Church Yesterday

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image from Sarah Bessey’s site, “instagram credit @kenberd”

I had the privilege of hearing Sarah Bessey preach yesterday at UBC (University Baptist Church) in Waco, TX.  As of yesterday, I didn’t know about Sarah, but since the message yesterday, I have read several of her blog posts and am looking forward to reading her book, Jesus Feminist.

It’s pretty clear that Sarah and I wouldn’t agree about everything; that being said, isn’t that true about everyone?

After hearing her preach and reading several of her blog posts, I wanted to include her in this series “Celebrating Women” for International Women’s Month (only 4 more days after today!).

The main reason I want to include her is because I have been trying to put words to a thought that has been stuck in my head.  I have been wanting to describe:

  • that one can be both authentically Christian and a feminist (whether you are a man or a woman),
  • that you don’t have to be a feminist inspite of your Christian convictions, but that you should be a feminist because of your Christian convictions,
  • that some who proclaim the themselves mostly loudly as Christians and feminists do things that embarrass me as a Christian and feminist, and
  • that I feel both of these terms, Christian and feminist, have been hijacked, but that I am unwilling to give either of them up!

In Sarah, I found someone that for years has been putting words to feelings and thoughts that I have been having for years.  Therefore, today’s post simply points to a blog post that she wrote earlier this year.  I hope you enjoy it, I hope it challenges you, and I hope to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

Even though I have only known about Sarah for a short time, she is one of the women for whom I am thankful.   Who deserves to be celebrated whether you are a Christian or feminist — or if you have the good fortune of realizing that you are both.

Here is the post:  “On Being a Christian and a Feminist:  And Belonging Nowhere.”

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March is International Women’s Month!  It is my hope that you will join me over the course of the rest of March in celebrating the women who have had a significant role in influencing me.  I will post daily blog-posts — some of these posts will be from me talking about the women who have had a significant role in influencing me and some of the posts will be from these women themselves, childhood friends, mentors, teachers, co-workers, etc.  

My hope is that this series, “Celebrating Women,” will accomplish three things:  

  1. to serve in a small way as a “Thank You” to all the women who have influenced me
  2.  that you will gain wisdom from those who have spoken wisdom into my life
  3. that it will serve as a reminder to say thank you and to recognize all the amazing women in your one life

Click here to see all of the posts related to “Celebrating Women.”

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The Power of Childhood Friends

About today’s author:
Heidi is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, music educator, and school counselor.  She is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others through music, counseling, and living a life that exemplifies her faith in Christ.  She teaches at Harvey Public School in Harvey, ND. 

You can read more about how Kerry knows her and his deep appreciation for her by reading yesterday’s post by clicking on “Legacy of Childhood Friendships.”

 

“Ghost, ghost, make a Goochi!” From somewhere in the house came the squeaky reply, “Goochi!”

Giggling, searching, finding, screaming, chasing. Repeat.

My sister Melissa, Paul (our neighbour from across the road), and I made up this hide-and-seek game (and numerous others) as we were growing up in a small village of just 40 residents. Paul was four years older than me, but because there was no one else around to play with, we became fast friends and partners in crime.

No matter how bad things may have been at school or how rejected I may have felt by my classmates, everything was better when I came home to play with Melissa and Paul. It was a safe zone. My opinion was valued. I was never left out. I was a vital part of every plan we made, and I knew I was accepted and loved without ever having to hear the words.

I rarely felt like I fit in at school. I was chubbier than the other girls, I lived out of town, and my dad was a pastor, which meant I was automatically not invited to movies, parties and dances. Thankfully we had a small youth group, of which Kerry was a part, in our church that was very active.

Even though we did not all attend the same school, we had many opportunities to interact and support each other. Our weekly meetings, along with our special outings strengthened my faith and gave me a place to belong. We spent time together on weekends, we attended retreats and camps together, and we stuck together and encouraged each other through peer pressure and tough times. As I look back on my younger self, I see so many character flaws in that girl. I am amazed by the patience and grace that those friends showed me on a consistent basis. They were truly a model of the love and grace of Jesus in my life.

Although we didn’t have cell phones and email, a small group of my camp friends formed a prayer chain during high school. We committed to praying for each other, and we shared our burdens and blessings with each other. To this day I continue to be blessed by those friendships that were formed so long ago.

James was six years older than I was. He became our Sunday school teacher and youth leader after he finished college and moved back to farm in the area. On Sunday nights when our congregation would go out in small groups to visit our elderly church members, James would load up his vehicle with our youth group and take us on a visitation adventure. We had excellent evenings learning from and encouraging those we visited. Then we would head to the ice cream shop or my house for more fellowship and laughter. Those moments of friendship, faith and fun that he fostered bolstered my faith, my self-esteem, and my courage to reach out to others.

The power of these positive childhood friends cannot be overstated. I will forever cherish the memories we created, and I know that a large part of who I am today is due to those friends who loved me unconditionally in a very conditional world.

March is International Women’s Month!  It is my hope that you will join me over the course of the rest of March in celebrating the women who have had a significant role in influencing me.  I will post daily blog-posts — some of these posts will be from me talking about the women who have had a significant role in influencing me and some of the posts will be from these women themselves, childhood friends, mentors, teachers, co-workers, etc.  

My hope is that this series, “Celebrating Women,” will accomplish three things:  

  1. to serve in a small way as a “Thank You” to all the women who have influenced me
  2.  that you will gain wisdom from those who have spoken wisdom into my life
  3. that it will serve as a reminder to say thank you and to recognize all the amazing women in your one life

Click here to see all of the posts related to “Celebrating Women.”

More Than a List

I am strange.  Those of you who know me well won’t argue.  Part of my strangeness is that I really like listening to sermons!  One of my all-time favorite sermons is by a man named Fred Craddock who passed away in 2015.  He was a gifted preacher, a devoted professor, and a passionate and compassionate Christian.

The title of the sermon was “When the Roll is Called Down Here,” (you can read the sermon at “Preaching Today” by clicking on the title of the sermon). The text for his sermon was Romans 16.  It’s an unusual text for a sermon.  The text is basically a list of names.  A list of names of Paul’s ministry partners.  A list of fellow believers.  A list of those who made Paul who he was.

Craddock brings home the fact that this was more than a list — “Don’t call that a list.  It’s not a list.”  For Paul, this was more than a list of names.  For Paul, it was the Church.  For Paul, it was the fiber of who he was.

As I read this list again recently, I remembered the sermon with fondness, but I was surprised again by Paul’s list that is more than a list.  What surprised me was the number of women on Paul’s “list.”

He calls these women sisters, saints, and workers in the LORD, fellow prisoners; even one woman receives the title “mother.”  The affection, the respect, and the recognition of these women by Paul is obvious yet too often forgotten.

One can argue about Paul’s theology of women in ministry, but his practice is clear.  By his own words, his own admission, and his own list, Paul recognises that he couldn’t have done it without them.

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The Fabric of Who I Am

As I thought about Paul’s list again, I took Craddock’s sermon to heart once again and began to think about my own list.  That list is sprinkled liberally with women — peers, friends, mentors — a list that made me who I am, a list that influences me everyday, and a list that is more than a simply list.

Therefore, beginning on March 8th which is recognized as International Women’s Day, and continuing to the end of March.  I want to honor these women by sharing a few of them with anybody that reads this blog.  The series will consist of twenty-four daily posts — some posts written by me sharing the impact that these women have had on my life, but, more importantly, some of the posts will be written by these women themselves.

 

I hope that this month you will join me in remembering the women on your list, honoring the women in your life, and celebrating women!