The following tweet is about grapes.
I shit you not: It’s about grapes.
Let’s back up.
You need to understand the backstory here because it reveals so much about what infuriates Southern Baptists… and, by extension, what doesn’t.
Beth Moore is a Christian evangelist who preaches about the faith to a mostly female audience. Unlike other Southern Baptists with a large following, however, she’s publicly critical of Donald Trump as well as the denomination’s embrace of a right-wing agenda. As a result of the rampant racism, sexism, and sexual abuse, Moore left the Southern Baptist Convention last year in a well-publicized breakup.
A lot of Southern Baptist leaders were perfectly fine with that. They never liked that Moore had a platform at all because they believe only men ought to be preaching. They really didn’t like that she criticized some of their beliefs, including complementarianism, which basically holds that men and women are “separate but equal” in God’s eyes and has been used by conservative Christians to maintain traditional gender roles and prevent women from taking control of their lives or having careers.
(To be sure, none of this was new information. It’s not like the Southern Baptists got worse. They’ve always been this bad. Moore just didn’t figure it out, or call it out, until relatively recently. Some people say Moore didn’t criticize the SBC strongly enough. She’s also anti-abortion and not exactly an LGBTQ ally. She still holds a lot of really harmful beliefs.)
But the bottom line here is that Moore was seen as too liberal for Southern Baptists… and, therefore, a heretic. The criticism she’s received from more conservative men in the SBC has only elevated her status among many Christian women.
A few weeks ago, Moore posted this harmless personal tweet about growing grapes in her garden.
Speaking in fluent Christianese, she attributes the growth of grapes to Jesus (which is absurd) and says “If Jesus is trying to get me to have a crush on him, it’s working.”
It’s not what I would ever say. But it’s not hard to understand her point. You plant something. It grows. It’s beautiful. If you’re Christian, you see it as a reflection of God’s work. Put a Beth Moore filter on that sentiment, and you get a tweet about crushing on Jesus after seeing her grapes grow.
The story should have ended there.
Instead, a bunch of insane Southern Baptists treated her joke-y little tweet like it was an act of blasphemy.
Crush? How about you Love him by changing your Evil ways and obeying His commandments? John 14:15— Oikodomeo (@Oikodomeo2) August 11, 2022
Where is the fear and reverence of God? pic.twitter.com/9e1aJMxIPG— Eric Norton (@ericn_77) August 11, 2022
Not sure who you think Jesus is but I can guarantee you he isn’t interested in foolish infatuation or shallow love or affection. These are what your words mean, is this the meaning behind your words? We are to love Him like a child loves their parent not potential boyfriend.— Path (@Kingdomchild99) August 11, 2022
Moore’s name began trending on Twitter. RELEVANT, a Christian publication, summarized the grape kerfuffle this way:
“This is awful,” said one person. “I am really holding my tongue right now. Really holding. I hope you repent and grow up.”
“Jesus Christ is not your ‘boyfriend’ or your ‘homeboy,” tweeted another. “He is your Lord, your Savior, your Creator, your Sustainer, your King and your God. Beth Moore doesn’t have a clue who the true Jesus of the Bible even is. Read the book of Colossians, goodness.”
We could go on. “Toxic.” “Blasphemer.” “Abominable.” All these and many more epithets were hurled at Moore for the use of the word “crush.”
The same people who talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus, refer to the church as the “bride of Christ,” and who have song after song about their infatuation with their savior can’t handle someone joking about having a crush on Jesus.
Just broken brain thinking everywhere.
Earlier this week, Moore responded to the faux-outrage with another joke-y tweet saying her critics wouldn’t be getting any grape jelly from her for Christmas.
That must have been the final straw for Josh Buice, a Southern Baptist pastor, founder of G3 Ministries, and Guy Who Invites Donald Trump Lawyer Jenna Ellis To Speak At His Events Because That’s Not Hypocritical At All.
Buice has spent years urging Christians to avoid Moore and treating her comments as heresy. The grape tweet was no exception. Yesterday morning, he wrote that someone at his church gifted him with grape jelly… so take that, Beth.
Moore responded in jest, saying it wouldn’t be nearly as good as hers, before urging him, in more Christianese, to “lighten up.”
To which Buice, a very normal dude, responded by denouncing her “blasphemy.” HE USED THAT WORD ABOUT THE GODDAMN GRAPE TWEET.
Racism? Not a problem. Anti-LGBTQ hate? He welcomes it. Destroying democracy? Yes, please. Sexual abuse? What sexual abuse.
But Beth Moore jokingly saying she’s crushing on Jesus after seeing her grapes grow? Apparent blasphemy!
While Buice probably wasn’t thinking about Salman Rushdie, because he doesn’t seem to think at all, it’s comically stupid to use the “B” word a week after someone was literally stabbed for offending religious sensibilities. If Beth Moore is committing blasphemy by expressing her love for Jesus, then what the hell does Buice say about the rest of us who reject Jesus altogether? He turned his Christianity up to 11 and has nowhere left to go.
But this is what passes for theological debate in Southern Baptist circles, I guess. If a woman says doesn’t treat God the way certain Christian men expect her to, might as well declare her a witch.