What a mouthful. It’s like she gave a name to every voice inside her head. Dalrock unearthed her feminist vendetta against Paige Patterson for disfellowing her, a worse punishment in Christian circles than excommunication, but he only scratched the tip of this Ice Queen-berg.
First, a picture to warn away the weak-minded:
“Reverend” Nancy Carol Hastings Sehested, a retired men’s maximum security prison chaplain for North Carolina.
The following sermon of hers is upon the subject of Elijah at Mount Carmel, an exciting Bible story in its own right. But you ain’t seen nothing yet! (about burning false priests)
The prophet Elijah would have felt right at home in these times of fire and fury. You remember Elijah. He was a chosen one of God. He was fierce, determined, and uncompromising. He was a man of miracles. He fed the hungry [GQ: one widow & son, ref. Luke 4:25-26], raised the dead [GQ: wrong] and blasted the evil empire of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. His message was to bring down the mighty and lift the lowly [GQ: wrong].
Like a superhero [GQ: wrong. James 5:17], he could suddenly appear in just the right place at just the right time [GQ: wrong], pouncing on injustice [GQ: wrong], exposing the hypocrisy and falsehood of the powerful [GQ: wrong].
Elijah’s relevant goal was to prove God was the God of Israel, not Baal. The miracles he ‘performed’ were actually performed by God, for example resurrecting the widow’s son in 1 Kings 17:21: “Then [Elijah] stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!””
Elijah exposed the falsehood of Baal worship but there was no hypocrisy there. The false prophets clearly expected Baal to show up. Nowhere are injustices discussed.
His most zealous actions were targeted on that relentless rascal of a king, Ahab. The king was a bully [GQ: wrong. 1 Kings 21:2-4]. He had wealth, position, and power [GQ: none of those are crimes]. Step in his way and he retaliated with ridicule and revenge. With the help of his conniving wife, he contaminated the nation with the poison of fear. Pagan temples were their joy. The palace became home to hundreds of false prophets. Political favors were handed out like candy at Halloween. The people didn’t know who to trust.
This description of Ahab’s government goes far beyond the Biblical accounts. Citations needed. For the most part, Ahab let Jezebel rule and Jezebel didn’t rule by fear. She straight-up murdered people. Example, Naboth of 1 Kings 21 wasn’t afraid to tell the king ‘No’.
Military might was the centerpiece for maintaining national power. On the backs of the poorest people, the nation slid into disaster.
This is wrong. In the climactic scene at Mount Carmel, it was the people who executed the prophets of Baal. Had there been a strong military presence controlling a presumably disarmed crowd as as Witch Nancy claims, the people killing Baal’s prophets would have been more miraculous than fireballs from the sky.
And of course, the poorest people never pay the bulk of taxes. They can’t.
She’s obviously setting tracks for tying the Elijah story into modern events with talk of righting injustices and military-backed nation-states. Most nations in the Old World didn’t maintain a standing army–they’re very expensive and usually kingmakers–so it’s hard to draw political parallels from one of the most sensationally supernatural accounts in the Bible to our modern, wealthy, atheistic era.
Before I get to her attempt, however, I want to cover Witch Nancy’s barely-concealed hatred for God and Elijah.
After several attempts at halting the horrors, including famine and humiliation techniques, Elijah got word from God that it was time to put the false prophets to death. Now in this part of the story we could wish that God wasn’t involved in that kind of showdown. And we could wish that Elijah had the benefit of reading Walter Wink’s book about the myth of redemptive violence. Hadn’t enough blood been shed to know that? We could wish that Elijah had the example of Jesus meeting violence with his witness of peace and non-violence. But no. There was fire and fury.
Nowhere do God or Elijah promise to lift the drought if Ahab reformed his behavior. Citation needed for God’s usage of Advanced Interrogation Techniques. Jesus was not a witness of peace and non-violence. Why should we wish that Elijah had read about “the myth of redemptive violence”? So he would have known to disobey God in order to minister to Baal or something?
Does Scripture mean ANYTHING to this witch?
Voices should’ve shouted out “God, not Baal,” but not a word came out of the people. Nothing. They didn’t answer. Elijah, like all prophets, was a loner. But he liked applause. It was not forthcoming. Nothing worse than a preacher offering their best line, and the people don’t utter a peep. No amens. No nods of the head. No, “Preach on, Prophet!” Nothing.
This expectation of the people makes no sense. Elijah was setting up a competition not giving a sermon. Citation needed for Elijah liking applause or the approval of crowds. But I bet Witch Nancy often feels unappreciated when she preaches.
Elijah, being the sensitive type, took it maturely. “I, even I only, am left.” Oh, there is no high like a self-righteous high. The fight was on, with the great Prophet leading the way. The prophets of Baal did the same. The contest was this: the one who called down their god with fire was the winner. The one with the biggest fire power wins. It’s such a tiresome game. Couldn’t we just limit ourselves to kayak races?
Queen Jezebel got wind of the slaughter of her best spiritual counselors. She was ready to have Elijah’s head. He took off for the hills to try to save his life. Once he got far enough away, he took shade under a broom tree. He was worn out. He had won, but he had lost. His victory did not satisfy him. He was a man on the run. Where could he go to hide? He prayed, “God, just go ahead and take me now.”
In his words, Elijah was facing a hopeless situation and didn’t care to drag it out. 1 Kings 19:4: “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” A far cry from Witch Nancy’s portrayal of an arrogant, vainglorious superhero achieving victory through superior firepower.
Elijah felt like a total and complete failure. He thought God should’ve at least shown some appreciation for all he’d done on God’s behalf…put a little extra in the Prophet Pension Fund. But no. All he got was a pushy angel shoving him awake and demanding that he stop his whining and moaning. “Get up and eat! You’ll need it for the journey.” You ever noticed how neither God nor God’s messengers have ever been good with empathetic listening skills?
No, I haven’t noticed that. What I have noticed is God giving Elijah the resources he needed to go where God wanted. That’s more important than goodfeelz. Elijah himself never asked for a reward from God, other than letting him die.
Elijah responded, “I’ve been working my tail off trying to get people on your side, God. I made lots of promises to persuade folks. I had a good mission plan. I took up for you. But now it’s over. I have nothing to show for all my efforts except my picture on wanted posters. I’m the only one left. There are folks after me!” There was no answer to Elijah’s whine.
1 Kings 19:10 & :14 paints a much less self-absorbed picture. Notice God’s “not good with empathetic listening” skills when He reassures Elijah that he’s not alone and orders less stressful missions. Come to think of it, that long journey into the wilds was itself probably relaxing after Mount Carmel. God gave Christ vacations, too.
Elijah failed to interpret the sheer silence of God. What was this silence of God? It was not the silence of calm and peace. It was sheer cliff silence. It was an unbearable silence that verges on a scream. It was the inner scream of God.
What silence? This comes out of nowhere. Certainly not 1 Kings 19.
And now, the exciting conclusion:
So what are we doing here? Perhaps it is time to listen with Elijah at the doorway of our deepest fears and disillusionments. Can we stand here long enough to see more clearly as a nation, as a people? The earthquake, winds and fires of Charlottesville have been gathering power for a long time. White supremacy and patriarchy are embedded in our national history. Sometimes it flames into fire and fury within public view. But let us not be fooled. Behind the vivid and horrific violence of yesterday are systemic and structural powers that keep privilege in place. The structures and institutions that hold our lives have enormous power over all of us. Most of the major issues we face are decided without our vote and out of our sight . . . in boardrooms and corporate offices and legislative rooms where a code of ethics for the common good is not in place.
Perhaps it is time to stop and listen, to stop our words long enough to experience the silent cries of God. Perhaps it is time, when hatred runs down the streets of Charlottesville, and laws allow terrorizing extremists to legally carry weapons. . . .
Perhaps it is time, when mothers and dads are taken from their children and deported, and mosques are bombed in our cities, and black and brown-bodied people and LGBTQ people are vulnerable everywhere. . . . Perhaps it is time, when the major institutions that control our lives leave too many without adequate healthcare, wages and housing. . . . Perhaps it is time, when tyrants hold the world hostage with threats of using nuclear weapons. . . . Perhaps it is time for us to stand together, all of us . . . the wounded alongside the wounding . . . and listen.
PhD: Piled higher & Deeper.
God didn’t explain [Himself to Elijah]. “And one more thing, Elijah. You are not the only one who has stayed faithful to me. There are 7,000 others who have not bent their knees and paid homage to Baal. Some of them were walking bravely in a march for love yesterday in Charlottesville. Some of them attended to the wounded. Some of them quelled the riot. There are plenty of others in this struggle. Join them. Draw strength from them. Keep on keeping on with them. I am with you.”
She gets paid for this shit.
Witch Nancy Carol Hastings Sehested was right to be disfellowed by Paige Patterson at the SBC. She nursed that vendetta for 30 years until today, she can smugly declare victory over the “white supremacy and patriarchy” of God-fearing Southern Baptists.