I wonder if much of my anger
at what Baptist has come to mean in popular culture
has more to do with my fear of being pigeon-holed by such perceptions
than with the possibility that what Baptist means
might say more about God than me?
For in a culture that fearfully clusters into pockets of sameness—
that loudly rejects not just voices of dissent,
but also those of minor variations—
that judgmentally condemns the judgment of others,
and in partisan rhetoric reject the partisanship of others—
that does not risk claiming affirmations
big enough to encompass differences—
in such a culture, Baptists still include
both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Alliance of Baptists,
the Baptist Peace Fellowship and the hate mongers (my perception!)
in Kansas, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida (to name the most recent few!).
That says something, doesn’t it?—for those with ears to hear.
Maybe even something important.
And the divine challenge both to Baptists
and by Baptists to our wider culture
is that, in truth, God loves us all.
Or, more challengingly phrased, for us all:
God loves them too.