Big Daddy Weave Makes West Coast News
Yep. In an article about the Baptist blogosphere, New Baptist Covenant, and dancing women ministers - I got a mention.
The Contra Costa Times is based in Walnut Creek, California and serves Contra Costa, Berkeley and San Francisco.
Below is the article.
Local Pastor Joins Online Outreach
By Rebecca Rosen Lum
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
The Rev. Angela Yarber says she is no one's idea of the quintessential Baptist minister.
But those who tapped the 25-year-old grad student to help unify a fractious group of progressive and moderate Baptists say that's partly what makes her a perfect fit.
"I absolutely adore debunking Baptist stereotypes," she said. "If you ask people to describe an average Baptist minister, they don't picture a feminist woman in her 20s who is also a dancer."
Yarber is one of 31 people nationwide blogging up the New Baptist Covenant, launched by former President Jimmy Carter and Mercer University President Bill Underwood to reclaim the faith from ultraconservatives.
From now until the Covenant's January 2008 convention in Atlanta, Yarber and her cyberspace compatriots will each be adding to their own blogs. Some of the postings appear at http://www.newbaptistcovenant. blogspot.com.
The writers say they had to take their battle for Baptist hearts and minds into the blogosphere. Web sites such as Beliefnet.com and Sojourners connect visitors -- Beliefnet gets some 3 million each month -- to blogs on all aspects of faith and public life. And blogs provide a straight shot to young believers, wrote another participant, Aaron Weaver of Waco, Texas, in his Thursday entry.
Conservative bloggers have been credited with securing the election of Frank Page as president
"The power of the blogosphere lies in its interconnection," Weaver wrote.
"Unfortunately, most moderate Baptists have not chosen to jump into the cutting-edge waters of the blogosphere to disseminate their views."
Critics have jeered at the political leanings of the covenant and the involvement of former President Bill Clinton. Page decried the covenant as a smokescreen for a left-wing political agenda.
The Baptist denomination encompasses a much broader range of believers than the image presented by the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, said Yarber, associate pastor for arts and education at Shell Ridge Community Baptist Church in Walnut Creek.
Southern Baptists have become synonymous with Republican conservatism, and also with a leadership model that many Baptists reject, she said.
"Central to Baptist belief is that every believer has direct access to God," she said. "In some (branches), there is a hierarchy of power where you are told what to believe or who to believe."
A Baptist pastor in Oklahoma said he launched the blogs so ideas -- and momentum -- could percolate up. His blog links to news stories, interviews and postings of participating bloggers.
"This is almost like a blank slate," said the Rev. Bruce Prescott, executive director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists and president of the Oklahoma chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"A top-down solution is not a Baptist solution," he said. "That's the best thing about the blogosphere. You get a logical, open-ended discussion about what Baptists can achieve, grassroots."
In search of an ordained Baptist woman, Prescott called Weaver, who connected him to the Mercer-educated Yarber.
"She is a very bright and talented young woman," Prescott said, "a very good representative of the quality and commitment of Baptist women who are being called to ministry."
Raised in a nonreligious family, Yarber said she felt a pull to faith at a conservative community church as a teen. Her own convictions came into a sharper focus later, and she went to seminary instead of majoring in musical theater.
"The hot-button issues can be divisive," Yarber said in her blog. "Global warming, the ordination of women and persons in the (gay) community, politics, war and racism. We cannot agree on all of these issues, but will we seek to ... bring about God's peace and justice here on earth?"
Rebecca Rosen Lum covers religion. Reach her at 925-977-8506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labels: New Baptist Covenant