Baptist Seminary Removes Stained Glass Windows Depicting Disgraced Former Leader

Any comments from Baptists?

@Patrick, I had heard about this SWBTS news early yesterday—and just happened to have a meeting at a Southern Baptist Convention church over the noon hour today. I asked one of the pastors sitting next to me at the luncheon table if he thought there was any chance that I could bid on the six stained window panes which depicts Paige Patterson’s dog. (Dorothy Patterson is depicted in the adjacent window but the family dog is sitting between them and sharing Paige’s window.)

For those who are aware of Paige Patterson’s role in the “conservative resurgence” within the Southern Baptist Convention and their network of seminaries, I’ll bet that you didn’t know that Fido also played an important part in the take-over and that that merited his inclusion in the Southwestern Baptist Seminary’s campus chapel’s “hall of heroes” (or whatever they call it.) My hunch is that Fido smuggled secret messages behind enemy lines throughout the watershed conflict, each message containing lists of dangerous academics suspected of infiltrating the affiliate campuses.

By the way, Judge Paul Pressler and his wife also had their images on stained-glass windows in that chapel building. Why do I mention Pressler? As Donald Knuth says repeatedly in his The Art of Computer Programming, “I leave this to the reader as an exercise.” (@Dan_Eastwood will get that one.)

I can imagine the disappointment of the window-artist who had enjoyed a great growth in the market for his work after Patterson & Co. started commissioning so many of these pricey stained-window panes. [I first wrote “pains” but quickly corrected the typo. Perhaps the typo was appropriate to the situation.]

Just last year I had gotten a cost estimate from that artist for a Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass stained-glass window, the first of a series being planned for “The Hall of Commenters” wing of the Peaceful Science Tiki Bar & Lounge at the new Peaceful Science Visitor Center on the St. Louis world headquarters campus. However, at the time I totally forgot to ask Joshua if he has a family dog sufficiently heroic for joining him in his commemorative window.

In any case, when I first heard of the removal of the stained-glass windows in the SWBTS campus chapel—thanks to a former SBC academic colleague who sent me an email with the Maxwell Smart inspired subject field: “Would you believe…?”-- I wondered how many hours would transpire before the news was all over the Internet, especially Patheos.

Someday I will wake up and all of this will be a bad dream. Sometimes real life beats parody.

POSTSCRIPT: I figure I can get away with some whimsical banner about the SBC because I’m presently teaching at a Southern Baptist Convention church.


The likes of Patterson and Jeffress cause me to be embarrassed about my previous denomination of choice.

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Greetings, @cwhenderson! It has been a while!

This question may stem from a woeful misunderstanding of your comment (and not to put you on the spot :wink: ), but what is your current denomination of choice? Are you Lutheran now? :slight_smile:


My denomination and ordination is with the United Evangelical Neo-Molinist Fellowship Assemblies of North America General Conference (Always Rite).


Is that closer to Sunni or Shia? :sunglasses:


I’m feeling old. When I was in school the terms were Sunni and Shiite.

Cue Bob Dylan song here.

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Not quite ready for that level of change, we are currently non-denominational. I’ve seen comments that it’s pretty much the same as Baptist, but with a cooler webpage.


Patterson’s picture reminded me of something. For all their legalism, I haven’t noticed that the Baptists are too keen on preaching against gluttony.

Where can I sign up for that :slight_smile:

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So am I. :sunglasses:


Hahaha, that’s a good point!


I’ve given this topic a lot of serious thought in recent years and felt convicted that I should be preaching more often on gluttony and wise stewardship of our health. Of course, Baptists are not alone in this regard. I’ve observed a lot of “Excessive feasting” and unhealthy eating habits among all sorts of American fundamentalists and evangelicals.

Even though my ordination and my faculty appointments have never been with Baptist organizations and institutions, I’ve spent a lot of Sundays at Baptist churches over the years (as well as independent churches which could easily pass as Baptist.) My first interim preaching assignment was at an Appalachian independent Baptist church where “fried fatback” [up north we called them “cracklins” or “fried pork rinds”] was a traditional favorite on a church potluck table accompanied by fried okra, fried potatoes, fried cucumbers, fried asparagus, fried chicken, and fried things I couldn’t even identify. At church workdays, one of the most impoverished but very generous gentleman would offer me his prized fried canned dog food patties, noticeably coated with white lard after it cooled to semi-hard mass, fried right along with two slices of the whitest of white bread that he would buy at the day-old surplus bakery goods store. Diabetes was common among my parishioners but not necessarily any medical treatment for it.

Of course, for that mid-sized rural church which had an interesting mix of the very poor and the relatively rich, dietary choices were a matter of tradition and favorite dishes for some and economic expedience for others. Yet, the common theme was what I used to call the four Baptist food groups: sugar, salt, lard, and coffee. (Sweat teas and sugary fruit punches of various sorts might have qualified as a fifth food group.) During my five-week pastoral assignment, I observed a lot of obesity, a lot of illness, and far too much suffering.

I see similar patterns today, even in the most affluent churches of the Southern Bible Belt. [Not everyone knows that there is also a Northern Bible Belt that dates from German Palatinate and German brethren (among others) pioneer migrations west from colonial Pennsylvania and Virginia into the Midwestern states. I’ve observed similar dietary patterns in those areas but that was a long time for me—but I think it lags only a little behind the Southern dietary and health crisis.] State governments across the South have become increasing alarmed by exploding rates of obesity and diabetes, especially juvenile diabetes. I recall a Texas health commission press release stating that one in nine adult Texans has full-fledged diabetes and at least another five out of those nine qualify as “pre-diabetics.” If I recall correctly, the report said that 76% of adult Texans were either obese or classified as seriously overweight.

A number of scientific journal articles identify Baptists as most prone to obesity. This is a typical observation among the surveys and published studies I’ve seen:

Given the many religious affiliations, we begin the analysis by presenting in Table 2 the percent of obese individuals for each religious affiliation. As shown in the table, Baptists have the highest percentage of obese persons in the sample, and this is consistent at both survey waves. Fundamentalist Protestants have the second highest percentage of obese individuals in the sample—also consistent at Wave 1 and Wave 3. Catholics also have a fairly high percentage of obese people, as do pietistic Protestants. Other non-Christians have the lowest percentage of obese individuals at both waves of data, followed by Jews. The remaining affiliations have percentages ranging from 2 to 9, and persons with no religious affiliation are within this range.

That excerpt can be found in


I agree with you. I have had this discussion with the RCA minister who runs a ministerial food pantry in a nearby town. They provide free daily lunches during the week. The people who attend the lunches predominately aren’t poor nor underfed. They are mostly overweight senior citizens (predominately white) who can easily afford proper nutrition. It is mostly social as the church “thinks” they are helping the poor and underfed. But in reality there are no underfed people in the towns served as governmental programs like school breakfasts and lunches do a good job for children in the area. I have proposed an exercise program instead as well as workshop on diabetes management as for most senior citizens in America, type 2 diabetes, a disease of being overfed, is needed more than high caloric lunches.

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Patrick, if I could introduce one dietary supplement to “Let’s feed the poor” lunches at churches and other charities, it would be generous amounts of psyllium husk powder added to various recipes of the food served. Americans are dangerously deficient in dietary fiber.

I buy such psyllium powder in bulk online (because most local sources pollute it with generous amounts of sugar.) That addition to my diet quickly brought my cholesterol, triglycerides, and other vital blood chemistry numbers into incredibly healthy ranges. Psyllium could quickly improve public health among Americans—Baptists included.

[I am currently teaching at a Baptist church, so this topic is important to me. I see so many suffering Baptists. I know of many large Baptist churches where the majority of the pastoral staff is plagued by obesity and all of the problems which come with it: low-energy, sleep disorders, high blood sugar/A1C, strokes, and heart disease.]

Hopefully the younger generation will be taught better health habits, it is great you are trying to help. When someone is brought up on fried everything and sugar, they are off to a bad start and it is hard to change.


A major theme of my current Wednesday night Bible study series at a Baptist church in my city is the self-discipline demanded by 1 Corinthians 9:27:

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (NKJV)


Additional translations are helpful here with 1Cor. 9:27:

New Living Translation
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

English Standard Version
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

How about just eat properly and exercise using 21st century knowledge on how to live a healthy life? No translation necessary, no need to consult a 2000 year old letter.