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Tuesday, July 18, 2006 

Frank Page Interviewed by Tavis Smiley

I have been a fan of Tavis Smiley for some time now. I appreciate the fact that Smiley will interview anyone and often gives them a forum to say what they want. He is usually very open to other positions and really has a great personality and flair which makes guests comfortable and leads to honest interaction. So, it was exciting for me, when flipping through the 8 channels we can get on our T.V. to find Tavis Smiley interviewing the newly elected President of the SBC, Dr. Frank Page. I missed the front end of the interview, but caught most of it. Later, I went back and listened to it in its entirety. You can access the program by going to show's archives page for Friday, July 14. There you will find the audio and transcript of the program.
I want to offer a few reactions I had to the interview. First, I think Dr. Page came across as humble, generous, and overall, a really nice guy. Smiley, as usual, treated Page like an old friend, but he did grill the SBC President rather hard at times. I felt that often Smiley phrased questions in such a way that it made it difficult for Dr. Page to really explain his or the SBC's position. At one point he asked about immigration policy and framed it as if the SBC was taking its marching orders from the Republican party. And unfortunately, while Dr. Page did a descent job in that instance of remarking how the Democrats were divided on immigration (as Smiley had suggested about the Republicans), he did nothing to squash such a stereotype. Smiley also took a few cheap shots at the SBC in the midst of the interview, and, on a couple of occasions, making long statements before getting to the gist of his questions. In the end, I think it was one of the worst interviews I have seen Tavis Smiley do, mainly because I believe he gave off a sense of animosity toward Southern Baptists in the way he interviewed Dr. Page.

As for Dr. Page's demeanor, I think overall he did well. As I said above, he came across as humble and even gentle. But Dr. Page never seemed comfortable and to be honest, I wasn't impressed. He let Smiley bully him a bit with questions that Dr. Page should have challenged rather than directly answered. And Dr. Page's answers were often too brief and didn't explain his position adequately enough. Still, I think the President did what needed to be done -- project a sense of gentleness and humility, reflecting the need to minister and avoid too much political interaction.

The interview lasts less than 15 minutes, so take the time to listen and let me know what you think. Did Tavis Smiley come across as condescending toward the SBC? Do you think Dr. Page did well or did he seem uncomfortable and rattled to you at times? What about his answers -- did you agree or disagree with what Dr. Page had to say?

He spoke down here at BAGNO, and of the two people I knew who were present, both said he was phenomenal. And we're talking about two completely different guys with different visions and different ideas and different everything. Both singing the guy's praise. Sounds cool to me.

Thanks Daniel for pointing out this interview. I was unable to hear the audio or see the video, but read the transcript. I agree, Page seemed to be very humble and gracious with his response. My favorite line has to be "I don't have time to deal with grouches anymore ..." and then when he said, "I want to encourage involvement of people who have a positive Christ-like spirit like you do, Tavis." It was interesting, not surprising, that he mentioned that the political candidates have already come knocking... Things look good so far.

Joshua, thanks for stopping by. I don't know if something was wrong with the link at the time you clicked on it or if there was somethiung wrong with your computer or you just didn't have the time, but clicking on the link I was able to listen to the audio, but the video was only a short clip where Page answered one question about politics. I hope you will be able to listen to it because you can hear his humility very clearly in how he says things, and you can see what I mean about Tavis being a bit condescending toward the SBC in how he asked the questions. But thanks again for stopping by and letting me know what you thought.

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Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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