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In which we put down the gloves and jump on in :: a guest post by Jerusalem Jackson Greer

book club

I have asked a few of my favourite writers/bloggers to respond to the Jesus Feminist discussion questions. The discussion questions are meant for small group discussions or journalling but I wanted to make a bit of room on the blog for each of us to respond to them, too.

What does authentic community among women look like to you? Have you ever seen it done right in the church?

Weigh in with your response to the day’s question in the comments! One response will win a free signed copy of the little yellow book.

Today, Jerusalem Jackson Greer is responding to our question. 

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“Spiritual experiences aren’t meant to be homogeneous, only harmonious – not in unison, but in unity.” – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits

To all the women reading, who are followers of Christ, I have a favor to ask.

Please, my sisters-in-Christ, do not join the church ladies in your community for the following reasons:

  • For the programs
  • To be with like-minded women
  • To fit in
  • For the T-shirt

If you do, I can promise that at some point you will be disappointed, disillusioned, and feel disjointed.

I beg of you instead to join the Church Ladies in your community if:

  • You want to follow Jesus
  • You want to be known by your love
  • You want to love your neighbor
  • You want to be last

Here is what I am asking:

Can we suspend our well-oiled cynicism about Women’s Ministry?

Can we push aside our need for slick, or relevant, or programs?

Can we let go – at least for a season – our assumptions about which women can speak into our lives based on the size of their hair, the style of their shoes, the choice of their bumper stickers, or their music preferences?

Can we learn to live out those lovely movie lines “I like you… Just as you are.” towards one another?

***

I hate to hike. I absolutely hate it. But my friend Alison loves it and now she has gone off and moved to Scotland. And I really wish that I had gone on a hike with her somewhere when she lived nearby. I wish I had let her teach me all about hiking. About why she loves it so.  About what it has taught her.

I don’t think it would make me like hiking, but it would have helped me understand Alison. And it would have been a way to love her.

I, on the other hand, really like to craft. And every time someone makes a joke about crafting at women’s church events, I cringe because I actually enjoy it.

But some of my very best friends really don’t like it all. Yet every now and then they will step out of their comfort zone and craft with me. Because they know it is part of who I am, that it is important to me, and that it means a lot to me when they take the time to enter into that part of my heart with me.

Sometimes I need to be with people in the exact stage of life as me because we can commiserate and I feel less alone in my questions and hurdles. It feels good to laugh and cry with someone who knows exactly what I am going through because they are right there in the mud and the muck with me.

But sometimes what I need is to be with someone who has traveled further down the road than me.

I need to sit in the presence of blue-haired ladies who have made it well past the twenty-year mark in their marriages. I need to listen to the wisdom of women who have looked in the mirror at the age of 39 and wondered if the good stuff was over or just beginning.

And sometimes what someone else needs – someone newly married, someone with toddlers as opposed to teenagers – what she needs is someone like me. Someone who is a little further ahead, but still within shouting distance.

Dear sisters, I know there are culture wars raging something fierce right now.  Many of you are lost at sea amidst storms within your denominations or expression of faith.  Many of you are homeless; you have been wandering the desert of church home options for years. But if you can find a little group of Church Ladies somewhere in your community – at your church or your neighbor’s church or your mother’s church or that church on the corner – if you can find a group of sisters to join, please do.

And as you walk through the doors, please be curious, not judgmental. Please enter with eyes, ears, and hearts wide open. Please check any tendencies to mock, to lead with cynicism, to quarantine yourself in the corner, at the door. Enter not just to receive, but to give. Not just to speak, but to listen.

You and I need to try things that are outside our comfort zone without feeling threatened.

Because being together should not be about us.

It should be about the other.

I need to go on a hike and you need to craft.

I need to fill in some blanks on a worksheet and you need to take a yoga class.

I need to take each and every opportunity to see what life looks like from another’s vantage point, instead of shrugging things off as “not me.”

And we all need to love out Christ’s commandment:

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13: 34-35 The MSG)

And maybe a good place to start is with the Church Ladies.

Jerusalem Greer Jerusalem Jackson Greer is a writer, speaker, occastional preacher-lady, nest-fluffer, urban farm-gal, and author of A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting and Coming Together. Jerusalem lives with her husband and two sons in a 1940s cottage in Arkansas at the crossroads of beauty and mess with an ever-changing rotation of pets, including a hen house full of chickens. As a family, they are attempting to live a slower version of modern life.  She blogs about all of this and more at http://jerusalemgreer.com 

 

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In which I did not write a book of theory: I wrote a book about us

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Idelette, the lioness
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Kelley and Idelette

Three years ago, I couldn’t have dreamed of the way my life would change because of one South African lioness living in Surrey.

The first time I met Idelette, I felt like I had come home. You know these moments? The ones where you meet someone and feel like you recognize each other? It was that kind of moment for me. I had found a life long friend.

Idelette and I connected right in the newborn days of SheLoves Magazine through a mutual friend: the one and only Pastor Helen Burns (she who makes “generosity” and “connecting others” look like a spiritual gifting). At the time, I was working at Mercy Ministries of Canada and Idelette was part of the leadership team at her church’s women’s ministry, so we connected at their women’s conference over our shared passion for God’s global girls and writing. I was working the Mercy table, she came by to chat.

Idelette and I couldn’t be more different: first of all, she’s cool. Really, truly, effortlessly cool. She rocks purple hair and gorgeous gowns, for heaven’s sake.

Me? I am decidedly not cool.

Idelette is rockstar hair, sequins, and sky-high stilettos. I am a redhead perpetually clad in grey wool sweaters, blue jeans, and moccasins. She is a South African world traveller, an activist, a visionary, a do-er. I’m a Canadian prairie kid and an unapologetic homebody who theologically-over-thinks everything.

But even though our stories, our style, our giftings, and our sensibilities are so different, we are soul-sisters.

Read the rest of this post  at SheLoves Magazine

….and enter to win five copies of Jesus Feminist (yes, that’s right, we’re giving away 5 copies to one person) over there!

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Idelette, me, Kelley goofing around (and Tina behind the lens)

 

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In which I’m from second-hand skates

womaninprairie

I am from second hand skates, from Tim Hortons doughnuts and epic Barbie sagas.
I am from the split level red house and the family cottage and “I see the lake first!”
I am from the sweet peas, the purple thistles, the heather and the wheat waving in the fields.
I am from “One big happy family!” and freckles, from Nell and Lorna, Ken and Donald Ivor.
I am from talking too loud and bold opinions hollered while laughing too loud.
From “God has a plan and a purpose for you” and “Expect a miracle.”
I am from small community centres filled with happy-clappy choruses,
from dancing on Sundays and speaking in tongues.
From the farming and the truck driving, from Simpson Sears and sales.
I am from the newspaper corners at Kitchener School, from the flats in Moose Jaw,
from the ice-is-finally-off-the-lake at Last Mountain Lake in the middle of a flat-no-mountains-in-sight prairie
and the bonfire under the stars.
I am from the keepsake box under the stairs, the homemade life,
the just-caught-my-parents-kissing-again-life, the carrots washed off with the garden hose and the crab apples.
I’m from cold lake water and a warm mother, from thread bare terry cloth towels and Strawberry Shortcake wallpaper.
I’m from worn-out Bibles with notes in the margins and the laugh lines,
from truth and reconciliation, from grudges and elusive forgiveness.
I’m from restoration and new life, from cold winters with snow squeaking and blistering summers with mosquitoes buzzing.
From skinny girl arms wrapped around each other and secrets as delight,
from the wilderness nearby and the cold air in your lungs, oh, I’m from love.

 

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In which I’m into some stuff (August 2013 edition)

books i read

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver – The latest collection of poetry from Mary Oliver. Absolutely brilliant, of course, and I underlined and dog-eared the pages mercilessly. Check out “I Have Decided” on page 45.

Outlander: A Novel by Diane Gabaldon – I have several friends who have recommended this series to me for years now so I picked it up at our used bookstore and took it on our family holiday to Colorado. It was a great romance romp with a bit of sci-fi and a lot of history but it did become very dark in places and was occasionally very disturbing. Very satisfying but I don’t know if I’ll finish the series.

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty – Another “I’m on holiday” choice here but a great page-turner for a day or two. I like this author, particularly the quirky characters and the plot mystery is interesting – it kept me reading late one night. I also love how her heroines are rather flawed people.

The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde – This was my favourite of the month. Witty, hilarious, weird, and wonderful. Truly unique premise, it’s pure joy for lovers of literature and dystopian themes.

Abdication: A Novel by Julie Nicolson – I’m a sucker for most novels about the abdication but this one wasn’t very good, I’m afraid.

books on my nightstand right now

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider (this is an advanced glimpse at Tsh’s new book and oh, my goodness! Love it so far.)

The Prodigal God by Tim Keller

When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey

When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams

Prodigal Christianity: 10 Signposts into the Missional Frontier (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) by David E. Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander) by Diane Gabaldon

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

television worth watching

Miranda -  Series two is now on Hulu. I actually barked out loud with laughter during the first episode of the second series.

Otherwise, not much I’m afraid. I’ve just been watching our old favourites like Sherlock: Season One and Doctor Who (I know what’s on my imaginary Christmas list...).

Brian has started watching BBC’s MI-5 (aka Spooks) because he loves a tense spy/domestic affairs drama but it’s too stressful for me.

movies i’ve watched – in or out of the theatre

I made it my mission in August to rewatch all of the Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection. (What can I say? I”m a goal-oriented person.) Love these movies, love these stories. The only downside is that it makes me want to re-read all of the Harry Potter books now.

in my ears

I was skeptical (because I still love the original version) but good gracious, Sleeping At Last’s version of (I Would Walk) 500 Miles is crazy beautiful. Maybe this one is the tired-thirties/middle-life version of this song? A bit slower, a bit sweeter, a bit more deliberate. So lovely and true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhKX3_XvUfo

 

best stuff i pinned

Embroidered felt bookmarks - I’m a sucker for a rainy day craft about bookmarks

Books to read before you’re 40 – some great selections here

Make your own reading pillow

Seasonal chalkboard art templates

Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies… 

 

So, friends, what about you?

What’s on your nightstand? What television show has captured your imagination? What are you pinning or cooking or planning?

linked up with Leigh for What I’m Into:

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

amazon affiliate links 

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