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Mary, I was raised as a Christian, but my parents did not live the faith. In some ways, that has been helpful to me. We joined good churches. My parents didn’t go much, but they took me, my brother, and my sister and dropped us off to attend SS and Church Training. All that changed when they separated and eventually divorced. I went to live first with an aunt and uncle, then with my paternal grandmother, and again with my aunt and uncle. Not only did they take us to church, they and my cousins were active in First Baptist Church of Lake City, SC. The church had outstanding teachers. In fact, many of the SS teachers were educators at the local public schools. Also, the pastors were simply wonderful. Dr. Bob Cuttino became a mentor for me, and it was Bob, a Yale Divinity School graduate, that practically insisted that I go to SBTS for my M.Div. training.
I’m amazed in this political season that the so called “Evangelical Right” ignores the teachings of Jesus. One leader said, “I love the commandment ‘an eye for an eye'”. He got plenty of “Amens” from the ER for that comment, and he has lived out that attitude. “If they hit me, I’m going to hit them harder.” The Evangelism (evangelíou) I was raised with does not allow this, yet the ER is rewarding that kind of proclamation. This is not the “Good News” of the Evangelism I love. I would call the church I belong to now, Crescent Hill Baptist, in Louisville to be Evangelist in the best sense of the word. We are an open and affirming congregation. Often we are “punished” for our “Good News” stances. We were kicked out of the KBC and the SBC a couple of years ago, because of our Good News stances. Chuckling as I type this. In my drinking days, I was kicked out of some pretty sleazy places and was embarrassed (not really true), but I was with a group for both the local group to kick us out and for the KFC vote to remove us. I was never so proud as to be kicked out of those two groups.