Wednesday, 28 January 2015

That lone voice......

And the lone voice of a man cries out 'but it's not in the Bible'. His views are heard. They're challenged. The service goes on. 

But that man's voice is still there. He's heard spell out his views on women leaders (women are made to be gorgeous not leaders, women can have babies, men can be bishops, we have different roles) on national news. He's challenged by an abundance of tweets and comments. 

But that man's voice is still there. His views are heard. His views represent a voice that rises up at moments like these, but is there, all the time, views that are the norm in some places. His voice is still there. 

His voice is still there in the concern over my role as minister of a church as a stumbling block for someone joining the church. His voice is still there when I'm told there are things I should not be doing because I am a woman and 'I should have learnt by now', his voice is still there when I'm told that women are not made to be leaders, his voice is still there when the conversation is about what makes a good preacher and that good preacher is most definitely male. 

His voice is still there when it's suggested that the move to female bishops is a step towards restoration of fallen creation and that suggestion is accompanied by a vehement shaking of head. His voice is still there. 

I'm struggling right now with the number of challenges to my ministry being thrown at me; not because I am no good at it; not because I'm getting it wrong all the time; not because I am not called; not because my ministry has not been affirmed most clearly by the church I am serving, my college and my association (I am called, I am affirmed, I am, I hear, doing a good job and getting it right a lot of the time); but because of my gender. 

This morning we were talking in our Bible Study about the anointing of King David in 1 Samuel 16. He was not who was expected. He was the youngest of a number of brothers. He wasn't even there when Samuel came to the temple because the expectations of him were definitely not King. Yet there he was. God knew him. God called him. 

We came to the conclusion that to God it didn't matter that David was the youngest, that to anoint him would be totally against society conventions, yet God still chose him. What mattered was God's call. 

What matters to me is God's call, as affirmed by those who know me well, my church and beyond... and that is what excites me and keeps me going. 

I love the fact that we're all different - we have different views and ideas. I love the fact that we can read the Bible and discover so much more about God. I love the fact that the journey is still ongoing. I love it when I see that something happens that is a sign that God's Kingdom is near, is here, is coming. 

But I'd love it if it wasn't so hard sometimes! That lone voice, I'm so pleased you have a say, because I believe in freedom of speech, but it doesn't mean that when it's there every day and not always such a lone voice it doesn't hurt and question the person who God has called me to be. It doesn't mean that you do not undermine the clear call my church has given me. We need to remember that many of our views are not just theoretical theological ideas, but about people, made in the image of God, and often, I've found, the people who are standing right there in front of you. 

And by the way, it is in the Bible - read about it here