During the Tuesday afternoon session of #SBC19, my wife, Rhonda, shared with me a story of an incident which happened during the voting for Registration Secretary in the BJCC Arena—that section of the Convention Labyrinth in which the meeting is held. There were two candidates, Don Currence (the current RS) and Kathy Litton (to borrow from my friend, Brent Hobbs’ bio on her: “She currently works with NAMB as director of church planter spouse development. Litton is known across the convention for her leadership and teaching among SBC women.” She is also the wife of Pastor Ed Litton).
During the voting, Rhonda was up on the concourse level…charging my phone which was just about dead. She stepped back into the arena as the nomination speeches were finished to hear the instructions about marking her ballot for this vote, and…well, let me have her share this:
Well, we have come a long way in the life of the SBC…but, apparently, we still have a ways to go. What do I mean when I say that?
As a messenger for our church, today I was listening to the nomination speeches for the two people desiring to serve as SBC Registration Secretary. For the first time ever a woman’s name was on the ballot. After listening to the instructions about how to mark our ballot, I made my vote. I am a messenger. This is my responsibility and right. An older gentleman was standing next to me and said, “I am so tired of women wanting to further themselves. They need to sit down.” I was shocked…and appalled. I turned to him and said, “Excuse me?” He went on to tell me that I needed to just go sit down. Women are not qualified and have no place serving in leadership positions in the convention. To call this conversation a blessing…well, that’s not what I was thinking. The word ‘outrage’ is a bit more like it.
Then it hit me—he must know how I voted, so I asked him how he knew who I voted for. He told me he looked. Yep, he was apparently needing to share his valuable and unquestionable opinion with me! SO, I explained that I voted as I saw fit for the person I believe will best serve our convention in the role of registration secretary. He proceeded to continue explaining that Kathy Litton simply isn’t qualified. Things just needed to be left as they were. I replied that there were many men desiring to serve or serving in positions of leadership that I didn’t think were qualified to be serving either. This gentlemen then bid me good day and told me, once again in a very snarky manner, that I was wrong and shouldn’t be able to speak. One of the things I thought as he walked away was, “Yikes!”
Needless to say, I have never encountered anything like this at any of the annual meetings we’ve been to. I was shocked…dumbfounded…frustrated…and outraged. Earlier this day, we had been at the Baptist21 lunch. JD Greear said that for so long the SBC, namely in relation to leadership, has been a big, “good ol’ boys” club and asked, “Where can women serve?” Many positions have been defaulted to men over the years…but why? Nothing in our governing documents or Scripture eliminates women from serving in positions of leadership in the convention. Also at the B21 panel discussion, Dr. Danny Akin said, “Women can hold a lot of positions and should…within the SBC and within our churches.”
SO, Wow! That encounter was…was…unique, and one I hope is soon to fade away from every corner of our convention.
The best I can do right now is to shake my head in absolute shock…and then laugh. The absurdity of this encounter is as real as the offense of it. To hear that we have people in our beloved SBC who have unbiblical views of women, minorities, justice, or abuse is one thing. To see it firsthand just proves that the work to be done is needed…and worth it.