First of all, to anyone who reads this and is not a believer, I’m apologizing for the behavior of the “Men” currently sitting in the SBC Executive Meeting. What’s happening is NOT of the Lord and I can’t believe on any level the Lord is happy with current events and decisions being made. Once upon a time I was proud to call myself Southern Baptist and now I feel like I need to apologize to those outside the convention as well as the women and girls inside the convention.
On Monday nights I am sitting in a group for those of us with a history of SA. Some women experienced the SA at the hands of church staff. Others of us did not, but the religious trauma is a shared experience. Many of us grew up in fundamental, conservative, evangelical churches. Y’all, the feelings rising to the surface are a little scary. This group is not for the faint of heart. It is not one you walk away from feeling all warm and fuzzy. It is real and more raw than even I could have ever have imagined. Processing all the things is not going to be quick or easy. There is major work ahead.
The last two group sessions I have walked away just plain pissed off. I have noticed the little things that I don’t typically think twice about are getting to me. I’m struggling to stay focused. My emotions are all over the place. I’m also noticing, especially after last night, I am honestly angry. I don’t even know how to channel this anger, or what to do with it. I did meet with my therapist today and she assures me this anger is healing moving forward. Not sure I like it, or agree, but I am going to keep on trusting her. Semi-joking and semi-not joking, I asked to give her my “box” of emotions. I asked her to “clean them up, make them pretty, happy, and then return them to me with a nice margarita.” She found it funny, but reminded me that’s not how this process works. I’m the one who has to do the actual emotional work. Nope, not a fan. I give it zero stars.
I’ve been on the struggle bus with church, especially the SBC for quite a while now. If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know I’m walking a season of deconstruction. I realize so much of what I was taught growing up is honestly, dangerous, especially for women and girls. SA has been identified as a major issue, but the “leadership” is only giving it lip service. They turned to Guidepost, but don’t seem to have any real intention of following through with the recommendations. Women and girls are no longer really safe inside the doors of their churches because the “leadership” of the SBC would rather keep the “Good Ole Boy” system in place, rather than offer up consequences to their buddies, even with enough proof to have the perps thrown in jail. Yes, I put Patterson, Hunt, and Chandler in that category.
“Men” like William Wolfe have taken to social media to say “White women are the enemy of the church.” Yes, this is a white “man” disparaging WHITE women, the only race he seems to deem worthy of salvation. I guess, really, he only thinks white “men” have a place in eternity. I’m too afraid to go down the rabbit hole of his distorted, misogynistic, racist beliefs. I’d recommend reading his crap, but I don’t want anyone else traumatized by his BS. (I feel honored that I’ve been denied access to his account and can only see what someone else screenshots and shares). Under his above statement is a picture of Beth Moore! Really? Beth Moore, a godly, called, equipped woman is a “Threat?” She has more knowledge of Greek and Hebrew than most men I know. He also has a low view of women like Dr. Beth Allison Barr and Kristen Du Mez. These are women I look up to and respect. They have kept me from jumping off the proverbial cliff. They have reminded me I and other women have actual worth to the Lord. I had no clue white women were capable of destroying the work of The Lord, until I read his word. We are apparently paving the way to hell. I never knew The Lord was so weak? This “man” is also a Christian Nationalist and makes no attempt to hide this fact. It’s horrifying that people like him are allowed to have a voice in what’s happening in our churches. The last statement could be a whole other post in and of itself.
As I alluded to at the beginning of this post, the SBC Executive Committee meeting is currently in progress. To hear FOUR churches are being banished/ disfellowshipped from the convention because they *gasp* have dared to ordain and/ or call WOMEN!!!! The horrors!. Some people have developed a major case of the vapors over this one and just don’t have the mental or emotional capacity to handle it. One of these churches is SADDLE BACK out in CA. Y’all, is there really a church that didn’t do “Purpose Driven Life” at some point? Saddle Back led the way and many churches followed, even if it wasn’t the best fit, on several fronts. Rick Warren was one of the most sought after preachers for a couple of decades. The SBC is now ready to banish and exile him?
While I don’t have facts to back up my opinion, I do feel the Warrens’ son taking his life was the start of the end for that church and our convention. NO, I do NOT agree with that stance. The convention SHOULD have come around his family. Given the SBC does NOT have a high view of people who struggle with their mental health, nor mental health professionals, I can’t say I’m shocked. Appalled, but not shocked. That was strike one. Strike two was the decision to commit the “Sin” of ordaining an actual woman. Then, strike three was, horror of all horrors to call a FEMALE PASTOR? Can you believe it? They actually took the time to call a fully equipped, CALLED, woman of God to PREACH!!! They allowed a WOMAN to be a PASTOR! How will the men learn under the leadership of a female? How will women learn “their place,” if a woman is actually in the pulpit? Oh my goodness! Get out the smellin’ salts y’all. They’ve gone and done it now.
I know I’m attempting to add humor to this, but honestly, I am PISSED!!! I know they are only one of four being given the boot over these issues. The thing that really makes the bile rise and the blood boil is that there are churches with KNOWN perpetrators and NOTHING is being done! When it comes to sexual predators in the pulpit, the convention is choosing to state the convention holds NO power to do anything. So, here’s the sad, pathetic reality: A church decides to ordain and/ or call a female, the convention will go to their MAN MADE book of the “Baptist Faith and Message 2000” and declare that church is to be disfellowshipped. However, when a perp is knowingly allowed to continue in any leadership role within the church, the SBC immediately states they have NO power to do anything. Yep, the SBC cherry picks what and where they can or WON’T assert power. This means the Good Ole Boy System stays securely in place.
Here’s how it all boils down… If you are a “manly, grizzly man” who loves power and control you are welcome to belong. As a woman, if you are willing to be the “quiet, subservient, arm piece of a house wife” and teach your daughters to follow suit, you my also belong. Any woman, who dares to be independent, or be called and equipped in any way shape, or form, please take your leave now. We are NOT welcome. There is no desire to hold men accountable. Any of their failures apparently lay squarely on the shoulders of the women in their lives. “Men” claim we have no power until a failure happens, and then women have all the “power.”
It has been said by numerous “men” and “leaders” in the SBC that if women (and girls) didn’t dress a certain way, act in a certain manner, or go to certain places rape/ SA wouldn’t happen. They are turning a blind eye to what is happening in some churches. They are also turning a bling eye to women like me. I was in MY home, in MY room, and in MY bed, wearing a LONG nightgown (the first time), so please tell me how we were in places that SHOULD have been safe, but became hell on earth? Did I mention I was in middle school? Please tell me how ordaining and/ or calling women is far worse than rape/ SA? Common sense has long left the “room.” The focus is on the WRONG thing. I guess as long as your buddy can continue to fill the pulpit, it’s fine. The safety of women and girls are nowhere on the radar. Shockingly, people are leaving the SBC in droves, but no one seems to understand why?
YES, I believe The Lord can call a WOMAN to the pulpit. YES, I believe WOMEN are just as capable of leading a church as a man. YES, I believe rape/ SA are far worse than women in leadership YES, I hope and pray that some day the SBC will release a list of perps that is NOT redacted in any way and will finally disqualify those on the list from ministry. YES, I hope and pray the safety of women and children will one day be more important than protecting the reputation of perps and the Good Ole Boy system. If those things don’t happen, the SBC will eventually implode and it will be the fault of the so called “leaders.”
*The SBC does not excommunicate people or churches. There is a vote to withdraw membership and then disfellowship that person, or in this case, church.
*I know there are boys who have been assaulted/ victimized as well. Not going to pretend otherwise.