Friday, January 31, 2014

Chick prayers

I was on the teaching team for a regional leadership development initiative and we were meeting for one of our week-long retreats.  Because most of the participants were evangelical pastors, my friend KC and I were the only women at the retreat.  One evening at dinner, the worship leader asked me if I would pray the closing prayer at that night's worship service.  I said sure, that I'd be happy to.  He smiled big.  "Thanks!  We need a chick prayer."

Um, what?  All these years later, I still don't know what that means.  Was he feeling some kind of pressure to include women in the service?  Was it a novelty addition to the order of worship?  What stayed with me was the uneasy awareness that when I prayed in that setting, I was not offering a prayer but a "chick prayer."

This month is Martha Stearns Marshall "Invite a Woman to Preach" month and so I'll be preaching this Sunday in a Baptist church.  I said yes to the invitation because I support the intentionality of putting women in the pulpit but I long for the day when a woman in the pulpit is a preacher and not a "woman preacher."

Along those same lines, a blog post is circulating challenging us to read more female authors.    For too many of us, men and women, men write books and women write books for women.  The most encouraging sign of change that I've seen lately is the way that so many men in my evangelical world have embraced the work of Brene Brown and, to a lesser degree, Rachel Held Evans, although I think that in both cases, men are more likely to watch BB's TED talks and read RHE's blog than they are to read their books.

I'll try not to be tedious but since this is my personal blog and I can write about what I want to and since these issues are on my mind a lot lately, I'll be pondering them here, I think.  I would love to hear your comments and experiences.  Let's have a conversation . . .

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