Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Paige Patterson Portrait at Southwestern Seminary

SBC Outpost has an interesting piece about the new portrait of Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (sbcoutpost.com). The cost was not revealed, although the Outpost reports that a portrait by the same artist set Southeastern Seminary back almost $70,000.

I don't know if Cooperative Program dollars paid for this portrait or not, but does it not seem rather excessive? It is becoming increasingly troubling how some of the presidents of Southern Baptist seminaries are building their own kingdoms on these campuses (and beyond) and how this is helping detach them from reality. If Paige Patterson and the trustees of Southwestern think it's perfectly fine to spend such an exorbitant amount of money on a portrait they are in serious need of a reality check.

When I was a student at Southern Seminary I lived on a diet of rice and Ramen noodles for three years (like many of my fellow students). A trip to Burger King was a tremendous luxury. Many - perhaps most - of the students in SBC seminaries are living near or below poverty conditions while the presidents are enjoying increasingly opulent lifestyles. Do these men stop and think about this? Do they ever consider how this looks to students and even to seminary outsiders? It's about time they do consider it.

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