Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Shepastor: “Adopting MLK’s Concept of Becoming the ‘Beloved Community…' ”

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 NIV

This past week, our Nation celebrated the life, legacy and spirit of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of Dr. King’s penetrating ideologies was the concept of the “Beloved Community.” In today’s Shepastor, we take a look at this imagery in light of opening doors for women in ministry and recommendations for our advocates…

Excerpts from Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors, author, Christine A. Smith, Judson Press, 2013, pp 145-146

Create a Beloved Community

I have heard it said that we need to be the beloved community
that we talk about. The idea of the beloved community as
advanced by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a vision
for integration that surpassed legislative procedures of desegregation
and embraced true interrelatedness. While Dr. King was
referring to racial integration, the concept is also appropriate for
bringing about equality and integration of women into the pastoral
In order to press on, the need is for more than rules and regulations
that may begin the process but will not be transformative
in the long run. What is needed is a change of heart and attitude
through love. Kenneth L. Smith and Ira G. Zepp Jr. suggest,
“Whereas desegregation can be brought about by laws, integration
requires a change in attitudes. It involves personal and
social relationships that are created by love—and these cannot
be legislated.”4

As advocates work to create broader opportunities for women to
become senior pastors, consideration must be given to the most
effective ways to bridge the gap between functional togetherness
and oneness. Women must not be merely thrust into positions, but
rather, time must be taken to cultivate an appreciation of the value
they bring to the ministry. Through education (scriptural teachings
and social awareness of the leadership roles women have held
historically), through example (placing women in leadership roles
based upon their gifts and talents), and through opportunity (calling
upon women to preach, teach, pray, read Scripture, preside at
business meetings, be part of decision making), perceptions will
begin to change and a willingness to accept women as pastors will
ultimately increase.
To further expand upon King’s concept of the beloved community,
Smith and Zepp state:

Behind King’s conception of the Beloved Community lay
his assumption that human existence is social in nature.
“The solidarity of the human family” is a phrase he frequently
used to express this idea. . . . This was a way of
affirming that reality is made up of structures that form an
interrelated whole; in other words, that human beings are
dependent upon each other. Whatever a person is or possesses
he owes to others who have preceded

If we are to be the beloved community, we must follow the
Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto
you.” Women and men in the ministry must not simply tolerate
one another, but out of a common purpose they must strive to open
doors of opportunity where padlocks exist. Love must not cover
but transform attitudes of chauvinism, sexism, separatism, and elitism
to attitudes of equality, togetherness, mutual support, and lifting
as we climb.
End quote

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Until Next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent application of the "beloved community" to opportunities for women pastors. Thank you, Pastor Chris!