The choice is yours

Bill Leonard says in his post “A Baptist Shame” (May 24, 2012):  “But tonight I am ashamed, because I heard a Baptist pastor say things so abhorrent to the gospel of Jesus that I could not keep conscience with my Baptist forebears and remain silent. In what appears to be a May 13 sermon, Charles Worley declared: “Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there,” Then he continues: “Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed them, and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out. Do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

Baptists have a lot to learn about love – the love that Christians are to show other Christians.  Instead, we choose to beat people down.  It is a choice. Just like choosing to limit women from serving in the church.  It is a choice. We can choose the slant we want from the Bible.  We can choose to find those scriptures that tell us to treat others as we would have them treat us, or we can choose to find the scriptures that tell us to stone them to death. The Bible says both, and we must choose.

A friend who is a member of a fundamental church (but which accepts women preachers), sent me an email about American Family and their fight with Home Depot over their stance about homosexuals.  She wanted me and others to boycott Home Depot.  I don’t think Home Depot would notice if I am boycotting them or not because I haven’t been in their store in years. But that is not the point.

The point is that my friend has a brother who is gay.

Her fellow church members probably don’t know that. It is never spoken of in their family.  The man’s mother has condemned her son to hell.

I was thinking about her email today when I came across the above letter from Bill Leonard and what one Baptist pastor chose to say about gays. 

We make choices. Jesus touched the unclean woman, healed the leper, talked with the Samaritan woman, taught Mary at his feet, and demanded that we look at the individual human being before quoting the law. “He who is without guilt, throw the first stone.” Or “You would run to get the oxen out of the ditch, but you love your precious law more than you love this sick person and choose to let them remain sick one more day because it is the Sabbath.”

We make choices when we decide that one interpretation of the Bible is right, even though that choice will forever limit one-half of the congregation from being full members of the family of God. We want it to be right.  We want to prohibit women in our churches.

If we didn’t want to, then we would make the choice to open our hearts and our minds and let the scriptures that speak of love, and Christ’s redemption for all men and women, rule our actions.

I would search for every scripture that gave a son and a brother God’s grace, instead of beating up on him. 

I would search every scripture that gives a woman God’s grace to be a woman in the church, called for service or not, but to be an equal member of God’s family sitting in the pew.

What will you choose? Jesus was all about choices. It is your choice. Will you choose to speak up for the oppressed women in your church? Will you be bold enough to tell others that the Bible that we say is about love, is just that.  It is about love, and you cannot love Christian women and tell them what they can or cannot do.  You must choose.

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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10 Responses to The choice is yours

  1. tommy9999 says:

    Shirley: The FUNDAMENTALIST have tried to tie homosexuality and women serving in the church together. IMO they do this because they realize the strong emotional feelings that homosexuality evokes. I do not share Charles Worley’s feelings about homosexuality. I’ll call it like I see it–he is an extremist and is dangerous.

    I do not know how the SB view about Women in Ministry will change but change it must.

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    • Welcome! Thanks for joining us. Yes, the fundamentalists have tried to tie women with homosexuality, and they have succeeded. That seed of lies and misconception took root and is the basis of why women are not getting anywhere in the equality battle among Southern Baptists (SB).

      You make a good point that this must change. It must, and it will have to be done by the people in the pews. Somehow we must get across to them that by restricting women as pastors and deacons, they have restricted their own relationship with God. Even though they do not want to be a pastor or a deacon.

      At our conference, we met a young woman who is a theology student at Truett. She knows she has been called to pastoral ministry. Being a Baptist all her life from Kentucky, her family did not agree with her call. However, as they have heard her preach in the small church that has accepted her while she is a student, they are beginning to accept that God has called a young woman – not lesbian – to the ministry.

      That means they will have to make other changes in their way of thinking about women in ministry.

      But it is the people in the pew who will be the ones to turn her down when her resume arrives. Unless you and I, and others, change their minds.

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      • tommy9999 says:

        Shirley:

        You said:”However, as they have heard her preach in the small church that has accepted her while she is a student, they are beginning to accept that God has called a young woman – not lesbian – to the ministry.”

        There has to be a shift in the thinking of SB, especially men who are the most vocal about tying homosexuality and women in the ministry together.

        As I said onetime online SBC could easily stand for Solely Boys Club as it relates to ministry in the SBC.

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      • SBC – Solely Boys Club! Individual families have their own private thoughts that the church has not caught up with. Last Monday I was with 2 Baptist women from 2 different churches. They are in their 70’s. They were talking about women who could not teach men in their church (800 member church!) They both agreed that they had rather hear a woman teach than a man teach their Sunday School class. It used to be that women could teach mixed classes before the fundamental takeover. One woman told me “keep speaking out for women. I agree with everything you said.” Her pastor would be disappointed because he preaches frequently on women being submissive in leadership and in the home.

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  2. gemmie says:

    I thought this was great http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-oleary/human-rights-begin-in-the-pew_b_1512252.html “Unfortunately, God isn’t around to verify the man-made claims in support of gender inequity, or to expose it as the load of crap it most certainly is.”

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  3. Melody says:

    beautiful. thank you.

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  4. tommy9999 says:

    Shirley:

    I was thinking this morning how sad it is that the SB world has become so antagonistic and polarized over the last few decades and how many SB have been hurt by simply trying to live out their convictions. You have to agree 100% with those in control or you are not welcome. How did we ever get to this point?

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    • We weren’t always this way. 40 years ago before the Baptist fundamentalist takeover, we were a progressive denomination. It was also the time of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the effects of women wanting “men’s” jobs were in full swing. Women were being accepted into law schools and medical schools and even had opportunity to get a job afterwards in those fields that previously had few women. Baptist leadership got scared. Specifically, Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler got scared, and in a cafe in New Orleans wrote out thier plan for conservatives. I encourage you to read the book by Audra and Joe Trull “Putting Women in Their Place – moving beyond gender stereotypes in Church and Home. Published in 2003. Joe Trull is retired as editor of Christian Ethics but he is very reachable and you can email him. (for sports fans, his brother is Don Trull). In this book he gives the history and background of what happened. He also tells how Christians for Biblical Equality got started. You can find it online. http://www.helwys.com/books/trull.html Please let me know if you need more info.

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