(For those who have known me for years. let me explain. Two and a half years ago I became a member of a young church plant in Asheville, Emmaus Asheville. Emmaus is part of the Summit Network out of Raleigh, and therefore a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. So after 31 years as a member of the Presbyterian Church in America, I jumped denominations. It was a hard decision but Matt and I fell in love with the mission, culture, and people of Emmaus and felt God calling us there. Therefore, as a member of the SBC, I signed this letter.)
Dear Paige Patterson-
I signed the letter.
I signed the letter because I am a member of a church that is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention and I believe that God has put me in this place for such a time as this.
I signed the letter because I have a voice and choose to speak up. I must speak up.
I signed the letter because the objectification of women has to stop. Because the mistreatment of women has to stop. Because the abuse of women has to stop.
I signed the letter because I have had a front row seat to the devastation of abuse in women I love dearly and I know well that abuse of any kind, be it physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual, financial, can wound or kill the body of the abused but will always, always wound or kill the spirit of the abused.
I signed the letter because I have watched women in abusive marriages treated with disbelief, disrespect, contempt.
I signed the letter because I have seen pastors and people within the Body of Christ ill-equipped to handle the destructive and complex issue of abuse and do more harm than good.
I signed the letter because I am tired of the church giving grace to the abuser and law to the victim.
I signed the letter because I am tired of the church putting the institution of marriage above the care of the people within the marriage.
I signed the letter because an abusive marriage is not a picture of Christ and his church. It is a picture of hell.
I signed the letter because I have wondered why men coming out of seminaries are so arrogant and yet so ignorant of issues such a abuse. Now I know. If the leaders do not show Christlike love and compassion and care toward the sheep, neither will the shepherds they train.
I signed the letter because your attitudes that you have expressed show me nothing of the character of God.
I signed the letter because I believe that the pushback and criticsim you have received, that you labeled an attack and circled the wagons, was instead a calling out of your very own sinful behavior and attitudes.
I signed the letter because I am actively, in my own small voice of one, asking you to humble yourself, step down from your position of leadership, and seek the forgiveness of the God you profess for your own sins against women.
I signed the letter because I have a hope, a flailing one, but still a hope, that the views within the church are changing and that one day women will be seen and treated in every way, with the utmost care and respect.
I signed the letter and would like to call all my brothers and sisters within the SBC to do the same. To turn the tide. To bring hope. To be Jesus to each other and to a hurting world.