Monday, October 5, 2015

Author Frances Fuller Believes Some Southern Baptist Leaders Who Found The Pope's Speech To Congress Troubling Should Reconsider

Frances Fuller's award-winning memoir, 'In Borrowed Houses', gives readers a penetrating glimpse of the Middle East from the inside. She puts a face on the Middle East many Americans have not yet seen

In a recent article on the Baptist Press website by Tom Strode entitled "Pope's speech troubling, Southern Baptists say", it was noted that some Southern Baptist leaders believed Pope Francis' address to Congress lacked clarity on moral issues. A number of specific issues were addressed in the piece. Frances Fuller, author of 'In Borrowed Houses' and a Southern Baptist missionary in the Middle East for 24 years, argued in a recent piece against Baptist leaders who objected to the Pope's speech to Congress. Fuller stated, "Though you admit that the pope 'talked about the dignity of human life, whether the unborn, the elderly or the immigrants, as well as the importance of the family in a free and flourishing society,' you find his words 'fuzzy and evasive' and feel that he 'missed the opportunity to address a moral issue with more clarity.'”

Understanding that they expected the pope to be more explicit on the subject of abortion, Fuller said, “The pope spoke of the need to defend human life at every stage of development.  I liked that, because it meant to me that the 20-year-old whom we are sending into battle is just as important to us as a fetus in a womb.  It meant that we should be able to love and nurture any child we bring into the world.  It meant that a child should not be homeless on the street or wandering the world with refugee parents. He also warned us that greed and self-centeredness are on the verge of destroying our planet and with it the human species.  That sounds to me like something highly relevant to the rights of the unborn. You apparently feel that in calling our attention to a huge, many-faceted issue, he neglected the one or two aspects of your own focus. Is it possible that you are more Catholic than the pope?”

To another objection she replied, "Some of you are disturbed by the pope’s statement that the big bang theory does not conflict with the Bible. The American public, reading this, understands that you are walking in the shoes of those who murdered Galileo. I attest that you are NOT upholding the faith of the Southern Baptists who nurtured me in my youth.”  Fuller recalled a time when Baptist Sunday School materials taught Genesis as a spiritual book, not a science book.

To another basic protest she replied, “Some of you feel that the pope’s invitation to address the Congress was not appropriate. Because the Vatican is not a state.  Because no evangelical pastor was ever invited. I am embarrassed in your behalf, because I find your objection petty and smelling of jealousy.“

Speaking of the public response to the pope, Fuller said, “The whole thing was the clearest evidence I have seen in a long time that the American people are a spiritual people.  They want God.  They want to believe. That should bring rejoicing to the heart of every Christian. There should be no room in our hearts for jealousy.  We are not being discriminated against.  We evangelicals simply have no one whose presence seems to represent God.” She added that the pope seemed not to speak for Catholics but for Christians, even for all who seek God.

Finally, she said, "I am not a Catholic…but I congratulate the Catholic Church for producing and choosing such a leader.  I feel that he has blessed all of us who would accept the blessing."

As the result of her time spent as a missionary, Fuller wrote an award-winning book entitled 'In Borrowed Houses'. Told in short episodes, Fuller’s book reveals the alienation, confusion and courage of civilians in the Lebanese civil war, introducing to the reader a variety of real people with whom the author interacts: editors, salesmen, neighbors, refugees, soldiers, missionaries, lawyers, shepherds, artists, students. With these people she works, studies, plays games, prays, laughs and cries, all to the accompaniment of gunfire. Together these small stories tell what war is like for civilians caught on a battlefield, and they create the impression of the Lebanese as a fun-loving, witty, patient and resilient people. They also compose, not a political history, but a historical document of a time and a place.

Critics have praised  ‘In Borrowed Houses.’ A judge in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards called 'In Borrowed Houses' “…a well written book full of compassion…a captivating story…”. Another reviewer described the book as “Wise, honest, sensitive, funny, heart-wrenching…”. Colin Chapman, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut said, “….western Christians and Middle Eastern Christians need to read this story…full of remarkable perceptiveness and genuine hope.”

Frances Fuller is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at Fuller's book is available at Amazon and other book retailers. A free ebook sample from 'In Borrowed Houses' is available at Frances Fuller also blogs on issues relating to the Middle East on her website at

About Frances Fuller:

Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the violent Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.


Frances Fuller