Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Liberal Baptists... not an oxymoron
When you hear the word “Baptist,” what ideas pop into your head? Southern accents, Jerry Falwell, political conservatism, etc? I suspect that that’s true for most people. But the truth of the matter is that if you factor out the SBC, Baptists are some of the most ferociously liberal Christians in America, at times exceeding even the Episcopalians.
Case in point:
A transgender woman who attended George W. Truett Theological Seminary and pastored a church in Central Texas as a man has returned to the pulpit.
Allyson Robinson began June 23 as transitions pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington. The calling is temporary — helping with preaching, mentoring and pastoral care duties along with the deacons until the church names a longer-term intentional interim pastor — probably this fall.
Calvary Baptist reaffirmed Robinson’s ordination June 15, prior to Pastor Amy Butler’s departure to become senior minister of the historic and progressive Riverside Church in New York City.
“Allyson Dylan Robinson is a minister of the gospel, trained for the task, and ordained to the gospel ministry by another community in which she has served as pastor,” Butler said in an ordination litany later posted on her blog.
“Over the course of her journey, God has invited her to step into the faithful witness of a new identity, a true identity, and a new name,” she continued.
In an ideal world, liberals would all wear the same name, badge, or identity. We live in a convoluted world in which, like politics, religion is filled with diversity within the labels. Lutherans are all over the page. Methodists, too. There are fewer Episcopalians on the right but a few. There are fewer UCC folks on the right, but a few. But Baptists? They are the iconic face of stern fundamentalism, right? No. We already saw how Baptists in the UK fudged things on same sex marriage. Now we have Baptists in the US who champion a transgendered minister. Wow. How are you supposed to know who is who and what is what? Since people in the pew can no longer simply trust the label, you have to find out what is believed, confessed, taught, and, now the new one, tolerated...