Carol Howard Merritt at Tribal Church has a great post about "post-evangelical women" and the challenges of moving into leadership even when your new church circles officially welcome women's leadership. While I don't think of myself as a PEW, those of us raised in the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod can certainly relate -- especially #5 about finding our voice and women's reluctance to self-promote. This post absolutely resonated with my years as a mission developer hanging out mostly with (post-)evangelicals.
Fewer and fewer denominations have policies that exclude women from leadership, but more subtle forms of sexism, unfortunately, are still very much alive -- even in church circles where women have been ordained for over thirty or more years. We're doing better with gender than we are with race or GLBT issues, but no, Virginia, we have not yet fully unleashed women's leadership gifts in the church.
I could give examples, but that begins to look like finger-pointing. And honestly, I've never found a way to write about such things without sounding whiny. Because, truth is, I benefit far more from being white, middle-class and straight than I am disadvantaged because of my gender.
That was the line that struck me the most hearing Krista Tippett's broadcast near Ground Zero today. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, talked about the ways in which that day is still with us in unconscious ways, ways that we sense but can't articulate or even fully access.
It encapsulated for me why I haven't felt the need to go to 9/11 memorial events or even read very much about the anniversary this year. Partly, I'm weary of the political posturing and faux patriotism that always seems to hover around the media's coverage. Partly I am more concerned about the famine in Africa and the climate crisis. But mostly I feel that I don't need to re-visit that day in order to know how it has impacted my life or my country.
When 9/11 happened, I was 28 weeks pregnant with our first child. I knew instantly that her world would be irrevocably shaped by this event. I remember vividly the silence when commercial planes stopped flying overhead, and the fear I felt when I heard what must have been military planes in the succeeding days.
I know 9/11 impacted my body, and therefore the child in my womb. Katie was born month early, and I've heard that premature birth rates were up that year across the country. The day after she was born, a plane crashed in New York City, and the news frenzy started all over again. But by then my horizon had changed. It was not about now, but about the future, about the kind of world we want our children to live in: a world of love or of fear, a world of wonder or of suspicion. I still carry those tensions in my body, and pray that my life will work them out for her sake.
I just finished re-reading Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, which was much better the second time because I had adjusted my expectations, and even better the third time because the writing is so rich. I love how different this book is from so much trauma-driven fiction that's on the shelves these days.Robinson manages to depict deep human love and the suffering entailed in that love without being sensational or sentimental. I'm not usually one to re-read fiction, even novels I really love -- but this one is worth re-reading yearly, I think.
The line that grabbed me this time:
"There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, every one of them sufficient."