From the Music Ministry….

Baptist by Choice

Hi.  My name is Carey and I’m a Baptist.  (Hi, Carey).

You see, my father was a Southern Baptist pastor and so my father and mother raised my sister and me in what I have come to discover is a very questionable alternative lifestyle. That being the case, as a child of good Southern Baptist parents, I’ve been subjected to practices and attitudes and social norms of an alternative lifestyle.

I know things normal people do not know because I was raised a Southern Baptist. For example, I can still recite the Royal Ambassador Pledge. It, apparently, has become part of my long-term memory. I wonder what people will think when they visit me in the memory care unit, unable to tie my shoes, but still able to readily recite, “As a Royal Ambassador I will do my best . . .“ Also, I know what a Queen with a Scepter is. It is not an episode of The Crown. I participated in Bible drills. It is not related to hardware stores or fire drills.

As Southern Baptists we had our Meccas where we took an annual pilgrimage. There was one out West called Glorietta and one in the East called Ridgecrest. These were sacred places where sacred things took place. We had our Saints, but we didn’t call them Saints, we called them Foreign Missionaries and they were held in high regard and reverence.

It was nice in some ways. We all used the same hymnal, the same curriculum, the same offering envelopes, the same bulletin covers, the same choir music. It was nice in some ways. We didn’t have to think too much, just order whatever Nashville put out.

Now it’s different. Now we have to think about all that stuff. It used to be so much easier.

Yes, those were the days. But, since I’ve been unplugged from Southern Baptist because they essentially moved dramatically away from critical Baptist values, I’ve had to think about why I’m Baptist and I have decided I am still Baptist.  In this process I have discovered that I’m Baptist not because of the programs or the common educational material or the common hymnal, but rather because of what I believe. I can be Baptist without the programs from Nashville or the Baptist Meccas or the common hymnal or bulletin covers. I value the priesthood of the believer, Bible freedom, soul freedom, and local church autonomy. I found these to be much better reasons for being Baptist.