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A Tale of Two Meetings

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I was going to start with something light – perhaps an exposé of our deaconess duties being merely busy work for church ladies.  But that will have to wait.  Something has transpired that forces me to jump right in to the deep end.

Two weeks ago I met with a middle-aged, non-denominational woman who heads up a ministry to street women.  I invited her and her team, along with several of the women to whom they minister, to a fabulous all-expense-paid retreat.  The meeting was a delight.

The other day I met with a young Baptist woman who also heads up an outreach to street women.  The purpose of the meeting was to invite her and her team of volunteers to the same all-expense-paid retreat.  The meeting, I am sorry to say, was a disaster.

I had not met either of the women prior to my coffee dates with them.  What made one a delight and the other a disaster?  Being Baptist.

The older, non-Baptist woman brought her granddaughter – a precocious and confident five-year-old – to our meeting.

The young Baptist brought the vice president of her board – a sour-faced gentleman probably in his sixties or seventies.

When I explained the purpose of the retreat and extended the invitation to the older woman she said, “I don’t know how to respond without crying.”  She then started to tell me about the women she would invite and ended by saying, once again, that the invitation was an answer to prayer.  She was eager for the women of her ministry to hear what God had laid on my heart to share with them.  I left that meeting with a jubilant spirit.  I had met a new friend and I could hardly wait to get to know her.

When I explained the purpose of the retreat to the young Baptist, she expressed gratitude over the invitation for a time of refreshment but said she would need to see a written copy of the teaching I planned to share before giving me a final answer.  She had to protect the grown women on her team from possible heresy after all.  Because Baptist women apparently have no discernment of their own. That’s when I became nauseous.  I was cordial to the young Baptist but I left that meeting offended and a little ticked.  I composed a snarly but amusing mental tweet under the hashtag #ihatemychurch.

Fortunately, after it was all said and done, the dates didn’t work for the young Baptist and her team.  They had a fundraising event planned for the weekend of the retreat.  Thank you Lord.

I invited them because I wanted to hear what they had to say;  I wanted to give them the opportunity to hear what women who had escaped life on the streets had to say; and I wanted to give them the opportunity to hear what God has to say.  God, however, knew better and He spared me a bundle of wasted money.

Here’s what He told me that night as I was doing the dinner dishes:

1. Young Baptist women do not have a voice.

2. The sour-faced henchman was there to make sure it stays that way.

I could expound a whole lot on #2.  In fact, I have.  I’ll let you know when the book comes out.

With the non-denominational woman there was freedom.  Freedom to let women speak their minds, share their experiences, learn from one another and hear a fresh word from God.  With the Baptist woman there was oppression.  Palpable oppression.  She couldn’t even meet with me without a man there to supervise.  And that is when I knew I had to start my blog with this post, and with this question:  Should Baptists be rescuing women from the sex industry?  From human trafficking?  Will those women escape one form of bondage only to find themselves in a bondage that is far more insidious.  One that disguises itself as holy?

Shudder to think.

We’ve got a lot to talk about.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Meetings

  1. Pingback: Working Like a Maniac | The Reluctant Baptist

  2. Interesting. I (female) was raised Southern Baptist in the 50’s. My father was a pastor – extremely authoritarian – and my mother was a farmer’s daughter and extremely egalitarian. (Yes, a match made in hell. Ah, I survived, if the marriage didn’t.)

    I know the portion of the Bible where men hear that they get to be the boss, but even my father knew better and explained it differently. Yes, those two raised an opinionated, independent woman. (I sound proud, but more – I just know myself.)

    I only recently have come to realize people still believe that nonsense. I recently worked at a jail and was saddened to see the types of “religion” that was foisted on the inmates. Jail is an excellent God-moment! But, taking advantage by putting the Old Testament God in their hands rather than the New Testament Salvation is simply cruel. They leave jail thinking they will obey every letter of the law – and consider themselves hopeless sinners when they discover they are still human. (Go figure. In a nutshell, that’s why I’m not still Baptist. It wasn’t preached like that – but the judgmental comments were not missed on a young, impressionable child.) And – the folks who volunteer are almost always some old buzzard or biddy with a formerly messed up life who is now too old to sin that way and they want to credit God for their finally learning to control their now-diminished appetites.

    I find it amazing that a church would STILL be this foolish – but – I find it DANGEROUS that they are the ones with the energy to go to the lost and injured.

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    • First, God bless your father.

      Second, I have yet to find a church that perfectly balances the Old Testament with the New. Some focus too much on God’s holiness and miss the beauty of His mercy, others focus too much on His grace and miss out on an appreciation of just how holy and awe-inspiring He is.

      I see the cross as the perfect intersection of the two, with holiness as the vertical beam and compassion as the horizontal beam.

      Without the beam of holiness, there is no need for compassion. Without the beam of compassion there is nothing upon which to stretch out Jesus’ loving, sacrificial arms.

      Without the OT, you cannot fully appreciate the Good News. That is why I love to study both.

      A Bible teacher once said, “The Old Testament is like a mirror, it shows you the condition of your dirty face while the Good News has the power to cleanse.”

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  3. Pingback: I’m Cheap, But I’m Not Easy | Light & life

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