Moving forward

For my denomination it seems so long compared to other groups, but we’re making some nice steps. For our own (small) church we are seeing two women go through the ordination process. I am excited for the ground they are helping to break. I am thankful they are ministers with me in our church.

We have a long way to go, and I’m thankful for this team helping lead the way.

Both/And, Part 2

Both-And: Living the Christ-Centered Life in an Either-Or World by Rich Nathan and Insoo Kim has been a refreshing read. It leaves me challenged.

Nathan takes on the really hard things we just don’t like to talk about. He discusses reaching out to and loving the homosexual community. There is something for everyone there to love… and hate. His conclusions are his convictions, but I’m pretty sure the “either/or” world that exists on both sides of this issue won’t like his honest conversation.

He tackles women in ministry. He leaves no hot potato untouched, really.

The approach is trying to live out Christ in this world as we hear the voice of the Spirit and work to remain obedient to the revelation given to us.

The context of pastoring his own church and working this out makes it much more readable for me. He isn’t talking theory. He isn’t sitting in an academic office somewhere thinking this up. He is tackling it in his context. It is refreshing to read in that way.

I think these voices are worth listening to in this day, even though no one is very good at listening right now.

International Women’s Day… Plus One

I hope this is a month long opportunity, since I’m fairly sure I missed the “official” day. (When do guys remember anything correctly when it comes to women, right?)

At any rate, as I took a post to celebrate two great black preachers (William J Seymour and Martin Luther King, Jr.), I want to give thanks for influential women in my life. None are famous (yet).

My mom is a rock for our family and I am so incredibly grateful for her faith.

My wife is my own personal rock in my life and I am thankful every day for the joy she brings to my life.

In college, I was deeply influenced by Dr. Debbie Gill, who taught me Greek and New Testament. My calling in ministry was refined in a Greek seminar class she was leading at the time and a prophetic word was spoken over me, affirming what the Lord was dealing with in my own life. Scholarship and Pentecost in one classroom! Who knew?

In my early ministry Suzanne Kemp came and preached at a new church plant I was doing in Kansas a couple of times. Her influence early in my life was deeply meaningful. She led me through some tough leadership decisions when no one else was helping me out.

Dr. Lois Malcolm is my theology professor from Luther Seminary. Again, the combination of incredible intellect with a heart for the Spirit resides in this great teacher. She has preached a couple of times in my church and when we meet for lunch afterward, she always speaks life into me.

Brenna Zeimet and Grace Hiyakumoto are my youth pastor and worship pastor, respectively. Two young women called of God and making their way. They speak into my life constantly and I am deeply grateful they stick with me in our church.

Last weekend we celebrated my grandmother’s 97th birthday. She is my mom’s mom and has been one of the great godly women in my life as well. She keeps track of how all the grandkids (my cousins) are doing so it’s easy to catch up with everyone.

But I also think of my dad’s mom, who passed away when I was only 13. I go back to a time when I was visiting her when I was 10 years old. We were sitting on her front porch talking about life and she was asking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I threw out all kinds of things, I’m sure. But one thing I do remember from that conversation that I voiced only that one time before I was 18 years old.

I said, “Maybe I’ll be a preacher.”

And she said, “That would be good.”

I’m thankful for the influence I’ve had over the years, and in my current time, from women.

Sorry I’m late to the table, but what else is new? ;)

My wife and I with my Grandma Worldia

My wife and I with my Grandma Worldia

And the Action, Dr. Kirk?

Daniel Kirk likes to use the bully pulpit of his professorship to tell us pastors how to put things into action. It’s the benefits of academia. And he takes full advantage of it.

So his latest rant is a good one, yet leaves me asking: Okay, Mr. Kirk, as a seminary professor, what does that mean for you, other than getting to use your lectern to say things that are necessary

Don’t get me wrong. I agree with Dr. Kirk. This is an issue that needs action. But reading these rants as a pastor, and actually doing something about it, I get tired of the bully pulpit.

The post is appropriately titled: A time to speak. That may be all a seminary professor can do in the case of gender equality in ministry.

But at some point could we quit the rants and actually get down to business? I know it’s something I actually work on. I don’t have much to write about these matters, as I am developing a staff that actually has women on it. No seminary pulpit for me. ;)