I’m done fighting for a seat at that table.
The one filled with white men, all reading the same books, spouting the same talking points, quoting each other back and forth. It’s the table where the men – a small, select, vocal group in no way representative of men in the Church overall – sit around and discuss who is in and who is out, who is right (usually them) and who is wrong (every one else) and, a favourite topic, whether women should be allowed to write or teach or preach or even read Scripture aloud, what women should be saying and doing, how marriages should look, how children should be raised, how everyone else should live their lives in holiness.
Me? I am simply getting on with the business of the Kingdom.
Enjoy your table, gentlemen.
This is one more gift that the emerging church gave me more than a decade ago: when you don’t find it, you simply create it. You emerge from what currently is into what will be, as pioneers, rule-breakers. Stop waiting for permission and get on with the work that God has called you to, stop waiting for permission and be brave, be courageous, be boldly full of Love and gentleness but step out into the space to create.
So I am no longer standing beside your table, asking for a seat, working and serving and hoping to be noticed and then offered a seat or arguing for my right to a seat. I don’t care to sit here any more. I have no desire to be indoors, in your neat boxes.
Instead I am outside with the misfits, with the rebels, the dreamers, the people of the second chance, the radical grace givers, the ones with arms wide open, the ones that you’ve rejected as not worthy of being listened to and I will be happy here. I will go with the brothers and sisters that believe in open source church, emerging into the new space of participation and authenticity, conversation and relationship. I prefer the wild outdoors of the new world anyway. I’m a western Canadian kid, you see, and I like the feel of the wind on my face, the cathedral of the sky, no constraints.
I have a tremendous well of hope for the voice of women in the church. The men at the table may be loud but the pockets of hope and love and freedom are spreading like yeast. I see it. I feel it in the ground under my feet. More and more of us are sick of waiting for a seat and so we are simply going outside, to freedom, together. And here, outside, we’re finding each other and it’s beautiful and crazy and churchy and holy.
We are simply getting on with it, with the work and the community and the dreaming and the loving and the living out of the hope of glory.
You can sit here and discuss whether or not we should for a while longer if you need to do that. It would be nice if, as my friend Jennie Allen wrote, you could hold your fire while we get brave and try a few things out.
I will teach. I will preach. I will sing. I will raise my tinies. I will keep my home. I will pass down gifts and goodness to the women coming after me. I will work like a boss. I will learn from the women older and wiser than me. I will write strong. I will learn. I will be wrong. I will worship. I will make mistakes. I will break rules. I will adjust. I will get mad and I will forgive. I will need to be forgiven.
And someday, I’ll throw my arms around you when you break up that table to use it for kindling and toss it out the window to the outside. We’ll build a bonfire and we’ll dance around the old arguments together, laughing.