I grew up in church. From my earliest memories church was always there. My parents helped start at least one if not more from our living room. My brother has a doctorate in theology and I went to a Baptist University and a year of seminary. My wife has worked at the state convention for 30 years. There's hardly a church in this city we haven't attended or been members. Faith has always been a part of our lives.
In 1978 a retired state supreme court judge from Texas and the associate pastor of the largest church in Texas mounted a political attack on the Southern Baptist Convention. It's called the "fundamentalist take over" and it disenfranchised my family spiritually to this day.
A couple of years ago we started meeting in a home church. A lady my wife works with, her husband pastors the church. I gave the pastor my book Optimus and he liked it so much he has been giving me legal assistance work supposedly to help him with his openings and closings, but so far every case where I could do that has settled before the trial.
He brought me in to work on a case after only one day of retirement from teaching. I don't technically work for him since I have my own business and bill him for my services, technically he's my client, just my only client. We have become very close working in the same office and worshiping. He's working on his doctorate of ministry and has me look over every paper before turning it in.
I keep telling him that his papers have many "whereas's", but no "therefore." He counters that in theology you don't have the right to an opinion until after you've earned your doctorate. He seems to be right as he gets nothing but praises for him papers.
Michael Manning's post today brought these thoughts up and made me realize just how much the fundamentalist take over robbed me of social contact with other of my faith. They drove a wedge of conformity on certain beliefs which had nothing to do with being Baptist, just fundamentalist.
My pastor and I disagree on a number of issues, but we recognize each other's faith and respect each other.
Last September at a conference we encountered a young couple who moved here on faith. They graduated from seminary and plan on setting up what are called cell churches. A connection of home churches. The SBC entity that is supposed to support them has lost their paper work 6 times. They didn't have jobs, but were in an apartment. She was about to deliver their first child. They were in desperate need of a support church for financial and tax reasons. Our church agreed to provide this support. Since then they had a little boy, have both found jobs and just this last week bought a house where they will begin their ministry. It has felt good to assist this young couple begin their ministry.
Michael's post about social networking to help those in need rang a bell and I pray our church can reach out and help out other couples in need as well.