Friday, March 02, 2012

Post Seven: Your Responses to Women in Ministry (plus another book giveaway)


Congrats to Dina who wonthe book! (Dina, I’ll contact you to see if you want a hard copy or anelectronic copy.) FYI There’s another chance to win a book at the end of this post.

Part 1: An Apology for Women in Ministry

I’ve tried to write thispost at least five times. Each post is coming up short. So please make do withwhat feels like very inadequate words. I’ve been surprised and humbled by themany private messages I’ve received these past two weeks. To those who wrotethank you. Please know I cradle your stories carefully in prayer. And pleaseknow that you are not alone.

Stories of women whowere once adamantly opposed to women in ministry and now are seekingordination. A story of a teenager who traveled across three states where shemet a woman preacher whom she felt comfortable confessing to (I’m sorry you hadto travel so far).

The post concerningwomen in ministry and abused girls prompted a number of responses. One story inparticular took root in my mind and has been playing over and over again. Thewriter (who gave me permission to share a snippet of her story) spoke of heryounger sister who was written off as a rebel during her teenage years. She gotpregnant. People were disappointed. She was simply a “wild child” of the church.This woman writes of her sister, “I’m not saying she wasn’t responsible for heractions, but girls who are abused usually go down a path of self-destructionand it isn’t always teenage rebellion, although it usually appears that way. Ofcourse they tell no one.”

I readthis message and felt my own spirit checked. I wonder how often I've assumedsomeone was simply the "wild child" when in fact there was somethingmuch, much deeper going on. When I see a rebellious teenager I want my firstreaction to be "hurting child", not "bad child".

I was alsostruck by the number of responses left on the topic of shame which I addressedin Post 4. The esteemed theologian Sarah Wilson left wise, wise words:

I'm also struck by what you say about shame. It's beenmy experience that the weird, destructive, I want to say even perverse thingabout shame is that it always attaches to the wrong person. Shame chases afterand soils victims instead of perpetrators, giving the perpetrator a doublevictory. How could we teach people from an early age--whatever situation theymay face--to become shame-repellent?”

Goodwords, Sarah.

As a thankyou to so many of you for sharing your own stories, I’m offering one moregive away of the book Shame Lifter by Marilyn Hontz. I’ll come clean and admit theauthor is my mother. And while I’m sure I have some bias, I still think it’ssimply fantastic. She was all over the radio when it first came out and justyesterday filmed a segment for “Day of Discovery”. This book chronicles mymother’s journey with shame from an emotionally detached father to sexual abuseshe encountered as a young child. It’s a powerful story that stares shamesquare in the face and says, “You have no place here.” If you'd like a chance to win a book please leave the comment “Shame free living” by Monday morning.


My motherreads this blog, and after seeing Sarah’s insightful comment/question, shewrote the following:

 Shame is not aroused in a person if he feelsthat his acts have been approved by those considered significant.   Ifa shame-prone person commits violencewhich is considered valid of significant people then such a person has noreason to feel shame.” Cross-Cultural Connections by Duane Elmer, pg 172.

Marilyn continues:

"Shame is a powerful emotion.  Youfeel powerless under its grip.  And, sadly, to try to talk about ashameful situation produces even more shame for the victim.   So, I think ifa person recognizes they have shame in their life - talks about it with atrusted person - then they are in a position to repel future shame when it comes barging through the doorof their thoughts. (Shame is pretty much responsible for anynegative thoughts we have about ourselves.)   

"On a better note, people who areaware of shame  and have dealt with it canbecome the best teachers to those around them.  To be givers of grace...tobe shame lifters. To be able to educate othersabout this silent force that seeks to paralyze and shut down a person.  Momsand Dad are in a wonderful position to help their children early on...S.S.teachers....Pastors - male or female.  It's easy to be a shame giver - and a shame receiver- but how wonderful that there is hope to become people of grace and truth. Iwant to model and teach this!" 

Thanks for adding to thediscussion, Mom!

Theresponses you’ve sent me have been very gracious and vulnerable and I cherishyour words. Again,Friends, thank you for your words. And to those who are still in very darkparts of their stories, I pray you will find the courage to speak to a "shame lifter" who can speak into your life in such a way that you find peace. And hope. And rest.

Don’tforget, you have until Monday to leave a comment with the words, “Shame freeliving”!

Thanks.

4 comments:

David Drury said...

Thanks for this post. Have you seen this TED talk on Shame and Vulnerability. Obviously not the same thing you're saying, but related.

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

And I like hearing her speak as well! :-)

Jenny Folmar said...

Mandy! This blog is wonderful! I am a minister in a small baptist university town. I find myself passing on your blog to church members, undergraduates, and divinity students. This is approachable, personal, and biblical. Rock on with your bad self. PLEASE keep doing this!

Thanks for still being an amazing woman out there in the world! -Jenny Folmar

G. HUBBARD said...

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Jaena said...

Another great post! I love the idea of being a shame-lifter. Shame free living.