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...

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Invite Her to the Table

Posted by on Monday, Jul 20, 2015 in Blog | 7 comments

In August of 2008 I became the first female to preach from the pulpit at Irving Bible Church. Our church’s decision to invite a woman to preach was not well received by some of our brother and sister churches. They sounded the alarm of our church “going liberal” to the local newspaper and TV channels. We decided it best to have Bryan stand by as my body-guard for the three services in which I preached. It took time but things did die down, although I continue to pay a price for my decision. Some folks no longer invite me to speak. Often I’m asked to clarify my position on women or Scripture. Once a senior pastor asked, “What do you think of Scripture?” “Um, I like it. In fact I spend most of my days studying it!” Just this week a young seminarian declined a job with The Marcella Project because she may lose future ministry opportunities by aligning her voice with mine. Truth is – she might. There are consequences. It takes courage. Risk. (I’m resolute that Jesus is worth it.) I spent the next several years at IBC preaching, teaching and training other women to do the same. When I was introduced to Betsy I knew she had the gift of preaching.In fact I was pretty sure she would be the next women preaching from that stage. I told her so. Made her a bit nervous. She wasn’t sure where she stood on women’s issue. I responded, “Well, you better figure it out because the opportunity is going to come and you’ve got to be sure of what you believe.” She borrowed books and dug in – and over time determined the Scriptures gave her freedom to preach under the leadership of her church. She’s been preaching at IBC ever since. Until now. Last night was her last sermon on that stage – at least for a while. She’s taking a break to concentrate on her full-time corporate job. She requested the night of preaching end at our table – the place where our friendship flourished. We ate. Drank wine. Laughed. We talked about why it’s crucial that women preach. That it made the body of Christ more healthy and whole. It was profound listening to our brothers share how they had been impacted by women preaching. It changed them. For better. Women helped them see Scriptures and see Jesus in different ways. And walking along side these female preachers changed how they came to view their sisters. They recognized they needed them at the table. Their presence made them better. The Church better. It was a beautiful to hear one man say, “Betsy, I want to preach...

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Keep It Real

Posted by on Tuesday, Jun 2, 2015 in Blog | 7 comments

It’s been a few years since we’ve hung out so we had a lot to catch up on. As we sat on the back patio Jenny shared how she’d been teaching her daughter, Annie (age 5), about the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Jenny taught Annie a song to help her remember. (Not surprising since Jenny is a musician). “The fruit of the Spirit is not a coconut, the fruit of the Spirit is not a coconut, cause the fruit of the spirit is Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self – control.” (Repeat) Although I can’t carry a tune, I too used to teach my kids songs about Jesus. Songs like “The B- I –B-L-E that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the Word of God, the B. I. B. L. E. “ Or “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine. Hide it under a bushel basket? NO! I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine all the time.” We parents sing these little tunes in hopes that they will help our children grow in their knowledge and faith. But have you ever noticed how selective we are? It’s kind of like what we do on Facebook. We only share part of the story, selective parts, “the fun, victorious, hey look at my amazing life parts.” We  all know that what we see on Facebook isn’t the “whole” story and yet we compare. We are left with a sense that somehow our life is less. The other day Annie came home from kindergarten upset. It seems another child told her the story in Exodus 12. You know the story – the one where an animal is killed and its blood is put over the doorposts so when death passes over it will only kill the Egyptian firstborn sons. Annie wanted to know why God would do this? Jenny said, “I didn’t want to tell her that story. In fact I didn’t know what to tell her. I just wanted her to learn about the fruit of the Spirit.” Ever been there? Have you ever wondered what happens to our faith when we learn only part of the story? How does what we’ve learned about Jesus in the Bible set us up for dealing with real life? Particularly the hard stuff.  Unwanted and unanswered stuff? Perhaps it leaves us like Facebook does, disappointed and disillusioned with our real life. When my son Hunter was 15 he sat in a truck with a dead baby between him and his friend Bill. He was in South Sudan and the mother of the baby died...

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Saying Goodbye Is Hard

Posted by on Monday, Feb 9, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

This weekend we said goodbye to our lake house. Ten years ago we purchased this tiny lake house (cabin) on a lake (really a large pond). It wasn’t a place for our kids – no motor boats allowed – just fishing. It was a Menuha house. Menuha is a Hebrew term which means: “To the biblical mind menuha is the same as happiness and stillness and peace and harmony. The word with which Job described the state after life he was longing for is derived from the same root as menuha.  It is the state wherein man lies still, wherein the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. It is the state in which there is no strife and no fighting, no fear and distrust. The essence of the good life is menuha. ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters.’ (the waters of menuhot) In later times menuha became a synonym for the life in the world to come, for eternal life.”  Steve and I have served as full-time ministers and having a place to get away – to Menuha – was … well, words can’t express.  And the beauty was, our Menuha cabin was for so many others too. So many of those who were sold out to Jesus (and needed a place of rest) found it at our little Fly -In -Lake place. This weekend (while Steve served those in the Congo) my kids and I and our house mate, Amy, packed up and moved out of our Menuha house. It was hard. I cried, snot running cry, as the U-haul pulled out of the tree tunnel (those who’ve been will know what I’m referring.) UGH. It was about a year ago that I buried our family dog at this cabin – today I left him behind. Saying goodbye is hard. Even when it’s right and good – it’s hard to say goodbye. 2005 -2015 Menuha -Thanks for the 10 years of...

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Happy New Year

Posted by on Thursday, Jan 1, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

There were many years you would have found me bringing in the New Year in a bar. Not this year.  This year we celebrated at home – playing cards with Steve, Madison and housemate Amy. (I won!) Good people, cards, and some good tequila. Now that’s bringing in the new year. Questions asked while playing cards: 1. What’s one thing you are glad is over? 2. What’s one thing you loved the most about 2014? 3. What’s one thing you want to try in...

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