My friend and I sat talking ministry (not women's ministry - Jesus ministry)
I am involved in a ministry that is for women yet somehow it is not women's ministry. I don't like women's ministry. I helped start one years ago. It was good, not too girly, right for the time, but I'm not called to that type of ministry today.
I struggle with the term women's ministry like I struggle with Christian men in suits and ties in church saying, "Amen" too many times. Like they get it and we don't. They make the rules and we don't. Maybe years of keeping women in their place, infighting, church splits, male hypocrisy. Lots of hypocrisy. Yup, I'm the kettle, you da pot.
I recently went to a conference with my new pastor/friend/awesome dude. He invited me. He saw value in including me. It was good.... but I told him at one point I couldn't take anymore. It was too much... to much male amen-ing, too many church men, too much conferencing, too much something... Listen, I'm not sure, I'm working through this. I also heard one of the best female speakers ever... and there were lots of women attending, they seemed more churchy than me. I don't like churchy. I'm not sure what it is, but it's not me.
Maybe.... it wasn't too much of any of those things as much as it was just too much for me in that moment. God made me uncomfortable and I've learned that's always good. By now you can see, I have junk, brokeness, that I can't really explain. So I keep looking up and then I'm reminded, it's going to be okay.
But I trust my pastor/friend/awesome dude. I told him my honest feelings. He was gracious like Jesus. Thankfully he didn't answer my questions with questions. Jesus.
I love some of you men, a few of you I would take a bullet (from a bb gun) for. Some of you are the ones I want to spend eternity with. Not the jerks. We need a no jerk on earth even though you love Jesus rule, in heaven. The rest of you, we will drink bourbon, smoke cigars as we worship with hands raised, to Oceans. Too far? Really? Come on.
I know it's unfair to lump the whole bunch of you fellas into one pile. But you make me uncomfortable... I don't trust you. I see how you talk when people are watching and then I see how you live when few are watching.
Men, a few of you have really wounded a few of us. And, I come from a pretty healthy place with the men in my life. But others have not... and I watch you hurt women with your lack of honesty, integrity, character.
Friends, we must stop putting those in leadership on pedestals and leaders... stop climbing up there. Be accountable. Be honest... and keep the main thing the main thing.
Jesus. Only Jesus. Just Jesus... (terrible sentence). JESUS.
My friend who I was talking with about not-women's ministry, she feels broken by the church. She has watched pastors fall, leave, call it a day. She has had her character questioned by one. She is one of the most honest, real women I know. Her transparency caused the questioning.
She isn't fake, she trusted you dude and you judged her. She speaks truth, not sugar coated, a little spicy but always based on Jesus grace and mercy. And you pretty much told her she wasn't good enough.
This is not okay.
I watch a leader from a distance try to re-build a church on a model that is broken. I am speechless at the foolishness of this.
Pride. It is always pride. Pride. Pride and then a little more pride thrown in just in case you didn't choke yourself on the first shovelful.
I question his care for his people, instead I see how he cares about building something that is about him. He is rebuilding something that wasn't broken until he arrived. In his path is a trail of destruction, in the form of hurtful words, broken relationships... but not much Jesus.
Let's be honest... church is broken. Discouraging.
Men, I expect to be treated as your equal in all ways. It's not okay to talk down to me, demean my sexuality, my opinions, my value.
Leaders, your treatment of women must be exemplary, to your wives, sons and daughters. Mothers, sisters, coworkers. Raise the bar for others to follow.
Honestly, I have never disliked the church more than I do right now... and I have never felt more called to church than I do right now. Church can be hard, but it's worth fighting for. Find the place you can be loved, hear Truth in grace, be challenged. Find a home in church... It is out there, and worth the fight.
Church should be a place where the people standing up front should be as honest about their brokeness as the people sitting down.
I watched my pastor kneel down as he prayed Sunday morning. Eyes were closed.. mostly. This did not elevate him to pedestal status, it showed his humbleness before God.
Friends, no one was made for a pedestal. Don't put your pastor there. He may not have the strength to jump off if you keep pushing him up. Instead... allow, encourage and demand accountability of the Christian men and women in leadership in your circles.
And remember... if you find yourself hurt, crushed, confused by the Christian leaders in your life, pray for them. Pray... even if you are angry. Especially if you are angry. Pray for honesty, humbleness and healing in their lives and be ready to offer forgiveness and grace. We all fall under the same banner of love and grace.
Allow Jesus the place of Holiness in your life. The church may be broken but maybe that's where we all fall to our knees, recognizing our healing and freedom comes through Jesus brokeness on the cross. That's worth fighting for one another.