Last week, a beautiful young woman sat in the plane seat beside me as we flew to Newark. As she put her carry-on bag on the floor, I got a glimpse of a book and thought I recognized the cover as being a Christian book by Philip Yancey.
So I was kind of prepared for what she said. She told me she was going on to Pennsylvania to a Christian Gospel retreat. She is the pianist at her church.
I let that digest a little bit, and then told her that I have a ministry too, that I work very hard at.
There is a good chance when you get on a plane in Texas that you will be sitting beside a Baptist, and it didn’t take long for me to find out that indeed she was a Baptist. Her church is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (now called Texas Baptists). I’ve met her pastor, and he is good friends with my former pastor.
We talked about equality for Baptist women. I explained that the church by-laws are the Cold Heart of the Church because it sets forth the standard that women cannot be a deacon. I told her that the pastor didn’t have to preach on it – it is written down for everybody to see. Most never look at the by-laws.
During the course of our conversation, she said that she felt equal in her church. She is on the ministry team and felt that she was treated equally.
I asked her if her church has any female deacons. She said ‘no.’ I asked her if she knew why.
“The by-laws?” she said.
Yes. Those infamous by-laws that tell women that they just don’t quite measure up to the men in the church.
I told her that unless every woman in her church was equal, then she was not equal.
Create in us a new song. A song where women know that their church does not hold it against them that they are women.