Monday, August 28, 2006

Why Does 'the Church' Need Women P.T.L.?

Preachers--Teachers--Leaders..that's the PTL I'm referring to. As I look to lead and preach at Generations Quest, an emerging postmodern church well into it's second year of existence; and teach at a local women's gathering called The Kavura; and am working hard toward organizing a regional Emerging Women's Voices Gathering this fall, I have been asking myself, WHY?

I am so passionate about exhorting women to bring to life their stories to the Body of Christ and then to preach, teach and lead, trusting their abilities to hear from The Spirit of God; allowing God to interpret the Word to them, with them ... without denying feminine 'knowings' that may sound different than the traditional, church party-line. WHY?

First, it must be a Holy Spirit thing! I sense something from my belly wanting to burst forth. Well, actually it's more like rapidly running water gushing through my fingers onto blogs and beyond. It's a passion, instigated by my own spiritual journey, that seems to be producing an endless thirst for reading, learning and studying the Word with new lenses of appreciation. There's this knowing that I'm onto something about 'my call.' We, (God and I) really seem to be having an enormous amount of creative fun in this current adventure and Our Partnership in this new journey seems to bubble up in me with Holy Energy.

Okay ... but still, WHY? Don't get me wrong, I'm happy about sensing The Spirit's presence in so much of my walk these days! Still, why this emphasis? I admit that I know only in part (I know, usually people write stuff when then know the whole answer to the questions that they ask themselves! Well, maybe I thought writing about it would make it all the more clear to me too!)

A possible second answer to the WHY? Because if I (we) don't tell these marginalized stories with fresh, intertexual Holy Spirit insights, who will?? So far, the women's stories of the biblical narrative are WAY TO SILENT ... they need me and others like me to tell them, to retell them, to re-imagine them, to recreate them, to give voice to voiceless and nameless women trapped on the pages, yearning to be heard for all those who need a place to see their stories valued by God, lives of inestimable worth no matter what their journey map looks like.

I ask, how many sermons has one heard on Samson's mother compared to Samson? On Jael or Hulda? On The Daughters of Zeb? On the nameless, voiceless feminine main character of Judges 19 ... her story is a whole chapter and she's still absent from church teaching, yet a whole prayer book was written on one verse that mentions a man named Jabez! On Vashti? On the homeless mom and her son, Hagar and Ishmael? On Sarah's disappearance after Abraham's faith-event (she might have called it a faith-stunt) with her only son Isaac? On Delilah's predicament of being trapped between some very powerful men? SOMEONE MUST speak from inside these texts allowing the words to represent real people's lives, not as filler for the traditionally dominating 'others.'

Are these good reasons to WHY? Maybe I have my answer.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Music Please: "Leading, Leading, Leading on the Everlasting..."

"Lead Like Jesus Led", "Become a Leader Like Jesus", "The Ten Steps to Leading Like Jesus", The Leadership Bible, "Servant Leadership Just Like Jesus", "Leadership: Seven Keys to Kingdom Leadership"

Earning my mdiv degree from R. University ... a university all about leadership, I have heard just about every angle possible of connecting biblical leadership to Jesus and to almost every other male character in the biblical narrative.

Today I was thinking about a character trait of Jesus that is rarely highlighted in the dense forest of leadership issues ... brevity! Yup, brevity. I must have 10 leadership manuals on my shelf and leadership books galore and I don't think a one highlights 'brevity!' For some reason, it makes me chuckle. Just think of the possible leadership book titles: "BE BRIEF and BE LIKE JESUS"! Be a Jesus Leader and Say Less! "Learn Jesus style Leadership: Cutting Your Sermons and Prayers in Half!" "SAY LESS - FEEL GREAT!" "How Not to Explain Everything: A Divine Leadership Gift!"

Have you ever tried writing a parable that is as short as the ones Jesus told? I have and it was really tough! I had to write and rewrite and rewrite and cut and cut and cut just to get it short enough to be comparable to His.

Brevity ... a tough gift to follow.

How about prayer ... consider the Lord's Prayer ... what church leader/pastor prays that short and to the point today? I raised this point in a doctoral class recently about our 'religious, wordy, lengthy prayers,' and my comments were not all that well received! Why, I was shocked and amazed!

As the Christian Church in America shrinks day by day, I've read that we need MORE leaders! Really? Gosh, if our ability to emulate Jesus' leadership style of brevity is any indication of how well we're doing at this leadership thing, maybe taking up followership 101 would be a good idea?? Just thinking ...