Posts Tagged president

Will Gender Equality Prevail? – Rev. Dr. Molly T. Marshall*- Triniterian Soundings

Will Gender Equality Prevail?

Many of us are still sleep-deprived after two weeks of political conventions.  Part pageantry, part spectacle, and part the inevitable chaos of democracy, these quadrennial gatherings summon our collective hopes and fears and urge us to take the long view.  The tensions of nationalism and globalism were on display, and we must not shrink from this sobering epoch.

Not surprising, it was deeply moving to me, along with many others, to witness the nomination of the first woman candidate for president.  Pent-up aspirations flooded the arena as well as those get-togethers assembled for the purpose of celebrating this historic moment.  Old women cast votes for their states and young women made speeches.  The optics were grand, but will gender equality prevail?

Gaining the vote in 1920, women can now vote for a woman.  Men can too, if they choose.  Secretary Clinton is not the first to run, and she stands on the shoulders of women like Belva Lockwood and the audacious Shirley Chisholm.  She ought to be on a stamp or something; preserving her legacy matters.



Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm – In 1972, she became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. (Wikipedia)


It has been a part of my life’s work to advocate for the God-given liberty of women to pursue any calling God sets before them.  Over these past nearly four decades in theological education, I have seen cracks in the stained-glass ceiling; however, the church has lost many good pastors because of stubborn resistance to the leadership of women.

In Sunday’s New York Times, Nicholas Kristof argued for the big upside of shattered ceilings.  In other words, when women claim their rightful place, men will benefit as well.  I quote from his column:

So to those men who worry about being hurt by the shards from one more shattered glass ceiling, I’d say: Not only is this inevitable, not only is it a matter of fairness, but the evidence is also overwhelming that when women gain power and a seat at the table, we men benefit as well.  So let’s relax and join the celebration.

Thankfully, Baptists and other faith traditions are witnessing a new generation of competent female congregational leaders.  Bursting with imagination and new expressions of leadership, these pastors are bringing renewal to congregations and embodying an inclusive vision that attracts younger adults.  It also attracts some of us feisty older adults, too.

Gender equality is at the center of the Gospel, as Jesus so remarkably demonstrates.  Even the Apostle Paul offers a vision of “all being one in Christ Jesus.”  Dismantling patriarchal structures continues to be a key issue of justice.  I invite you to continue this important work.

*Dr. Marshall was a favorite speaker at the John A. Hamrick Lectureship at First Baptist Church of Charleston. This article is used with her permission. Dr. Marshall is President of Central Baptist /Seminary.


Tags: , , ,

Thankful Thursday – Jimmy Carter

On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the gifts that former president Jimmy Carter brings to my life. Carol and I have just finished reading his devotional book, Through the Year with Jimmy Carter. It is an excellent distillation of his faith and values. I am inspired by the consistency with which he has lived his faith before, during and after his years in the White House. I am impressed that a world leader teaches Sunday school in a small rural Baptist church. Carol and I were blessed to hear him teach Sunday school a few years back. He made the beautiful wooden offering plates and the cross for the church with the tools given him by his staff when he left office. He and Rosalyn take their turns helping maintain the church functions. He is a celebrity and he uses that status to be a missionary to all those who visit his class. It is strictly a Sunday school class with no politics whatsoever. He is not ashamed to proclaim his Christianity nor is he ashamed to call himself a Baptist.

He is respectful of all those who come to hear him without regard to which faith tradition they claim. Although I have met him several times, I do not know him personally nor would he recognize or remember me; however, that does not lessen the gratitude I feel for his influence on my life. Carol and I were at the first New Baptist Covenant meeting in Atlanta that he created. He continues that effort today. In fact Robert Parham, Director of the Baptist Center for Ethics recently said, “Only Carter can herd a large number of opinionated, turf-protecting, anxiety-ridden Baptists into a common direction for righteousness sake. He did it again last week.”  His deep love for humanity has brought help, comfort and hope to millions of people around the world. He is a great peace maker. On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the contributions that former president Jimmy Carter continues to make to my life, the country and the world.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the importance of someone to our lives and to let her or him know of our appreciation. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad you did.

Tags: , , ,

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Carter

Today former president Jimmy Carter is 86 years young. I resisted the urge to call him Mr. President because he insists that we have only one president at a time. He is a remarkable man by any measure. There are those who think that he was not a very good president. I think time will prove them wrong. What I celebrate is the man himself – his great sense of personal and national values and his relentless search for a lasting peace. He is the kind of compasionate Christian I would like to be. When I think of Jimmy Carter, I think of a man who has been true to his beliefs for his entire life. In addition to that he is one heck of a Sunday school teacher. In March of this year, Carol and I had the great pleasure of hearing him teach at the Plains Baptist Church.

Tags: , , ,

Loving Beyond Your Theology

            If you have even glanced at the list of contributors to, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, you will have some idea of the joy I had in bringing this group together. Each one is a deeply devoted Christian with enormous talents. Some of them are extremely well known and the others should be. Dr. Jimmy Allen was one of the first to give me the thumbs up and a very enthusiastic response. His chapter dealing with putting the New Baptist Covenant Meeting together is wonderful reading. Now Jimmy is the subject of a new book, Loving Beyond Your Theology, published by Mercer University Press. What a wonderful title, but better still what a wonderful description of a man who has dedicated his life to creating a better world and a better religious climate. Jimmy Allen is a giant among giants. I first met him in 1986 when I went to Fort Worth, Texas to be interviewed about my book, Speaking in Church Made Simple. Today they would have just skyped me. Jimmy was the brains and heart behind the ACTS Network. In the new book Jimmy Carter gives a great deal of credit to Jimmy Allen for his election as president. These are two Christian leaders that we can trust.

            I am grateful to God for Bringing Jimmy Allen to me. We had a wonderful chance to get together at a meeting on Daniel Island. What a wonderful man. Read his chapter in my book and then read the new book about him, Loving Beyond Your Theology: The Life and Ministry of Jimmy Raymond Allen by Larry McSwain published by Mercer University Press.

Tags: , , , , , ,