Tag Archives: women

Reblogged: “Ten things your Pastor wishes you knew about her”

My friend and colleague, Mike Rayson, shared a blog post on this Facebook timeline the other day.  It was called “9 Things You Need to Know About Your Pastor”. It was an interesting article.  And when I say, “It is interesting,” I mean that in the same way as I do when someone shares with me an article by Joyce Meyer or Joel Osteen. “Oh, pastor, did you see that article by Joel Osteen I shared with you?”

“Yes, it was very interesting.”

You see, while the post did bring up a few noteworthy points, it was difficult to wade through its gender bias. When I last checked, there were 133 comments on the blog. If I were to add one, it would read: “I will add No. 10 – He’s a woman.”

Mike’s wife Amy Rayson wrote this blog “Ten Things Your Pastor Wishes You Knew About Her”.  Coincidentally, I am told, she had written this post a few days before he shared the “9 things” post, but it seemed to be a perfect response nonetheless.

Amy writes:

1. She is not a woman pastor.
She is a pastor. No one says, “This is Pastor Steve – he’s a man pastor.”
Having her gender attached to her job title as a (dis)qualifier diminishes both her, and the role of pastor.
2. Yes, she has read 1 Timothy 2:12.
Also 1 Corinthians 14:34.
Often. In fact it is likely she has spent many, many, many more hours than you pouring over and wrestling with those texts.
3. She doesn’t do it for the fun of it.
She has argued, wrestled, cried, lamented, and railed against her call.
She has been to Tarshish many times on her way to Nineveh. She does not exist to make a point, to make waves, or to make you mad. She is (and should be) obedient to her God, not to her critics.
4. She is soft.
She is soft not because of her gender, but as all people are soft – by nature of the biological and psychological reality of humanity. She works to REMAIN soft, despite the abrasions and burns of life. Because only psychopaths are content to be hardened and heartless.
5. She has been hurt.
Recently. Possibly by you.
It is a tough gig.
When she is hurt she is like an athlete competing on a broken foot. But she keeps doing her job anyway, because she is obedient to her call. Your positive feedback and encouragement on the job she is doing help her heal from those hurts more than you can imagine.
6. She loves her family.
Not all pastors have children, but all have some kind of group of humans she calls family.
If you hurt them, you hurt her and reduce her ability to be effective in ministry. Yes, she will devote some of her time and energy to the care of her family. This is good and scriptural. She loves it when you support her in this.
She does not put church first and family second. She puts God above all things. God takes care of the priorities from there.
7. She has a title.
She may prefer you to use it. She may prefer to be called by name.
But if you do use a title use the correct one.
She may be Jane, or Pastor Jane… but she is NEVER Miss Jane.
Yes, this includes when you introduce her to someone outside of your church or religious group. When you introduce your doctor to a friend you don’t demote him to ‘Mr.’ Even Protestants call the Roman Catholic leader  ‘Pope’.
If you can’t respect her, at least respect the office.
8. She is not a feminist.
Or she is. Really that’s up to her. By definition, a feminist is simply ‘a person who supports the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.’
But she is not automatically a feminist by virtue of her gender or profession.
It is likely, however, that  she has spent at least some time wishing people would be less genderist (look it up).
9. She wishes she had a ‘clergy wife’.
(She has this point in common with her male colleagues.)
Single or married, she has heard of these mythical creatures who play piano , lead Sunday School classes, keep the home and any children clean fed and happy. . . and she would LOVE to have one of them! Who wouldn’t?
Sounds awesome!
Instead (if she is married) she has a spouse who is her partner in the home, and who holds their own position of value in the world; possibly, even, a position of paid employment. Her spouse (if she has one) is not an unpaid, extra church staff member. Take your church issues up with her, not her spouse (or her kids).
10. I do not speak for her.
She shook her head at least once while reading this. She is diverse and unique and her story is her own.
And she would love an opportunity to share that story with you.
11. She makes mistakes.
See? Even in counting points in a blog post.
She makes mistakes, not by nature of being female, but because she is a flawed, broken human being who is redeemed only through the grace of God. She craves forgiveness just as badly any other person.
Thank you, Amy.  I know I will never truly understand the crap that my female clergy colleagues have to go through, but I am thankful for their courage, strength, faith, and prophetic leadership.  I know that the Church is a stronger body because of the gifts and graces of so many women pastors. And there I go again – making mistake #1.
Here’s a “Valentine’s Day” card I made this year:
anna howard shaw

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February 28, 2014 · 10:17 am

#JusticeforDaisy

anonymousI’m not sure how I feel about vigilante justice, but I do know how I felt last night as I read Dugan Arnett’s piece in the Kansas City Star about Daisy Coleman.  I made the mistake of reading the article in bed before trying to fall asleep.  The story made that task almost impossible.  The story is told very well by Arnett.  Read it, then come back and skip the highlighted part below where I try to summarize the story.

Daisy Coleman was a 14 year old freshman when she and her 13-year-old friend sneaked out of her room to go to an older boy’s house.  Matthew Barnett was senior.  He was a football star.  He was the object of many a school-girl crush.  By the end of the night, he was the subject of nightmares.

If Arnett’s story is to be believed, Matthew Barnett is a rapist.  He and his friends gave Daisy enough alcohol that she blacked out.  He then raped her in his basement, and left her passed out in her own front yard wearing nothing but a t-shirt and sweatpants when it was 22 degrees outside.  He does not deny having sex with her, he just claims that it was consensual.  At 9 a.m. the next morning, about seven hours after her last drink, her blood alcohol level was .13.  The incident was apparently filmed on one of the boys’ iPhones, shared with classmates that week at school.  Daisy’s friend was also raped.  Though she was not as intoxicated, she claims that she repeatedly told her assailant “no,” while he undressed her and had sex with her.

As if the nightmare of being raped and left out in the cold were not enough, things got worse for Daisy.  Matthew Barnett was arrested, but never indicted.  Never tried.  Never stepped foot in a court room.  Charges against him were dropped.  Matthew Barnett was a football star in a football-mad town.  The ensuing victim-blame that happened in Maryville, Missouri, is enough to make any objective person boil in rage.  Daisy’s older brother, who was a teammate of Matthew Barnett, was threatened.  Daisy’s mother was fired.  Eventually the family moved 40 miles away.  Their house burned down while it was on the market.

Making things even more maddening is that Matthew Barnett is the grandson of Rex Barnett.  Rex is a former Missouri State Trooper and four-term Missouri State Representative.  He, of course, denies using his influence to gain leniency for Matthew.   The claim, of course, is dubious.

Where things stand right now, Matthew Barnett is a freshman at Central Missouri.  Daisy Coleman is a suicidal young woman who had her life turned upside down.  But that does not seem to be the end of the story.

The video below came out yesterday. Anonymous, a infamous group of online hackers have promised to take action.

Anonymous on Youtube

Like I said, I have mixed feelings about vigilante justice.  I’m afraid that in our culture we are much to quick to confuse vengeance with justice.  I understand the desire for someone to be punished, but too often people are quick to be judge, jury, and executioner.   It seems clear that someone needs to answer for what happened.  I am a big believer in grace, but not grace without accountability.  Anonymous has promised action, and though their move has not yet been made, others are sure to follow in some small way.

It has started.  The article mentioned the A and G Restaurant.  Its reviews on Yelp have been relentless.  The University of Central Missouri’s Facebook page has also been blown up with bad reviews.  There is a lot of anticipation brewing as to just what Anonymous is going to do.  One unfortunate side effect of this desire for justice has been some threats to another Matthew Barnett – the wrong Matthew Barnett, who is a pastor in California.  The Matthew Barnett in question no longer has a public Twitter account, although his last public statement on twitter showed how little he has learned from this experience.

The whole story is heartbreaking.  It seems as if Daisy has been made a victim over and over.  She was raped once, and it seems like she was raped over and over by the failed justice system and the community that turned their back on her.  When I consider this from the perspective of a father of two daughters, the rage is hard to contain.

I would be angry at my 14-year-old daughter if she sneaked alcohol into her room and then sneaked out of the house to party with older guys.  I need to do my best to teach her to be safe.  I need to teach her to make wise choices.  But do Daisy’s actions somehow justify her being raped, left in the cold for dead, and then tormented by a town that wanted to protect their football team?  I’ve written about his before.  It is clear that much more needs to be done.  Our culture of rape acceptance and victim-blame is terrifying.  Just last week a fraternity at Georgia Tech circulated an email that basically taught the brothers how to successfully rape girls. The problem seems to be getting worse, not better.  Luckily, there is another way to teach rape prevention that is probably more thoughtful than my hackneyed list AND avoids victim-blame.  Here is another great article on proper rape prevention education.  We have to do better.  For the sake of both or girls and boys.  We need to do better.

So where do we go from here?  I don’t want vengeance.  I don’t want retribution.  All I want is what Daisy deserves: compassion and a trial.  I want Matthew Barnett to answer for what he did.  Also, I want to know how the people of Maryville that abandoned Daisy in her time of need can sleep at night.

What can Anonymous accomplish in Maryville?

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Filed under Personal Reflection

The Princess Paradox

After writing a blog about the Royal Wedding, which I called “materialistic pornography,” I decided I should clear a few things up.  I read a few debates on FB and understood the points of all those that were critical of my post.  I decided a long time ago to not engage in long-running online debates with people on this blog, so I am not going to address anything in particular (Although the assertion of one critic that the royals used “their own money” to pay for the wedding made me smile.  I’m not sure how we define what “their own money” is- and neither does the NY Times.) 

The point I was trying to make had nothing to do with the kind of people Will and Kate are.  It had nothing to do with their philanthropic efforts.  It really didn’t even have anything to do with the exact amount of money that was spent – or the source of that money.  My point was this: things like the Royal Wedding, and especially the way the American media portrays it, contribute to the princess mythology that girls are drenched in from birth.

I can spend the next few paragraphs explaining the princess mythology, but instead I’ll share with you a conversation I had last night with my four-year-old daughter. 

“Am I a princess, Daddy?”

I resisted the temptation to just say, “Yes, of course you are.”  Instead I asked her, “What does it mean to be a princess?”

“It means you have lots of pretty dresses.”  Okay – this was her first response to defining what a princess is.  By this definition my daughter is a princess.  She has a lot of pretty dresses.  And I love them all.  I love seeing her in them.  I love watching her twirl her skirts.  I love the joy and confidence she exudes when she wears them.  I love the look on her face when she opens up a gift and finds a pretty dress and she exclaims, “Thank you, I love it.”  I love that she would wear a pretty dress every day of her life if we let her because she knows in her heart that she is, in fact, a princess. 

I have to insert here that this conversation took place while my daughter was wearing one of her favorite pretty dresses.  It’s her “ballerina dress.”  It is pink and has a wide flowing skirt made of touling that twirls when she spins.  She had on a white sweater and a pink overcoat and had a big pink flower in her hair.  And I was wearing a sportcoat and a pink tie.  We were on a date, and were heading to the ballet to see – yes, I am aware of the hypocrisy in this – Cinderella.  And she loved every second of it. Afterwards she met the dancer that played Cinderella, and I now have a new favorite dancer.  I was moved to tears several times during the night while I watched my daughter’s face light up.

But here’s the problem – if the feminine ideal is to be a princess, and being a princess is defined by “having lots of pretty dresses,” where does it stop?  How many pretty dresses is enough to be considered a princess?  And does having lots of pretty dresses define happiness?  I can say with confidence that to my daughter, there is more.  She is kind and compassionate and appreciates what she has.  On our way to the theater we got a little turned around, and for a few tense moments I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there.  She sensed my stress and told me, “It’s okay Daddy, even if we don’t get to the theater, I still had a great time because I’m with you.”  So I feel good about my daughter, the princess.  But even so, here is more of that conversation:

“So, princesses have lots of pretty dresses.  What else?”  I waited, then asked, “Are princesses smart?”

“No, they are beautiful.” 

“Are princesses brave?”

“Yes – but well, sort of.”

“What do you mean, they are sort of brave?”

“Well, princesses wait for Prince Charming to come and rescue them from evil witches and monsters and stuff.”

And here is the princess paradox.  My daughter is a loving, compassionate, intelligent and articulate little girl.  She is smart and brave and beautiful.  She is a princess.  Not because she has a lot of pretty dresses – but because of who she is inside.  She is a princess because she should be honored and adored, and I pray someday she finds someone who loves her as much as I love her mother.  She is a princess, but I do not want her to ever think for even a second that she has to wait for Prince Charming to come and rescue her from monsters and stuff.

There are plenty of monsters in this world, and real monsters are a much bigger threat to my daughter then watching the Royal Wedding.  When those monsters rear their ugly heads, I pray my daughters will have the strength, courage, and confidence to defend themselves and rely on God, family and friends – not wait for Prince Charming.

Maybe the Royal Wedding is just a moment to escape.  Maybe it is just a chance to live in a fairy tale.  Maybe it is just a celebration of two young people who fell in love and want to help make the world a better place.  Maybe Kate is the kind of princess my daughter can aspire to be – I have no idea, and frankly I don’t care.  I have bigger dreams for my daughter than anything that was on TV this week.  I have bigger dreams for her than anything Disney can package and market.

I want my daughters to know how much they are loved.  I want my daughters to know that they are smart and brave and beautiful.  I want my daughters to be strong like my Aunt.  I want my daughters to have faith like my mother.  I want my daughters to be passionate like my sister.  I want my daughters to be kind like my grandmother. 

What turned me off about the Royal Wedding wasn’t so much the wedding itself, but its place in the greater princess myth.  It is a story that is told over and over by our culture.  Disney, celebrity news, tabloids, commercials, and our surrounding culture drown our girls into believing this myth.  The tell them why they are princesses, and most of it is a lie.  My daughters are princesses – not because of anything they own or buy or because of anything that is marketed to them.  They are princesses for this reason:

They are princesses because they are daughters of princesses.  They are princesses because they are daughters of the King of Kings.

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Filed under Media