Posts Tagged Baptists

Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges Elected Pres. of Baptist Seminary of Richmond

I met Dr. Bridges at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York State in the summer of 1991. She was the Chaplain of the Week. She is one of the many reasons I fell in love with the place. Her sermon, “Grace upon Grace,” describes my life and has stayed with me to this day. She grew up in the area above Greer, South Carolina. Her father was a well-known mountain preacher. At the time Joan Lipscomb Solomon, a classmate at Furman with me, was writing the Daily Religion Column for the Chautauqua Daily. Joan and I met Linda for lunch one day and had a great time exploring our South Carolina connections. I have continued to follow Linda’s career and her outstanding Christian service.

“On Tuesday morning (March 21), trustees voted unanimously to welcome Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges as the third president of BTSR. Dr. Bridges was selected after a comprehensive nationwide search led by a BTSR committee consisting of trustees, faculty and staff, with assistance from AGB Search. She will serve as the third president of BTSR, and comes to the seminary at the culmination of BTSR’s 25th anniversary.

In her comments, Dr. Bridges vowed to, “listen first, revere the symbols of the past, all the while ruthlessly renewing and revisioning theological education for the future.” Rev. Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges will transition to her new role as President-Elect in May 2017, and will officially begin as president of BTSR on July 1, 2017.

The trustees at BTSR have chosen wisely. I am thrilled with the choice. She joins Dr. Molly Marshall, President of Central Baptist Seminary, as a second woman president of a Baptist Theological Seminary. “The mills of the Gods grind exceedingly slowly but exceedingly fine.”

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Great Reception at Charleston Baptist Church Forever Young Seniors

There is one thing all Baptists have in common. We like to eat and fellowship. You can never go wrong by attending a Baptist Pot Luck meal and the Forever Young Seniors at Charleston Baptist Church are no exception to the rule. These folk have a great time together.

If the truth be told, they do not need a guest speaker. Their fellowship is enough to carry them through. Today they were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. My friend Randy Moody took a fair amount of grief over his green Dollar Tree hat.

I was flattered to be their quest speaker for the meeting. They were extremely receptive and polite while I talked about what I learned while writing, Our Father: Discovering Family. They even bought copies of that one and, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. We had a good exchange of ideas. I always have more fun around church people. My friend Phyllis Haynes from First Baptist was also there.

Randy Moody introduced me. Randy, Sarah, his wife, and I have been friends for more than thirty years. They are marvelous Christians who make life better for all who know them.

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Our Father: Discovering Family at Charleston Baptist Church

My friends Sarah and Randy Moody have invited me to speak to the Forever Young Seniors group at Charleston Baptist Church on Wednesday March 1. I am looking forward to this event with these delightful folks. I have visited their group before.

My topic is, “What I Learned Writing a Spiritual Autobiography.” Believe me the learning did not stop when the book was sent to the publisher. Learning from the experience continues. Our lives are not static. We continue to grow as human beings and hopefully we continue to mature spiritually. The direction of all life is growth.

Our Father; Discovering Family, records a moment in time when I paused long enough to discover where I am on my faith journey. I hope my experiences are helpful to others who struggle with some of the same circumstances that I faced. We are all more alike than we are different. We often feel that we are alone in our struggles only to learn later that others have walked through the same or similar troubled waters.

I was fortunate as a young Christian to have a pastor who said to me, Mitch, God is not bothered by your questions.” He went on to assure me, “God made all of you. That includes your brain. He did not intend for you to park it at the door when you come to church.” What a blessing.

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The Shiny Side Up – Rev. Susan Sparks

Hi y’all, welcome to the Shiny Side Up! This is the fifth week in our nine-part series on change:

The real you
Risk
Us versus the world
Shake it up
Too late? Never

Letting go
Earned respect.
A break. Take it
Possibilities

It’s a classic excuse: “it’s too late.”  It comes clothed in many versions: I’m too old, the opportunity has past, I’m just not up to it, I don’t want to learn something new, people would think I’m crazy, I’m scared.

We’ve all done it.

But here’s the truth of the matter: to refuse an opportunity saying “it’s too late” is a choice. You can chase your dreams at any age, at any time.  For example, F.X. Toole made his literary debut at 70 years old, his first novel being the basis for the movie Million Dollar Baby.

Many of us tend to think that we can’t change, saying things like “chasing this dream doesn’t make sense at my age,” or “I’ve already started down one road, I don’t want to have to start over again.”

No one said the path to your dream would be a straight line. Look at my road: trial lawyer to standup comedian and Baptist minister. In fact, one of the things I’ve learned as a performer and comedian is that the ending of your act is the most important part. Even if you bombed in the beginning of the set, if you give them your best material at the end, that’s what they will remember.

In life it’s the same thing. Even if you messed up in the beginning, or made choices you regret, or let opportunities pass you by, it’s not too late. If you give the world your best stuff at the end, that’s what they’ll remember.

Below you will find videos, my blog and a press piece that offer additional inspiration. Until next week when we talk about Letting go, keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down! –Susan

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