running into presuppositions

I was running the other day,
engaged in one of the imaginary conversations
I often have while running.

We’ve been talking a lot at church about the pros and cons
of being identified as Baptist in our times.

A friend of mine, in a similar type church, commented,
“If they’re looking for Baptist, they’re not looking for us,
and if they’re looking for us, they’re not looking for Baptist.”

Are we making ourselves hard to find
for the folks out there who would like to find us?
Along with the growing sense that we are, there’s the anger—
less now, actually, at those who have undermined
so much of what was best about the Baptist heritage,
and more at a culture that accepts without question
the superficial soundbyte and the “representative” voice
of the one the popular media has deemed “representative.”

So in my imaginary conversation,
I responded to someone’s reaction
to discovering I’m Baptist by saying,
“If you judge me by your preconceived notions
of what baptists are, then you are
as judgmental as you presume me to be!”

I kind of liked that—smiled the rest of the run!


3 thoughts on “running into presuppositions

  1. I happened to read this post in the waiting room of my doctor’s office yesterday. During the exam, he ran through the usual questions about diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress, then asked me what I have going on in my life that I enjoy. I said “church” and listed all that my faith community means to me, what I receive and what I can give. “Which church?” he asked. Woodbrook, on Stevenson Lane. “What faith?” I hesitated and said baptist, but not the weird kind of baptist. “What’s the weird kind?” I briefly told him about southern baptists, then explained that at Woodbrook, we’re baptist but/and….
    He then told me this story: When he was in medical school in Washington state, he and some friends walked into a baptist church one Sunday. Five minutes into the service, the preacher got on a rant about rock and roll being of the devil. He and his friends left because “we looked like Chicago” (the rock band). He wondered if the church could have been southern baptist. Perhaps. Sad though, whatever kind of baptist. So I told him that there are baptist churches, like Woodbrook, who genuinely welcome all, even long-haired rock and roll loving doctors. (He wears his hair long in a pony tail down his back). He smiled.

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