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a prayerful, tearful response on hearing of another book of Women and Preaching

April 24, 2014

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Oh dear Jesus. 

Make them stop.
Make them stop writing books about women and preaching.
Please, help us to start thinking about something else

other than talking at people, persuading people, postures of authority.

If there must be more books,
let them not be about women or men preaching and teaching
but let them be about giving up our power and serving.

Let them be about being followers of the Crucified one,

because, with all the talk of power and authority, I’m not sure we know what this means. 
Let them be about something we can recognise as the gospel.
It may not be a good idea to let women preach
– but only because what kerygma has become 

is an empty, verbose, one dimensional caricature of what was once Christ Crucified

– and it is simply no longer a good idea to let anyone ‘preach’.

Please help us to stop worrying about who is speaking into a microphone

– to stop worrying about who is speaking and to start concerning ourselves with listening.
Let us be listening, not to more pod casts and preachers,
but let us be listening to our struggling friends,
our imprisonned brothers,
our questioning children,
our investigative companions,
to the honest doubts of our own hearts.
For the sake of the gospel, let us learn to shut up
shut up our smart mouth answers
our quick retorts to questions
our defence of the gospel
our apologetic finesse  

Let us honour the questions – not as bait to be stolen from the hook
not as a test of our intellect, or a challenge to some system.
Let us honour the questions as spaces where you are moving in to disturb, to transform.

Spaces, if not shut down with quick ripostes can become stretches of rich loam worked together in which faith can grow.

Let us not be frightened into saying things
Let us not be frightened into needing power
Let us not be frightened into answering the questions that are spoken and not noticing the deeper questions unarticulated.
Let us repent of seeing ideas as errant – be they women preachers, or atheism or literary source criticism, or investing money with interest, or passions for like-people – let us repent and let Jesus be judge of errant.

Let us stop seeing ideas as errant, and begin to see whole lives. Whole people, for whom worded ideas are only part, but an integrated part of how we move through the world. So let us see whole people and let us be careful of the whole.
And let us wholly repent of what we know of ourselves is errant and wholly live in what we say we believe.

Oh dear Jesus, may we find a few faithful and faith seeking people to do this with and speak and live honourably with them.
Oh dear Jesus, may we recognise in the few whom we have the privilege to really know, your gifts, and do all we can to serve one another together – in such unity, that it matters not who offers which gift because, as your kingdom comes, all things are held in common – gifts, sinfulness, justice, grace and faith.

Let us be, like Paul, willing to give up our faith, our certainty, our religious rightness, if it will leave a little more space at the table where you are breaking bread and pouring wisdom. 

Make us willing at least to move a little to the side, to make space for all. 

Dare I ask? – make this stop, and let your kingdom come

Amen. 

Amen. 

 

 

 

One comment

  1. Beth, this is a beautiful refection. I have shared it on Twitter (are you on Twitter? I’d love to follow your work there).

    I write at churchinacircle.com on the theme of interactive, multi-voiced, empowering church practices. I often want to write my frustration about the topic of women and preaching – “stop trying to get more women behind pulpits, and think about getting rid of the pulpits altogether” – but I don’t want to alienate or discourage the women who have had the courage to stand up against the system. I really appreciate this post, because you’ve captured the essence of my frustration.

    Blessings in your writing and your journey,

    – Kathleen



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