Tuesday, December 02, 2008

About Their Father's Business

Here it is, the awaited follow up to yesterday's blog post....

I am not even going to begin debating or explaining my thoughts on my egalitarian views that do belong in the church. I have said plenty, and if you desire to read more, please feel free to search my personal blog, (click here for direct access) and also look here at Equal Time for Women, a blog I write at from time to time with my friend, Pastor Deanna Shrodes.

I have to admit, just when I think I have experienced, or at the very least seen it all concerning the ignorance of those who refuse to recognize the fact women are called by God, I am side swiped by yet another picture of blatant insanity. However, with the full knowledge that when it comes to some denominations, it is more about power than money, although rarely is one seen without the other.

With that said, please let me ask a very obvious question... What in the world was the Georgia Baptist Convention and their powers that be thinking when they decided to refuse donations from entities out of sync with Southern Baptist beliefs which would include any church led by a woman pastor? (I will answer this question a little later.)

According to the statement of faith of the Southern Baptist Denomination, "only men can hold the position as head pastor, but individual churches are independent and can call whom they wish as pastor."

Okay, right there, that statement alone is just asking for an interpretation that from every reader that will ever lay eyes on the statement! It openly allowing affiliate churches to make a decision as to who they will call as pastor, gender is not exact, nor is one or the other prohibited.

In 2007, Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell (pictured above) became head of the nation’s largest Southern Baptist church with a female senior pastor when she was called to the 2,700-member Decatur First Baptist Church. Her appointment led to talk in the Georgia Baptist Convention of breaking ties with the church.

Personally, (and here is the answer to the question I asked earlier), although funding and financial support is key in the upkeep of every denomination, I feel the motivation had more to do with what privileges would be revoked without the acceptance of financial support from churches led by women in the role of senior pastor.

You see, the policy approved on November 11th allows the convention to refuse donations from churches that do not adhere to Southern Baptist beliefs which according their statement of faith would include a church with a woman in the role of senior pastor. That move would make the churches lose their association voting privileges but allow them to maintain an affiliation with the convention.

In other words, "Ladies, you can sit in on the club meetings and wear our t-shirts, but we don't want to hear from you." It's the "good ol' boys' club rearing its ugly head once again!

In the same meeting, it was decided that churches with women in lesser roles, such as deacons or youth ministers, would not be affected. Church conference leaders also could turn down gifts from questionable sources, such as alcohol distributors.

I read the entire article a few times as well as the follow up article and came away each time with the several conclusions. The SBC is missing out on something, okay, well, several things, but one that I want to touch on in particular.

According to Proverbs 13:22, "... the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous."

So, even in the event that the SBC was correct in its prejudice against women in the pulpit, the financial contribution received is still BLESSED according to Proverbs 13:22!!! And for the record, if Budweiser or Coors came and wanted to write a check to Freedom House to support the work of the Kingdom, um, yeah, we would take it and use it for the Kingdom!

Without a doubt, Pastor Julie and her leadership in Decatur will not even be nudged by the poor decision of the denomination they have been affiliated with for over a hundred years.

According to Pastor Julie,“Folks here realize the mission of this church is just moving forward in all kinds of creative, wonderful ways,” she said in an interview. “I think it’s an unfortunate momentary distraction.”

She said Decatur First Baptist has, over time, become much more invested in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a national organization for moderate Baptists, which accepts women as pastors.

“This church really is historically tied to the Southern Baptist Convention, but lately it’s only been tied by the slenderest of threads,” Pastor Julie said.

And my favorite quote in one of the articles is what I will close with. It came from a church member, John H. Davis, 70, of Decatur, who said he’s happy with his minister.

“As long as Christ is being preached, I can accept anyone,” Davis said. “In fact, some of my favorite preachers are women.”

So, take the money or don't take the money SBC, count their votes or not... Pastor Julie and her counterparts aren't going anywhere but about their Father's business!

-"I am a pastor, not in spite of what the Bible says, but because of what the Bible says."
Julie Pennington-Russell


Anonymous said...

I have been trying to come up with a response, but every time I type, smoke rises from my keyboard...so I will just say...WORD!!!

Deanna Shrodes said...

I agree with Leanne but my other thought is...are these people REALLY that stupid to refuse monetary donations?

If they are that dumb then they probably can't be trusted with the money anyway so it's a good thing Pastor Julie is putting it elsewhere where she can be a good steward.

I don't know that I would want to be affiliated with a group so dense that they refused money for the kingdom's sake.

Tara Sloan said...

Ladies... you know I am with you! This is one of the most ridiculous acts I've ever see in an effort to bar the door from egalitarian views in the church.

Continue to fight the good fight and keep the main thing the main thing... our Father's business!

Love you both!