A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Sandy » Wed May 02, 2012 8:03 pm

Lamar Wadsworth wrote:Our practice needs to be guided by scripture but also informed by experience and observation of the obvious work of God. I could never again be a part of a church that limits the roles of women simply because they are women.


I doubt there are very many churches which "limit the role of women simply because they are women." Most of them are following what they believe are the clear dictates and instructions of the scripture. In fact, the roles of women in the church, compared to their position in the society that existed at the time the scriptures were written, was tremendously enhanced. But cultural change doesn't give permission to alter the order that God created in giving instruction to his church. Our observation and experience, regardless of what we think about it, is skewed by the lack of perfection and the gap that exists between humanity and God. God's favorable response accompanies the faith that his children exhibit through the respect and honor they give him by seeking complete obedience to his will. It's not about trying to figure out what God might have said if the Bible's writers he inspired had done their work in a different time and place. It's about taking note of the order he created in his church, and understanding that the calling of each person is unique to who they are, based on the spiritual gifts that God has given to them, and their ability to discern those gifts comes out of what he spoke when he inspired the Bible's writers. Males and females are unique, and their calling was created specifically based on their identity, including their gender.

A lot of the conversation about women serving in what is perhaps the only role in the church restricted to men is a testimony about what they've wanted, and not necessarily accompanied by an acknowledgement that it is also what God wants. I hear a lot about their aspirations and dreams they've had since they were little girls, but not much about how it came about that God called them. And my experience in this regard is reinforced by a majority of the women I've met who had this ambition and fulfilled it. It is more about attaining a personal goal in spite of the opposition they faced than it is about a genuine calling.

Honestly, I don't really think that it makes a difference to God about who carries the elements of the Lord's Supper to the congregation. But I do think he cares very much about who delivers a prophetic word and oversees the work of his church. He created male and female and he knows exactly what it needed to effectively minister the word and lead his church. It is not up to our personal observation or experience to change that.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed May 02, 2012 9:39 pm

Sandy, I can only relate to what you said about women who were seeking to fulfill a lifelong ambition by seeking the pastorate by relating my own experiences with three women in ministry, two Baptist and one United Methodist. In two of the three cases, the women who are all now pastors or former pastors stated that they felt they were under a direct divine call for the ministry. One was happily ensconed in a counseling profession, another was a Christian educator, and one was working for the state park service. None of them had women ministers directly in their background, in fact one came from a Catholic background. I assume, from what you said, that you would tell them they did not understand God. Is that what I am reading in your responses?
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Gene Scarborough » Thu May 03, 2012 5:53 am

Sandy---have you ever walked in the shoes of women?

Most churches you describe expect them to do most of the work and keep their mouths shut. They refuse to acknowledge the strong influence they exercise over their husbands who can make "official decisions." That is forcing women to hide themselves in the bushes of church work.

In Jewish culture from which our Bible comes, they were the man's property with no rights. Other surrounding cultures like Egypt allowed women the same legal rights as men = own property, inherit, have temples led by women, etc.

This country had a great turmoil over giving women the right to vote. It has been a blessing. Women went to work during WWII and we found out we had a whole segment of American very capable of producing goods. In some cases of delicate work, women did a better job than men. Now, with joysticks flying aircraft, they are better adapted to fine maneuvers of planes than men.

Until you see the values of your wife and daughters, you will never walk in their shoes and feel the discrimination you are enjoying in your view of how they fit in with the church. :)
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Lamar Wadsworth » Thu May 03, 2012 7:03 am

Sandy, I agree that it doesn't matter to God who serves the bread and the cup to the congregation--but it matters to some of the churches I've dealt with, and in most of the SBC churches I've known that role has been reserved for ordained men. That is pure tradition without any basis in scripture. Scripture speaks to the issue of who should partake of the bread and the cup but says nothing about who should serve it, leaving me to conclude that anyone qualified to partake is qualified to serve. The little girl baptized last Sunday is as well qualified as any of us to serve the bread and the cup.

As for women's roles being limited simply because they are women, I have experienced that. When my mother died in 2008, we were not allowed to have her funeral at Second Baptist Church in Rockmart GA where she was an active member for 52 years because we had asked two women to read scripture at the service--not preach or teach (though I see no problem with that), just read scripture. Both of the women are exemplary Christians, both were forbidden to read scripture simply because they are women. Our church, Heritage Baptist Church in Cartersville GA, honored Mother like one of its own and gave her the homegoing she deserved, with Elizabeth Kinnebrew and Wanda Key reading scripture.

Sandy, as for female pastors having a strong testimony of divine calling, all I can say is that you must not know the ones that I have known. Most of the female pastors I have known personally have had a very compelling testimony of being called by God. I've heard more than one say that she could not have survived in ministry without that.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Haruo » Thu May 03, 2012 8:14 am

And many, including our own pastor Judy Gay, began their careers with a bias against female pastors themselves, but were called out by God in contravention of their own prior beliefs and wishes.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu May 03, 2012 11:09 am

Haruo wrote:And many, including our own pastor Judy Gay, began their careers with a bias against female pastors themselves, but were called out by God in contravention of their own prior beliefs and wishes.


Here is the story of one woman's call to ministry and the Pastorate

Ed: Quite true Haruo. When Trudy started seminary she had NO intention of becoming a pastor she was going for an M.Div in Higher education as preparation for Doctoral studies in Hebrew, so that she could teach in a Religious studies program in a state university similar to the on at the University of South Florida where she had graduated Summa Cum Laude. She wouldn't even talk about the possibility of teaching in a seminary because she did not believe women should be teaching ministerial students. A few pastors and Professors told he that "they " will never let you get an M. Div. at SBTS simply because you are female.
Although I thought those gentlemen where overreacting some what to the SBC takeover Id id not think that SBTS was the best place for her but she said "SBTS Is where God has called me to go. So in Late may of 1995, I parked a U-Haul outside of our apartment in Tampa and we loaded all our worldly possessions, put Chevy on a dolly, and headed for Louisvile.

Over the next three years she not only got her M.Div she became president of the student Ministerial association, with Al's blessing. Also she won the Borchart award as the middle year year student demonstrating the highest proficiency in Biblical languages. When she Graduated with highest honors in 1998 we went to Cincinnati and she entered the Doctoral program at the (HUC-JIR) Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion. She became the Christian Student liaison with the Rabbinical students in the student government.

That fall I learned that the the North Central region of CBF was having its fall meeting in Bloomington Indiana (Home pf Indiana University). So we decided to attend, rather than take the shortest way via two lane st roads though Indiana I took the interstate to Indianapolis and then an older mostly 4 lane H'way to Bloomington. it was not till we where heading south out of Indy that I mentioned that the University Baptist Church where the meeting was being held was pastored by a woman, Trudy's response was then you won't mind if I stay at the motel will you. I said I would rather you attend the meeting but it is you choice and I think you would like to meet Carolyn Wetherford Crumpler (we had heard a lot of positive talk about CWC when we attended Seminole Heights in Tampa where Carolyn had been a member years before. With out another word about the meeting, when we got to the Motel and after watching some TV we both got ready and headed for the meeting at Bloomington's UBC. Trudy survived the experience and was impressed with Annette Briggs.
Some here may know the story about how the SBC Convention of Indiana dropped UBC when the elevated Annette to pastor form Min of Ed.

In the Cincinnati area we could not find an SBC church within reasonable commuting distance which was not anti CBF and we already had experienced 5 SBC /CBF churches in Florida and Kentucky with which we had each been quite content. We ended up at Lakeview Baptist an ABC-USA body on the far east side of the City but just over a mile from the triplex we had bought. Trudy became very involved with the teaching ministry there especially with children and their parents. Her first book which is near publication is dedicated to those parents and their children. After being at that point in School as a non traditional student year round for 8 years, she made a decision over my objection to Leave the doctoral studies at HUC-JIR. Immediately our pastor began grooming her for a new minister of education position he wanted to install but did not yet have a budget for. After a few moths the two of them where at a ministers meeting when a pastor from the other side of the metroplex learned that she was working for nothing and in a few days called and offered her the Minister of education position at his large Church in an upscale suburb. It was a great job but the pastor turned out to be quite authoritarian. Trudy had made it very clear that she had no interest in preaching but after a few months when it came his turn to preach at the"Back of the track" to the mostly Spanish speaking horse handles he called her in and handed the assignment off to her. When she protested he simply said you do like this job do you not and she said I have until now. I told you when we interviewed that I do not preach. He said Ok, consider it teaching. She took the assignment then and again about a month latter still protesting. And two weeks latter he walked into her office and said I have accepted a leadership opportunity at a Bible conference out of state and will be away the Sunday after next and I have scheduled you to preach both services. To clam her down when she told me about it I said lets go by you a new preaching suit you need something more dressy than any thing you have. She ended up with a Pin Striped Bakers Grey suit with both a skirt and slacks. In the day she preached her first church sermon she wore the skirt for the traditional service and Changed into the slacks for the contemporary service. She had stewed for two weeks but after the first service I knew she was hooked. That afternoon she said Ed I think I have to reexamine my opposition to women in the pastorate. Shortly after she resigned that position and we went back to Lakeview as members and she made application to the ABC-USA interim Ministry program as something of casting a fleece. In June of this year Burnt Hills Baptist Church and the Capital Area Baptist Association and ABC-NYS will be celebrating her first 10 years of Ordination.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Sandy » Thu May 03, 2012 12:47 pm

Well, personal experience certainly figures into perspective on this matter. I've never been part of a church where women were forbidden to read the scripture, or couldn't stand behind a pulpit, or didn't get asked to pass the offering plate, or teach a class. My mom served as a church hostess for thirty years. In addition to being responsible for literally hundreds of dinners, pot lucks and fellowships over that stretch of time, she was also the face of the congregation to people who came to inquire about using the building for weddings, and also served as the funeral coordinator. She was fulfilling a calling, though some people would say that's not important work. It was certainly not something a man could do with the woman's touch that my mom brought to it. She'd never have considered teaching a class, much less being in the pulpit, or even singing in the choir.

I've known dozens of women who served alongside their husbands, and under his authority, who were fulfilled and happy in their calling. Most of them had no ambition to take their husband's place, or be his "equal" in another ministry position. They were women who knew the scripture, accepted what it said about their role in the church, and set out with firm determination to fulfill it.

Perhaps, because of geography, I've never actually lived in a place where the Southern Baptist churches interpreted I Corinthians 14:34-35 to mean that women can't do anything. The context of the passage has to do with church authority, not ministry. I can't think of an SBC church to which I've belonged in my lifetime in which the women were not respectful of the authority of those called to leadership. I also can't think of one in which women were not doing a significant portion of the ministry, all in a way that honors the scripture's order of authority in the church, with men serving in the leadership role of Pastor/Bishop/Overseer. Even at that, I acknowledge that Baptist churches are independent and autonomous, and if a church determines that women shouldn't read scripture, speak in public or show any sign of leadership, they can do so if they choose. People are free to be part of whatever body of Christ they want to join.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Gene Scarborough » Thu May 03, 2012 1:33 pm

Thanks, Ed, for the wonderful testimony about a woman being called---despite her objections! :)
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu May 03, 2012 1:51 pm

Sandy, you have not seen the extemes. I had friends who served for several years as IMB missionaries. When they returned home and were invited to speak in one church near where I was pastoring at the time. They had been invited to speak about their experiences. When the wife walked up to the pulpit alongside her husband, the pastor came up and led her off the platform and told her that he could not allow her to corrupt his pulpit by bringing female genes onto the platform of the church. The pastor then got her a microphone and "allowed" her to contribute from a spot standing on the floor below her husband showing she was in proper submission. They shared that similar things had happened to other IMB personnel, several of whom had been greatly embarassed. Additionally, I know other pastors who have forced women out of teaching coed Sunday School classes, and even one who would not allow a woman to teach boys over the age of 5. Those were both in SBC churches of more than 500 members, so this was not on the daffy fringe.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Gene Scarborough » Thu May 03, 2012 2:02 pm

This kind of :horse: literally makes me want to :blech:

Thanks for sharing the tip of the SBC iceberg on discrimination under BF&M 2000 distortions of thinking, Dave. :(
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu May 03, 2012 3:13 pm

Gene Scarborough wrote:This kind of :horse: literally makes me want to :blech:

Thanks for sharing the tip of the SBC iceberg on discrimination under BF&M 2000 distortions of thinking, Dave. :(


Gene, I'm afraid those incidents took place in the 1990's before the BFM2K.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Lamar Wadsworth » Thu May 03, 2012 4:46 pm

Sandy wrote:Perhaps, because of geography, I've never actually lived in a place where the Southern Baptist churches interpreted I Corinthians 14:34-35 to mean that women can't do anything. The context of the passage has to do with church authority, not ministry. I can't think of an SBC church to which I've belonged in my lifetime in which the women were not respectful of the authority of those called to leadership. I also can't think of one in which women were not doing a significant portion of the ministry, all in a way that honors the scripture's order of authority in the church, with men serving in the leadership role of Pastor/Bishop/Overseer. Even at that, I acknowledge that Baptist churches are independent and autonomous, and if a church determines that women shouldn't read scripture, speak in public or show any sign of leadership, they can do so if they choose. People are free to be part of whatever body of Christ they want to join.


Actually, taken in context, I Corinthians 14:34-35 is not Paul's position but a position that he is refuting. From I Cor. 7:1 onward to the greetings at the end, Paul is responding to a letter or letters he received from Corinth. I Cor. 14:34-35 cannot be Paul's position for several reasons--First, it contradicts Paul's teaching in chapter 11 where he permits women to pray and prophesy. Second, it appeals to "the law" as the basis for the prohibition. Nowhere else does Paul make the law normative for the Christian church. Third, any good Bible student should ask "Where does the law say that?" Nowhere in the Torah will you find anything close to this. The law being asserted is Rabbinical law--what Jesus called the tradition of the elders. Clearly, this is not Paul's position. He quotes their position in v. 34-35 in order to blow it away in v. 36-40--how can anybody miss the dripping sarcasm of the two rhetorical questions, "Was it from you that the word of God first came forth? Has it come to you only?" (i.e. "Who do you guys down there in Corinth think you are? Do you have some special revelation that I've missed?")
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Gene Scarborough » Thu May 03, 2012 4:56 pm

Dave---

I am not surprised since the basis of BF&M 2000 was laid down since the 1979 changes in the SBC.

No matter what----it is a shame an disgrace! :brick:
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Sandy » Fri May 04, 2012 8:02 am

Gene Scarborough wrote:Dave---

I am not surprised since the basis of BF&M 2000 was laid down since the 1979 changes in the SBC.

No matter what----it is a shame an disgrace! :brick:


Prohibitions on women in certain ministry positions in church are not unique to Southern Baptists, nor is the post-1979 SBC the only place where they've been restricted. Southern culture apparently had as much to do with the place and role of women in the church as the interpretation of scripture. My parents were originally from West Virginia, not particularly "Southern," And BTW, the BFM 2000 does not restrict the role of women in the church to anything except holding the position of head elder, "episkopos," Overseer, Bishop, Pastor. It says nothing about any other position in the church.

I think the context of I Timothy 3:11, regarding the use of the generic Greek word for either "women" or "wives," both of which are legitimate translations, does indeed mean "wives," since a marriage is a partnership, two people becoming "one flesh," and a husband who was called to serve as a deacon wouldn't be serving alone. His wife, and her fitness for service, would be an intimate and essential part of his qualification, obviously you would not choose a man to serve as a deacon if his wife were not capable or qualified to serve, hence, "likewise." I've known dozens of women who, like my mother, served with their husbands as a single, unified ministry, and were never put down or restricted by the Southern Baptist church to which they belonged. In fact, in the last SBC church I served in Houston, we had several families among our church leadership who had joined our church from another denomination (one Methodist, one Disciples of Christ, and two ELCA) in part because they felt that the only roles available for women in those churches were not consistent with their calling, or with their conviction regarding what women were equipped to do.

It seems like most of the churches and associations that are held up as the more extreme examples of SBC "oppression" of women are in the deep South. I'm beginning to think that living and serving as a Southern Baptist outside of Dixieland might have been more of a blessing than I thought it was... :wink:
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri May 04, 2012 8:29 am

Sandy: It seems like most of the churches and associations that are held up as the more extreme examples of SBC "oppression" of women are in the deep South. I'm beginning to think that living and serving as a Southern Baptist outside of Dixieland might have been more of a blessing than I thought it was... :wink:

Ed: Sandy obviously you missed my comments about about the SBTS Van ministies into Indiana and Michigan. Many of the SBC churches in those two so called "pioneer" mission areas are every bit as restrictive of women if not more so than any thing I ever saw in the south. Why do you think the SBC has met in Indianapolis three times in the past 3 decades.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri May 04, 2012 9:48 am

In 1967, I served in Student Summer Missions in the Utah/Idaho convention. Some of us got in trouble for letting the women on our team read scripture and give testimonies from the pulpits of a couple of churches. The leaders out there were all former Texans. In other congregations, it was a non-issue.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Sandy » Fri May 04, 2012 2:30 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: Sandy obviously you missed my comments about about the SBTS Van ministies into Indiana and Michigan. Many of the SBC churches in those two so called "pioneer" mission areas are every bit as restrictive of women if not more so than any thing I ever saw in the south. Why do you think the SBC has met in Indianapolis three times in the past 3 decades.


Lots of Southern Baptists in Indiana and Michigan are southerners who migrated north.

I served in Texas, but the Houston area, where I spent most of the time, is not "Southern" in its culture, and though many of the SBC churches there do have members who are from the more rural areas of Texas, that is not the prevailing influence. And the other part of the state where I lived and worked, the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex, is much the same in that regard.

The SBC has met in Indianapolis three times in the past 3 decades because during the peak of the conservative resurgence, when convention meetings were drawing in excess of 20,000 messengers, the committee that makes those arrangements made a policy regarding the size of convention facilities available, and number of hotel rooms available. A lot of the old standard meeting places in the mid-south, like Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, didn't have the facilities. Indianapolis has convention facilities to accommodate the larger crowds, plenty of hotel space, and it's close to states like Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, which have large Southern Baptist memberships. I also happen to know that Indianapolis is a popular choice because the weather is nice in June, rather than sweltering hot, and the city offers some incentives to get the convention there, like an extremely low rate for the use of the facilities, and the hotel rates there are phenomenally low in June. Last time I was there for a convention, which was the last time it met in Indy, I paid less than $200 total for three nights in the hotel connected to the convention hall via walkway. I've known a couple of members of that committee over the past few years, and, in spite of rhetoric to the contrary, I know that cost of facility overrides all other reasons for a convention location.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Gene Scarborough » Fri May 04, 2012 3:25 pm

I'm just glad I don't have to worry with this crap anymore since the SBC has left me and the CBF is finding more important things to consider :lol:
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri May 04, 2012 10:42 pm

I wonder how many SBC churches in the north are made up of transplanted southerners and how many have significant northern membership? The reason I wonder is you'd think a church with membership out of its local culture would have trouble getting new members.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Sandy » Sat May 05, 2012 8:53 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:I wonder how many SBC churches in the north are made up of transplanted southerners and how many have significant northern membership? The reason I wonder is you'd think a church with membership out of its local culture would have trouble getting new members.


That would be an interesting research project for someone to take on at some point. I'm surprised that Lifeway hasn't done something along those lines yet.

In my home state of Arizona, most of the SBC churches that were started up through about 1960 were mainly the work of transplanted Southerners. However, as time has passed, more and more of the church members, along with the new church plants, are more representative of the local populations, many of whom are transplants from California, and the upper Midwest.

Most of the SBC churches in the Pittsburgh area are ethnic congregations. Among those that aren't, there are several former ABC-USA congregations that have been around for a while. The one we visited when we first moved to the area didn't have any Southern transplants in it.

On the other hand, two of the churches I was associated with in Texas were made up mostly of "Northern" transplants, in one case probably 80% of the congregation.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Gene Scarborough » Sun May 06, 2012 5:41 am

If a church becomes a "glorified social club" it is in trouble :)
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun May 06, 2012 8:13 am

Sandy wrote:On the other hand, two of the churches I was associated with in Texas were made up mostly of "Northern" transplants, in one case probably 80% of the congregation.


That is a phenomenon I'd not have thought of. Given that there are less Southern Baptists in the northern states (all depending on how far north you mean since most all of the US is north of Texas) I'd not have expected northerners to congregate at an SBC church in Texas. In this neck of the woods the top three denominations are RCC, ELCA, and UMC. Baptists are kind of scarce around here and Southern Baptists fairly rare.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Gene Scarborough » Sun May 06, 2012 11:05 am

That sounds like a "mighty good" place to be without the prejudices most southerners bring!

I hasten to say that the Irish hate / oriental / mexican is in other places where we tend to pick on black folks down south :)

Prejudice and hate seems to know no bounds---and that is sad :?
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun May 06, 2012 11:38 am

There certainly prejudice everywhere Gene! I wasn't trying to critique southern culture. I grew up with a fair amount of it with much of my family being from southern Missouri and in SBC churches. But it doesn't necessarily play well in the north. While we are in one denomination in the UMC, even some things are different in culture between northern and southern Methodists.
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Re: A Woman in a SBC Church Pulpit Draws Interest

Postby Gene Scarborough » Sun May 06, 2012 1:43 pm

The biggest problem in America and in religion is making room for diversity :)
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