With regards to being a woman in full-time-paid-ministry, this week has, for reasons I won’t go into, been somewhat less than encouraging.
When weeks like this occur I find myself turning into a bit of a Negative Nora, and behaving like all the world is one big misogynistic pile of hate. It is not, and in order to remind myself of that, I thought I’d draw your (and my) attention to some positive things.
1.There was a bit of an internet chat about the representation of women in the list of speakers at various big Christian conferences. Lots of things about the conversation were a bit depressing, but there were some other things that cheered me:
Steve Holmes responded with this post, and a few ideas.
Then, the person (I don’t know who) behind the @God_loves_women Twitter handle started this database to try and provide a solution to the oft-stated problem of people who would like to include women speakers but, ‘don’t know anyone good’.
There is a recognition of the dilemma that seems (in my experience) to plague women more than men, that of ‘putting oneself forward’, so as well as inviting women to put themselves on the database, @God_loves_women has asked others to nominate women speakers (with their permission, natch.). I do think this it’s helpful to recognise that this is an issue, because there have been occasions when I have mourned my lack of opportunities, without ever having actually asked. I’m trying to do that a little more these days, spurred on by the local mantra: ‘shy bairns get nowt’, but it’s a real challenge. I remember chatting to one woman speaker who told me that she sometimes felt like a girl sitting at the side of a ballroom, waiting to be asked to dance. It’s sad. But true, and anything that can be done to help is good.
2.This article appeared on The Huffington Post site, and both amused me, and renewed my interest in reading Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey (which is being published in the UK in 2 days time).
3.And Hugo, the pastor of the church I’m part of, tweeted this:
None of it fixes the things that discourage me, but it does at least give a dose of reality to my tendency towards doom and gloom.
In summary: looking for encouragement.