I am blown away by the number of women, young, middle age and older that I have met here in Chicago that are doing and have dreams of living their lives organized around the Kingdom of God. I feel like this has been the best kept secret in the universe…hundreds of amazing women. Since the Vineyard has shifted to officially recognize women in every level of leadership…it is like the floodgate has opened…I am sobered and awed at the women I have met here. They are from all over the United States…I have met future theologians, scholars, pastors, small group leaders, future founders of non-profits, church planters… you name it they are here and they are an unstoppable force…
Last night I had two dreams that I missed my plane…one reason might be I have developed a bit of anxiety about getting to the airport on the right day and the right time…we missed a flight to Thailand because I had the wrong date…I missed a flight to Charleston last month…
Tomorrow I am flying to Chicago for a women’s conference…
I am really looking forward to this trip for so many reasons…
He is Risen
He is Risen Indeed!
Our Easter worship gathering was great…great music, great people followed by brunch…plenty of food and good company.
Last week was International Women’s Day. In 2006, Rachelle organized a gridblog entitled, “Dismantling Patriarchy”, (I was in Thailand officiating a wedding at time) which I participated in. This year I didn’t participate because I have been too sick and too behind in my studies. If I am going to take time to write I have to write for school. I have been too sick to concentrate on my studies or much else…in fact I have spent more time in the last two weeks watching T.V. than I have in years…it doesn’t take much energy to watch T.V…
While reading through some of the posts, I found I really resonated with Julie Clawson’s post.
From her post:
There are many issues that I try to be open minded about. I respect differences of opinion in theology and politics and disdain single issue voting, but this is a deal breaking issue for me. If a church sees women as inferior and denies them their voice, I honestly could not join as a member of that community. I could not worship week after week alongside those that denied my full humanity. I don’t deny their faith or anything, but it’s not worth it to me to subject myself to such life-denying forces. Others with far more patience are attempting to bring hope to those situations, but (at least for now) I can’t be a part of that world.
I have to say I agree with her. It is a justice issue for me, I am respectful of difference, but I couldn’t attend a church week after week that denied my right to be who I am created to be.
I don’t think many people would disagree on times are changing. The question to followers of Jesus becomes, what does it mean to be faithful in our time, what does it mean for the church to navigate the waters of societal change?
“Every few hundred years in Western society there occurs a sharp transformation…within a few short decades, society rearranges itself—its worldview; its basic values; its social and political structure; its arts; its key institutions…fifty years later, there is a new world and the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. We are currently living through such a transformation.”
Peter Drucker. Post-Capitalist Society, New York: Harper’s Business. 1993. p. 1.
Tonight I was reading through the journal I kept in 2003. I read through my entries on my trip to Mozambique, Africa and Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. Some of the entries from Africa brought tears to my eyes.
While at Church of the Savior we heard a number of amazing practitioners, one in particular jumped out at me tonight (I am re-reading some of my thoughts so I can shape my dissertation proposal), it was a talk given by a man named Bill Haley. Bill had just returned from a trip around the world visiting Christian communities that were or had been successful in bringing about personal, societal and global transformation. (Sidebar – I was struck by the fact that five years later we use similar language in our community about following Christ to serve others in three realms: personal, local and global). He talked about Wilberforce and the Clapham’s (social reformers within the Church of England.
Bill then talked about small communities of Christians committed to prayer, study and service as the most powerful tool in God’s hand for personal, societal and global transformation. Then went on to name some of the groups he studied and visited:
The Sisters of Charity
The Iona Community
Various monastic communities
Church of the Savior
The common denominators he found:
1. The Communities are Christ centered – Jesus is the reason they exist and they know him as a suffering God
2. There was some degree of life together
3. They had strong leadership – leaders that had a strong inner sense and a focus “what is not yet needs to be done” there are things God wants to do in the world
4. There was a great willingness within the community to live sacrificially
5. There was a profound reliance on prayer
6. There was an external goal – the entire community internalized an external goal, namely, they existed for other people, social justice was equated with loving God
7. There was shared discipline
8. There was a high expectation for membership (individualism was not part of their language or practice) they realized they could get more done with 10 committed people than 100 people who were not committed to the mission
9. They all had a commitment to commitment – you choose how you live
Here was Bill’s definition of Christian community:
An interdependent group of Christians whose lives are centered around Jesus and ordered by love, who share common goals and common commitments and who together intentionally seek to love God and love their neighbor.
Tonight Rich, Alex and I had dinner with my extended family. My mom, my cousins, my uncle Dan (85 years old) and old friends of the family. We watched the videos that Rich and I made of my mom…this spurred a lot of questions and story after story…we had rigatoni, green beans with pancetta and lots of wine!
My mom was having a great time rehearsing the stories of her childhood…and of her siblings, funny stores about my aunts that we grew up around…all four of them have died within the last 10 years.
We talked about death and dying, cremation or burial, scattering ashes — it was really fun…at one point someone said, this is like a scene out of Meet the Fockers! There was lots of laughter.
It was great to see my mom being the center of attention and everyone celebrating the moments of her life. She is totally cool with making the videos public (everyone at dinner wanted access to them)…we are going to videotape my uncle Dan as well. He loved documenting the stories we all grew up hearing but have not had anyone really document to this point.
Only sad moment, when we first arrived, an old friend of the family I haven’t seen in a couple of years said to me (referring to Alex) “is that your grandson?” to which I replied, “nooooo, that’s Alex our youngest” 🙂