Ken the Baptist

While we are all frustrated, exhausted and disgusted by the public circus that surrounded the Terri Schiavo tragedy, we must not put this story to rest without some theological reflection. We dare not miss or dismiss such a poignant teachable moment.

Dr. Ken Massey, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Greensboro reflects in the "First Baptist News" newsletter.

This story is also a sad saga of hubris and humility. Plaintiffs, pundits, preachers and politicians rushed to moral high ground like crazed Carolina fans rushing the court after a national championship. All carried the flag of God and certainty to their lofty real estate. Given the number of people who have claimed this high and holy perch, it must be either very large or very crowded. What heights of hubris.

I didn’t see much humility in this story. Each side accused the other of “playing God.” Yet I never heard anyone question the modern medical techniques that “brought Terri back” from her initial heart failure. For most of human history, that event would have ended her life. Don’t we “play God” in a thousand different ways…calling it choice…healthcare…war…capital punishment?

But we aren’t God. Even humanity saved by grace is capable of great moral blindness and failure. A good dose of humility is what we need.

I am quite sure that Greensboro is unaware of how fortunate we are to have Massey installed as the spiritual leader of our First Baptist Church. Given the current state of conservative Christianity, we may well be one of the luckiest spiritual communities in America right now.

Massey isn't afraid of a diverse religious community. In fact, he embraces it. This improves life in our city in countless ways that go unnoticed.

If you don't believe me, ask your pastor/priest/rabbi/imam. I'll bet you $10 they know him. Think that holds true for the Baptist preacher in Greensboro, Georgia? Think again.

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