About Me

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Fitting in...

So yesterday I went to a Church Planting conference in London with some guys from our church. It was a totally inspiring day and has probably given me enough blog fodder for weeks..!
It was really interesting as we always go on about how the church is full of women and not men, but yesterday the women were in a tiny minority, in a way I have not experienced for a long time.
I've been discovering about myself recently, that quite often I seem to be oblivious to the obvious. In a number of situations people have flagged things up that have totally passed me by, but when pointed out are so staggeringly obvious I don't know how I missed them. Yesterday was one of those. Of course it was obvious there were not many women there, but it didn't occur to me that these might all be conservative men. In fact I approached one chap to have a chat and couldn't undertand why the conversation was so stilted, it was like wading through treacle. It was only later that it occured to me perhaps he wasn't in favour of my enthususiam! Actually, most people I spoke to were lovely and I certainly didn't feel I should keep my calling to myself, which was probably a good thing - had it occured to me in advance I think I might have felt initmated... Actually that's rubbish it would probably have been the opposite, I would probably have stood on my chair with a sign saying 'hey, woman here with a calling to ministry...' and waited for the response... But seriously, I do think that my experience would have been diffferent if I had thought about it in advance. Which made me think of all those times when we act in a way that fits our surroundings. I mean we all do it don't we? We like to think that we are open and honest and always ourselves, but the reality is often so subtely different that we don't even notice it. Our speech patterns change, we discuss different topics, we omit details (or add them), hey, we even stand differently.

I think I have felt totally prepared for the undoubted reactions I will get from some parts of the Christian world about my calling, even though I haven't experienced it yet. Not openly. And reflecting on yesterdays conference made me realise that actually I am lucky, in that lots of women have gone before me - and what was it like for the first women leaders? For Deborah, for Priscilla and others? For the first women priests in the CofE? what did they have to contend with? simply to fulfill Gods calling for them. How persecuted were they? How hated were they?

The main draw yesterday was the somewhat contraversial preacher, Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Orange County, USA. Although I have heard of him I had not heard him speak before so I was interested to see what he had to say. And I have to say, despite his apparent stance on women in church leadership I actually liked what he had to say (except for the constant references to men...!). He is a rebel, he stands firm on what he believes, he isn't afraid to preach the gopsel even when it offends, he is not afraid of man. He is not someone who changes his stance or behaviour wherever he goes... In disucssing church planting and types of church, his bottom line was: 'It's all about meeting Jesus..' eg: Is it more important to you that people say prayers in this way.. or that they meet Jesus? Is it more important to you that your church has 3 services on a Sunday.. or that they meet Jesus? Is it more imnportant that you wear a dress and a hat (his words not mine) or that the people meet Jesus?....

And I cannot argue with that....

2 comments:

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

I can argue with that. But I'll just say I did participant observation and saw how those with more conservative views formed the leadership locally and thus broader theology was kept out to the universities and libraries.

Red said...

how do you mean Adrian? go on, do expand, you know you want to! Do you think that is local to you or in general?