One of the first question people ask when they learn I’m a preacher is, “What kind are you?”
Though there are a thousand ways to answer this question, I know what the person is really asking. They want to know who I am?
They want to know what denomination or faith group I associate with.
They want to know about my ordination.
The answer is simple. I say, “I am Baptist.”
(And usually a collective gasp falls over the room).
Soon thereafter, I get questions like, “How is that possible?” “You aren’t Southern Baptist are you?” “They don’t allow for girl preachers do they?”
The answer is “Yes, it’s possible, but no, I’m not Southern Baptist (though I grew up as one).”
And the longer explanation is that was ordained American Baptist. (You can read more about their story here).
The ABC is a group of Baptists that has ecumenical ties to groups like the Disciples of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA.
And I also find theological kinship with the Alliance of Baptists (You can read more about what they believe here). The Alliance is a progressive group of Baptists closely aligned with the United Church of Christ. (Oh, and I attended a United Methodist seminary!)
Sound complicated? Well, maybe. But, I love being the kind of Baptist that allows for connection to the larger Mainline church in the United States and around the world. I love connection to the historical traditions of the creeds and sacraments. And I love the freedom to not always work in a Baptist church. God’s Spirit always is leading us out, I believe!
Recently, I was asked to be one of the columnists for the new Alliance of Baptist blog called Voices. Every couple of months, I submit a post that has as something to do with the conversations going on within progressive Christianity.
I invite you to check out this series here. Some of my recent posts have included:
- The experience of racism in Kenya
- Saying “Yes” to officiating an Hindu/ Christian wedding
- Singing “God Bless the USA” and then preaching in a Southern Baptist Church
My fellow columnists have some insightful posts that I’d know you’d love too.
Growing up with a Baptist heritage and now forging a different way to be Baptist with an eye toward social justice, separation of church and state, the priesthood of all believers and most of ecumenism is a delightful place to be!
See, all Baptists aren’t what you imagined! And I’m glad to be one of them.