To the first: if you self-identify as that beautifully paradoxical and frustratingly poignant mix of feminist and Christian, AND now you’re planning a wedding, bless you. And please know that, contrary to the title, this post is not a one-size-for-all guide. … Continue reading
Texts: Matthew 2:1 – 12 & Book of Wisdom 10: 15-21 Our texts this morning are drawn from two sources: one I imagine is familiar to you all: the Gospel of Matthew. The other, however, is a little less known – … Continue reading
For Mother’s Day this year, a group of Christian theologians and musicians created an alternative liturgy honoring the motherly aspects of God. The central piece of this motherly worship was an apophatic meditation – an ancient form of prayer meant to … Continue reading
“To what extent are we all afraid of angering people?” She was talking about the fear to broach the race question in church. Fears that when white pastors tell their old white parishioners (who give a collection-tin full of money) that … Continue reading
It’s been a little quiet on the blog recently because … We got married! On an unseasonably cool day in North-Carolina-August, in the midst of the most torrential downpour, we finally, finally got married. Encompassed by the love of all our … Continue reading
The essay is an adaptation from Courageous Conversations: Christian Women Unearthing the Unspeakable (RCWMS Press, 2013). Volumed edited by elizabeth mcmanus. You can purchase your very own copy here!
I have a birthmark on my left ankle that vaguely resembles the state of Mississippi.
I started calling myself a feminist sometime in the tenth grade but really, i’ve been one since i flopped out into the doctor’s hands during my mother’s C-section. I was actually born again – literally. The doctor’s hands slipped and i plopped right back in, all squiggly and screaming and not ready for the cleanliness and paralyzing order of the real world. In precisely 26 days, i’ll be twenty-two. Twenty-two whole years since being born, and then born again.
And in precisely 14 days, i’ll be getting married. To a dude. Who wants to be a Methodist pastor.
Of all the interesting things there are to say about me – and, believe me, i find them all very interesting – it seems my impending nuptials are the most important to everyone else. Which is, to put it mildly, pretty frustrating.
It was the #1 reason why i held off on dating Jonathan as long as i did.
He was called to be a pastor. That was unmistakable – not just because of his gentleness and his ability to be present and yet unobtrusive.
Jonathan has termed it playing theological pick-up basketball: when we’re planted in our seatbelts or on the couch inevitably we end up debating Hauerwas or arguing over Pauline ethics. His otherwise hospital-bare bachelor pad had a Walmart bookshelf spilling over with theology- half of which he would just read for fun.
I knew what i was in for. My mother answered her childhood convictions at 40. Her first day at Duke Divinity School was my first day of sixth grade. I’m not sure who sported more acne that year from stress. She is a woman in a hostile man’s world, and she is a mother in a profession that has decidedly privileged congregational needs above the health of pastors and their families.
Maybe it’s the fuel in the gaslights, or maybe my if-i-had-a-dime jar has just cracked from the weight of the coins. You know, the jar for every time i have to endure “Well, I am not a feminist but I believe in equality.” Followed by how womyn who care about dismantling oppression inherently hate all men, and fuss too much, and really, what’s with the armpit hair?
I’m done with “equality.”
I’m done with people thinking a woman for Bishop means sexism isn’t still real in the church, that the apple cart shouldn’t be rocked so the church can grow (and get whiter and richer), done with the idea that in our post-racial society talking about prison and the new Jim Crow is bad dinner manners.
I really don’t like bashing other womyn, especially when i’m venting to a keyboard and not to breathing bones. But Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In phenomena (however passé that is in summer reads) just doesn’t cut it for me.
I can’t remember the last time i had so much table space, so many empty hours.
Summer is always painted a shade of allure: no readings to finish, sweet treats all the sweeter in the Carolinian heat. I graduated. I finished my Bachelor’s Degree, and with finishing came the flurry of packing and cleaning and thesis defending and family hosting and saying goodbye to beloved Mount Holyoke.
I’ve been so lazy since then. There are so many summer plans i’d made, and even after only a few days of crafting and working part-time i still find my 9 AM cup of coffee listless, quiet. I am trying to enjoy the quiet but the anxious tick of the academic in me won’t shut up. Won’t let me think i really can just breathe. Like i’m coming uncoiled, but there’s a catch in the spring that keeps reeling me back in.
It began with a trip visiting my aunties in some place called Amherst, Massachusetts, and my father speaking sternly to me over the formica kitchen counter.
“While we’re up North visiting them,” he said, “I want you to look at Mount Holyoke College.”
“Mount Holyoke? What is that?”
“It’s a women’s college,” my father replied. I think he even braced himself for my reply.
“A women’s college?” I spat. “Over my dead body!”
Famous last words.