Sheri Klouda surprised at fallout from her ‘removal’ at Southwestern

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.abpnews.com/www/1646.article

    Sheri Klouda surprised at fallout from her ‘removal’ at Southwestern
    By Hannah Elliott
    Published: January 25, 2007

    FORT WORTH, Texas (ABP) -- Sheri Klouda, a former professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said she lost her job teaching Hebrew in the seminary’s school of theology because she is a woman.


    But she wasn’t prepared for the fallout that followed.
    News of her story first broke on a Jan. 17 blog post by Oklahoma pastor Wade Burleson. In the entry, Burleson said Klouda, who had received numerous grants and awards throughout her collegiate and seminary years, was dismissed by President Paige Patterson because of her gender.

    The school didn’t want women teaching men in the theology department, Burleson asserted.
    Public outcry at the dismissal, chronicled in reports in the Dallas Morning News and Religion News Service, has given the issue unexpected prominence.

    “It just kind of ballooned,” Klouda said, adding that the situation “got bigger” than expected. “The Southern Baptist Convention and Southwestern are all so big, and I’m so little. I’m just one person.”

    What’s more, she said, she was scared her story would first be told on a blog post. Some bloggers use their web sites to further personal agendas, and that was something she wanted to avoid, she said.

    “When I originally heard that the blog was going to come out, that was scary to me,” she said. “I was concerned because I didn’t want to be used to promote another agenda. And, you know, people pretty much just discount blogs as not really reliable information.”

    Southwestern officials have said Burleson’s blog contained unspecified “inaccuracies” and denied the claims that Klouda’s departure involved her gender. Patterson and a seminary spokesperson did not return phone calls requesting comment.
    Klouda maintains that the information chronicled on Burleson’s blog is reliable. Baptist bloggers Benjamin Cole and Marty Duren also posted corresponding stories about her tenure at Southwestern on their blogs, baptistblog.wordpress.com and sbcoutpost.com, respectively.

    Klouda joined the school in a tenure-track position in 2002. In 2003, Paige Patterson, who had recently been hired as the school’s president, personally assured her the administration change would not jeopardize her position, she said.

    A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Patterson is known for his conservative interpretation of a 1 Timothy passage that he says prohibits women from having “authority” over men in the church. The SBC’s Baptist Faith and Message says that the office of church pastor is “limited to men.”

    While Klouda was initially allowed to teach men, Patterson and Southwestern now interpret the Timothy passage to mean that only men can instruct future pastors, according to a seminary official.

    Burleson and other critics insist that interpretation is an unnecessary narrowing of the "parameters" of leadership and participation in the SBC.

    After learning in 2004 that she would not get tenure at the school, Klouda’s contract was terminated in December of 2006. She has since received a teaching position at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. Her house near the Texas school remains for sale.

    Klouda and her husband have drastically reduced their asking price for the house but have yet to sell it, she said. She called the continuing house payments and a poor economic situation in Indiana “a little bit of a struggle” for her family of three. Klouda’s husband has a chronic illness that prevents him from consistent work.

    “We’ve lost all of our equity in that house,” she said. “My husband put in all the money that his dad left him when he passed away. I didn’t anticipate that I would have to be carrying the house payment on for this long.”

    Still, Klouda holds no bitterness against the school, where she received her doctoral degree. She called her education there “good” and met many people who played integral roles in her academic and professional development, she said.

    Klouda has a solidly conservative background -- she attended Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, and said she believes the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, which she signed to teach at Southwestern. But she sees a “total difference” between the role of women in educational institutions and the role of women as senior pastors, she said.

    “I think the role of women in the academy differs from the role of a woman who would seek to serve as a senior pastor,” she said. “We’re talking about [the difference between] a local church and what they decide in their church polity and the role of a professor in an academy. That role is different than in a church. You can’t take the role of pastor and superimpose it to the role of professor in the academy.”

    In a recent blog post, Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla., said he believes the issue is not about women pastors. The seminary is not a church, and Klouda is not a pastor, he said. And neither the Bible nor the convention forbid a woman from teaching Hebrew and theology, he added.

    “Some are of the opinion that a woman should not be in the position of professor in a school of theology, but when we let the opinions of a few select men become policy or dogma for the entire convention, then the fabric of our cooperation is ripped to shreds,” he wrote.

    As a mother, Klouda said, she teaches her daughter to “think for herself” and “look at what God’s Word says in light of herself.” But that doesn’t always assuage the feelings of the 15-year-old who had to switch schools during her teens because of the family's move.

    “She’s a young person and has her own opinions,” Klouda said. “To her it’s just an injustice. She thinks it’s unfair. She thinks it’s wrong. She thinks this should have not happened. She thinks, ‘They ruined my life too….’”

    “I just don’t see how the decision was really thought through about the implications for me and my family,” she said. “It was really a decision made on principle, but it didn’t take into consideration many other factors.”

    Cole, the Texas blogger, has filed complaints with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and Association of Theological Schools, the two agencies that accredit the seminary. Klouda said she didn’t know whether she’d do the same with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or other academic bodies.
     
  2. gb93433

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    The article stated, "While Klouda was initially allowed to teach men, Patterson and Southwestern now interpret the Timothy passage to mean that only men can instruct future pastors, according to a seminary official."

    If the SBC really believes that then they are the biggest hypocrites to walk the earth. If they really no woman should ever teach any future pastor then no woman should be in any nursery or ever teach any male from the cradle to the grave. Furthermore Mrs. Criswell at FBC Dallas has been sinning all these years because she has been teaching Sunday School to men and women. Both her and her deceased husband must be labelled as liberals then. He allowed it and she taught.
     
  3. Grasshopper

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    Totally agree.

    BTW, Mrs. Criswell died recently if I remember correctly. We need more Wade Burlesons and fewer Paige Pattersons.
     
  4. TaterTot

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    Thats just it, we don't. :rolleyes:
     
  5. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Patterson must be having a memory lapse as well as theological confusion because there are women professors teaching future pastors in the religious education school.
     
  6. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    Actually this is held many many folks in the SBC. As it should be.
     
  7. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Held them in for keeping up a fight or because they support Patterson? Why does SWBTS have women teaching music and religious education to future pastors?
     
  8. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    Gb - I am confused! Can women teach men or not?

    ;)
     
  9. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Some men cannot be taught anything while others are eager to learn from anyone God places in their path.

    There is a huge difference between teaching a subject and pastoring. Pastors must be able to teach but teachers do not need to be able to pastor.
     
  10. Joseph M. Smith

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    Well, but the teaching of Biblical and theological material is somehow more sensitive than religious education, music, or other skill sets. I don't give any credence, personally, to the "men must not be taught by women" stuff, particularly as Paul told us it was his own practice, but there is nothing to specify that it should be normative in the churches.

    As for the Klouda situation, as it does appear to be inconsistent with SWBTS's history, one wonders whether there is another "shoe to drop". Are we hearing the real reason she was denied tenure?
     
  11. gb93433

    gb93433
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    The same reason why Karen Bullock taught Baptist and church history. The other reason is that they can get by with a lower standard than the world in their unethical behavior.

    Ask why the former registrar was removed when he noted the substandard academics and placed in the classroom. Then the program he was in was removed.

    W.A. Criswell one of the former SBC presidents had his wife teaching an adult Sunday School at FBC Dallas to men and women for years. He was one of the main leaders in the conservative resurgence.
     
  12. preachinjesus

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    agreed, it is a limited exegetical endeavor to suggest otherwise

    I think the saddest thing is that the founder of Southwestern, BH Carroll, couldn't get a professorship there these days.

    He was divorced and smoked fine cigars...amongst other "horrid vices" within the SBC these days.

    The real reason is that she is a woman. One must wonder if she asked to take a reduction in salary or even move to part time role so she could just teach women in their "special school" for pastors' wives if they would have allowed her?

    The things we do to our women, must make God very proud of us...[note irony]

    One need only remember the Dr. Karen Bullock situation where she was the best chapel speaker one semester and gone within two. Purely a gender thing at work.
     
  13. go2church

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    Where was Burleson when this was all going down? Where the voices of disgust when folks where voting to exclude women from ministry? Did they really think dear Paige Patterson would not take it this far, or that he was a man of his word and could be trusted? Did they not read their history?
     
  14. Karen

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    That's a little unfair to blame one of the main people bringing this to light.
    But I expect the answer is that he was at his church in OK.
    Just like you are at your church.

    Keep in mind that the "conservative resurgence" is 30 some years old.
    Many of the "young" bloggers were kids then.
    Until recently Burleson had no national voice. Without Marty Duren and blog development for SBC pastors, he still wouldn't have, I think.
     
  15. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76
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    Ditto.

    Organizations can't think. Only individuals can. If I were here, I'd talk to the EEOC. That or send over a crate of covered dishes and some fried chicken with gravy--that ought to endear her to the SBC people!

    (I'm being a smarty-pants! Our church is SBC)
     
  16. gb93433

    gb93433
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    There were people who did say something and were ignored.

    Several of the faculty did distrust him and left SWBTS. Some went to B.H. Carroll Institute and others took early retirement. Look at the turnovwer rate among the faculty. Shouldn't that say something? Why do you think the trustess did not want Dilday to say anything once he was fired. They wanted to pay him hush money.

    Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

    The SBC leadership is all about image and politics. They are unwilling to face the facts.

    Anytime a man will live lavishly at the expense of others and be called a leader ought to remind us of the book of Amos and what God thinks of that.

    Hebrews 13:7 "Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith."

    His actions show his heart and conduct.
     
  17. gb93433

    gb93433
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    In about 1974 Peter Lord spoke out against some of the hyposcrisy in practice among the churches. If churches have unethical practices why would they be exepcted to speak against someone else who is just like one of them.

    A lot of SBC folks are Baptist Catholics. They have the written doctrine of Baptists and are loyal as Catholics believing everything they are told.
     
  18. go2church

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    Is it still a resurgence if afterwards you wish you could un-surge? Seems like to me there is some buyers remorse going in SBC land. Churches are stalled, people are leaving and leadership is lacking...so glad I didn't drink the Kool-aid Rogers, Patterson, and the like where selling!
     
  19. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    This is correct. 30 years ago, those in favor bring the SBC back from the brink of liberalism did so by working to distribute homemade newsletters, speaking in churches, sending video tapes around (K.Chafin's infamous appearance on Donahue comes to mind) to Sunday school classes, etc... It took a long time and was somewhat costly.

    The irony is that those who worked to inform Southern Baptists 30 years ago are now in power (Patterson) and speak out against the bloggers...bloggers who are doing the same thing that Patterson & Co. did 30 years ago but with a speed and an autonomy unheard then.

    They were instrumental in getting the word out about the poor CP participation by SBC leadership and candidates for SBC president in 2006. And it appears that this was just the start.

    I predict that many SBC leaders will continue to circle the wagons, try to paste negative labels on bloggers, and hope to ride out this latest wave of attention. It won't work. Arrogance, in any form, is never attactive, especially in Christian agencies that rely upon the support of local churches.
     
  20. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Liberalism was never present at SWBTS. There was nothing to turn around there.
     

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