Baptists

I thought that it might cheer me to read about people who were worse off than myself, so one of the books I added to my pre-surgical hoard was by a man who was badly injured in a car wreck. I didn’t initially notice that the author was a Southern Baptist preacher, and when I did notice, it practically soured me on the book because I hate Southern Baptists. I don’t mean that I hate everyone who is a Southern Baptist (Peggy grew up Southern Baptist, for heaven’s sakes) but that I hate the Southern Baptist institution and anyone who officially represents it.

Being a Southern Baptist in Mississippi is about as original as having brown hair. Growing up—as I did—in the Church of Christ meant something, but I never could see that growing up Baptist meant anything. It was supposed to be a religion, but Baptist kids didn't seem religious. They didn’t talk about their church; they knew little about the Bible; they didn’t make an effort to hangout with other kids who were Baptist. My assumption was that the Baptist religion was utterly boring and utterly irrelevant to anything in the real world.

As an adolescent, I was so into religion that I literally visited every denomination I could find, yet I didn’t set foot inside a Baptist Church until I married Peggy and attended with her parents a few times. Those visits confirmed my low opinion of the Baptist faith. On the surface, it was much like the Church of Christ, the biggest difference being that the Church of Christ didn’t have instrumental music; but at a deeper level, it seemed as if no one wanted to be there. They didn’t smile; they weren’t friendly. It was as if they were performing a strange kind of penance, the terms of which forbade their religion from ever containing the least thing of the least beauty to the least person for the least amount of time.

None of this made me hate Baptists. It just kept me from taking them seriously. I did observe however that Peggy’s parents and Peggy’s older sister and her family were really into the Baptist Church. The core of their faith, as near as I could understand it, was that rule number one was that you tithe, and rules number two and three were the same as rule number one. The Church of Christ stayed quiet on the subject of tithing, so this was the second obvious difference that I observed, and it made me damn glad that I hadn't grown up Baptist because my family was poor enough already.

From time to time, I talked with Peggy’s father and her sister about tithing. Her father said that you only had to do it with the money that was left over after taxes, and that you could spend the rest of your income as you pleased. I thought this sounded like the kind of Pharisaical legalism that Jesus hated, but I didn’t say anything. The sister added to my knowledge considerably by pointing to a verse in the Bible that says that however much you give to God that God will give a lot more back to you. The sister made no bones about it, she wanted to be rich, and she believed that if her family did right by God, that God would do right by her family by making them all wealthy.

Well, this was interesting. At least, it explained why all those poor Baptists kept pouring money into the coffers of preachers who could afford a lot of things that the rank and file could not. I guess it was easier for them to stomach the preacher driving a Cadillac if they believed that God had scheduled their own Cadillacs for future delivery.

Being a man who wasn’t apt to put $10 into a church plate much less 10%, I had to give Peggy’s family credit for acting on their faith. That said, some things bothered me; they bothered me a lot. For one thing, Peggy’s family was materialistic to a degree that I had never encountered in my personal relationships. I kept wondering where they would find space for even one more gee-gaw, but they always did. There were other things too. For example, Peggy’s sister’s cats kept having kittens all over the place because, as Peggy’s sister said, she couldn’t afford to have them neutered. Yet, she could afford to put hundreds of dollars a month into the church plate. I concluded from this and other questionable behaviors that maybe tithing was a little too important to Baptists. Maybe the preachers had drilled it into them to the point that they figured it was pretty much all they had to do to please God, God being more or less like an investment banker.

Last summer, Peggy’s mother’s preacher flaked out on preaching her funeral. He didn’t have a good reason, and he didn’t even bother to tell Peggy’s father. Instead, he had his wife call Peggy’s aunt the day before the funeral and ask her to pass the word along. A Disciple of Christ minister who didn’t know Peggy’s mother ended up preaching the funeral. I returned home livid. I got the names of everyone on every rung in the ladder of the Southern Baptist hierarchy, and I wrote to all of them. That was last August, and I’m still waiting to hear back. Do you think I don’t hate the Baptist Church? I’m sixty years old, and I grew up surrounded by its warehouse-like buildings with the teeny-tiny steeples that looked like so many puny pricks, yet I can’t think of one good thing to say about it. Even shit goes to the trouble to stink; the Baptist Church just lies there odorless, awaiting delivery of its Cadillacs.

53 comments:

Matawheeze said...

I think your problem, Snow, is that you have trouble expressing your feelings. Try to let it out, okay?

Actually much of what you say is the reason I left the protestant church behind. No tithing, no preacher, no buildings, no bible in Wicca. Plenty of nutcases - but then there are always plenty of those to go around. I'm more into the personal spirituality and personal responsibility and not paying to be saved. (from what?)

Audrey said...

I am not a Baptist, but my grandparents were and I know that they found a great deal of comfort in that particular church. And they certainly didn't have a Cadillac. I don't know if Southern Baptists are different from others - perhaps they are. Interesting discussion you presented.

Michelle said...

ouch

Snowbrush said...

"I think your problem, Snow, is that you have trouble expressing your feelings." Matawheeze

I guess I'm just too darn diplomatic to come right out and call a spade a spade.

"And they certainly didn't have a Cadillac." Audrey

Talking about Southern Baptists--at least in the U.S.--is like talking about Roman Catholics because both are enormous institutions. That said, what really sours me on both is the unwillingness of their leadership to assume responsibility when things go awry. I can separate an institution from the actions of a few rogue individuals, but I can't separate it from the actions of those at the top who are entrusted with defending and promoting its highest values.

"ouch" Michelle

My dear Michelle, you have lost me here, so I don't know how to respond.

Natalie said...

I will go so far as to say that I think it is not a "BAPTIST" problem, but rather,one of hypocrisy, greed and power lust.

Misguided people ~ ie the cat lady. As frustrating as she is, she believes she is doing a good thing, or the 'right' thing.

I am witnessing these same issues with my sister in law. She is as mean as cat shit to her family, yet she gives money hand over foot to her fund - sucking church. It is not a Baptist establishment.It makes me wild and i just want to smack her one.I understand some of the feelings you speak of, but maybe don't blanket all Baptists, there are probably a few out there who could be seen to be decent in your eyes.

Btw, I am not Baptist. :D

Lisa said...

popping in for five to say hello- haventr read yet but it looks interesting.back soon xx

His kajirah said...

Hi Snow

I think Michelle meant Ouchie wow wowsies! I thought the same.

Your post is quite interesting. I'm not a Baptist but when I was a small child around 6, I attended a Baptist Church. It was right across the street from our home. My mom could walk me to the end of our driveway, we'd cross the street and we were at the front door.

I only attended Sunday School. All I remember really is that I talked a lot, I asked a lot of questions, my sunday school teacher always did her best to answer me. I remember hearing the soulful singing coming from the Church itself. That's what drew me to Baptists. I don't know much more about them.

One of my friends which I'm known over 20 years is a Catholic, when her grandfather died many years ago, he left an enormous amount of money to his children and grandchildren. But right off the top the Catholic Church got millions. I never liked that. But my friend said it's just how it was.

I'm Lutheran as is my husband. It just turned out both of us were. So we never had to deal with opposite religions. My mom was also but converted to Catholic after my dad passed away and she re married her high school sweet heart. Now all the things mom disliked about Catholics while raising us kids, she doesn't so much like us speaking of anymore.

But I can't let it go.

Great post.

~cali

Renee said...

Well this post was so fucking good. I love it. You are one of the most clever men around.

I was completly interested from the beginning right up to the period at the end.

You are such a fantastic writer.

Did I also say I was laughing out loud. 'Even shit goes to the trouble to stink'.

I feel that was unacceptable to not to preach at Peggy's mothers funeral. Do the sister and father still go to that church after that debacle.

Even in the very begining when it soured you on the book. I am exactly like that with miracles about someone putting their finger on their left elbow while drinking cat pass and their cancer was cured. Its a miracle.

Love Renee xoxo

Snowbrush said...

"I will go so far as to say that I think it is not a "BAPTIST" problem, but rather,one of hypocrisy, greed and power lust." Natalie

I completely agree. Of course, behavior that would be unthinkable within one organization with high ideals (on paper anyway) might be accepted in another. Like people, organizations--and units within organizations--develop their own particular animus.

"You are one of the most clever men around." Renee
"Great post." cali

Thank you, my stalwart fans and companions in suffering. I anticipated losing readers over this post. Most people seem to do well with my humorous and laid-back side, and not so well with my anger and bitterness. Yet, my goal here is to write honestly and to provide substance rather than fluff.

Snowbrush said...

P.S. Renee, the father does, and the sister doesn't, but she had stopped going anyway. She still identifies as a Southern Baptist, but is unable to find a congregation that suits here near where she now lives.

KC said...

This was a great one, Snow. It made me laugh, not at the Baptists but at your wit. Some of your "Snowisms" are so clever...blunt but clever and always entertaining.

Lisa said...

knowing knothing about the Baptists, i am unable to comment- HOWEVER, i do love the way you write and present you facts- it makes me think, ponder and want to know why ?
Lisa x

JOE TODD said...

Just a lack of Spirituality in Christianity or the whole world in general.. Have a Good Friday

Snowbrush said...

"Some of your "Snowisms" are so clever." KC

You've just coined a new word, one that I like, anyway.

"...knowing knothing about the Baptists." Lisa

Here is a listing of the top three churches in the USA. Note that Southern Baptists have nearly twice the number of members as #3.

1. Catholic Church, 67,820,833.
2. Southern Baptist Convention, 16,267,494.
3. United Methodist Church, 8,186,254.

"Just a lack of Spirituality." Joe

Or at least of caring.

Gaston Studio said...

OMG that was a great post! I grew up in a Southern Baptist home and couldn't stand the constant hyprocrisy I encountered from relatives and general members of the congregation(s) which is why I didn't stay a SB. It was rampant in ALL the churches I visited!

The hyprocrisy was, personally, the single most important reason I couldn't take SBs seriously. And although I saw/see hyprocrisy in many, many other religions, it was most unforgivable coming from the SBs who preach otherwise.

Happy Easter!
Jane

ostrich girl said...

Extortion? I laughed so hard that I actually read the blog myself to my 13 yr. old daughter who cracked up too!Then she wanted money not to rat me out to her four brothers! THANKS!
So I grew up a pastors daughter in a pentacostal church.My dad was so paranoid about making people sour over the "offering" that much to the elders dismay,he refused to pass a plate for 25 years.There was a box at the back of the church that was never mentioned and people were never pressured or put on the spot with a plate in their face.The church thrived financially, much to the surprise of the elders.My parents grew up Nazarene and needed something with a little more fire.I grew up with many friends in the Baptist church and it felt like it was more about league baseball,camps, and social events.( My ex actually lost his Virginity at that camp!) Than about God or a relationship.It is sad to know that still rings true for so many!
Does your family read this? I was cracking up at your boldness! but I mean heck you are cyber blackmailing me so I guess I shouldn't be surprised!
xoxo Sheri DeBow ( :

Snowbrush said...

"OMG that was a great post!" Jane

I am relieved that I didn't offend you, Jane. You were the person who I worried about most since you live in a part of the country where people are Baptist more often than not.

"...you are cyber blackmailing me..." Sheri

I feel the need to explain myself here. Sheri wrote something on her blog to the effect that she can only write as freely as she does because her five "monkeys" will never read it. I naturally took this as an opportunity to ask for $100,000 in small unmarked bills in exchange for my silence. It doesn't look like I'm going to get it.

Sheri, from my experiences in Pentecostal Churches, I came away wondering if anyone in those churches can hear beyond age 28 or so. I mean the sound systems were always really good and really loud, and the people were making a really lot of noise. My hats off to your father, by the way.

Sonia ;) said...

Snow,

want to say ...."Clap Clap Clap"...

Adore your true honesty...which more people had the Gonads like you..

Happy easter..Glad you enjoyed the Bunnies..made me laugh too.....

Going to refer this post to some relatives....ha ha..

Smiles,

Sonia ;)

Winifred said...

Oh I really enjoyed that posting. It was so funny. I expected to be hearing about what happened to the preacher instead it was a brilliant diatribe about religious institutions, in particular Southern Baptists.

As an ignorant English Left Footer, I didn't know anything about Baptists, Southern or Northern. In fact are there any Northern Baptists?

It's sad when religion gets hi jacked by organisations and distorted by greed. I never mind what religion people are, in fact I never ask, I just look at how they behave to each other. That says it all.

Hope your recovery is going well!

Renee said...

Hello Mr.

The body dies, the spirit lives on.

Yes I believe it, when I believe it.

I like it and it helps me. And sometimes I think it is bullshit. And then I like it all over again.

Today I like it and I believe it today.

'I should think death wouldn't look nearly so bad to you if you believe this.' Well you think wrong. Death looks very bad and the last thing I want.

Hope the Easter Bunny doesn't disappoint you.

Love Renee

Gaston Studio said...

Absolutely no offense taken; you told the truth as you see it... and it's YOUR blog so you have every right to say exactly what you want, whether anyone agrees or not. I happen to agree with you!

Jane

ostrich girl said...

You are hilarious! I can't believe you felt like you needed to explain the " Blackmailing " after that intense post. Surely no one seriously thought you were black mailing me.I am totally laughing as I am typing this so thankyou for that!

Oh and no, I'm not gonna pay!

If it's any consolation I am gonna do a giveaway soon on my blog sending out a little piece of art.It's not worth 100,000 but it is sincere! xoxo Sheri DeBow

Ces said...

Oh now, the Baptists are going to flog and behead you! Oops wrong, religion. Baptists forgive, You are lucky this time. Haha!

Michelle said...

Ouch means "I am so glad this wasn't directed at me or I would have shrivelled up and died on the spot"

Okay?

Bloody good post though, tell it how you see it Snow!

xxx

Snowbrush said...

Sonia "Going to refer this post to some relatives....ha ha.."

Sonia said with a wicked grin. Might buy them a copy of Ambrose Bierce's "The Devils Dictionary while you're at it. If you are unfamiliar with this book, I would recommend it as one you would probably enjoy.

Winifred "...are there any Northern Baptists?"

Not by name. There are other Baptist groups, but none of them are nearly so large. Southern Baptists exist all over the U.S, although they had their start in the South at the time of the Civil War.

Renee "Hope the Easter Bunny doesn't disappoint you."

Or Christ you, my dear.

Jane "...it's YOUR blog so you have every right to say exactly what you want..."

And I will, but I would still hate to lose any of my followers, esp those like yourself who I know comes around because she leaves comments.

Sheri " I am gonna do a giveaway soon on my blog sending out a little piece of art."

Maybe I should sent out postcards of Baptist Churches....I look forward to your art giveaway.

Ces "... the Baptists are going to flog and behead you! Oops wrong, religion. Baptists forgive,"

It WOULD be scarier writing about Islam. I hear that Islam is a "religion of peace," but I take that as a bad joke. I never forget though that Christians have probably killed a whole lot more people in the name of Christ than Islam has in the name of Allah.

MIchelle "Ouch means "I am so glad this wasn't directed at me..."

I'm glad for the clarification as I was concerned that I had hurt your feelings.

Elizabeth said...

Brilliant. I love it.

Renee said...

I believe you misinterpreted my intent, but then again I may be wrong.

"Renee "Hope the Easter Bunny doesn't disappoint you."

Or Christ you, my dear."

My 'Hope the Easter Bunny doesn't disappoint you' was meant in the sincerest terms of Have a happy Easter.

I re-read and see that as it was right after my thought you may have thought it was meant in a snarky tone. That was never my intent.

So I will say it this way: Have a wonderful weekend.

Love Renee xoxo

Snowbrush said...

Elizabeth "Brilliant. I love it."

Thank you, Elizabeth.

Renee "...you may have thought it was meant in a snarky tone."

No, I didn't. I took it as a light-hearted wish for a happy weekend (unfortunately, Peggy is flying out on her first trip of the month EARLY tomorrow morning). I was just alluding to the fact that the crucifixion of Christ means something to you; you're inspired by it. You also want to believe in an afterlife, perhaps one spent in his presence. I meant to say that I sincerely hope you are right. I'm not at all invested in being right about my own religious views. They are simply the ones that seem most likely, to me, to be true.

Renee, I would be very slow indeed to ascribe unworthy motives to you. I respect you too much for that.

Pantheist Mom said...

Oh yes. The whole of my dad's side of the family is Southern Baptist so I spent some time there growing up (despite my dad being converted to a Methodist when he got married, which is the religion I was raised in.) I don't disagree with anything you wrote, though personally wouldn't limit it to Southern Baptists. They do exude hypocrisy though in a special way though.

You know what really REALLY pisses me off is the enticement to tithe using the "getting back multi-fold" or whatever the bible proclaims. What is worse is the way I have seen it used to prey on those LEAST capable of giving. I've seen shorts on the 700 club and other tv evangelist programs that highlight families who were broke - close to starving. The only thing that saved them was that they gave every last penny they could scrape together to the church. Miraculously, months later, they were invariably shown as having run into a spate of good luck, leaving them wealthy.

WTF???? That is criminal in my mind. Infuriates me.

The thing with your MIL's funeral makes me so sad. So sad. :-(

All Consuming said...

I agree about the similarity to Roman Catholics, as I was brought up as one. And rather than think 'you have trouble expressing your feelings',I think you expressed them very well, but not mayhaps as some would want to hear. I got you anyway,one hundred percent.Good post as ever. x

Pouty Lips said...

Rather than write a diatribe that will bore everyone to death, let me just say, shortly and sweetly, that I agree with every word of your "Baptist" post.

Life at Star's Rest said...

I'm so glad you visited and left a comment and I followed it back! Like others, I found myself laughing out loud and reading phrases to my husband as well. I can also identify with your surgery experiences. As someone who had only even had the flu once in 55 years, having four surgeries in less than a year left me knowing entirely too much about anesthesia, narcotics and recovery. I wish you a less eventful recovery than you've had so far and will enjoy reading your blog in the future. Carmon

Renee said...

I hope Peggy has a good trip.

How are you feeling? Are you still on the pain meds and do you have someone coming in to help you out.

Love Renee xoxo

Snowbrush said...

Pan Mom "...to prey on those LEAST capable of giving."

Yes, they're the desperate and gullible ones; others like them play the sweepstakes because they figure it's their only shot at having anything.

All Consuming "And rather than think 'you have trouble expressing your feelings',I think you expressed them very well,"

That was Matawheeze, and I'll bet you $40 or 40-pounds, or 40-Euros, or whatever currency you prefer that she meant it as what I've heard called a backhanded compliment, that is that she was being tongue-in-cheek.

Pouty Lips "I agree with every word"

I'm glad we're of one mind. "Great minds..." and all that, eh?

And thank you for visiting, Carmon. My record is three surgeries in a year, so my hat's off to you. I'm figuring on one more shoulder surgery this year, but that's a lot as it takes a year to fully recover from each of them.

Renee "How are you feeling?"

The arm hurts worse now than it did week before last (I'm 16 days post-surgery), but the surgeon says he would need an MRI to know if I've torn the sutures out of the tendon. He thinks it's probably okay, so I'm letting it go for now. I spend so much on medical care that I'm actually feeling sorry for the insurance company and not wanting to burden them unnecessarily.

I'm maxing out on the narcotics at night, but am avoiding them during the daytime unless I feel that I have to take a nap. Even at that, I still feel drugged all the time, often break out in cold sweats, and feel faint and exhausted. It's no fun, but I'm handling it patiently enough.

Peggy is in Mississippi as of today. Some friends took me to church with them, made me a delicious meal, and took the dogs and me walking (I'm afraid the dogs will trip me if I go alone, esp since Bonnie is all but blind). I don't anticipate any problems in Peggy's absence. I've learned that I can cook and do dishes with one hand if I have to, and, other than walking the dogs, there isn't much else that I HAVE to do.

Robyn said...

I really enjoyed this post :-)

Vodka Mom said...

remind me to grab a cup of coffee and sit in a comfy chair before reading one of your posts!!
great job......

CarolineH said...

My friend, you hit the nail on the head with this post. You've said what I've thought about several denomination. Maybe that's why I just don't bother to step into a church and pay to talk to my God. Thank you for the insight. I loved this post.
Caroline

Renee said...

Hope you are well today. Don't try to do to much with your shoulder and take your pain meds.

I laughed at the rabbits foot. You always make me laugh.

xoxo

Renee

Lisa said...

how is it going Snowbunny ?

Snowbrush said...

Lisa "how is it going?"

Not good. The narcotics are making me dizzy, faint, weak, nauseous, and causing cold sweats. I can’t sleep without them, but I don’t know how much longer I can live with them. I also have various sleep problems that are giving me grief. Nocturnal myclonus (for which I thought I was being adequately treated) causes me to jerk my limbs, including my shoulder. This pulls at the sutures and causes me to awaken in howling pain. I have no appetite and am dropping about a pound a day. I called the surgeon this morning and was told to contact my regular doctor.

Renee "You always make me laugh."

Thank you, dear.

Caroline "I loved this post."

And thank you, Caroline.

Vodka Mom "remind me to grab a cup of coffee and sit in a comfy chair before reading one of your posts!!"

What a delightful compliment!

Robin "I really enjoyed this post :-)"

Thank you, Robin. I'm working on another one about religion. I would have already put it up, but I' so sick that I'm not sure if I'm making sense.

Pantheist Mom said...

Oh dear. It doesn't sound like things are going well. I hope you can get in to see your regular doctor quickly and there are some steps he/she can recommend to give you some relief. I'm worried about the losing a pound a day thing - that's not good. Are you able to at least keep up with your habaneros?

Worried about you,
Jen

Gaston Studio said...

Oh Snow, so sorry to hear that you're having problems, especially sleeping problems because you need your sleep to heal.

Thought I'd drop by because I haven't heard from you recently. Take care of yourself.

Snowbrush said...

"It doesn't sound like things are going well."

Things are better, Jen, and Jane, since I stopped the narcotics cold-turkey. Now, the pain keeps me awake some nights, but my general health is much better.

Pantheist Mom said...

Good. Glad to hear it. I hope the pain subsides very soon.

Sarah said...

It's interesting that you say you hate Baptists based on the actions of a few. 16 million, based on your statistic.

I can understand being jaded by the actions of the ones you mention (ie, the pastor who backed out on the funeral at the last minute. That is inexcusable.) But to say you "hate" an entire denomination based on these things is strange to me.

BTW, my husband is a Southern Baptist minister and so I guess you could say he "officially represents" the denomination. We do not get the money that goes into the offering plate-he gets a small salary and the rest goes to missions, basic expenses of the church, community projects, etc. We drive a Grand Prix.

Snowbrush said...

Browsing the back shelves, eh? I am honored.

No, I don't hate your husband or any other Baptist personally. However, my experience with the Baptist Church as an institution has been so uniformly bad that I truthfully see no good in it. Also, my experiences with those who declared themselves dedicated to the church (the sort of people who like to think of themselves as "good Christians") have been by far more negative than positive. The final straw was that no one answered my letter about the pastor who backed out on the funeral. THAT wasn't a rant, but even if it had been, I should think I deserved a response.

I anticipated a lot of negative responses to this post, but yours is the first. What I did get was a lot of agreement from people who live among, or grew up as, Baptists. It hardly constitutes a scientific sampling of opinion, but if I were a Baptist, I would consider it troubling. This leads me to wonder if you, as a Baptist preacher's wife, recognize the validity of anything I wrote.

Sarah said...

I certainly don't doubt your personal experiences, nor the experiences of any of your readers. I, myself, have never experienced anything nearly so troubling. I won't excuse the actions of a minister turning his back on the family needing help during the funeral. I disagree with the portrayal of Baptists as money-hungry pretenders.

I wasn't raised Baptist, I was raised Full Gospel (an offshoot of pentecostalism). I married into the Baptist faith. Being in the ministry, I am privy to the inner workings of the church, and I honestly can't say I've ever known actions such as those you've mentioned.

It is troubling to me the image that Baptists present as evidenced by this post, and the fact that your responders seem to fully agree.

(I don't mean to hijack your comment section. Feel free to email me skennedy40977 at yahoo dot com if you like.)

Snowbrush said...

Sarah "I don't mean to hijack your comment section."

I am honored that you are here, Sarah. You show me respect, and you inspire me to question myself.

Your objection, as I understand it, is that I take my own negative experiences and extend them to reflect upon the Southern Baptist faith as a whole. This is true. Just as the pope reflects the Catholic faith, so does the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Mississippi Baptist Convention, and the Hinds County Baptist Convention reflect the Baptist faith. There are also my many experiences of what their faith means to individual Baptists.

But is such "evidence" enough to justify me in taking such a vehement position? To my mind, yes, but I can see room for disagreement. I suppose one might say that an objective evaluation of the overall impact of the Baptist faith would require scores of socialists, psychologists, anthropologists and other scientists working full time for years; and even then many would reject their conclusions.

I understand that your experience of the Baptist faith has been entirely different from mine. What you, as a willing listener and a respectful dissenter, have already given me just by being present in a positive way in my life AS A BAPTIST has already constituted my most positive experience of the Baptist faith.

Snowbrush said...

P.S. I meant sociologists rather than socialists.

southeastcountrywife said...

interesting reading. i'm sorry that your experiences have been so negative. is it only southern baptists or any baptists that you're not a fan of? i ask because i'm curious as to what you thought of my blog when you read it...i'm baptist, i guess you could say. in that, i attend a baptist church and generally find that i would be most closely affiliated with baptists but i'm not baptist-only. :)

Snowbrush said...

To Ms CountryWife. I have only had dealings with Southern Baptists, it being by far the biggest Baptist church organization in this country and the second biggest denomination in this country.

I know that you are Baptist, and I know that you live in Australia, but I don't assume a great deal about you based upon those two facts. Besides, I don't hate all Baptists.

Did you read Sarah's posts?

Sarah said...

I'm back :)

Many years ago, my church was broken into by two thieves. They threatened my uncle (the pastor at the time) and stole hundreds of dollars worth of musical instruments and equipment.

The thieves happened to be black.

Do I write off the entire race of African-Americans due to the actions of a few? No. While I am angry at these men, I know the way that people work, and I know that people are only human.

You can't let the actions of a few misguided or troubled people taint your view on the whole group.

Or, to steal your illustration regarding the Catholic church, a handful of people who choose to allow sin to rule their lives (ie: the molestation of children) don't reflect the entirety of the Catholic faith.

I'm inspired to write a blog post of my own. I'll let you know when it's up.

Snowbrush said...

I'm not sure it's possible to equate race with religion, because race is an inherent identity rather than an assumed one. It would be hard to prove that race carries with it distinct values by which its members might be judged.

"a handful of people who choose to allow sin to rule their lives...don't reflect the entirety of the Catholic faith."

I think it was more than a handful. Also, when an institution's leadership undertakes a widespread, long-lasting, and methodical policy of hiding such crimes and, in the process, knowingly enables the criminals to victimize still other people, I think it does reflect upon the church as a whole. This was the final breaking point for me in my effort to maintain ANY good, or even neutral, feeling toward the Southern Baptist denomination.

I look forward to reading your post.