Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being A Christian Woman In A Feminist World

I read this really awesome post by Andrea Lucado about being a Christian in a feminist world. It's the second of a two parter. I recommend you read the whole thing, but I wanted to share an excerpt from this part :

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Mary. As in Mary-and-Martha Mary. 
When Jesus went to Mary and Martha’s house and Martha was all frantic and nervous about dinner getting on the table and the candles being lit just right, or the oil lamp, or whatever, Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet, literally. Like he was her teacher, and students were only male then, mind you. She was sitting by his feet, listening to him while chaos was occurring in the next room. Then Jesus said, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). The best reward. 
And she was a woman. She was not praised for her work, for her social status or ability to rise above female oppression and be highlighted in the most important literary work of all time. 
What was she praised for? Her ability to be oblivious to all but Jesus.
Seeing as how Mary has exemplified the Christian life ever since she appeared in the gospels, I think that’s what being a Christian in the midst of feminist society is supposed to look like: to be so obsessed with Jesus, we just don’t care about much else. And to be so steady at his feet that we find ourselves able to love as he did. Love ourselves, love our gender, and love men, even the ones we think should value us a little more.
 How beautiful! Read the whole thing here!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kentucky Church Overturns Racist Ban

I got a lot of heated comments about the racist and sinful ban on interracial couples by a Kentucky church. Well, good news: the ban has been overturned. But is it too little, too late? From WYMT:

"Controversy about a freewill baptist church's decision not to condone interracial marriage in Pike County has caught national attention.

The Sandy Valley Conference includes more than a dozen member churches, and they voted Saturday in Bowling Fork to reinforce rules to help the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church.

The Sandy Valley Conference's meeting was closed to the public.

The meeting was scheduled before the controversy erupted at Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, but it was still a hot topic on the agenda.

"I don't believe it's right. People should be able to worship. I don't care what color their skin is," said Mr. Bowling, who lives in Bowling Fork and attends the church that the meeting was held in.

"We believe that everyone is welcome in the house of God, and we are not a racist group of people," said Bobby Mullins, the pastor at Martin County Freewill Baptist Church.

A vote conducted by Pastor Stacy Stepp banned interracial couples membership at his church.

Members of the Sandy Valley Conference say that Pastor Stacy Stepp asked for their assistance.

Conference members say Pastor Stepp's vote was not in proper order.

"No motion is in order that conflicts with the laws of the nation or state or with the assembly's constitution of by laws. And if such motion is adopted, even by an unanimous vote, it is null and void," said Jim Patton, the pastor at Pikeville Freewill Baptist Church and a member of the Sandy Valley Conference.

Pastor Stepp plans on bringing his church together to vote on the matter one last time.

But members of the conference say racism of any form is unacceptable and another vote will not change their decision.

"It's done. It's over. It's against our rules," said Patton.

The interracial couple in question is Stella Harville and her fiance from Zimbabwe.

The Harville family says they have no hard feelings.

"My daughter is doing good on this. She's moving forward. It's time to get it behind us. She's doing okay," said Dean Harville, who is Stella's father and a member of Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church.

The Harvilles say they are ready for their church to get back to normal by allowing all people of all races to attend.

Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church's final vote on interracial marriage is set for Sunday following the church's morning service."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interracial Couple Banned From Kentucky Church

This story is almost unbelievable to me. And very sad. From HuffPo:

In a move to "promote greater unity" among its body and the Pike County community it serves, a small Kentucky church voted to ban interracial couples from membership and from participating in certain worship activities, reports.

Though reminiscent of some Jim Crow-era mandate, the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church actually made the decision earlier this month, following a visit from 24-year-old Stella Harville, daughter of the church's secretary and clerk, and her 29-year-old fiance, Ticha Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe.

According to Harville's father, Dean Harville, Stella brought Chikuni to the church in June where they performed a song for the congregation.
Following the visit, former pastor Melvin Thompson told Harville that his daughter and her fiance could not sing at the church again. Thompson later proposed that the church go on record saying that while all people were welcome to attend public worship services there, the church did not condone interracial marriage.

His proposal, which was accepted by a 9-6 vote last week, also suggested that married interracial couples be prohibited from becoming members and used in worship activities, except for funerals.

"It's not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form," said Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, according to
While Pike County and the surrounding community come to grips with the church's decision, researchers at Ohio State University and Cornell University say black-white marriages in the United States are soaring, increasing threefold, from 3 percent in 1980 to 10.7 percent in 2008.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Eddie Long Update

Things have gotten pretty bad for embattled Bishop Eddie Long. While his marriage is collapsing, his ministry is being put on hold. From the Atlanta Constitution Journal:

The reconciliation of Vanessa and Eddie Long didn't make it through the day, as the wife of the charismatic New Birth Missionary Baptist pastor has decided against withdrawing her petition for divorce filed late Thursday afternoon.

"Mrs. Long continues to hope that this matter may be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly; however, she has determined that dismissal of her divorce petition is not appropriate at this time," Kilpatrick Townsend partner Michael W. Tyler said in a prepared statement.

"To avoid any undue confusion, Mrs. Long's future statements, if any, will be issued through her attorneys," he said. A spokesman for Kilpatrick Townsend refused further comment.

Three statements regarding the divorce were sent to media outlets Friday. In the first, Vanessa Long announced she was seeking to end her 21-year-marriage following "a great deal of deliberation and prayer."
Then, around lunchtime, in a statement sent through New Birth's public relations firm, Vanessa Long was quoted as saying, upon further "prayerful reflection," she was withdrawing the divorce petition.

"I love my husband," she was quoted in the second press release. "I believe in him and admire his strength and courage."
Long, a New Birth elder, said her decision to seek a divorce was driven by "years of attacks in the media that frustrated and overwhelmed me." She and her husband "mutually agreed to find healing," Vanessa Long is quoted in the release.
Six hours later, her attorneys announced she was proceeding with the divorce "consistent with her original [statement] made this morning."
Read the whole post here. And from HuffPo:

Bishop Eddie Long, the embattled pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta, told his congregation this morning that he was taking a leave of absence from his duties in the pulpit.

Long was defiant as ever when he announced his decision to a supportive audience."If you go out there, the news said I stepped down," Long said. " I haven't stepped down, I've actually stepped up."

"I'm still your pastor. You'll still receive my direction," Long said Sunday. "You've given me some weeks to take care of some family business."
 Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Poll: Americans Aren't Sipping Tea or Being Occupied

From Religion News Services:

In a war between the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement to capture the hearts of Americans, who wins? According to a new poll, it’s a draw.

Less than a third of Americans say either movement represents their values, according to a poll released Wednesday (Nov. 16) by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.

One thing, however, is clear: neither movement can make a strong claim to speak for Americans. Near identical majorities say neither movement represents their values—57 percent for the Tea Party, and 56 percent for Occupy Wall Street.

What’s more, one in five Americans say each of the movements has a negative impact on society, and about four in 10 Americans see both as largely irrelevant.

“They’re mirror images of each other, but the symmetry at the national level hides a very different distribution,” said Robert Jones, the research firm’s CEO. “Support for the Tea Party is more intensely concentrated among Republicans, but support for the OWS movement is less intense among Democrats and more evenly spread among other groups.”

The poll—designed to gauge Americans’ views about economic hardship and the proper responses to it—also revealed some striking divides and ambivalences, particularly in the way people view opportunity in America.

A significant majority (eight in 10) believes the gap between rich and poor has widened during the past 20 years, a finding that held true across generational, religious and political lines. Nearly half of those polled believe the American Dream—the idea that if you work hard you’ll get ahead—once held true but no longer does.

And while two-thirds of Americans agree that the government should do more to reduce the gap between rich and poor, an even higher proportion (71 percent) say poor people have become too dependent on government assistance programs.
Read the rest here.

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