Me: Even though we say that we affirm women in leadership in this denomination, I think there is still a problem with patriarchal attitudes in the denomination and even in my own local church.
Him: No there isn’t. So, why don’t you stop trying to take the word of God and use it to forward your own agenda.
Ouch. I brought up gender bias and I got told to SIT DOWN. The response shocked me. It was completely outside of my understanding of the character of the person I had begun the conversation with. I had said what I said to a trusted friend and ally, but was answered back by a cultural entrenchment. Looking back, I see the conversation was significant because it represented something much larger than one man’s opinion. That larger thing is systemic gender bias and it is real. My own experience with it in the church hasn’t been easy or pain free. Still, I believe my experience, and the experiences of many people, are being used by God in order to give us a voice to insist that ‘God is calling us into a fuller experience!’
“Here sighs and cries and wails coiled and recoiled on the starless air, spilling my soul to tears.” – Dante
Look at this sea of faces: anger, accusation, judgment, grief, deception, misunderstanding, selfishness, abuse, faithlessness, powerlessness. There is suffering and darkness, endlessly shaping itself across the ages through disfigured family and social structures, through blighted politics, business, nationalities and religion. Corruption and malignancy and suffering abound – and all of it is directed straight at you.
Take that in for a moment. Experience the weight of it.
When I was a little girl the adults around me used to love to tell jokes. Often times the jokes made were made at the expense of African-American or Mexican or Asian people and culture. The N-word was used freely as were ‘ghetto’ or ‘spic’ or ‘oriental’ accents when getting to the punchlines. The other adults at the gatherings would listen and laugh and I would listen and laugh too, wanting to be like the adults that I loved. Continue reading →
This is the first time since becoming Christian and knowing I am called to ministry that I’ve seriously considered throwing in the towel. It’s the first time in almost eight years that I’ve seriously considered breaking my sobriety. It’s the first time since my early twenties that I’ve faced serious depression. What is happening in the world and in the church right now is wrong. Continue reading →
I saw an article on Huffpost this morning relating Beyonce’s album ‘Lemonade’, the black woman’s experience, and prejudice within the church. It speaks into a subject I think about quite a bit, which is racism, the value of people, and what God says about those things. Rather than put a post on Facebook, I decided I’d explore the issue a bit here in this platform, which seems more appropriate. My thoughts aren’t fully formed – again, I’m exploring. It’s an issue I think worthy of exploration and I’d love to read some of your thoughts if you care to comment. Continue reading →
You know the feeling, right? The sense of dread as you ease your car to the end of the parking lot driveway and see a person standing there holding a sign. You know you have to stop right in front of them because you can’t just peel out into traffic. That feels really uncomfortable and so what do you do? Smile? Wave? Ignore and pretend you don’t see?
According to this weeks scripture, there’s a different approach to take. Continue reading →
I woke up a few weeks ago thinking about Mahatma Gandhi, one of the best and most loved leaders this world has known. During an outbreak of communal violence in 1943, Gandhi began and continued a 21 day fast until all of the violence was stopped. Even though the protesters/rioters were justified in their cause, their violent actions were untenable when applied to a higher law. Gandhi recognized that fact and opted to lead uncompromisingly toward peace.
Gandhi was a great and successful leader because of his ability to discern high wisdom. He commanded love and respect and extracted unity out of his own fearless dedication to the highest principles. I believe it’s time for Christian Leadership to begin a fast of it’s own. Continue reading →