the power of being wanted

the power of being wanted

this monday march 8th is international women’s day. i’ve written a post in honor of it the past 2 years (you can read them here & here) & really wanted to write one this year, too. there’s something powerful about a bunch of people thinking, talking, sharing, listening, learning, about the same topic at the same time.  i am not aware of a synchroblog this year, but i might have just been out of the loop & am going to be out of town for the next few days, so thought i’d post today anyway.  it’s interesting, too, how this post has evolved. it’s been all over the place, and i am sure that i will share some of the other ideas that floated across my mind in the future but it ended up much more personal than i had expected after an odd but good experience i had yesterday that is so connected to this whole thought of women & the church & the world.

i was at a lovely gathering with some friends who do some great work here in denver on behalf of the poor & oppressed.  they are good & kind to me in all kinds of ways.  but i was the only woman there.  this is not an uncommon feeling to me and in the past i used to take it as a point of pride.  now, i see it as a sign that something is wrong.  there’s something broken in the system somehow.  this group of people are some of the dearest ever, but i realized as the post-group conversation continued that i felt like crying.  as i looked around the room i noticed that every single one of those guys had been “wanted” by their organization.  recruited, nurtured, included.  and how i longed to have that same feeling.  sure, i am invited into these meetings because i’m in the trenches with people in hard places and they like me, but i think i have always felt left out because i’ve never been really truly asked to be part of the ongoing work that they are doing.   this has absolutely nothing to do with them; there’s no “job” for me there anyway, but i noticed that there was something way bigger going on inside of me that was completely unrelated to this conversation with them.

it is a really cruddy feeling to not be wanted.

 

and as a woman in christian ministry it is a familiar feeling.  i remember how empowering it was 7+ years ago when i first got the call that said “we want you to come and be part of this staff , we need you.”   i felt wanted. included. recruited, invited. and when that all went awry and i basically “exited’ that world i know what it feels like to not feel “wanted” anymore.

yes, my community wants me.  yes, my friends across all shapes & sizes & beliefs want me.  yes, you lovely and faithful readers at least appear to want me.  yes, God wants me.   yes, once in a while i get a gig or an opportunity that makes me feel a little-extra-wanted.

but on the whole, in the wider system, in the great big christian “church in the sky”, i don’t feel wanted.

how could i?  how could so many other women?

there’s a strong and powerful undercurrent in the patriarchical, hierarchical systems that have permeated the church that says to women “we don’t really want you.” well, actually we do, but we want you “if you will play by our power rules” or to “do the grunt work that needs to get done, take care of the kids & keep the world spinning round at church & at home.” but we don’t really want all of you–your powerful, creative, beautiful gifts & powerful, wise, nurturing voice side-by-side us as equals together.

yes, people can start throwing out scripture verses about now about equal in value & different in roles.  i am not here to argue this with anyone.  we can kindly agree to disagree.

but i feel very confident about this:  there are a bunch, and i do mean a bunch, of women who feel unwanted in the place that they should feel the most loved, most valued, most treasured, most encouraged, most free–the wild & beautiful body of Christ. this goes across giftedness, passions, strength, loudness, leadership-ness, etc.  in typical christian systems, women have been stripped of much of their value beyond what is useful to the system–which tends to be controlled by men.   and i know why they stay; because crumbs from the table are better than no food at all.

yesterday i was struck with that feeling of just feeling hungry.

and tired.  on behalf of myself.  and behalf of all of the women that i would love to see nurtured, invited, encouraged, recruited, valued, and truly set free.

and of course this stretches far beyond the reach of just the church.  we all know that there are millions upon millions of women who are unwanted around the world and in the cities we live in.  beautiful daughters of God who are mistreated, unvalued, stripped of their dignity & painfully used as a regular part of their experience here on earth.

so it’s quite easy to say “well, look at how good you have it, be thankful, you could be born in afghanistan or iran or a whole lot worse situations than this.” of that, i have no doubt.  trust me, i am thankful beyond measure for my life, my community, my freedom to live out what i believe.  but at the same time, i absolutely believe that my freedom & their freedom & your freedom is completely and utterly intertwined. when we are in bondage, they are in bondage.  when we are unwanted, they are even more unwanted.  when we are more free, they have a chance to be more free. i can’t get away from the harsh reality that the typical christian system keeps the poor, the marginalized, the underrepresented trapped & silenced in all kinds of painful ways.

maybe this is why the women in the gospels were so radically connected to Jesus; they knew the system was brutally bent against them & that somehow, some way, the power of his message set them free.   they felt wanted.

and yes i do feel wanted by Jesus.  i just sometimes don’t feel wanted by the reflection of his body here on earth.  i heard his powerful presence in the car yesterday, in a deep place in my heart: “i never, ever, ever, feed you the crumbs….and kathy, never, ever, ever feed someone else them either.” i know for me this means to do whatever i can, in my own limited ways, to invite fully my brothers & sisters to the table in all their strength, in all their weakness, in all their power & all their lack thereof, in all their beauty, in all their ugliness.  to make room.  to help others feel wanted.

yet wanting people doesn’t mean saying it is enough.  it means actually doing the hard work of creating the space and inviting those who have never had a space at the table, restoring dignity & hope, learning about how deeply engrained these power differentials are, fanning into flame intentional ways of bringing forth what’s been silenced, to begin to respect how without each other we can’t possibly reflect the kingdom of God.

and, most importantly, embracing that the women around the world & in our cities & neighborhoods & families can’t be free when we’re not free & we can’t be free when they’re not free.

i am so grateful for the freedom i have experienced over the past few years & will do what i can to pass it on.  at the same time, yesterday i was struck yet again with the magnitude of the problem far beyond just women in leadership–that’s just one small symptom of a much bigger problem: the pervasiveness that years upon years of inequality & oppression & not-being-truly-wanted-and-valued has created for women across all shapes & sizes & walks of life and experiences.

anyway, i think i’m becoming a liberation theologian in all kinds of ways.  and as we celebrate international women’s day as a world, my hope is that the church, the reflection of Jesus Christ–what’s supposed to be the most inclusive, valuing, free-ing force on this earth–would pave the way for setting women free and demonstrate with actions that we are wanted.

what do you think?

* * * * *

ps: i have a guest post up at the evolving church conference blog.  it’s in toronto april 10th. i can’t go, but i am sure it’s going to be a great convo.  the theme is the kingdom economy.  the post i wrote is called new wineskins for new wine. comments are always appreciated & help others learn and think and consider beyond just what was originally written.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

30 Comments

  • Wow. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably and transparently – the Church should want and need more of that! : )

    For what it’s worth, the denomination I happen to belong to, the United Methodist Church, would want you. Half of the pastors I’ve ever had in this denomination have been women and I was ordained by a female Bishop and have worked under several female District Superintendents. I’ve co-pastored with women and my predecessor at the campus ministry I direct was a woman. The UMC is the 2nd largest Protestant denomination in the country.

    I offer this, not to recruit you into the UMC, but to remind you that there are significant portions within God’s kingdom where women are wanted, nurtured, and allowed to thrive and bloom.

    Peace.

    Roger

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  • amazing. you are an amazing voice in the digital world and an amazing woman in the physical world. i am so glad our lives have intersected.

    i have felt somewhat bullied more than once because of my gender in christian circles. being a strong minded woman who is willing to be outspoken and contrary is not attractive in the evangelical world. the double standard is obvious. so there comes an undercurrent of shame for being who i am rather than a demure, soft spoken domesticated woman who is holy holly homemaker. (for the record, i adore my homemaker friends and have had many friends over the years who are content in the kitchen. i’m just not one of them and for a long, long while this caused me consternation and a sense of disquiet)

    the inequity between the sexes is rampant and deeply rooted in mainstream american christianity. this does not represent scripture as i understand it nor does it accurately represent the kingdom of god for which paul declared, there is neither male nor female….we are all one… i love men. i love women. i love it when there is colaboring and partnering together. this is the kind of stuff, the kind of spiritual power and unity that gives the devil a headache.

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  • Thank You my Lovely Kathy,

    It is always good to hear from you!! I love the things you reflect on this blog.Your words go beyond and mean a lot to me!! They reflect
    so much for what i am feeling. Again what can i say , Yes i feel many times not wanted!! left out!! Not needed!! I also have to find a way that my life will be reflected, because i can’t except the way it is when Jesus calls me to do my bit i have to do it and still (CHRISTIANS mainly) would think i am mad cause i think not the way they want me too do… But i am very sure that i am part of what JESUS says…i try to follow HIm as much as i can…living the life He wants me to be and yes that sets me FREE!! FREEINDEED!! How sad it is that it has to be like this!! Love you Kathy with my whole heart sister!!X

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  • It’s so important to say out loud that it goes WAY beyond “women in ministry.” The church I used to attend does not allow women to serve communion, and though they know there’s no biblical reason for it, they avoid the conflict that would arise from questioning the policy. This can only mean they don’t understand the pain and injustice they’re perpetuating.

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  • Kathy. I read this post and I said out loud to Dave, my husband, “I love this lady.” Thank you for putting together the tension I myself have felt on not being wanted.

    When you said that you think the problem is bigger than women in leadership I remembered a conversation I had with Dave and this guy Jason. We were talking about relationships and Jason in so many words, and as kindly as he could muster, said that because I was a woman he would not be my friend. The only way he would have relationship with me was through my husband.

    Okay so maybe he needed to be careful or something, I’m not sure, but something about this seems off to me.

    When men choose to only learn from other men they are alienating themselves from a deeper understanding of who God is and the diversity contained in His kingdom.

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    • Esther, my wife was more than once told the same thing and for that I grieve…because as you said, we are alienating ourselves from a deeper understandding of who God is his created diversity….

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  • Hey Kathy,

    I just discovered your blog yesterday at the “evolving church” conference blog. I read a few posts, and I was hooked! I’ll be visiting often. I feel a resonance with a lot of the things you write, and I love the way you write them. I am a woman who is co-pastoring a church community (with another woman!) in the lowest-income neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada. Our vision is to see Kingdom reconciliation within families and between races (most of our community is Aboriginal). We’re only a year old, and we’re small, but your blog encourages me that maybe we’re doing some things right. I feel new inspiration after doing some reading here, and I look forward to learning more from you. Thank you for your writing.

    -Beth

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  • Amen Sister and speak it loudly from the roof tops; I’m aching and grieving with you and with the millions of women worldwide that are treated as secondary citizens within the church…..

    From a liberated “macho” Brazilian of “Patriarchical Russian” inheritance…

    don’t think many American males will coment positively on this specific blog of yours….

    Aguenta firme mi hermana pues tienes todo mi soporte y mas importante el soporte de Cristo en esta tuya pregrinacion…

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  • beautiful, kathy– as always. thanks for your words, i’m sending this to lots of people!

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  • The denomination that I was a part of for many years, was founded by a very strong woman (divorced also, shhh)

    So women in the church or ministry or whatnot, were welcome. Not unusual to have women pastors. Nevertheless since the Patriarchal system so permeates our world, that kind of thinking is bound to find its way into any place. But now that I think about it, I wonder how often it was a case of a woman bringing that thinking to church and not the church putting that on the woman. I think in my case that was true because I did grow up in a very patriarchal environment and carried that with me.

    I agree, it’a a very crappy feeling when no one wants you, and a lovely feeling when they do. And a bit of a rocky road to disregard either and just stand up regardeless of the environment.

    Thanks Kathy, for standing up.

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  • I look at the Blogs I visit often and sup at the well from –

    You,
    Kingdom Grace
    Better Than We Know
    Accidental Blog –

    all women!!! Gender is not the reason I visit – I visit these sites because I learn from such incredible insightful Kingdom citizens and co-workers!!!

    and I go XXX OOO – to them all.

    In the words of Helen Reddy …. I am wo….. no!! no!! don’t start singing RANDALL – shut up.

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  • Thank you for sharing! You have echoed so many of my feelings, not only in this post, but so many others you have shared. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one praying and working and striving for women to have the freedom to lead, share, love, and live the way that men can. It is my prayer that someday this will come to fruition. Thanks for being the voice of some many of our prayers and hopes.

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  • It’s tough to be a woman. It’s tougher to be a woman in ministry. It’s really tough to be a woman in ministry who is single. I regularly am excluded from social events with other missionaries because, well, the threat of a single woman is just too much for some religious folk. They must think I like to stay home and knit. No. I like parties, too. I like the fact that Jesus’ friends were often singles: Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and a few of his disciples. How odd of Jesus to hang out with losers, you know, people without partners! It’s comforting to me when I get the snub, the only one not invited, etc. that Jesus was single, too. He wasn’t threatened by friendships with women, either. As a solitary sojourner, I find a lot of solace in the special place that Jesus has in his heart for a woman like me.

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  • I am in the middle of writing a letter to my daughter, trying to explain the reasons I no longer attend the fellowship most of the rest of my family attends, including her. I am trying to be careful to not be too critical because she has relationships within the youth group that are important to her. She is 15. How do I tell her I left because the leadership will never see equipping her to be the leader she already is destine to be as a good and important thing to do? How do I say they do not see women as worthy for anything more than the saprano line in worship and childcare? How do I communicate that in their eyes women are tempteresses and not to be trusted? How can I point out all the subtle and not so ways these messages are perpetrated in the fellowship I left and she still embraces? Her father and I are at a shaky truce over my leaving (and him staying though that half of the issue is not discussed). Part of him sees and wants to see but a larger part doesn’t understand why, since I don’t want to “be a pastor” I can’t just go with the flow, not make waves, find a place I can (and am willing to) be useful and just serve Christ. It sounds so simple said that way. And I am tied in knots and confused and hurt and angry. I feel so angry so much of the time and I just don’t know what to do with it all. So thank you, Kathy. Thank you for your honesty and for providing a place in my day to cry.

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  • thanks everyone for your honesty, i am up in portland so a little behind on commenting, but as always, i so appreciate that you take time to share some of your thoughts & perspectives & heart.

    roger – i do laugh sometimes and say that “maybe i should have been a methodist” but my guess is that even there, in very open and inclusive systems, the same reality is still there because it runs very, very very deep and far beyond just christianity. i do respect that there are some places where women are more welcomed & wanted & equal and i am thankful for that–and sometimes jealous. but for whatever reason i do think this is the place i found myself–“out” of the evangelical-y world in some ways and still in it in other ways because of my history with it. i think it’s a little like some of my responses to the video with john about the word christian–i am still committed to stick with it, to do my small part to reclaim the word. and so i do what i can, my small part, to help women (and other marginalized friends) step up and step in to who they were created to be. thanks for sharing. i love your heart & the work that you get to do so freely.

    pam – oh my amazing and powerful friend, i love what you said here: “we are all one… i love men. i love women. i love it when there is colaboring and partnering together. this is the kind of stuff, the kind of spiritual power and unity that gives the devil a headache.” yup. it’s powerful stuff, true equality. it’s powerful stuff, the gospel setting all people free, not just half. it’s powerful, dangerous, beautiful stuff.

    els – free indeed….i love seeing so many incredible friends just doing it despite the obstacles. yes, it can be lonely. but yes, it can be done. it takes standing up against the voices that say no, you cant, and no you shouldn’t, and no you aren’t allowed to, and listening to what God–not man–is telling us. i know for some, they feel very strongly that God is saying “don’t” but for others of us who feel God saying “do” we must listen.

    lori – oh yeah i am so glad that you gleaned that and i can’t say it enough–women in leadership is just one symptom, that’s all. it goes far deeper and wider than just that. you said: “This can only mean they don’t understand the pain and injustice they’re perpetuating.” i think you are so right, it’s why we need to have more real conversations about this together. those in power need to learn from the powerless but unfortunately it’s very tricky for the powerless to have a forum for the powerful to listen to them….i hope we can create more conversations about this in a larger context. love ya girl, thankful for your voice.

    esther – the divisions and separation that this kind of thinking has caused in the body of Christ is so sad to me. we must learn to be friends, equals, partners on the journey. we have been given a spirit of fear not a spirit of of power, love, and self discipline & it’s so sad how our fear has separated us. i agree with you: “When men choose to only learn from other men they are alienating themselves from a deeper understanding of who God is and the diversity contained in His kingdom.” we are missing out on more than we probably know. i am so grateful for an equal community & the power of true friendship and brother-sisterhood. oh it’s so beautiful & healing. we have so much we can learn from each other but we have to be together to learn from each other. thanks for sharing!

    beth – welcome. thanks for taking time to comment and i want to hear more about your community! i wish i could come up for the evolving church convo but it’s just too nutty around here in april. thanks for sharing & i hope you will share more here so we can learn about what you are experiencing in the trenches.

    carlos – you always make me smile, i am so thankful for your voice here and your heart for people. my heart also grieves and aches for all those subjugated & unwanted & unvalued & stripped of dignity and value and power and worth. it’s not the way it should be. it’s not the way it should be. i am excited for our brazil adventure & wlll let you know how it goes!

    ryan – thanks my friend. i will tell you that i thought of you when i was writing it. you and so many other young powerful women i know who have so much wisdom and beauty and power to bring to the world. see you soon i’ll email you some dates, i’m just behind!

    mary – thanks for sharing & yeah, who knows if it’s the chicken or the egg or the egg or the chicken. but i do think that since it goes far deeper than any limited denomination or group or ? my guess is that’s what happens, we bring it with us subconsciously, unintentionally. and i like what you said about just disregarding either and doing it anyway. i think that’s the way real change will happen. it’s hard, though, and gets lonely but it’s worth it on behalf of our beautiful & wise & powerful daughters.

    mark – i am thankful for you and so many other brothers on the journey who i always feel wanted by as equals, as friends, as students, as teachers. it’s so pretty.

    amie – thanks for taking time to share. i am glad that it helps; it sure helps me to know and hear from you all in different ways that you connect with some of my thoughts & feelings & that i’m not alone, either.

    sarah – i am glad i don’t sound bitter to you because sometimes i sound bitter to me & some others who get tired of me ranting about the same old topics. but i am not bitter (often we confuse anger & sadness with bitterness). i am just sad. and mad. and that’s okay. i am learning to accept the truth of my feelings and not try to dress them up. and i always like to say i wish that christians would get as riled up and angry about inequality and injustice toward the marginalized and poor as they do about health care reform & who our next president should be. thanks for reading.

    laurie – oh i can picture you, see you, feel you, as you share what life is like for you as a beautiful & dedicated & passionate woman leading by yourself. i have this righteous anger that rises up on your behalf when i hear what it can be like for you sometimes. you have a tender and powerful way of clinging to Jesus’ and not man. it’s lovely. xo from afar.

    minnow – okay yours made me cry. i got it this morning on my phone and had to read it a few times. i am so sorry that you are in such a sh*tty position in so many ways. torn. standing strong. i have so much respect for your journey & what you are doing to maintain integrity but this is a perfect example of how lonely this road can get. you are not crazy and i so agree with you that this has nothing to do with being a pastor or not. this has to do with a misogynistic, patriarchical, discriminating, oppressing system that is run by people with good, sincere hearts who don’t even know they’re doing it. i always want to emphasize that–i don’t think the leaders of the church are bad or cruel. i think they are unaware. i am sad for you that you are in this battle alone and don’t have the support that would mean so much. i sending prayers for hope & peace & courage in more ways than you know.

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  • Oh my goodness, as my grandmother would say. What have we gotten ourselves into? Doesn’t everyone know that God and the Bible clearly tell us that women should birth and rear children, keep a clean home and prepare healthy, delicious meals? Is not decision-making, teaching and controlling the sphere of the male, both at home and in the church?

    This is the same Bible, is it not, that established, enforced and regulated slavery and proved “that the black race was particularly intended by God to be slaves to the white race”? If you don’t believe me, just read Nellie Norton, subtitled A Scriptural Refutation of the Principal Arguments Upon Which the Abolitionists Rely: A Vindication of Southern Slavery From the Old and New Testaments. (Published in 1864.) The book must be accurate. It was written by a Protestant clergyman, Ebenezer Warren.

    Ladies! Why do you allow men to get away with this baloney? Do they really have you convinced that God and the Bible are on their side? If your handy dandy microwave somehow malfunctioned and instead of warming your lunch accidentally transported you back to the year 1864 what would you have to say to the right reverend Ebenezer Warren and his followers? Would you hold your tongue because you thought that was what God intended you to do?

    We need not support in any way any person, group or organization that promulgates such garbage. So why do we? Women are not second class citizens or second class Christians. Why should we support anyone or anything that does not give women equal status and access?

    If we’re talking church, we can stay away from any and all that do not give women full equality at all levels. We don’t go. We don’t give them money. We don’t cook for them or watch their children. We don’t do these things and we tell them why. (This is a literal statement regarding my wife and I. Yes – We have been told we are not following Scripture, which is a polite way to say that we really p… them off. We reply that they are misinterpreting Scripture to their own advantage and ultimately are going to have to answer to someone far greater than us. That really p….s them off)

    Would you have anything to do with a church who lived by the “truths” taught in Nellie Norton? If you would not, why would you have anything to do with a church that teaches equal garbage about a different group of people – women instead of blacks? Blacks are not second class people. Nor are Indians, poor people, old people, gays, homeless people, Muslims or women. If anyone tells you they are, run the other way as fast as you can. How can you trust such people or anything they tell you?

    I hope I don’t get you in trouble with this comment, Kathy. I tried so hard to be very restrained – and I was, for me. Perhaps this will stir the pot a bit.

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  • Sam,
    You did stir the pot for me. I don’t think you should restrain when commenting. I think that is the best part about this format to really get things out. Certainly not attacking anyone cause that is never good but yes speak your mind. I hadn’t really thought of the Bible as pro-slavery before and I could see the similarities in the idea of slavery and the treatment of women. I was curious about the book you mentioned so I googled it and read a bit of the book. I wanted to see how the author was going to Biblically support the idea of slavery. I have read and studied the entire Bible. I attended a very conservative Bible college. One thing that really gets me is how people can see the Bible with such completely different viewpoints. I believe that God is really complex but this all just seems to be confusing. I mean who is right and who is wrong and how do you know the difference. You have given me more to consider. Thanks for stirring the pot.

    Kathy,
    I want to jump right in there with you and say yes we are all equals but something just doesn’t feel right. God didn’t make all of his creation equal. He gave man the authority to rule over the angels in Heaven. He gave man the authority to rule over the earth and the animals. He gives places of honor like seating Jesus at the right hand of the Father. It seems to me that when God created man and then woman there was an equality between them. They were meant to compliment one another and reflect God in all His glory. Then Adam and Eve opened the door and sin came into the world. Part of the punishment in Genesis 3:16 that God gave to the woman was that her husband would rule over her. When Jesus died and rose again we were redeemed from sin and put right with God once again. Does that mean that the original equality that God intended was now restored? That would seem to make sense but why then are there so many passages in the New Testament that limit women and promote the man being head of the household. Was it just the culture back then and so the authors were just trying to be honoring of that? Doesn’t the freedom that Christ offers us break us from any boundaries like cultural? So why would the authors of the New Testament stick with cultural boundaries?

    There is part of me that struggles with the idea that if I assert myself as a woman I am out of the Will of God. Then there is the other part of me that knows that I have so much to offer and I shouldn’t hold back. Also, I have you as my pastor whom I love and respect so much. I love Karl and his voice but I can’t imagine The Refuge without your voice. You both have different gifts and balance one another in such a beautiful way. I never question whether God placed you in the position of leader or teacher because I clearly know that He did. I just don’t know that it means that God intended for all of us to be equals in ministry or in life. More to think about…

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  • My point in referring to the book “Nellie Norton” was not so much to compare the treatment of women to slavery as it was to point out that the Bible has been (mis)used to support many causes over the past couple of thousand years. Think Crusades. Think the settling of America by our Christian forefathers, who stole the Indians land, killed them, killed their buffalo and in turn assigned them to what they (our forefathers) thought was the most worthless land in the country. (Isn’t it ironic that some of that land has vast deposits of oil beneath it?)

    I mentioned “Nellie Norton” because you can read part of it online. Who reading this ever heard that book mentioned in church? We want to pretend that such teachings by churchmen never happened. We want to think that we have been given the truth straight from the Bible on how we should treat women, GLBT people, and all the people on the list who are not quite like us. I have heard the saying “God said it, I believe it and that settles it” applied to blacks, GLBT people, women, minorities and others. Like, “my interpretation (opinion) of the Bible is what God says and you can’t disagree with that”.

    I remember hearing sermons about the evils of desegregation when I was growing up, including how black people were not equal to whites. How long has it been since you heard that in church? I have told some of these stories in small group Bible studies and I think that the people there, none of whom remember the days before desegregation, think I am making them up.

    The day will come when the vast majority of our society, including most Christians, will have a much different attitude about how we should treat women, GLBT people and even poor people. Then who will proudly produce copies of sermons or even blogs that were written in 2010 that supported less than equal treatment for any of these people and used the Bible to “prove” their opinions? Who will point to such writings and proudly say “My grandfather wrote that”? The grandchildren of the men I heard decrying desegregation are strangely silent today.

    Read the Bible and what it says about women and throw out everything you were taught that means. Especially read the Gospels. Let the Word of God itself speak to you and you may arrive at some very liberating and surprising conclusions.

    Kathy, you are a voice for those who often do not have a voice. That is a good thing.

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  • Kathy, thank you so much for this. I sat hear reading it and your words resonate with my heart and your heart with my heart. It is so painful to know that God has made me free and valuable but to be face with a christian world that often says I am free but does not treat me so. I love you and I miss you already.

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  • sam – never worry about “causing trouble”; the whole point of this blog is to have a safe place to let it rip. i love your passion & so agree with you; these are the kinds of strong analogies we need to make to be more and more clear on how wrong it is. i love sojourner truth, she is one of my very favorites. the declaration of sentiments by elizabeth cady stanton is also a very powerful document that is worth everyone taking a look at…yes, women have made strides over these past 100 years since that document but there’s a long long way to go, especially in “the church”

    julie – i know it is so hard to integrate into deep places within us because the damage runs so deep, but i believe wholeheartedly that Jesus did not come to set half his people free. he came to set everyone free. all the way free. i highly recommend reading any of christians for biblical equality’s stuff. they do an excellent job on bible interpretation from a very scholarly perspective. http://www.cbiinternational.org. i feel so strongly about this, julie: you were made to thrive, to live free, to live strong, to use your voice, to proclaim the gospel through your life, and to model this kind of freedom to your daughters who deserve to have the right to live freely & equally & not oppressed in any way, shape or form…

    jessica – oh how i love you, my dear and powerful and wise friend and pastor. glad we are in the thick of it together. your post rocked.

    laurie
    – xo

    minnow
    – wow, great post. thanks for your honesty & courage.

    julie & ew – thanks for the link. julie, thanks also for being a strong and powerful voice into this conversation. ti am so grateful for you & sure do wish we could have had more time in pdx, too!

    Reply
  • Dear Kathy,

    I feel you, not been wanted can be tolerated in the world where the rules are practically non-existent. But in church, it is just sometimes almost unbearable. But like you have said already, God loves us and wants us and nothing will change that. However, I also think that when it is women who dont want women then the problem is definitely bigger than us all.

    If women will arise and rally round other women, the hurt of not feeling wanted can be completely eradicated from our midst. And we all must do our little bit in our little corner and for me this is all that matters… I will do my little bit in my little corner and hopefully make one or two others feel wanted in the process.

    God bless you and keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • Kathy, great post. It really made me think.

    Yes, as a woman I have felt “unwanted” or “unable” to get to ceratin places in life. But as the earthly years have gone by, I have come to see those circumstances as blessings. Meaning, those are places I don’t want to be, that God doesn’t want me to be, and are not FOR me. Meaning they are not my manifestation of God on earth, not my calling.

    So to me, it all boils down to perspective. The Word of God gives great importance to being female, it requires a strong person to be a helpmate. We have the power to lift up others. To shape their lives. How awesome is that?

    I agree in the synergy the Bible intends between a man and a woman. The bible says the man is to be the “head” of the household. Look up the greek word. It means Pointman, so-to-speak. The one who stands out in front of his family with his arms out to the sides protecting them. The one who takes all the hits. The one who gets shot at first. The one who steps on the bomb. It’s about responsibility, not authority. He is responsible for the direction and accomplishments of his family. It is a HUMONGOUS heavy burden ladies….one I wouldn’t want.

    I’m a little off track, but I think it’s important to study what Jesus really said. It’s not about power or authority and no where do I think the Bible indicates such. Religion is the guilty party – interpretation makes all the difference.

    One of my favorite parts of the Bible is when Jesus rose again on the third day and who was there? Mary. And what did he tell her? “Go and tell” my disciples that He is risen. Sounds like a pretty clear authorization for woman to preach to me! Sounds like a pretty important setting, message, and task give only to a WOMAN to me!

    Hands down, given the choice, I would rather be a woman over a man any day. Ladies, WE ALONE HAVE THE POWER TO SAVE PEOPLE BY OUR FAITH. Specifically our husbands. Is that not the highest honor? We can give birth to God’s children! Is that not the most powerful, awesome blessing?! These things make me want to fall to my knees and let my face hit the ground in worship everytime.

    Your point is not lost. I agree there are places in this world that woman are made to feel unwanted. Substitute the word “woman” for certain other races and identities and it is all the same. Discrimination. Evil. It is here to stay. But maybe it’s God’s way of keeping certain of us meek and humble, for THEY shall inherit the earth!

    I guess my uplifting point is, maybe by looking at these situations from a different perspective, as guidance from above to keep us on the right path, we can see these situations as blessings instead of frustrations. In short, thank GOD for discrimination.

    God Bless!

    Reply
  • bidemi – great to hear from you here. thanks for taking time to comment; i really agree with you. women must support other women. sometimes we say that we have a heart for it but when the rubber meets the road sometimes it can all be more competitive than it needs to be. i can remember a season where i was a true jerk to someone that needed me to be her advocate and supporter, but i had gotten sucked into church politics and power and got blinded by the light. i really regret my actions & am glad for space to see my contribution to the problem in that situation. yuck. i would love to hear more about the work that you do, i only had a chance to quickly glance at your site.

    kalli – thanks for reading and for sharing your perspectives. i definitely see those scriptures differently and believe wholeheartedly in equality in marriage & in the kingdom of God. i’m just plain old not a complementarian. and for me, i just don’t believe that God would promote discrimination to keep us meek and humble; that is just contrary to too many wider views of the kingdom and freedom and justice. Jesus came to set all free. for me, that means all. thanks for taking time to comment; it is always interesting to hear all kinds of different viewpoints.

    Reply
  • Hi Kathy

    It is really nice of you to have taken time to reply to my comment. I am multi-facted minister as it were. I have a Ministry to women to teach Purpose, Integrity and Leadership and since we are in Africa, these are essential traits that we must teach.

    I also publish a magazine for women and our site is http://www.effectualmag.com. We dont have the facilities that you have in your part of the world, but we are doing our best to spread the Word.

    The opportunity to be able to belong to a community of women like yours even though on cyber space is huge for me.

    I look forward to further comments and again, please keep up the good work. You really do speak to my spirit. God bless you.

    Reply
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