I adore this lady!! Christy Jo is an amazing human and mentor.
A couple of years ago I found myself sitting at a table at a public event where we were invited to share our names and vocation with the people at our table. When I introduced myself another pastor (man, of course) looked me in the eyes and said, “you mean to tell me your church has a woman pastor AND they allow you to have that hole in your nose?” Referring to my nose ring– I smiled and nodded yes, “Can you believe it?!”
I am grateful and proud to serve as Associate Pastor of Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where my ministry is embraced and celebrated. Yet, far too many of the folks I’ve come across did not grow up in a church where women did more than teach Sunday School and organize potluck meals.
Just this week someone told me, “That church is okay with women preaching occasionally but they ‘are not ready’ to call a woman to be their full-time pastor.” This came as no surprise to me, as I am familiar with this church through friends who have preached in their small rural town of less than 1,500 people.
We are surrounded by an empire that privileges white, straight, wealthy, men– over black and brown folks, women, people who are suffering from systemic poverty, immigrants…
AND, powerful people are still using the platform of the Church to demean the basic dignity of gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans, intersex, and queer people.
This isn’t new. “Biblical” morality has been used to justify slavery, resistance to interracial marriage, genocide, war, and more.
I understand that many of the people on the other side of this are well-meaning Christians who really are trying to do and believe what they believe to be faithful– people who are also God’s children, beloved and holy.
However, this is a time that truth must be spoken to oppressive power systems. For far too long, the Christian Church has oppressed and marginalized people.
Jesus lived out the message of abundance, not scarcity.
Our faith calls us to rise above the societal narrative we’ve been given where few are “in” and the rest are “out.” Jesus was always on the margins, with people who were struggling to be treated as equal in society.
Emma Lazarus, Martin Luther King, Jr, and others have said a version of:
None of us are free until we are all free.
Intersectionality is key– we must remember oppression is not isolated. This
is why I cannot talk about women’s issues alone.
Audre Lorde reminds us, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
Now is the time to walk boldly into the transforming narrative that all of us are equally important, loved, and belong to our Creator.
Ready or not– women are called, EVEN women with nose rings are called and are leading, and will continue to do powerful work within and outside of the church.
Jesus was never exclusive in his ministry– he included everyone, no matter what. When we try and play gatekeeper we lose sight of God’s vision for all of us thrive.
There is plenty of room at God’s table for all of us.
May our collective & individual power lead us into building the kin-dom of God here & now around an expansive table that extends to the ends of the earth.
xoxo, Christy Jo