Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lottie Moon

I have taken this prose from Wikipedia. Denny Burk posted on Lottie Moon today. Thanks for the great idea.
    She had come to China to "go out among the millions" as an evangelist, only to find herself relegated to teaching a school of forty "unstudious" children. She felt chained down, and came to view herself as part of an oppressed class - single women missionaries. Her writings were an appeal on behalf of all those who were facing similar situations in their ministries. In an article titled "The Woman's Question Again," published in 1883, Lottie wrote:

    “"Can we wonder at the mortal weariness and disgust, the sense of wasted powers and the conviction that her life is a failure, that comes over a woman when, instead of the ever broadening activities that she had planned, she finds herself tied down to the petty work of teaching a few girls?"

    Lottie waged a slow but relentless campaign to give women missionaries the freedom to minister and have an equal voice in mission proceedings. A prolific writer, she corresponded frequently with H. A. Tupper, head of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board, informing him of the realities of mission work and the desperate need for more workers —- both women and men.
Lottie Moon is one more of those admirable 19th century feminists. To all those who exclaim at women who don't want to be stuck teaching a few girls, think of Lottie Moon.


J. K. Gayle said...

This is a much different history of Lottie Moon than many of us got as children (or get now as adults). My jaw just dropped as a read your use of the charged feminist label here. Thanks for posting on Lottie Moon and her brave, self sacrificing convictions!

RAs (Royal Ambassadors) and GAs (Girls in Action / Girls Auxiliary) in Southern Baptist life do learn about Lottie Moon. And churches today still remember her as the figurehead of the "Lottie Moon Christmas Offering." As a missionary kid in the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, I owe much of my education to Lottie Moon. My wife, a preacher's kid whose father worked in the home (i.e., U.S.A.) field, owes much to Annie Armstrong, an activist friend of Lottie Moon, and figure head of the "Annie Armstrong Easter Offering."

Sometimes, a complementarian will write to spin Moon or Armstrong. For ex., noting "parallels" between her own life and Armstrong's, one writer says: ""I specifically point out that God has an order, and men are those spiritual heads."

And the WMU, today, has to be rather benign in presenting Moon's and Armstrong's histories.

Fortunately, there are some doing the recovery work that wikipedia editors can present. (Note there's not yet a wikipedia article on Armstrong although there is a history of the WMU.)

Three good histories that begin the recovery work are:

T. Laine Scales's All That Fits a Woman: Training Southern Baptist Women for Charity and Mission, 1907-1926 and Margaret Bendroth's and Virginia Brereton's
Women and Twentieth-Century Protestantism
and Pamela Durso's and Keith Durso's Courage and Hope: The Stories of Ten Baptist Women Ministers.

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