Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

Top 10 Post - #4

I wrote this in 2017 and it feels as fresh as if I wrote it yesterday:

As a woman who works in the church, as the mother of three grown adults,

and frankly, just as a human being,

I have a few words to say about sexual harassment and sexual abuse of power that is rampant in our world:

It has been going on since the beginning of time.

Ask any woman you know, and I bet she will have a story, or three.

I have mine,

including one in which I reported a pastor from a previous church who had a habit of touching women inappropriately.

I was one of those women who thought long and hard, but eventually decided to speak up.

Times were different then.

Those of us who reported were scorned.

The pastor was seen as a victim.

The outcome was dark and ugly and divisive and so hurtful.

Ever wonder why women don't come forward right away and speak their truth?

It is because too often, we tend to shoot our wounded.

Why do you think Jesus had to save the "woman caught in adultery" from being stoned, mostly likely by a group of men? Surely there was a "man caught in adultery" as well, right?

Listen, I love men.

I love and admire my dad, my brother, my father-in-law, my husband, my son, my male colleagues and friends ...

This is not an anti-men rant.

It is a strong shot-across-the-bow, though, for all of us.

The day and age where women will just "take it" and be quiet out of fear of backlash may be over, at least for a time.

Let's hope so.

And my plea is that the church - of all places - should be known as one of THE places where women are honored, respected, valued and believed. Where women can walk in and KNOW that they are in a harrassment-free zone.

My fear, however, is that too often the church is the exact opposite.

Too often, we are part of the problem.

It is time - well beyond time - that we instead become leaders in the move toward a solution.

Let's start by seeing women and men as equals.

Let's start by bringing our own darkness into the light and being appropriately repentant about all the ways we as Christians have either mistreated women, or have allowed them to be mistreated.

Let's start by promising to believe women when they work up the courage to be honest about what they have experienced. Let's not cherry pick Bible verses to toss at them like grenades in order to silence them.

Let's start by taking any and all kinds of harassment and abuses of power - sexual or otherwise - very, very seriously as violations of the belief that every human is a divine bearer of the image of God.

Let's just start, church, shall we?

The world waits.

Jesus waits.

Top 10 Post - #3

Heard this quote this afternoon

and laughed out loud:

"One of the greatest theological questions of our time is,

'What in the Sam Hill is going on around here?'"

(Annie Dillard)

Top 10 Post - #2

The world of the church, throughout history,

has tended to be a "man's world."

In many places, it still is.

And yet, even in the early church

there were whispers ...

names mentioned ...

women who led,

taught,

funded,

were at the center of,

Jesus' ministry,

and the start of the church.

As one who teaches,

some would say, preaches ...

(and happens to be a woman)

it has been an interesting ride.

Fifteen years

of serving God

in this unexpected way.

And as I take a look behind me

at the amazing young women God is using

all over the world,

but especially in my little neck of the woods,

I cheer.

I came across this poem the other day

and post it as a hat-tip to my fellow

"kitchen table theologians."

God sees you,

and he cheers, too.

Laywoman

Were you a man and single,

the Jesuits would have you in a trice.

But you are a man's wife,

lovely hair coarse and wild as a Morgan's tail,

on each hip a fine son, and one on your shoulders.

Your bent for theology is more startling

than your renegade humor,

your ease on a good horse, fast and wild as he can be.

You are no cut-out saint.

Bus-stop apologist,

training your eye for truth at your kitchen table,

turning worn pages in the weary night

as your tea grows cold.

The day has come for your kind.

Venerable Jenn,

you are better than you know,

stirring the oatmeal,

reading Aquinas,

shoveling the snow.

(by Nancy A. Henry)

 

My Top 10 old posts ... #1

In the Old Testament, a trio of people are often cited as deserving special protections from God and God’s people … The fatherless, the widow, the orphan. Often, the foreigner is added to this list.

God knew these people were at risk in the society of the Old Testament … at risk to be marginalized, neglected, oppressed, victimized, even killed.

And so God commanded his people to take special care of these particular people in their midst. He gave special commandments, even made special rules that protected them, gave them chances to enter mainstream society again, helped them escape the noose of generational poverty, protected them from oppression and violence.

And these rules spoke to God’s people and said, “I care for this group of people in a special way, and if you follow me, you must care for them, too!”

Who are the marginalized among us today?

Might they not fit into this same descriptive trio (or quartet)? The fatherless, the widow, the orphan, the foreigner.

It matters not your political persuasion, if you are a follower of God, you are to live in such a way that you protect the marginalized, speak up for them, watch out for them, care for them, serve them, give to them, pray for them.

Often, when confronted with the marginalized in our midst, we hope for someone else to help them.

Annie Dillard addresses this common deferral of responsibility:

“There is no one but us. There is no one to send, not a clean hand or a pure heart on the face of the earth or in the earth --- only us … unfit, not yet ready, having each of us chosen wrongly, made a false start, yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures, and grown exhausted, unable to seek the thread, weak, and uninvolved. But there is no one but us. There has never been.”

There is no one but us.