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The Baptist Mouse That Roared

Growing up in the 1960s, the Cold War was raging. Required reading was Leonard Wibberley’s 1955 novel, The Mouse That Roared. The satirical novel is about how a tiny nation going through unexpected events ended up becoming the peacekeeper in preventing nuclear powers from using their world ending bombs. I have often used the “mouse that roared” metaphor in other contexts when the odds are great to succeed or when a minority opinion becomes the truth that matters.

The genesis of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association 20 years ago was at a time when being labeled “Baptist” was fading in importance if not a liability, working collaboratively as a “priesthood of all believers” gave way to a corporate management model, and “soul liberty” to interpret Scripture in the presence of other informed disciples was pushed aside for an emphasis on what is orthodoxy by those in positions of authority. In this time of post-modernism, PCBA came into being.

Change is inevitable. I am different by the time you read these words than the time when I wrote them. Being open to change is as much biblical as it is to welcome the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into us and into our churches for revitalization. While the world and the church in the US and around the world are constantly changing, it is also important for the church to remember our history and offer what we believe to be valuable and helpful to the present and the future. The PCBA serves in such a capacity to be one of the American Baptist witnesses in Northern California and beyond.

I imagine the future of churches in today’s climate will rests more on the shared convictions we hold rather than the organized groups we belong. Crossing borders to cooperate on common objectives would outweigh past histories or even core beliefs. PCBA is more a movement than an institution. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matt.18:20) As long as we come together as Christ’s disciples, we are a faithful people.

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Living in a sometimes dizzying, loud cacophony of noises, the Pacific Coast Baptist Association is a “mouse that is still roaring” calling people to be the Baptist witness today.

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