Before I went to seminary, I naively thought the Christian world would band together in praise of the people I admired. In the South Carolina Southern Baptist world of my youth, we cherished people like Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, Henry Blackaby, Kay Arthur, and then up and coming Beth Moore. My mother did just about all of Moore's workbook Bible studies and taught many of them to other women.
What a shock to me in seminary when I began learning how much learned men and women love to criticize other people in the body of Christ who don't interpret the Bible or practice Christianity according to their "brand, interpretation, or tradition." Through the years, I have heard numerous reasons why all of the five aforementioned are bad representatives of Christianity and why I should not pay them any attention - and all of this from other Christians.
Few matters disturbed me through the years as much as how often Christians jump onto their own soapboxes and shoot darts at their own.
The well known evangelical Bible teacher recently shared A Letter to My Brothers on her blog. In it, according to The Washington Post, "she recounts decades of being demeaned, dismissed, ignored and patronized by colleagues."
I stand with Beth Moore and other sisters in Christ on this one . . .
"Dear Brothers in Christ,
A few years ago I told my friend, Ed Stetzer, that, whenever he hears the news that I’m on my deathbed, he’s to elbow his way through my family members to interview me about what it’s been like to be a female leader in the conservative Evangelical world. He responded, 'Why can’t we do it before then?'
'Because you know good and well what will happen,' I answered. 'I’ll get fried like a chicken.' After recent events following on the heels of a harrowing eighteen months, I’ve decided fried chicken doesn’t sound so bad.
I have been a professing Evangelical for decades and, at least in my sliver of that world, a conservative one. I was a cradle role Southern Baptist by denomination with an interdenominational ministry. I walked the aisle to receive Christ as my Savior at 9 years old in an SBC church and exactly nine years later walked the aisle in another SBC church to surrender to a vocational calling. Being a woman called to leadership within and simultaneously beyond those walls was complicated to say the least but I worked within the system. After all, I had no personal aspirations to preach nor was it my aim to teach men. If men showed up in my class, I did not throw them out. I taught. But my unwavering passion was to teach and to serve women."
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