Monday, April 20, 2009

Are you a Baptist Spy?

"I thought you were a spy," said a colleague recently when speaking about the first time she met me. Apparently my denominational background colors me, conservative. On paper my work experience is almost completely Baptist. "GA Camp Director, Georgia Baptist Convention. Graduate of Samford University, Student, International Baptist Theological Seminary." I am a Baptist and however varied and rich I believe my experience to be, outsiders see me as one dimensional, and apparently, suspect.

A few weeks ago, this became painfully clear while sitting through a one-hour interview with a Catholic Nun who wasn't sure I would be able to minister to people who weren't like me. How did she know what I was like? It's never good to be on the defensive in an interview and in spite of my consistent answer of, "Yes, I understand what it means to minister cross-culturally," my interviewer didn't believe me. It was frustrating. It was pointless. She was wrong. She hadn't done her homework. Baptists are historically progressive and what is the word, oh yes, autonomous. It's true, there happens to be a large and loud contingent that make it clear just how one tracked they are, but I'm not that kind of Baptist.

Should we have a secret handshake or just a louder pulpit? Should I shake up my resume with varied experience? I'm ready. What I fear is that I've landed in that lovely space of in between where, "[I] can't go forward and [I] can't go backward. . . " According to Sue Monk Kidd in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, that means I am on the edge of creation. May it be so.


Blogger Debra W. Haffner said...

I vote for LOUDER and more wonderful Baptist ministers like you.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debra, I'm looking forward to the diversity of The Religious Institute in my life and on my resume. Thanks for seeing past the suspicion!

3:07 PM  
Anonymous mm said...

Sounds frustrating! I think you should tell them some stories about times you did just that--give examples. They don't know what they're missing out on!

4:53 PM  
Blogger Mandy Mc said...

I wish you wrote more. I love reading your blog! I'm sorry you are having to deal with this, but I'm glad to have you as a Baptist representing all of us "other" Baptists. HUGS!

6:37 PM  

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