Southern Religion

Another Christian woman gives up second-class citizenship

Born into a Roman Catholic family and educated by nuns, Irish broadcast journalist Olivia O’Leary left over the church’s refusal to ordain women. According to the Belfast Telegraph:

“No longer at my age can I accept a subordinate role; not for myself, not for my daughter, not for my sisters, my nieces or friends,” the 61-year-old current affairs presenter declared.

She added that other women had walked out of the church a long time ago.

“Maybe I just kept hoping,” she added.

She was provoked to a recent, detailed on-air explanation by an interview with American Catholic theologian and intellectual George Weigel. She was unimpressed, explaining:

“He [Mr Weigel] gave the same old non-reasons for the refusal of the church to ordain women, ‘we have different tasks, different gifts’ . . . ‘God made men and women different for a reason’.”

Ms O’Leary continued: “At this stage I don’t feel rage so much as weariness — that ‘difference’ is still latched onto as a reason to discriminate; weariness and, for me, relief, that it’s all over now. I’ve moved on out.”

She now attends the Church of Ireland (part of the Anglican Communion) where “I can stand tall because the Church of Ireland, whether I join it or not, accepts my full humanity. It ordains women.”

Unlike churches in the shrinking Southern Baptist Convention (as it is for the moment still named), where a slow parade of churches embrace expulsion by accepting women pastors.

The pursuit by women of equality where it is denied them appears to be as sweepingly nondenominational as it is relentless.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Catholic, Religion, SBC, Uncategorized, Women | | 3 Comments

How an evangelical inerrantist changed his mind about women in leadership

Pastor Wade Burleson of Enid, Oklahoma, recently stopped blogging. And was predictably pulled back into blogging again by his enduring concern about self-destructive failure of the Southern Baptist Convention to accept women as lead pastors. About Alan F. Johnson’s book “How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership,” Burleson wrote:

There have long been attempts by fundamentalists conservatives to paint liberal moderate anyone who believes that women can be as gifted as men, can lead or teach men, or can hold positions of “authority” over men. Aside from the fact it is nigh impossible to define authority the way Jesus defines it (servanthood) and have any objection to women in leadership, it is a breath of fresh air to read a book edited by a bona-fide evangelical inerrantist who is showing that it is not God who is changing His mind about women, but fallen, fallible men who must change theirs.

Read the rest here.

December 14, 2010 Posted by | Religion, SBC, Women | Comments Off on How an evangelical inerrantist changed his mind about women in leadership

George Baptist Convention faithfully follows the SBC path toward decline

The retro-innovative Georgia Baptist Convention voted at its Nov. 15-16 to disfellowship Druid Hills Baptist Church “because its co-pastor is a woman.” As expected and repeating the pattern of action taken last year against First Baptist Church Decatur.

The decision is in keeping with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and arguably self-destructive. As Bob Allen of the Associated Baptist Press wrote:

Carey Charles, a deacon and fourth-generation member at Druid Hills, described the church’s goal to messengers as “first and foremost missional.”

“When Baptist churches are closing their doors inside the I-285 perimeter [the freeway that surrounds the central part of the Atlanta area] today at a historically rapid pace, and that [what was] once 166 Baptist churches are now down to a mere 39, we at Druid Hills Baptist have deliberately chosen to stay and bear a testimony as stated in our core values — to love God, to share Christ, to serve others and grow in faith,” Charles said.

“In staying, we recognize that we must ask tough questions, missional questions; not something that unifies only our church, but also that unifies our church in our neighborhood, city and world immediately surrounding us,” he said. “Therefore we chose the Walkers, both of whom have been recognized as partners in mission by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for 12 years of service in the Philippines, who deeply share our passion for what is now a growing mission field inside Atlanta.”

That makes the action twice the opposite of progress. After the GBC executive committee recommended that change at its March 16 meeting, Shelia M. Poole of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote:

“It seems sad that they decided to go backwards in time,” said the 52-year-old Mimi Walker, a former missionary in the Philippines. “I’m not sure what the value is of trying to go back in time when women were held in subservience.”

This bit of time traveling is by in effect expelling a church whose innovation has been extraordinary. The church Web site explains:

Druid Hills Baptist Church (DHBC) was established in 1914 and since its inception has been a church oriented towards innovation and growth. DHBC enjoyed many firsts among Baptist churches in the south including the first vacation Bible School, the first church day camp and the first co-ed adult class. Through the years DHBC has continued to evolve to meet the needs of the community. It is now the last Baptist church in downtown Atlanta and is located in a very diverse neighborhood at the corner of Ponce and Highlands.

Inflexibility has a price.

Not just for the Georgia Baptist Convention. The SBC’s Batholic/Cathist inflexibility has led independent demographic analysis to forecast not only frustration of evangelism goals like those pursued by the Great Commission Resurgence , but also steady decline.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | SBC, Women | , , | Comments Off on George Baptist Convention faithfully follows the SBC path toward decline

Southern Baptist Sharron Angle (& others)

Southern Baptist Sharron Angle misjudged the electorate in Nevada, and lost.

Amanda Marcotte makes a coherent argument that Angle’s Mama Grizzly racism is to some conservatives an unbearable contradiction of her femininity. A deal breaker:

This contradiction exposed why it’s so critical to the fundamentalist worldview that women stay at home and abandon ambition. In this world, women are supposed to be the light, the caretakers, the homemakers, those who smooth feathers and wipe brows. Aggression, meanness, ambition, and even lustiness are considered more masculine traits, even by the public at large. As Dave Weigel reports, the Republicans are beginning to feel that Sharron Angle, at least, spent too much time in the public eye. The longer the public stares at a Mama Grizzly, the more painful the contradiction between her ideals of femininity and her actual behavior.

Mark Silk makes the only slightly related argument that Angle and Christine O’Donnell would have done better if neither had been so much the culture warrior:

I would submit that Angle and O’Donnell lost not because of radical Tea Partyism but because they smelled too much of the unwanted social conservatism of yesteryear.

Who represents that social conservatism better, or better underlines the clarity of other analysts, than Angle’s fellow Southern Baptist, SBC ethics czar Richard Land? His post-election analysis was first an echo of aging rightist Richard Viguerie (one more chance for the Republicans). Then, almost as though we held national referenda in this country, Land asserted a rejection of “Obamacare,” a repudiation of judicial decisions with which he disagrees, a rejection of same-sex marriage and so on.

More about which, later.

November 5, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Religion, SBC, Women | , , , , | Comments Off on Southern Baptist Sharron Angle (& others)

The Anglican Communion’s women bishops (still none in England)

The 28 women bishops in the Anglican Communion, reviewed by Ruthie Glendhill, religion correspondent for The Times of London.

None in England.

After the review, Glendhill interviews Christina Rees, who has campaigned for the ordination of women in the Anglican Church and is now the Chairperson of WATCH (Women and the Church), about “the prospects for women bishops in the Church of England after initial analysis of the General Synod election results from 2010” indicated a shift against them:

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Churches, Women | , , | Comments Off on The Anglican Communion’s women bishops (still none in England)