A Reflection on a Conference of Women in Ministry:
I'm always struck when women who minister in the church get together, how quickly stories of being discounted, discriminated against and other such appalling stories emerge. Alongside our personal stories, there are also legions of stories told on behalf of others. Stories that tell of the love of God being withheld and the call of God being denied. There is, undoubtedly, a place for such stories, such vulnerability, such sharing.
But I am concerned that by continually sharing these painful narratives, psrticularly long after we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down and, dare I say it, triumphed in spite of such experiences, that we perpetuate the culture of strife and division.
I want to see women in ministry claiming their rightful place in the Kingdom of God, even if that erodes and destroys the institution that the church has become. Displaying their femininity, owning their power as bringers of life, harbingers of light, beloved children of God, called, commissioned, sent.
As long as we accentuate the stories of our oppression and injustice, we overlook the subversive stories of the positive effects of our ministry ordained and enabled by God. I suppose I'm subscribing to the notion of "by their fruits shall Ye know them."
Two of my Biblical heroes are Shiprah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives who defied the orders of the Pharaoh and spared the lives of Hebrew males whom he had ordered to be killed at birth - one of whom was Moses. And my modus operandi in the church has been to find a way to work around whatever obstacles are put in the way of ministry.
The stories of difficulty and trial should not be denied or suppressed but we can be - and are - engaged in writing a new story. A story of love and strength and of making a difference where it matters because God enables us so to do. That is the story I want to be shared, that is the perception that I want to overtake all the negativity that is there in abundance. That is the record that I want to overtake the history of women in ministry. Called, commissioned, sent - servants of God making a difference in the Kingdom of God.