Feel free to grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and join our conversation about life and faith, the things that make sense and the things that don't. I'll raise some questions and themes along the way, and you can chip in with some of your own. What we're after here is perspective, some practical wisdom about life, and maybe a little light for the journey. Life is a pretty tough test for everyone, so we might as well compare notes and prepare for it together.
Fundamentalism Is No Fun
(Originally published, June 15, 2023)
Born and bred a Southern Baptist, I was called, licensed, and ordained in SBC churches and educated in an SBC seminary. I served five Southern Baptist churches as pastor, prior to coming to Memorial.
The SBC I inherited represented thousands of diverse, autonomous congregations united by their common missionary zeal for the cause of Christ. Nothing like it had ever happened before, a marvel and a movement, sparked by the genius of a cooperative “big tent” approach.
In those days, the SBC cared about starting and supporting churches, not policing and purging churches. Those were the days before power and politics poisoned the convention’s bloodstream, undermining our mission, and quenching our cooperative spirit. Before long, the Bible we treasured and proclaimed had been weaponized, misused to politicize our gatherings, seize our institutions, discredit our professors, and purge our seminaries.
Today in the SBC, a narrow fundamentalism insists on top-down authority and a rigid doctrinal uniformity that draws the circle smaller and smaller with each passing year. We have learned the hard way that fundamentalism has no “off” button. It’s never satisfied. There must always be an “us” and a “them,” an enemy, someone to fight, heretics to kick out.
Not surprisingly, this time it’s women and the churches they lead. Even at a time when shocking patterns of sexual abuse and cover up have been exposed for all the world to see, the SBC is crusading against female pastors rather than dealing with the twisted patriarchy and bad theology that has supported such widespread abuse.
Today I stand with my sisters in ministry, knowing full well that the Spirit of God will continue to call out women to preach and pastor, regardless of ridiculous resolutions and misguided amendments. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the Big Guy.