the world is still flat and I am dog paddling off the edge

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I had a conversation with a good friend recently. This friend has been a friend for years and years. His denominational journey has gone from Episcipal to Charasmatic to Presbetyrian (nine years as one and still don't know how to spell it) to finally Baptist-ish. The conversation was a casual thing after a sunday lunch in which my husband had volunteered to lead worship at his church (whole nother story). Anyway, somehow we landed on "emergent women leaders". I realized that this is going to be a fresh and interesting journey for me when his initial reaction was laughing acompanied by a pantomime of the creature in the movie "alien" bursting out of it's victim's chest. I am a huge movie buff so I found it mildly funny because the name had conjored up some interesting imagery for me as well. But there was something else. An awkwardness. A need for greater explanation. I wasn't sure what to say. The fact that it needed explaining beyond the general who what, info made me realize a few things. Some people are uncomfortable with this. Even those closest to me.

This was reinforced when I was on the phone with my mother. Bringing up my involvement in ewl in passing conversation made me pause. I adore my mother. She raised me as a single mom and I never felt like I had missed anything growing up. She is cool and hip for her 75 years and she is also thoroughly conservative. Her and my stepfather (raised Catholic and now evangelical) attend a lovely thriving church community in Arizona. This particular church has a conservative view of women. I have been there. Great people, great church.

So, on the phone, mid sentance with my mom, I hesitated in telling her about a group who's initiative and goal involves supporting women pastors.

I can't blame her for the response that she might have given me because I didn't give her the chance. I skirted the issue and skipped the details. Maybe I was tired and I knew it might involve a chunk of time on the phone that I wasn't ready to commit to. Maybe it was an act of honoring my mother. I am not sure. I just know that at the verge of telling her the "important stuff" the picture that came to mind was her head exploding ala "Mars Attacks". I know another movie reference. Get used to it.

The thing is, if I were to run into the me of the past(say four years ago), that version of me might not accept the me of the present. At the very least she would look at me funny. I can tow the party line with the best of them. It was really pretty easy. I was serving in a large PCA church. Regarding women in leadership roles; push never came to shove in that setting until near the nine years that my husband and I served there. I was acting as communications director (stupid title) which among other things involved selecting what would be announced on sunday morning out of the gobs of program options available for the church attenders. The executive pastor did the announcing. Time marches on and things changed as things do and I left that position and it was filled by another woman (Karen) who wrote the necessary verbage that was to be conveyed from the platform as it was everyother sunday forever more. But, there came a time when all the pastors, executive and otherwise were out of town except for the primary speaker(who couldn't do it of course, don't be silly). So the logical choice was Karen. She wrote the content after all. Only two, three minutes tops of speaking. My husband holding the position of Programing Director(love those titles) put Karen on point. Logical choice, no problem.

I don't remember exactly how the rest of the story played out, and really the details are not important, but Karen did not do those annoucements. A woman speaking from the platform. No way.

It may seem absolutely ridiculous to me now, but I am not who I was four years ago. Granted, the lights began to come on for me at that juncture. That moment of confusion was back. The blinking back of a thought that said, "wait a minute...when did Jesus say women couldn't do announcements when in the oh-so-moden-business-model-church she is allowed to write them? Crazy stuff. Pick and choose. Hmmm.

If I sound critical I can't be with any gut conviction or any sense of superiority because that place is part of my journey. That place was just one of the many god-placed stepping stones that constructed my path. Just like my friend who laughed at the notion of emergent women leaders, I too have been molded and formed by some of these constructs. And now the me of the present can look back at the me of the past without saying, you fool... but instead be grounded (hopefully) in humility and be able to love my "me" of the past, and also my brother who laughed.

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This page contains a single entry by Blair published on May 23, 2004 8:23 AM.

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