Saturday, January 26, 2008

You asked for it. :)

It is always dangerous to ask for my thoughts; you are likely to get them!

I came to Quakerism early ~ along with the hippie movement of the 60's & women's lib. I read the Female Eunuch alongside of Thee, Hannah (bizarre, I know), owned a button that read we are the people our parents warned us about & rejected the Anglican church about the same time. Actually I threw God out with the church & it took a while of me throwing tantrums & God standing firm before I found my way back into His presence. I know where Ditz gets her tendencies from & it is no fun on the other side of the fence!

Into this heady mix add a dash of Amish/Mennonite, Elfrida Vipont, & the Friendly Persuasion; even now, while a quiet person, I tend to be strongly individualistic & highly opinionated! Personal relationship, personal accountability & the conviction that the Holy Spirit is no respecter of gender & you start to see where I am going to part company with most mainline churches. Given a strong sense of social Justice & that the Society of Friends has been foremost in areas of social reform (I do have a problem with many meetings' stance on homosexuality), foremost in grasping the Holy Spirit speaks to us personally, leads us personally, teaches us (personally) & that right from its inception the Society of Friends allowed women to speak in meeting (oh oh!) & you start to see it's attraction for someone who struggles to fit into the usual molds.

I am not a theologian. My degree is in drama & English literature ~ so I can tell a good story from a bad one, lol! I can write a reasonably coherent essay if I put my mind to it. Theoretically I don't have a problem with women ministers. Theoretically. The first time I ended up behind the pulpit I had a major meltdown ~ & I'm talking major major here. We got less than 24 hours notification that our preacher for Christmas was too sick to make it. My Dearest, who was responsible at the time for filling the pulpit, turned to me & said, 'Well, it's either you or me.' We both knew it would be me. Dearest is so dyslexically abstract it takes his family, who are used to him, time to untangle his meanings. The congregation has no chance!

My present church family is small & non~denom. No denomination wants to actually give us a permanent minister. Consequentially those of us in the congregation with any sort of gift of the gab exercise it in the gift of preaching. That includes me, as some of you already know. This is not up for debate. I have heard the arguments against women preachers ad nauseam. I have done my research, done my praying, but when the Lord sits down beside me & says, 'Like this, dear heart,' I am not about to disobey. I am not that brave.

Which brings me to Isiah 49. verses 1 ~ 3, verses 5 & 6 because for 20 years the lovely ladies of the Anglican church here (all 6 of them) have been praying for revival on the islands & the prophets are starting to prophesy that it is about to happen. The watchers on the watch tower are crying out.

Now I have never felt the call to evangalization. (isn't that a terrible thing for a Christian to say!). I have always felt called to the equiping of the saints that they are enabled to perform all the good works that the Lord in his lovingkindness has prepared beforehand for them to do. I have always been really sure about that! Besides it's reasonally safe. The average age of the majority of our congregation is over 70!

I am reasonably confident about standing before our little congregation of between 20 & 50 worshippers & proclaiming God's word to the people of God (remember all that drama training that everyone was so sure would be useless for all practical considerations?). I do my Homework to the best of my ability & trust God for the rest.

God is in the business of moving us out of our comfort zones. I am joining the cat in having a meltdown.


Constance said...

I love how the Lord has created all of us unique and different! I was raised in the Catholic church. I didn't just go on Easter and Christmas though like so many Catholics. I went to Chapel Monday through Friday and of course to Mass on Sunday. I went to a Catholic elementery school and then to a girls only, Catholic High school for higher education. I struggled with Catholicism throughout my younger years. I debated the need of going to "Confession" where a mere man, the priest, had the power to forgive my sins. What did Jesus die for if not to personalize our relationship with Him, I would ask?

Coming from a "works-earning salvation" background like that into the freedom and liberty found in an intimate reationship with Christ; initially was a strange transition. I am convinced that we (Christians collectively) don't have the market on Theology and Grace. I am convinced that there will be Catholics (those who have accepted Christ as their Savior) in heaven and there will be others (other Christians of different backgrounds and denomnations) there that I personally might have written off!

I love something our Pastor always says about Jesus. "Jesus came to draw circles around people, not to exclude them. We need to make this our Ministry also".

There is room in the Kingdom for ALL of us! Thanking God for His never-ending Grace & Mercy! Have a Happy Sunday, we're heading to church in about 2 hours!


Ganeida said...

I love how the Lord can be found in any & all denominations. The true church is to be found everywhere where His people have moved into a personal relationship with Him.