At a recent Deacons’ retreat we were asked to describe God with one noun and one adjective. I described God as the “unexpected amen.” For me, this sums up why I am at Broadway. Let me explain! I have been Baptist since before my mother was a thought in her mother’s mind. I am descended from generations of trail-blazing Baptist teachers and leaders. My grandfather was a pastor and President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. My grandmother who was born in 1926 earned a college degree – unheard of in those days! My great aunt, born in 1914, received a PhD and was Dean of Students at Georgetown College. I learned from my family to be an independent thinker and make choices rooted in Christian beliefs that make sense for me.
My entire family transferred to Broadway when I was two. The choice to stay has been mine. I was baptized when I was ten during a Christmas Eve service. Although I didn’t really need it for years, Broadway instilled in me a strong faith based on love that I have been able to lean on throughout my life. Unexpected amen!
It wasn’t until I went to a Baptist college that I realized the uniqueness of Broadway’s attitude toward faith and the world. I grew up understanding the spirit of love and the idea that Christians “are.” We are people who believe that love should be and is from God unconditionally. We are people who show compassion and do not pronounce judgment on others. At college, I realized that much of the Christian world is more concerned about “are not.” They are not people that dance, drink or hang out with people that might. They are not focused on unconditional love but feel that God’s love and acceptance is reserved for those who follow their rules. It was at my Christian school that my beliefs were challenged and my faith journey took root. The thoughtful prayers of my parents and church family got me through those years. Oh, and the Baptist Student Union who prayed for my soul the entire four years I was there!
Broadway’s music program is a true ministry to me. Through it I developed a love of music. The beautiful and multi-dimensional music I get to sing fills me with meaning and inspiration. Broadway’s minister of music, Roger Lamb, supported me through many difficult times in my life. Unexpected amen!
I know of no other church where I can look forward with such faith to the “unexpected amens” of God. Here I find my family, life-long friends, and my support system that has seen me through my Mother’s sickness and death, divorce, single parenting, mission projects and even house-boating adventures.
It’s the “unexpected amens” that keep me at Broadway. Where else would I have the opportunity to grow, sing and experience such compassion and unconditional love? Where else could I have developed a joy and faith based on the belief that God has the last word – and it’s not “judgment,” it’s “peace.” I continue to revel in the “unexpected amens” I experience at Broadway! I am excited to be a part of our congregation as we move forward raising new generations of Christians who “are.” AMEN and AMEN!