Rose Madrid-Swetman

— Random Thoughts, Stories of Life, and Questions about the Journey —


January 31, 2012

Waiting

Category: All Posts,Prayers,Random Thoughts,Stories of Life – Rose – 12:10 pm

For Christians that follow the liturgical calendar it is the season of Epiphany. However, today I find myself back in a season of waiting…
Waiting to hear decisions
Waiting to make decisions
Waiting, feeling powerless
Waiting, holding onto faith by a thread
Waiting, clinging to hope for dear life
Waiting, wondering what will be…

January 28, 2012

Signs of Patriarchy

Category: All Posts,women – Rose – 10:28 am

If you want to know the truth I wish I didn’t have to think about equality for women. In a perfect world men and women would be seen as equal and would be in places of influence based on character, talent, etc. The same would be true of any group of people that are marginalized, and suffer oppression in any form from the dominate group that holds the most power and influence in any situation.

I just finished reading, Gender Knot Revised Ed: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, by Allan G. Johnson. Johnson on patriarchy:

“A society is patriarchal to the degree that it promotes male privilege* by being male dominated, male identified, and male centered. It is also organized around an obsession with control and involves as one of its key aspects the oppression of women.”
Allan G. Johnson. Gender Knot Revised Ed: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy (Kindle Locations 112-113). Kindle Edition.

I am thinking about this concept with regard to the Christian Church.

It seems naming this condition out loud causes good people to be uncomfortable, defensive and a bit reactive. In an exercise Johnson conducted in a workshop with business men and women he asked them to name advantages and disadvantages the other gender has. As they reported their findings through the process and results a blanketing silence settled over the room. Johnson reports:

“The result is a kind of paralysis that reflects not only where this particular group-and countless others like it-finds itself as it confronts the reality of gender inequality, but where entire societies are in relation to these issues.”
Allan G. Johnson. Gender Knot Revised Ed: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy (Kindle Locations 102-103). Kindle Edition.

Any denomination, movement or church that does not fully include women as equals to men is compiled of men and women who knowingly or unknowingly participate in a patriarchal structure.

This is what I am thinking about today…

January 18, 2012

Women, Theology, Power

Category: All Posts,women – Rose – 3:34 pm

If you are up to emotional, intellectual, or theological sparring around the issue of biblical equality between men and women you may want to check out the following:

Jim Henderson‘s post “Driscoll Bullies the Brits”
Jason Clark’s post “Mark Driscoll takes aim at the ‘cowards’ in the British church #dminlgp”
Michael Frost’s post here
All of the above sparked from this article

I’m not going to lie, I find this exhausting.

Two of my friends are releasing books (I contributed a wee bit to both) over the next week:

Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church by Pam Hogeweide
and
The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam’s Rib Is No Longer Willing to Be the Church’s Backbone? by Jim Henderson

I hope you will order and read both books. They are very different (I will be writing a review for both) but both get to the heart of the matter: This is an issue of power. No matter your theological framework, it comes down to the issue of power. Jesus modeled the ultimate form of power that changed the entire created order and beyond by submitting to death on a cross. I see little in the “soft patriarchy” or “complementarian” view on this issue that resembles the kind of power that Jesus modeled.

Women who speak out on this issue are many times labeled “power hungry”

I don’t see it that way…

I rather see it the way my friend Susan so aptly puts it:
“The core assumption that I work from is that no human being can choose to live in a one-down position and be fully subject. Therefore, my claim is that as long as evangelical women ascribe to the “order in creation” theology, the complex ways in which they uniquely attempt to find subjectivity within an overarching system of male supremacy and domination will be only that: attempts. There is no ultimate self-actualization for them as long as they remain in the system, for no woman can enlist in her own dehumanization and marginalization and believe that she is simultaneously moving toward the full measure of her humanity. The woman who thinks that it is appropriate for human beings to be objectified so that others may be glorified participates in her own subordination and is less human than that for which she was created.” –Susan Hall

Any theology, doctrine or understanding of the sacred text that asks human beings (Jew or Greek, Male or Female, Slave or Free) created in the image of God to participate in the dehumanization process of themselves or others, distorts and perverts the gospel of Jesus.

January 7, 2012

Writing Projects

Category: All Posts,Random Thoughts,Stories of Life – Rose – 2:05 pm

It is time for me to prime the pump of the writing well. I have different writing projects I simply put on hold after completing a four-year doctoral program. I sit in my home office today, reflecting, reading, thinking and trying to get some creativity flowing.
I started my blog years ago and committed to writing in it at least a few times a week to start a creative flow. Now, eighteen months post graduation, I am going to begin writing here on a consistent basis to develop my writing muscle.
Let the random thoughts, stories of life and questions about the journey once again commence!

December 23, 2011

Reflection on this day before Christmas Eve

Category: All Posts,women – Rose – 2:35 pm

This morning I read a reflection from a book my good friend, Ellie gave me for Christmas. “Sacred Journeys” by Jan L Richardson is a wonderful book for daily prayer. Today’s reading describes Joseph, how he (like Mary) goes against his custom and tradition when he takes a pregnant woman for his wife. He stood in solidarity with a woman he loved and trusted. The reflection then asks this question, “What men stand in solidarity with you, going against custom and tradition to be with you or work with you?”

I immediately thought of the men that have worked with me, encouraged me, pushed me forward into places I never dreamed I would be. Today I am grateful for:

Jim Henderson was the first man that had the influence and power to see things in me that I did not and push me toward my future

My husband, Rich continually cheers me on, helps me think and grounds me in fun!

Dave Pardee was the first man in my denomination that took a stand for women in ministry when he named me the movement’s first APCL – the first time a woman held a leadership role beyond the local church within the Vineyard.

Winn Griffin has taught me to think theologically and without him I would have never made it through a doctoral program.

The men of VCC who teach me so much about what it means to lead a congregation with respect for both men and women who are created as equals.

The male area pastors that I bring pastoral care to, they too stand with me as we try our best to be/bring “good news” to the northwest.

Today on this day before we celebrate what the great prophets of old foretold, Emmanuel, I am grateful for all the men that stand in solidarity with women to bring justice to a worn torn, broken world.

July 26, 2011

Divisiveness vs Love

Category: All Posts,Love,Muslims – Rose – 1:51 pm

I am amazed at how many conservative Christians promote divisiveness agains Muslims. I just finished reading Carl Medearis‘ excellent book, “Speaking of Jesus” and what I can’t understand about conservatives is how they skip the “love your enemy” command of Jesus. The more we demonize and dehumanize people of other faith traditions, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender the more we lack the very essence of what it means to follow Jesus. A good review of history proves this out to be true.
My hope is that the conservative branch of Christianity would take a long, cleansing breath and really buy the fact that God does not need defending. He is quite big enough to run the entire cosmos without another round of crusades.

June 26, 2010

Italy Day 4 – Moneglia

Category: All Posts – Rose – 10:02 am

I wanted to do a quick update. Rome was wonderful but I was ready to leave the crowded city and get to a place where it is complete rest. Beach time and reading, eating and drinking wine, that’s what I have been looking forward to.

We left Rome at 9:45 this morning, heading up the west coast of Italy for a little village just north of the Cinque Terrra. When we bought our tickets at the station the machine would not give us seat assignments. Once on the train we found out why, the train was oversold so we did not have seats! An over-crowded train where we had to stand for 4 hours proved to be quite the adventure. It was so worth it once we arrived Castello Monleone in Monglia. I feel like we are in paradise! We are planted here for 7 nights. Paolo, the man who owns Castello Monleone barely speaks English. He is so kind and funny!

Right in front of Castello is a church, the bells ring on the hour. I feel like we are living in a fairy tale right now. So beautiful, the sights, the sounds, the people.

Heading out to dinner in the village, going to watch the USA/Ghana game. This isn’t so much a tourist town as it is a town where the Italians go on holiday. Hardly anyone speaks English which will be great, it will force us to learn some of the language.

Time for me to go wake up Rich and Nicole to get ready for dinner:)

June 22, 2010

Unbelievable

Category: All Posts,Stories of Life – Rose – 8:59 am

Unbelievable is how I would describe my life these days. I don’t know how long this run is going to last but I am trying to enjoy every minute. I have a friend who wrote a little book called “Simple Spirituality, Maintain your personal peace and lovingly serve others.” One of the practices of SS is “celebrating moments.” The idea is that we have moments in our lives when we really do sense that “all is well” and in our fast-paced, full lives we should stop and savor these moments. I have had more of those moments in the last month than I can count. I don’t remember many times in my life when moment after moment to celebrate just kept coming.

Winning a 12-week pastor’s sabbatical grant…
Finishing my dissertation…
Passing with distinction…
Alex’s baseball team winning their division championship…
Graduation…
Graduation party…
Celebrating with family and friends…
Regional conference….healing and restored friendships…

and today…

LEAVE FOR ITALY FOR ONE MONTH!

I don’t want to wake up from this dream…

June 15, 2010

Here we go…

Category: All Posts – Rose – 7:56 am

I’m leaving for Boise this morning for our Vineyard Regional Conference. I am looking forward to our time but have a wee bit of anxiety too. It will be good to see everyone. I haven’t been to Tri’s church in so long, 13 years I think. I can’t remember the first time I met Tri but it was sometime in the early 90’s when he was our then regional overseer. Most of my early interactions with him was about Women in Ministry. We had some good debates, friendly debates. About the time Jim Henderson and VCC wanted to ordain me in 1995 I was in Boise for some training and talked with Tri. I wanted to get his approval as our RO. He was most respectful, he said he blessed whatever we chose to do in our church even though he wouldn’t ordain a woman in his church. To this day I am very thankful for the way he respectfully disagreed yet could bless us.

Alex is getting ready for school, he only has 2 days left. He’s going to stay with Nathan until Saturday when Rich and I get back from Boise. What an amazing time he has had this year. He told us that 6th grade was his best year ever. He really liked his teacher, Wayne Clousing, and who could ever forget winning your baseball division championships when you were down by 2 in the last inning with 2 outs and 2 strikes and your teammate knocks one out of the park to tie the game. Alex is up next and hits a single, makes it to 2nd base and then the next batter up hits the winning RBI. I don’t think any of us will ever forget that moment!

Rich, Alex, Nicole and I leave for Italy on Tuesday. I am so grateful for the opportunity (to the Louisville Institute and VCC) to go on such an amazing trip with Rich and the kids. It’s the perfect way to start a sabbatical, one I could never have imagined.

I can’t wait to get on the plane, but first a plane to Boise:)

June 8, 2010

2 Weeks to Go

Category: All Posts – Rose – 8:22 pm

Two weeks from today we will be in the air on our way to Italy. First stop London/Heathrow then on to Roma! We will be 3 nights in Rome then we take the train to Monleone on the Italian Riviera. Here is a picture (the castle) of where we will be for 7 nights. Here is the view from the castle deck. We will be 15-minute train ride from the Cinque Terra and a short boat ride to Portofino.

From Monleone we go to Lake Como for 3 nights. Then 1 night in Milan and then Nicole and Alex will fly home. Rich and I will go on to Venice where we will meet up with our friends Nick and Cathy Gretton for 3 nights! Then we drive to Tuscany where we will spend the next 9 nights. Lots of places to see in Tuscany, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Assisi, then 1 final night in Rome before returning home.

Lots still to do before we go. Graduation parties, an anniversary party, our Vineyard Regional Conference.

Speaking of graduation parties, my husband and friends threw me an amazing party on Saturday after my graduation. What a celebration. I had a hard time taking it all in. I still have not quite come down from the weekend beginning with Alex’s baseball team winning their division championship the night before I graduated.

Rich and I were reflecting on the weekend. It could not have been more perfect. I am so, so, so grateful for my life!