My Embodied Self Is Not To Be Feared

Posted by on Saturday, Sep 19, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

My embodied self is not to be feared. Conservative faith communities tend to quote texts like 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 as biblical proof of why women shouldn’t be at the leadership table. Sadly, even if our male leaders won’t admit it, there are other reasons why women aren’t invited to the table. Sex being one of them. My body, her body and his body is feared. Female bodies present the possibility of moral failure therefore women are keep at bay. We live in a hyper-sexed world where Freud has convinced us that “every relationship” has sexual undertones. In Lime Green I discuss the sex thing. I challenge us to consider there’s another way besides believing the danger/romance narrative. Scripture offers another narrative, a brother sister narrative that harkens back to his creation mandate given to male and female in the Garden. Embracing a better, and dare I say a more biblical narrative, will force us to do a fundamental rethink about our sexual bodies. Is the sexual body only for sexual intercourse? I don’t know about you but my embodied self spends proportionally a small amount of time engaged in sexual intercourse compared to other activities. So what’s up with that? Why do I live in the body that spends most of its time engaged in activities other than the sex act? What does that reveal about our bodies? Why do you have a male body? Why do I have a female body?  I would argue if we are to work as allies, not adversaries, we need a new narrative about our sexual bodies. (By the way, sexuality and sex are not the same thing!) Below is an excerpt that forces us to think about why we have gendered bodies.  How does a rethink about our bodies impact who’s invited to the leadership table? Greater yet, how does it impact our ability to live out our calling as the Blessed Alliance? I was born sexual. Not in a sexual-intercourse way, but in an I-am-differentiated-by-my-genitalia-and-I-want-to-be-connected-to-others way. Roman Catholic priest, Ronald Rolheiser, defines sexuality like this: “Sexuality is the drive for love, communion, community, friendship, family, affection, wholeness, consummation, creativity. . . joy, delight, humor, and self-transcendence. It is not good to be alone . . . Sexuality is a beautiful, good, extremely powerful, sacred energy, given us by God and experienced in every cell of our being as an irrepressible urge to overcome our incompleteness, to move toward unity and consummation with that which is beyond us.” [1] Sexuality drives me to intimacy. Sexual intercourse may be a part of that intimacy, but we must remember that it is neither the goal nor the epitome of relational intimacy. Sexual intercourse alone...

Read More

Sex, Power and Mixed Gendered Friendships

Posted by on Friday, Mar 20, 2015 in Blog | 5 comments

Last Monday night we had a salon discussion centered around the question, “Can men and women be friends?” (or does the sex thing always get in the way.) One man voiced that he thought sex always got in the way. A woman asked if power also played a part in why men and women aren’t friends (in corporate America or faith communities)? Approximately half of the people in the room had deep friendships with the opposite gender. It was acknowledged that sexual tension isn’t present in same-sex friendships where as it is in mix gendered friendships. Although, I argued we have to content with the fact that same-sex attractions also exist. I wondered what’s missing when only one gender is present (in our work place and faith communities?) We discussed the one another’s in Scripture: How do we live them out as brothers and sisters? Love one another, carry one another’s burden, encourage one another, wait on one another, comfort one another, mourn with one another, accept one another, rejoice with one another, etc. Have you ever read the Scriptures with the lens of “How do I carry this out with the other gender of faith?” It’s an interesting question. What do you think? Can we be friends? How does sex and or power play a role in how we answer it? And why are we asking it at all? What difference does our answer make? What is impacted by how we answer?...

Read More

Malapropisms On My Birthday

Posted by on Monday, Oct 20, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Brene Brown states vulnerability is “uncertain, risk, emotional exposure.” Vulnerability feels like you’re taking off the mask and hoping the real me isn’t too disappointing. Yup that’s true. It’s my birthday. I’m 49  – almost 50! And I’m learning to laugh at myself. Turns out my friends are also enjoying my quirky flaws too. Over the years my friends have kept a running list of my malapropism inside the door my one of my kitchen cabinets. Some of you may not know what a malapropism is – it’s the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance. So here I am being vulnerable – I’m a preacher, writer and speaker and I FLUB MY WORDS. I MAKE UP WORDS. I MISUSE WORDS IN A SENTENCE. And if I’m honest, I don’t want you to know this about me because you might think I’m stupid.  That’s being vulnerable isn’t it? When I’m vulnerable around those I don’t trust I tend to try to cover up my exposure. Like I’d like to say to you – did you know that D.L. Moody, the 19th century evangelist, also flubbed his words? See it’s not a sign of stupidity. Last night a few of my friends gathered to celebrate my birthday. I made my brother’s spaghetti sauce, the best by the way, and others brought salad, wine, bread, and dessert. Steve asked the question, “What has surprised you? You are at this age and you find yourself surprised by …?” The answers were interesting: – that joy is in the ordinary not extraordinary things – that things didn’t turn out at all like I had expected – that age is better than youth – that being connected to others is what life is about Towards the end of the evening, just before chocolate cake, I was ordered to my room – they had a surprise in the works! Outside my bedroom door I could hear lots of rustling and giggling. What are they up to? When I came out of the room there they all were wearing salmon colored t-shirts and on the back? A list of some of my malapropism! Amy was kind enough to leave off some of my more embarrassing ones like when I was in a pastoral staff meeting and said, We need to get Andy (the Senior Pastor) a vibrator! UGH, I meant a pager- Flubbing words can be embarrassing! But some are just downright funny. Like when I said to my son Hunter, We need to go to Target and get some windmills. Without missing a beat – he’s used to translating my words- he said, You mean a...

Read More

The Table Was Set At Laity Lodge

Posted by on Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

My family did life around the table. It was a small table in a small 1100 square foot cape cod house ,yet it was where everyone gathered – and I do mean everyone. Us five kids, my mom and dad, another kid that lived with the neighbor kids, the farm help and us. It wasn’t unusual to walk into our kitchen to find the table full with others sitting on countertops and others yet standing while eating. The table was a central place in our home. It was a place where we learned about our family’s values – norms (and southern etiquette wasn’t one of them). Historically the table has always been a place where society communicated its values, norms and social status. That’s the topic I brought to the table, so to speak, a few weeks ago at Laity Lodge. I opened the retreat by sharing my family’s table story and others shared theirs. Not everyone had fond memories around the table – some are down right painful. But the point made was, regardless of what kind of table you grew up around, to some extent, it communicated your family’s norms, values and social hierarchy. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed how many times Jesus taught while sitting at “the table.” He used the understanding of the table to subversively flip society on its head. In order to understand how subversive Jesus was at the table one must understand first century table culture. Mark Moore does a great job explaining: Eating at the table supported kinship – to create solidarity. One ate with the clan and by doing so established the boundaries of who was “in” and who was “out.” Meals reminded the household where their loyalties lay. The concentric rings of table fel­lowship were: extended family, household servants or hired workers, and members of your social class (those who could reciprocate), who were invited to special banquets. Eating at the table enforced boundaries – hierarchy, status, and gender – espe­cially through seating arrangements. During these meals the social group was reminded who sat at the head of the table and who was at the foot (or in their case, who washed the feet). Women’s roles and paternal hegemony were reinforced. This is the world in which Jesus lived. Yet he didn’t abide by its rules. In fact, he used meals as a means of disrupting social values and overturning normal standards of behavior and honor. (Moore, Mark E. Mark Moore Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2013. http://mark­ While at Laity Lodge we looked at four New Testament narratives where food was central to the story: Feeding of the 5,000 – Mary and Martha – Wedding...

Read More

My Body Counts

Posted by on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

I haven’t written lately. Sometimes I get tired of all the talking. Opinions. Counter opinions. It seems like everyone has something to say about everything. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and I long for quiet. Among us. In myself. While being quiet I’ve been reading Kingdom Ethics by Stassen & Gushee and Incarnate by Micheal Frost. Both have caused me to cry, grieve and reconsider how I’m living. Frost’s book has reminded me, once again, of the importance of my body, your body, the church’s body. I believe the body (mine, your’s and the church’s body) – being flesh – has great value – perhaps more than we are aware. So I’m asking myself a lot of questions about my past ministry life, the church family, and community.  I’ve been (re)considering how to live in light of the fact that Jesus came in flesh – SO THAT we could be known by God and know God. Known ness. I see you happens in the flesh. My previous ministry platform was large and public and whether I liked it or not it created a discarnate ministry. Size does that. It was always disconcerting when dining out a man or woman approached to speak but I had no idea who they were. Now I have a chance to re do the platform, size, shape of my organization. I desperately believe in incarnational ministry, and I desperately want to be present with others. Or at least I think I do. (More on that in another blog)  I want to give my second half of life to improving our view, the church’s view, and therefore the world’s view of women. But how do I stay earthed, communal, relational and embodied with others while  going about this God-given endeavor? That’s the anxt. How does one speak to hundreds and still be present? How does one travel and stay present? How does one sit alone for months to write and still be present? Steve knows I’ve been wrestling with these concepts and thought I might benefit from listening to this Ted talk. After listening I wanted to stand up and scream YES, THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! Lord do not let me disengage from your people. Let me be present. I see you kind of...

Read More