Your Voice

Your Voice

Help kids find healthy balance, pastor pleas

Dear youth and school sports directors, coaches, administrators and volunteers,

As a parent, I am grateful for sports in our communities and the positive benefits our kids glean from the time invested.

Our younger kids and older students can learn a great deal about responsibility, sportsmanship, teamwork, respect for authority, sacrifice, disappointment, resilience, hard work, respect and so much more from sports.

Our communities benefit from youth and school sports by bringing people together. Friendships from ball fields, dugouts, sidelines, benches and bleachers are built that last lifetimes.

Now more than ever, our kids need to learn the benefits of physical activity and exercise.

Valuable lessons

Lessons learned from sports carry over into many areas of our lives. We cannot ignore the influence that professional athletes have on our society and especially our kids.

Sports are great, and thank you for investing in our kids!

Churches are thankful for the opportunity to partner with your teams and organizations in making our communities better and providing opportunities for our kids.

Churches have volunteered at your games to run the concession stands. Churches have fed your players and coaches. Churches have given money for your ads. Churches have allowed your teams to use our facilities for practices and events.

But as a Christian, pastor, father and church member who has supported organized sports my whole life, I have to speak up.

Gathering is essential

It is necessary for churches to gather on Sundays and Wednesdays (or other days during the week) for the benefit of believers and for the church’s mission to be accomplished.

When youth sports, community leagues, travel ball and school teams expect their players and coaches to attend games, practices, camps and events on Sundays and Wednesdays, this hurts the local church.

Just like players need to be at practices and games, church members need to gather to worship, pray, fellowship, learn and serve together.

Coaches, do not be surprised when families attend church and players arrive late or miss your practices and games on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Priorities in life must be set, and boundaries must be enforced.

Our kids should not have to struggle with the decision to miss out on a game or to attend church.

There should be a healthy balance for players to be committed to both the local church and their team.

Churches are more than willing to partner with your teams and organizations. We love it!

When those same teams and organizations start requiring Sunday and Wednesday participation, it becomes much harder to get the full support of churches and Christian families.

Sports directors, coaches, school administrators and league volunteers, let’s continue to partner together.

Let’s stop trying to compete for our kids’ time during the week and on weekends.

Christian families and churches love our communities. We pray for your success. We want to help. We want every kid to have the opportunity to enjoy sports. We want your teams and organizations to win on and off the field.

Top priority

Most importantly, we want our kids to grow up knowing that Jesus Christ and our commitment to Him should be the greatest priority in life, and that includes our commitment to gathering with our church on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Help us win at that. If our kids succeed in knowing the ultimate purpose in life is to love our Savior and live for Him, then we all win.

Pastor Andy Frazier
Grace Baptist Church, Sumiton

God is using students to reach the campus and the world!

Chris Mills
Student missions mobilizer

“Serving in ministry, one of the great joys is always seeing when those you are leading have their ‘aha’ moments — the times when their faith connects to their service, and they see God at work around them, through them and in them,” said Scott Underwood, associate pastor of worship and students at First Baptist Church Florence, Alabama.

“God can take a piece of scrap, heat you up and forge or form you into something of value,” explained Daniel Long, a member of Grace Life Baptist Church in McCalla. Long makes small metal crosses in the kiln in his garage.

What is the goal of your life? What is the goal of the church? The goal is to bring glory to Christ by being, winning and making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Wade Wallace
Calvary Baptist Church
Russellville, Ala.

Responses to letter opposing overturning of Roe

EDITOR’S NOTE — We received several responses to Amanda Oliver Hendricks’ letter regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade printed in the July 21 Your Voice section. Here are excerpts from those responses.

As I sit in my office at church and open my paper (that’s what I call The Alabama Baptist), I grieved when I read a letter to the editor by Amanda Oliver Hendricks.

I read her words, and I try to understand where she is coming from so I don’t simply react and say something callous or unloving.

She says in her letter it is possible to be pro-choice and not pro-abortion. She even says you can be pro-life and pro-choice at the same time. I disagree with both of these theories. Pro-choice is a belief that women have the right to abort their unborn baby. Pro-life and pro-choice are antithetical to each other. …

Hendricks goes on to give an example of a young girl who is sexually assaulted in a church and gets pregnant, and … is forced to carry this baby and is shunned by the church. Then the question is asked “Would you talk to her? Would you ask her to trust the Lord when the man who hurt her loves Him, too?”

I hate assault of any kind. Physical, emotional, sexual — all of it is wicked. And all who commit these acts need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

I pray someone in this situation would be loved and protected by the church … and the one who assaulted her would be put in prison and punished. I pray she would be told that what happened to her in the church was wrong and not what God wants for her. But I also pray her baby would be given the right to live and be adopted. …

I celebrate the SCOTUS decision not in the face of rape victims who get pregnant or friends who are pro-choice. I celebrate because all life is valuable. I celebrate because being pro-life saves more lives than being pro-choice. I am sorry there are women who don’t feel free, but think of that little woman in the womb who will now get a chance to live. I bet she will feel free.
Pastor Robert “Robby” Joplin
Macedonia Baptist Church
Gadsden, Ala.

I am disappointed to see you print a letter from someone who says you can be pro-choice and pro-life at the same time and that a Christian can be pro-choice. It’s not possible. God makes no mistakes, and only He can make a baby. No matter how you got pregnant, God knew that baby even before it was in your womb. It was created in His image, and He has plans for it, and you have no right to murder this blessing from God.
Larry Carmichael
Montgomery, Ala.

The letter to the editor about Roe v. Wade in the July 21 issue of The Alabama Baptist … is representative of the ideological and theological mindset of many within our ranks. … It is soaked in feminist rhetoric and viewpoints. It bears the hallmarks of the social justice gospel and employs several erroneous tactics that are becoming all too familiar. … With humility and prayerfulness, I offer these thoughts. …

The name Christian must mean something. … That special name is reserved for those who are united by unchanging truths about God and His will for mankind as revealed in the Holy Bible. The name means we agree to be governed by His laws. The Christian faith is not an a la carte religion to select beliefs to fit personal preferences or cultural pressures.

The name Southern Baptist must mean something. … Southern Baptists rejoice unapologetically whenever righteousness triumphs over evil, life over death. …

Faithful Christians must ask some impolite questions here. Exactly how is this court ruling a “dagger to the woundedness of women”? Why are Christian women mourning, sad, dismayed and “kicked in the gut over those rejoicing”? …

Another emotional appeal is in the insinuation that Southern Baptist women are oppressed. The writer even makes a blanket accusation that Southern Baptist men do not believe in, support or value women.

We must ask, who are these men? Our fathers, our sons, our husbands, our brothers, our grandfathers, our pastors? No! What a mistaken and unfair characterization of the very same men who, with few exceptions, would die to protect their women.

Finally, the letter strongly suggests our SBC president is unqualified to speak about abortion because “he has never been a woman.” So men cannot clearly understand the sixth commandment (to not murder) because they are not women?

God help us if we apply that logic to other moral issues such as homosexuality and transgenderism. We must not allow the absolute, eternal, unchanging moral standards of God Almighty to be hijacked by the “lived experiences” of an endless number of identity groups.

To be faithful to the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ, we desperately need a call to action from our pulpits and pews. Who will stand and say no to this soul-damning ideology that has cast a spell over our denomination?
Jeannie King
Jasper, Ala.

I would like to suggest that every Christian carefully reread Luke 2:26–45. When did the earthly life of Jesus begin? Where would you be if Mary had aborted our Savior and Lord?
Billie Blackburn
Athens, Ala.

If a person has Jesus in their heart and their life has changed, they will not even contemplate destroying one of God’s most precious creations. Attending a microbiology lab years ago, some class had left jars containing these little lives on display on the front table. They ranged in size from about thumb size to near full term. It was sad and disturbing to see such a sight.

My thought at the time was to wonder how they would have turned out if given the chance. Yet, for the sake of being inconvenienced as a result of their actions, the mothers chose to end these lives. I find it inconceivable that a Christian would choose anything other than life.
Sam Sharpe
Black, Ala.

The taking of life at any age is caused by sin. If we were all living lives pleasing to God, neither Hendricks’ letter nor mine would be needed.

I’m not smart enough to understand most of life’s problems. I do know it is God’s domain to start life and to end life. The choice is not mine, yours or others.

Hendricks’ letter diverts attention from the issue of ending a baby’s life to the sin of abuse. Do not confuse the two separate sins. Concentrate on the ending of a life that God started.

The example used of the young abuse victim is very sad. It is also rare and the exception to the thousands of abortions that end a baby’s life “just because.” These rare exceptions being right or wrong are beyond me. … Abortion is about the baby. God started a new life. Does a woman have any right to end that life “just because”?
Tony Berry
Foley, Ala.

I applaud the Southern Baptist Convention, pastors of churches and other Christians, for celebrating the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

Scripture speaks to the value of life. The sixth commandment is “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). The Old Testament condemns pagan religious services in which there were child sacrifices.

Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” David wrote in a prayer in Psalm 139, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Babies were considered a gift from God by women in the Bible: Sarah and Hannah … and Elizabeth and Mary (mother of Jesus).

Abortion is a sin. Sexual acts outside of marriage are sins. Sexual indulgence is the “idol” of our culture. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9, “…Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers … will inherit the kingdom of God.”

There is forgiveness from God for those who regret participating in abortion or promoting abortion: doctors, medical staff, lawmakers, violent protesters, unwed parents, married parents.

Jesus was the substitute for sinners, taking the punishment for those who believe in His life, death and resurrection. Repent, turn from the sin of abortion and begin a new life with Jesus.

There is financial, spiritual, physical and social help to provide for babies saved from abortion, from the Department of Human Resources, churches, friends, relatives, adoption agencies, etc. Unborn babies deserve the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Faye B. Gaston
Union Springs, Ala.