As I travel the country, I get to meet all sorts of new people. I am writing this from Franklin, TN, in some coffee shop in the middle of downtown. Franklin has a rich history. Nov. 30, 1864 a great big battle took place during the Civil War. Thousands of people died here, just like many of the battlefields of the Civil War. I don’t know why they call it the “civil” war, there wasn’t anything “civil” about it.
I really enjoy old towns because of the architecture and stories. One of my favorite places is the old cemetaries, and Franklin has some very nice ones with people dating back to the Revelutionary War burried here. I got to the cemetary just as the sun was setting. Perfect time. Unfortunately, the only camera I have was my phone. I think it did pretty good though.
Right about in the ceenter of the cemetary is pillar which has been knocked over. It is a pillar from the original capital building if I remember right. It is here devoted to an unknown soldier. The wall around the cemetary is perfect too since it is just a bunch of stones sort of thrown together. The cemetary too, is prettyy delapidated, but that is what gives it character.
What really brought me to Franklin, TN, is a church. Patrick Mead is the preacher here, and he is somebody tthat I listen to just about every week for going on three years. In a way Patrick restored my hope for Churches of Christ. Even though I doubt Patrick even knows who I am, I have been strongly influenced by his writing and speaking. I have been transforming from my legalistic past for a long time. People like Leroy Garrett, Carl Ketcherside, Rick Atchley, Mike Cope, Jeff Walling, Rubel Shelly, and more recently Patrick Mead, and several others, have shown me there is still hope for my spiritual heratage. The fact is I think we were all thinking independently along the same lines.
This congregation has a deep history in the resoration movment all the way back to Alexander Campbell himself. Ressently it came under fire when Laura King did a sermon with Patrick. This was recorded and placed on YouTube which caused such a controversy that the video was removed. This is not the only one pushing a bigger role for women in the Churches of Christ, but it may be the most publicized. The whole congregation faced some very brutal attacks. But they did not strike back. They offered an explanation in love and went on with business as usual.
The fight over the women issue will continue. I consider myself a casualty of the fight myself since it was teaching on the subject that lead to my termination. I was not pushing for the change, I merely wanted to explain where the people were coming from on both sides of the issue. That is just too close for comfort for a traditional congregation. Silence the teacher before he has the chance to convince anyone.
Since I am not woman, and I don’t really prefer women preachers, how a congregation sides on the issue is not all that significant to me. However, when we can’t discuss Biblical matters in a loving and sincere way, it is a clear sign something is drastically WRONG!!!
It’s a sensative issue and will remain as such. There are sincere people with a commitment to biblical authority on both sides of the issue. It is much more complicated than most people realize. My greatest concern is when Christians reach a point that they are no longer willing to listen to each other.