In my upcoming memoir, I write about a Southern Baptist missionary I met in the 1960s, while living in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). She was a savvy woman, devoted to her work and endowed with a terrific sense of humor. Although I was an atheist, we became friends and from her, I learned much about life in the sub-Saharan dessert. One of our adventures, I recount in my book.
Admiring her, as I did, I wasn’t surprised to read about the petition 3,200 Southern Baptist women signed against a minster who insisted upon preaching a gospel from the dark ages. (Click) At issue was his advice that battered women should meekly submit to their husbands’ abuses and seek prayer as their sole defense. Apparently, he knew nothing of the many scientific studies showing that prayer is ineffective. (Click) Science or not, I’m with those who say, “God helps those who help themselves.” (Click)
The petition the women signed helped dislodge Minister Paige Patterson from his position as head of the Southern Baptists Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. His other remarks, his talk of “owning” women,” for example, also spoke against him.
I salute these 3200 ladies who, like my friend in Africa, didn’t stand for nonsense. Patriarchy too often embeds itself in theology. When mans’ word disguises itself as God’s, the juggernaut is tough to crack, particularly when centuries of brainwashing support the practice and squelch independent thinking.
Still, common sense would suggest no finite mind could know or speak for an infinite one. That impossibility doesn’t seem to trouble the pompous, however. Usually, they are men speaking from pulpits, who are intent upon defending patriarchal privilege. 3200 courageous Southern Baptist women saw through the words of one charlatan, at least. (Click) Happily, he was forced to choke on them.