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Naomi King Walker

White-biased imagery is common in our churches, but its inherent racism is much more subtle than the blatant sexist language and patriarchal imagery that is so dominant in our worship services and beyond. […] Read More

When a South Georgia congregation hired me in 1973 as their first full-time minister of music, Baptist women ministers were extremely rare. I had almost no female peers, anywhere. Needing community, I joined an all-male group of Baptist music ministers who gathered monthly for inspiration and support. Usually I was the only female in the […] Read More

During seminary, around 1990, I served a Louisville, Ky., church as associate minister of music. In addition, I had some children’s ministry responsibilities that included assisting our on-the-ball children’s Sunday school department director with her annual two-day educational/fun trip for older children. One summer, the director’s itinerary included a tour of Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave. Our […] Read More

What is the purpose of a choir during a worship service? Are church musicians even necessary for worship? Do they function primarily as leaders or as performers – or both? Music has always been an integral part of worship. There are more than 200 references to singing in the Bible, and it was common practice […] Read More

I was 12; my brother was 8. We rarely got along. We lived in a big house, which my family had converted into a mission chapel in Grand Island, N.Y. Sometimes, my brother and I played together – or tolerated each other, at least – for a while. “War” was an ever-present threat. I was the bossy […] Read More

Much has been written in recent years about the negative effects of using masculine imagery and pronouns when referring to God. The Scriptures tell us that God is neither male nor female because God’s nature encompasses both male and female characteristics. God is Spirit, indescribable. Yet when it comes to choosing words that speak of […] Read More

His name was Chris. I don’t remember his last name. He was about 8 years old and lived a few blocks from the Louisville, Ky., church where I served as associate minister of music. I only knew him a couple of months. Chris had the husky build of a future football player. His eyes shone […] Read More

Soul music. Then sings my soul. Soul searching. I’ve anchored my soul in the haven of rest. Put some soul into your singing. Deep in my soul. Soul Train. (Wow, I’ve dated myself with that one!) We hear the word soul a lot in our society, but its usage has shifted somewhat. Nowadays, when someone […] Read More

American schools have long taught the English grammar rule that allows the words “man” and “he” to refer to both males and females. This practice has evolved along a convoluted path. According to Carolyn Jacobson in the English department at the University of Pennsylvania, “man” was once a truly generic word referring to all humans. […] Read More

Language is powerful. In the broad sense, language as a communication tool takes many forms: behavior, expression, gesture, tone, words. Language has power to bless or curse, inspire or deflate, heal or wound, clarify or confuse, include or exclude. Theologian and hymn writer Brian Wren in “What Language Shall I Borrow?” says that “language has […] Read More