A PUBLIC CONFESSION
(Editor’s Note: Meredith Stone, director of ministry guidance and instructor of Christian ministry and scripture at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon School of Theology, was guest speaker for an April 4 presentation at First Central Presbyterian Church. She was introduced by Jacob Snowden, the church’s director of Christian education. Following is his “confession,” which served as an introduction.)
By JACOB SNOWDEN
I have a confession to make: women, in seminary and elsewhere, are asked to study men in a way that men are not often asked to study women.
A distinct pleasure of my role at First Central Presbyterian Church is to invite and introduce engaging speakers to our Wednesday Night “Supper Studies.” Many of the speakers are friends of mine from hanging around Abilene Christian, Hardin-Simmons, and McMurry universities. On April 4, I had the opportunity to introduce Dr. Meredith Stone of Logsdon School of Theology. If you don’t know Meredith, then you should. Dr. Stone is homegrown in some ways. She graduated from the Logsdon School of Theology before going on to receive her PhD in biblical interpretation from Brite Divinity at TCU.
She now serves as director of ministry guidance at Logsdon and teaches there as well. As a gifted Baptist preacher, she served as the Women in Ministry specialist for Texas Baptists. As a gifted writer, she serves on the board of directors for the Baptist Standard, a Baptist newspaper, and she also served the Baptist World Alliance’s Commission for Christian Ethics.
When I prepared to introduce Dr. Stone, I was just putting the final punctuation on a sentence about how Meredith had been a marvelous mentor and role model to so many women at Logsdon when a wave of guilt hit me. I was writing only a partial truth. I had not invited Dr. Stone to First Central because she is an example to women; she also is an example to me! Meredith’s work and accomplishments are not only a service to women; they are a service to the whole church and to God’s work in the world. Meredith is a role model for me and for any minister—male or female—who has been called to do something that kicks at the goads of the status quo.
I came to a realization when writing Dr. Stone’s introduction about half truths and double standards. Women are given innumerable male role models. In seminary, women are required to read lots of male writers, hear male preachers, consider the leadership styles of men, and that’s not to mention the stories that have to be considered in scripture about men—Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, the Apostles, Paul, and John. Women, in seminary and elsewhere, are asked to study men in a way that men are not often asked to study women when we know that the world would be a much better place if they did.
People like Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Ella Baker, Sojourner Truth; women preachers who were martyred like Mary Dyer and Anne Hutchinson; Marie Curie, Queens Elizabeth and Victoria, Malala Yousafzai, and Aung San Suu Kyi have made considerable marks on the world; what a shame for boys not to know women can be such great role models and for girls not to know the histories of some of the great women who have gone before them. This is really my penance for almost saying that Meredith was a role model for women and not for me.
Thanks for hearing my confession.