Southern Baptist Business Officers Conference, March 18-20 in Dallas. GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention once again will host the meeting, which offers opportunities to learn about legislative and healthcare reform updates, as well as networking opportunities.
The conference registration fee is $145, which includes all materials, a thumb drive containing all presentations, breakfast on Tuesday and Wednesday and lunch on Tuesday. To register, visit www.SBBOC.com and select "Annual Meeting".
The conference runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, March 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, and from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, March 20.
"The SBBOC annual meeting brings together experts in employment law, benefits, retirement planning/investing and other areas churches and ministries want to know about, and places them in one conference," said Susan May, secretary/treasurer of SBBOC and a GuideStone employee. "Each year, more than 100 business officers come for these workshops and timely updates."
Speakers this year include Ben Arment, author of Church in the Making, Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), Danny Miller, an attorney with Conner & Winters in Washington, D.C., Michael E. Batts, managing partner of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee, P.A., an Orlando-based CPA firm dedicated exclusively to serving nonprofit organizations, as well as Dan Novak, a leadership professor and consultant.
Among the most requested sessions, GuideStone's Donna Lively will discuss healthcare reform and its continuing impact on churches and ministries.
SBBOC's website includes specially negotiated rates at nearby hotels and a full schedule of conference sessions. GuideStone's office building near the heart of downtown Dallas is convenient to both Dallas Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
For more information about the conference, visit www.SBBOC.com or contact Susan May by email at Susan.May@GuideStone.org.
Roy Hayhurst is senior manager of editorial services at GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
UMobile's Stephen Schuler and Bethany Bear featured on Christian blog 'Transpositions'
MOBILE, Ala. (University of Mobile) -- Essays by University of Mobile's Stephen Schuler, associate professor of English, and Bethany Bear, assistant professor of English, are featured on the award-winning Christian blog "Transpositions."
The essays are featured in the Domestic Arts Symposium on the site associated with the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The blog's goal is to create a connection between Christian theology and the arts through many modern leaders, thinkers, writers, and artists.
Transpositions was voted runner-up Best Christian Blog in the Christian New Media Awards in 2011.
Schuler's article, "Reclaim, Restore, Redeem," on Transpositions is about his love of restoring old tools and using wood to build new things. He began building when his store-bought bookshelf almost collapsed on his growing pile of books. Schuler and his wife bought some wood and various tools to build a bookshelf of their own that would be sturdier than the previous one.
Schuler shares his love of restoring old tools with his children. They help him in his workshop and love working with the tools.
"An old tool may appear hopeless when grime covers every visible surface and all moving parts are seized with rust, but with enough time and care, many tools can be brought back to life. Each old tool, each discarded log, is an opportunity to redeem a little piece of creation," Schuler said in his essay on Transpositions.
Shuler's essay can be found at http://www.transpositions.co.uk/2013/02/reclaim-restore-redeem/.
Bear's article, "To Feel Even As I Once Knew," on Transpositions is about how she is a spinner, weaver, and seamstress like the women she has read about in literature.
She began to craft as a teenager, not truly knowing why other than she wanted to be useful. Bear crafted her way through graduate school, helping her get through the stress and workload.
When she read about these women that crafted, it connected her faith and profession.
"Perhaps most importantly, I work wool, flax, or cotton with willing hands because I hope these ordinary, ancient practices, like prayer itself, will draw my heart toward Christ, who is the comfort of all good grandmothers, the bridegroom of the noble wife, the master of Lady Philosophy, and the source of true wisdom," Bear said in her essay on Transpositions.
Bear's essay can be found at http://www.transpositions.co.uk/2013/02/to-feel-even-as-i-once-knew/.
For more information about the University of Mobile, visit www.umobile.edu or call Enrollment Services at (251) 442-2222 or 800-WIN-RAMS.
Twitter Mutes Pro-life Group Ahead of Rally
LOS ANGELES (World News Service) -- It wasn't all praise and applause at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Image Awards, Feb. 1 in Los Angeles.
Black pro-life groups, including the National Black Prolife Coalition, picketed the ceremony to protest the NAACP's close relationship with Planned Parenthood and its support for gay "marriage," LifeSiteNews reported -- and they did so despite Twitter's temporary suspension of their account, which was supposed to help rally supporters.