CBF General Assembly…post assembly take…

My last post was a “flash” post on my first day of the assembly.  I was quite honestly not very excited to be there.  It came across as sort of pitiful upon hearing some of the comments people said to me subsequently.  It wasn’t intended as a pity party…I had a great time, hung out with some very cool people, was re-energized by some of those people, and was able to spend some good times in Houston…so don’t feel sorry for me…

However, I truly wasn’t very excited going into the Assembly.  We find ourselves still in a (seemingly) never ending time of transition here in Tennessee, there seemed to be a resignation surrounding the meeting that the numbers of regestered participants would be way down (they were) and that we were all sort of in limbo…I sort of played into that feeling of dread in several conversations I had this past week.

However, I got up this morning and began to reflect on the week and the conversations I was fortunate enough to engage and I’ve changed my mind.  Some of the positives:

  • I met/talked with/hung out with several very cool, very gifted young women that I would love to be my pastor someday (hopefully soon).  I am very encouraged! (check out this sermon from one of them…Ann Pitman-A Tale Of Two Daughters.
  • I saw a much younger crowd than I have seen in years past
  • I hung out most of the time with a group of college students there participating in the Houston Sessions…I miss that very much…this was very energizing…THANKS all of you!
  • I was encouraged by those who attended the workshops I participated in…great questions…great potential…
  • I was thankful to be a part of a large gathering of Baptists where nothing was discussed that I was embarrassed to read in the papers the next day
  • my CBF google feed produced the following blog post this morning…it made me smile…it made me happy to be a part of CBF:  Meant to Love

There are a lot more things I could say.  For all of the above, I could find several corresponding things to bitch about…why aren’t we hiring women pastors, we were younger because we were close to Baylor and Truett, we could do better by college students, yada, yada, yada….  That makes me weary…I’m rather tired of that…even though I’ve contributed to that type of bitching in the past.

It felt good to be a Baptist this week.  I’m optimistic about the future, if  not about denominational systems, very much so about the church and the kingdom of God and our upcoming leaders.  I hope to be a part of that movement…or at least witness it.   Enough…lots of work to do today.  Peace!


I’m proud of FBC Decatur

Associated Baptist Press – Church with woman pastor expects further rebuke from Georgia Baptists

There are times when I cringe when Christians make the news.  However, Julie Pennington-Russell and First Baptist Church Decatur, GA make me proud.  I know that the Georgia Baptist Convention needs FBC Decatur more than the other way around.  However, GBC hasn’t grasped that yet…

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Palin: President, OK…but not Pastor

This is simply amazing.  I’m not sure where to begin.  Watch the video… This would almost be funny if it wasn’t so sad.  Actual thought is obviously discouraged at this institution of higher indoctrination.

I struggle for words here.  Several jokes come to mind.  I could express my amazement at how delusional very intelligent human beings can be.  I could talk about how sad I feel for the young woman in the video who has been brain-washed to the point of denying the very image of God in which she has been created.

I guess I’ll simply say how thankful I am to be a part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship knowing my daughter will be encouraged and supported in whatever calling she chooses to pursue.

Women Pastoral Candidates…

The topic of women serving as senior pastor of a church has come up a lot lately at my church.  We are currently in the process of looking for a pastor and many conversations have been initiated by our search team with various groups within our church.  Without any prompting, this issue has come up several times.  This particular blog entry is not to “air our laundry” in public (I’ve actually been very proud of our church members on this particular topic…pleasantly surprised!).

A couple of preface statements…

  1. I am totally supportive of and harbor absolutely NO theological objections to women serving in any position of leadership/ministry role/etc. within the church–this is one of the top reasons I am proud support and participate in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
  2. While CBF is supportive ordaining and promoting women in pastoral roles, I believe the reality of individual churches giving equal opportunity to female candidates is FAR FROM BEING A REALITY.  (I’ve read this very observation made by die-hard Southern Baptist fundamentalist leaders who are totally against women serving in pastoral roads…they have named our hypocrisy.)
  3. All that being said, I don’t want a pastoral selection made based merely on a political/social statement.  (That’s easy for me to say as a male, it probably sounds like a cop-out to female pastoral candidates…more churches need to take initiative in this area).

I’ve heard some form of this statement articulated many times over the last several months (not just with our church): “I’m totally supportive of having a woman pastor, but I just don’t think our church/town/region is ready for that yet.” My purpose is not to criticize that reality as much as to ask a sociological question: What does that mean?  Why are we “not ready?”  What is going on within our religious life/institutions in 2008 that makes us not ready for female pastoral leadership?

I’ll just point out one thing…we, “the Church” (universal), are so self-absorbed in our own very small reality that issues such as this can linger…for years!  I recognize that systems such as institutional religion are very slow and resistant to change.  Ultimately that really is a cop out.  My friend Sam wrote and interesting post on his blog about this issue that I believe to be one step toward moving out of this malaise.  I think his offering of “skipping a step” is insightful and introduces a fresh way of thinking into our crotchety system.  However, its time our crotchety system take responsibility and show some leadership in this area.  There are some really big issues the church should be concerned with in our world.  The role of women in leadership should be one (of many) in which the church is leading/modeling from the front.  Rather, we are woefully behind.

Check out Stormy Weather, Dry Ground, and Preaching Womengreat post from my good friend Ed.

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