Rose Madrid-Swetman

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


September 30, 2016

Six Month Heart Update or Living As If I Don’t Have Much Time Left

img_9131

It has been six months since I found out I was in very serious heart failure rather than having acute bronchitis. I am feeling pretty good. My body is adapting to my heart’s capacity. I have just started cardiac rehab that consists of exercising while attached to a heart monitor to see how much exercise I can do without putting stress on my heart. I am learning my limits. The past two weeks I did over schedule myself a bit and ended up feeling pretty rundown for a couple of days. My body actually felt sick. I am learning to pace myself. Even though I feel better I still have a lot of limitations because of my condition. I am easily out of breath and need a lot of down time so my body can reboot.

A very interesting thing has transpired. From the day I came home from the hospital I began coloring. I am not an artist but I found myself wanting to sit for hours and color. As coloring books came with almost every visitor (I am so grateful) I found myself binge coloring! I could not focus on reading, watching much TV but I color for hours and hours at a time. A few months ago the strangest thing began to happen. I would be coloring in the quiet, no one around and random memories began to present themselves. I would not be thinking about anything and a memory of being four-year-old in the backyard smelling the laundry hanging on the clothes line, or I am in the hospital after my oldest son was born, or I am on a trip. Random memories from all stages of my life started coming up. Mostly good memories were coming up. I was a little afraid that it was because I didn’t have much time left. I thought, “My life is passing before me” and it made me wonder if my body knew something. I recently told my therapist about it and he said, “No, your coloring is accessing both hemispheres of your brain and it is healing the trauma of the last year that landed you in heart failure and almost dying!” He said it is like doing EMDR work. It is amazing to me that we are wired to heal. Without even knowing my brain craved the very thing that could bring healing to the trauma. If I go a day without coloring, it is almost like an obsession. I need to color!

Living As Though You Don’t Have Much Time Left
Have you seen the commercial that goes something like this? An elderly man is looking out the window singing, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” Then the voice over says. “For people with Heart Failure tomorrow is not a given.” I actually don’t like the commercial because it reminds me that tomorrow is not a given for me. Because of that realization it has made me very mindful of how I want to spend my time and energy. I find it interesting that living as though I don’t have much time left has not made me anxious trying to fill each day as if it is the last. Just the opposite has happened for me. I want to savor memories, moments, and I have learned in this season that rest is a must. I am living in the present moment more than I ever have in my life. Early on when I came home from the hospital my friend Julie Clark prayed for me. She had a sense that I would find treasures in the day-to-day moments as I recovered. This has been absolutely my experience. One quiet morning while sitting on my deck drinking coffee all of a sudden my faithful little dog tore off barking at a squirrel in the trees. The next thing I see and hear is a crow landing in the tree, “Caw, caw, caw,” and Mr. B goes doubly crazy! Then the next-door neighbor’s cat has been calmly watching the animal circus in our backyard decides to jump in. She jumps from tree to tree, enjoying teasing my little dog. Mr. B runs from tree to tree – the squirrel, the crow and the cat exceedingly thrilled that they are tormenting this little white dog. I was so entertained! These are the moments I sit and marvel at the beauty of creation and I am grateful for the treasure it truly is.

I have also spent time reflecting on my life. This past week I have noticed so many little things. Things I have taken for granted and now realizing how rich my life is. Several weeks ago as summer was coming to a close, Rich and I sat on the deck and noticed dragonflies, butterflies and all matter of small flying creatures. We sat in the sun and gave thanks for where we live and how gracious God has been to us for the past twenty years! We will be married twenty years in December. We thought about how insanely blessed we are to have been able to travel to places we never imagined we would be able to see. I have been to Italy, France, and Thailand with Rich, Alex and Nicole. Rich and I have been to Italy three times! We stopped in Iceland on our way home last summer. I have been to Africa, India and England not to mention so many places in the US. As we rehearsed how all of these trips were amazing in such different ways we sat in quiet and tried to take in all the goodness we have experienced thus far in our journey together.

I have been thinking about a bucket list. I have a few things I would like to do and see and if none of them happen I can honestly say my life has been thoroughly a gift. Our kids, grandchildren, family, friends and last but not least our church are the things I treasure most.

I am going to end my six-month update with a Psalm that read every day. I pray it for my life and I pray it for my kids, grandchildren and for folks that I know who are experiencing infertility. It grounds me in what is true.

Psalm 139The Message (MSG)
A David Psalm
139 1-6 GOD, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!
7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, GOD,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!
23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

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.

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 21, 2009

President Carter Leaves the SBC over Equality for Women

Category: All Posts,women – Rose – 9:40 am

I saw this on Eugene’s blog this morning. After 60 years President Carter is leaving the SBC. Here is his statement:

What do you think?

It’s important to note that President Carter writes in the larger context of the injustice against women in the global world including his “interpretation” of the larger segments of Western Christianity including the SBC.

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices – as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy – and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place – and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence – than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

October 15, 2008

Mars Hill Church Again

Category: All Posts,Community,Leadership,Stories of Life,women – Rose – 4:37 pm

I so try not to care about this…but then something like this happens and it makes me want to scream…

August 29, 2008

Feminism and the Church

Category: All Posts,Leadership,Questions about the Journey,women – Rose – 7:31 pm

Kimberly George is a young woman I met through the blogosphere a few months ago. She will be leading a workshop at the October Off The Map Live Event in Seattle. I met her through her blog here and now she is blogging with another woman here on matters of gender and justice from a cross-generational perspective. Great stuff.

August 12, 2008

Comings and Goings

Summer seems to be going by quickly. Rich and I were not able to take a real vacation this summer. We tried to figure out a good time but it didn’t seem to work out this year. We had other things that we felt were more important happening the last few months. I have worked at home all summer, trying to get course work done. I have made good headway on finishing up (almost Winn) an Old Testament Theology course and I have started a New Testament Theology course. I have decided to take the pressure off to have my dissertation completed by this January. There was no way I could make that deadline. I am going to take January – January to go through the dissertation process. Making this decision has actually vastly improved getting to sleep and staying asleep at night. It’s also calmed down that feeling I get in my chest that makes me wonder if I am having heart problems:)

It has been nice to be at home with Alex this summer. I am watching him turn into that person that is a preteen but still in some ways a little boy. He just has fun all day long whether he is with a friend or by himself. I love working in my office and hearing his laugh. He has had a great summer. On Saturday we are going to Port Angeles for 5 days. I am working with the Vineyard church there. One of the families has graciously offered us to stay in their lake house. So Alex and I are heading over on Saturday and Rich will join us on Sunday. I am looking forward to being on the lake with some time to be with friends, get some solitude and hang out with Rich and Alex.

Last week Rich and I were in Chicago for the first meeting of the Women’s National Task Force. It took us a while to get there. Chicago was having some sever weather. When we landed the thunder storms and rain were like nothing I’ve seen here in the Northwest (well maybe that famous Columbus day storm in 1962). The drive from the airport to our hotel was incredible, hearing the thunder, watching the lightening and navigating through the torrential rains. When we woke up the next morning we learned that three tornadoes had touched down in Chicago that night.

At the meetings we met some great people, saw some good friends and when it was over had an afternoon and evening to spend in the City (thanks Scot for your recommendations). I am looking forward to the Vineyard moving toward changing the structures to grant women access to all levels of leadership.

July 6, 2008

This is an Important Voice in the Conversation

Category: All Posts,Leadership,Questions about the Journey,women – Rose – 6:00 pm

Phyllis Tickle adds much to the current conversation here

I have an easier time listening to the voices that are educated, don’t paint with broad strokes, are not speaking out of complete deconstruction and have hope in the midst of liminality.

June 25, 2008

Women and Evangelicalism

Category: All Posts,Leadership,Questions about the Journey,women – Rose – 12:53 pm

If you read my blog you know that I care about gender equality. I have recently come across a blog by a young female professor that is very interesting to me. Jenell has a perspective that I find myself sometimes cheering (see an insert from her blog below) and other times reflecting (wondering if I would agree)…she has an article up at CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality). What strikes you as you read her article? What makes you say “yes” and what makes you wonder?

Recently I was at our Regional Conference and was facilitating a time for women in leadership to meet one another. I won’t go into all the details but another woman leader said to me (to be fair she probably meant in this setting) “I don’t think we need to activate women for a cause.” I was a bit taken back by this. This came as a response to my question, “do you think many women in this room come from churches that do not recognize women in senior leadership?” Because I was taken back I have been reflecting on why…why did that response hit me wrong?

I guess I am actually feeling the need to activate women for a cause. The cause for biblical equality is not just personal…it feels to me a bit like…well we don’t have slaves on our plantation but let’s not activate the neighbors slaves to think they could be free…

I am thinking about this more and more. Thank God Lucy Burns and Alice Paul felt it was their place to activate men and women for a cause.

Looking back on many of the civil rights or social movements there has always been those (usually Christians) who activate men and women for the cause.

I am not of the persuasion that women in leadership fall into “disputable matters” (adiaphora), rather I see it as a justice issue. So in my own movement, I wonder if at some point I (along with others) will be seen as an agitator, activating men and women for a cause rather than those trying to participate in Kingdom Come?

From Jenell’s blog on this topic:

“I believe that the young Reformed movement legitimates and reinscribes the repression of women for a new generation, carrying an ages-old injustice into the future of the church. They may do it via what Mary Stuart Van Leeuwen dubbed ‘soft patriarchy’, a gentle, well-intentioned protection of and headship over women, sometimes even allowing all manner of social equality short of access to the pulpit, or they may do it through more blatant discrimination or even misogyny. Soft or hard matters sometimes, but not in this case — it is what it is. If your movement excludes women from full equality with men, then just call it a men’s movement and don’t try to make me pay attention to it.”