There once was a news post, forgive me for not remembering where it was, that stated that the Southern Baptist Convention was considering changing its name. I commented on it, “Well, that will ruin the punch-line of many of my jokes.” The comment went wild. I had people from all over the nation – and beyond – liking and commenting on it. Most found it amusing; some went so far as to accuse me of blasphemy.
I pick on the Southern Baptist church for a lot of reasons. Chief among them is: I was one. I grew up at the First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, NC, where my mother is still and has been the organist for nearly 40 years. My father was a long-time deacon and a lot of my family still attends there. Picking on the Southern Baptists, for me, is much the same as world famous comedians picking on their families. It’s the same as every mother-in-law joke ever penned… not that I’ve ever told any of those.
I harbor no ill-feelings toward the Southern Baptists. They usually just serve as the scapegoat for all of my issues with the Church at large.
And there are a LOT of issues with the Church. You know why? Because there are people in it!
When I was younger, I was a ridiculously active member of my church. My family was there every time the doors were open. To this day, I am resentful over having to wear dresses and curl my hair for the sake of being a good little Baptist. My attendance dwindled in my later years of high school. I had a new group of friends that would rarely darken the doors of the church. I would skip youth group to hang out at the coffee shop down the street. I started smoking cigarettes and listening to White Zombie when I was supposed to be in choir practice.
I will never forget the day I was pulled aside, by a misguided, well-meaning youth leader (who shall remain nameless) and asked to not come back. Granted, I was a fallen member of the youth leadership team and I was heading toward an incredibly damaging lifestyle, but rather than reach out to me, I was simply dismissed. Shortly thereafter, I plummeted head-first into drug and alcohol abuse and a string of scary relationships. The church leadership never came to check on me.
This wasn’t what Jesus preached. Jesus said that the Good Shepherd leaves the entire herd to go after that one lost sheep.
In no way am I knocking FBC for what I experienced. I know for a FACT that the youth pastor there now goes after the lost sheep. He’s my big brother. Literally.
I also harbor no resentment toward the Church, as a lot of people do who have had bad experiences. Granted, mine is not one of the horror stories I have heard. Some of the abuse within churches, done in the name of Jesus, sickens and mortifies me. I believe for those offenders there is a special ring in hell.
My bottom line is this: The Church is fallible, and oftentimes a poor representation of the Jesus they serve. Maybe someone should bring the WWJD bracelets back. Some Christians need a reminder.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite Southern Baptist jokes. Don’t stone me; I didn’t write them.
Now the Southern Baptists are boycotting The Flintstones. They absolutely refuse to have a gay ol’ time.
Adam was certainly a Southern Baptist… he stood next to a naked woman and was tempted by a piece of fruit!
What’s the difference between a Southern Baptist and a Methodist? The Methodist will say hello in the liquor store.
Why should you always take two Southern Baptists fishing with you? Because if you just take one, he’ll drink all of your beer.