Vulnerable. I feel vulnerable.

vulnerableYesterday Jeff Brumley, assistant editor of Associated Baptist Press, asked if I thought my book will help me find a pastoral position. I responded that it could go either way (see the full story here).

My deepest hope with this book is that it will help open the door a little wider, make the path a little easier for Baptist women who hear God’s call to ministry. I pray this book will help continue a conversation that has been going on long before I entered the scene. I believe stories are important, and I believe that telling our stories has great power. But with that power comes great risk.

I heard about that risk from many women during the process of compiling The Modern Magnificat. For some the risk came in revisiting traumatic experiences. For others the risk was in alienating people they loved — people who did not always play a positive role in their stories. Some incredibly brave women chose not to submit their stories, believing the risk of damage to relationships outweighed the possible good that could come from letting others read their words.

In compiling this book, I recognize that I seal my place as an advocate for women in ministry. Of course, one might say that I accomplished that long ago. Being known as an advocate is risky. Advocacy is sometimes associated with militancy, which can be downright scary!

I live in Missouri, a state that just over a year ago had no female senior pastors in Baptist life. Right now we have four. And while that gives me great hope, I recognize that Baptist churches in this part of the country are trying out female pastors for the first time. It is significant enough to call a woman — but to call one who might be militant?

I’ve taken a risk. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t scare me. But I’ve come to believe some risks are worth it. If my vulnerability, if my risk means that the next generation of women find the road to ministry a little easier to walk, I’ll take it.

(photo credit)



Filed under book project, reflection

2 responses to “Vulnerability

  1. Jane

    You are a wonderful inspiration and God has blessed and will continue to bless your work. Maybe not exactly when/where/in the way that we might envision that, but it is happening. “All will be well, I’m telling you — let the winter come and go. All will be well again, I know.”

  2. Jane Haller

    “I love, therefore I am vulnerable.” Madeleine L’Engle

    “The artist is a servant who is willing to be a birthgiver. In a very real sense the artist (male or female) should be like Mary who, when the angel told her that she was to bear the Messiah, was obedient to the command.

    “…I believe that each work of art, whether it is a work of great genius, or something very small, comes to the artist and says, ‘Here I am. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.’ And the artist either says, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’ and willingly becomes the bearer of the work, or refuses; but the obedient response is not necessarily a conscious one, and not everyone has the humble, courageous obedience of Mary.” Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

    So congratulations, you just birthed a book. And, like a parent, you have something beautiful that should outlive you, and you also have less control of your life. You don’t always get to pick where your work will need you to take it or how it will act once you get there. You may want to fasten your seatbelt and practice your bemused smile.

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