I was reading Cheryl Schatz's blog and came across a comment by Lydia regarding the official biography of Dorothy Patterson, wife of Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Lydia pointed out that Dorothy Patterson's biographical sketch reveals she shared "a midnight banquet with Yasser Arafat in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces." Incredulous, I went and read the offical biography for myself, which further revealed, "Dr. (Dorothy) Patterson has traveled to more than 75 countries; she met with Pope John Paul in his private apartment in the Vatican; she served as Chair for President Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Bible Committee and was received in the Oval Office; she has had coffee with former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in his Knesset office; she’s been the guest of Yaser Arafat at a midnight banquet in Saddam Hussein’s palace guest house in Baghdad. "
Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini is the full name for the now dead terrorist known to the world as Yasser Arafat. My friend, Mosab Yousef, has made clear to me the atrocities performed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization and other terrorist organizations in the Middle East, particularly the physical abuse and mistreatment of Arab women. Without a doubt, Mrs. Patterson believes the mistreatment of women by Yassar Arafat and the PLO to be as evil as we all believe it to be. That's not the issue. Mrs. Patterson has established herself at the head of a growing movement in the Southern Baptist Convention which encourages everyone to adhere to quiverfull theology, patriarchal leadership and family integrated worship. In this environment, children and women are seen and instructed, but not to be heard. Men relate to men, and women to women, with the woman having no authority over, nor right to teach those of the opposite sex spiritual truth. The head (the man) votes for the family, and the girls serve the father. For those who have a hard time imagining this movement in churches, just spend a few minutes reading some really powerful writings of women who have escaped this suffocating ideology--here, here and here.
Dorothy Patterson, a self-professed "homemaker" and outspoken advocate of all things patriarchal in the SBC, puzzles me by placing "sharing a midnight buffet with Yasser Arafat in Saddam Hussein's palace" on her biographical sketch. It's not that I think she should not list the banquet or her travels to 75 countries as some of her accomplishments; it's just that the events seem incongruous and incompatible to the image Mrs. Patterson wishes on all other Southern Baptist women--as well as the image she claims for herself through her outspoken ideology. If Mrs. Patterson's life, as she would have everyone believe, is that of the consumate "homemaker," then I would encourage Southern Baptist women everywhere to model Mrs. Patterson's life (as listed on her biographical sketch) and ignore her teachings.
We need more women leaders, more powerful and influential females, more movers and shakers from the female gender, women like Mrs. Patterson, within the SBC. I commend her for her midnight buffet with Yasser Arafat. One of these days I'd like to know what was actually said over the fondu.
But the problem we have in the SBC right now is that people like Mrs. Patterson seem to have the dysfunction of denying what is true in practical reality and espouse an ideology based on a radical, theoretical, impractical--and may I say unbiblical--ideology of male headship.
I simply suggest that if one refuses to live it, then don't teach it.
In His Grace,