Equality In The Church

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*This blog post was submitted to The Junia Project for a blog contest. You can find out more about the Junia Project at http://www.juniaproject.com

Women’s Equality in the Church aka There would be no church without strong women

Countless women are named in the Bible and esteemed by God and Jesus in both the Old and New Testaments. Growing up in very conservative congregations, I could only read about these strong women because women were given minor roles in the living church.

While girls in the church weren’t always explicitly told what our roles were to be, they were mostly unspoken. It was just assumed that we would be in relationships where the man was the head and women ultimately did not have much say. We were told to dress chaste as to not tempt men in the church but men were not told to be respectful of girls and women as to not enter into temptation.

The first missionary I ever met was a girl who spoke about her mission to Japan. I don’t remember what the missionary shared but at that time, I knew that I wanted to be a missionary no matter what. No one asked me when I was young what my plans were but I was ready with an answer if ever I should be called upon.

From a very young age, I assisted and took care of children, from babysitting, to nursery, to teaching Sunday School, AWANA ministry, you name it, if it involved children, I was there helping out. This service to the church extended to my late twenties.

When I transferred to college to finish my Bachelors degree in Christian Ministry, I was just sure that I would end up doing some sort of ministry somewhere. I assisted informally with my church’s youth ministry and when a more formal position became open I found myself not selected in favor of someone who had a better look (but not theological studies or even youth ministry experience). In that moment, I was so devastated that I knew I was having a mild heart attack (it was one of those votes that came before the whole church). That became a defining moment for me not just as a woman but as a Black woman. Many women in the Black church are able to hold the position of minister but are often not tasked with major ministerial duties. I knew that it would be more like Children’s Ministry although I applied for Youth Ministry positions as well. As I applied for ministry positions, I ended up getting one interview at a local congregation for Youth Ministry. Well, I did not get the job. In fact, I think I was just interviewed for the position because there weren’t many applicants. At that moment in time, I knew that there would never be a place for me in ministry and I stopped trying. I completely gave it up. Here I was with a newly minted degree and nothing to show for it (the true story of my life). I later segued into education and faced other hurdles and barriers which would be a whole other blog post.

As long as I have been a member of a church, women have been regulated to supporting roles (until I met women Presbyterian ministers). It took women ministers to reaffirm to me that truly God calls all of us and not only that has given us all gifts that can benefit all who need them. In contemporary churches, women preachers are some sort of enigma who has massive followings and money to basically do what they want (as long as they don’t go too far ala anyone who has a strong opinion that goes against accepted church teachings).

Continuing to relegate women to second class roles not only in the church but in society perpetuates a standard of living that is not only un-Biblical(if we are truly living out Christ’s teachings) but also weak. Because without the inclusion of strong women in positions of leadership not only in the church but also in society, we continue to set a disastrous example for future generations that will not have as strong of an impact on the world than an egalitarian position would. When I read the Bible, I see men and women as equal because that is what God teaches. Equality in the church is not something that we can continue to wish for and hope for some time in the future, it is a standard that we have to uphold now in order to move forward in a direction that will be empowering for both men and women.

Perpetuating inequality in the church is a true bastardization of God’s word and anyone who continues this practice will have to ultimately answer to God for it. This does not mean that these views should be allowed to have such a loud and smothering voice in the church, but rather, the views for equality and justice have to speak even louder, even when it hurts.

 

2017 Reflections

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As I attempted to update some blog posts, I realized too late that I ended up deleting a second page where I was sharing academic updates. So, due to not being able to retrieve that page, I am just adding all of my posts(academic and non academic) to this page with all of the others posts. So simple, yet not quite what I had planned.

Just like this year it seems. Nothing has quite gone as planned in this new year. It has been a series of twists and turns with a lot of laughs and tears along the way. Oh yes, that is also a theme of my journey to Ph.d. It is twisty and turning in so many different ways that hopefully lead to a great result in the end. Forgive me if anything I share is repetitive because I really can’t remember the last time I made a blog post in 2017(did I? oops).

Okay so in 2016, I entered my third year of doctoral studies. In the Fall of 2016 I *insert drumroll* passed my Comprehensive Exam! Whoo! Also, for the last year or so I have updated my dissertation proposal and it has officially been sent to my dissertation committee members. In 2017 I presented my research at our Applied Demography Conference and it was a hit! In the next few weeks I will defend my dissertation proposal and present my research at a Social Science Conference. I also have been wrangling with data(per usual) and writing along with brainstorming for more writing.

Thank you to everyone who continues to check out my blog(even if it may be on accident). I really appreciate it and hope to bring even more great content soon.

Peace, Love, and Tacos

Whose Voice Matters?

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As we go through life one day at a time, there will be competing voices trying to turn us toward their direction. The good, the bad, the ugly. These voices can sometimes be amplified depending on our point in life. Also, I can’t forget our own inner voice. Which demands to be listened to in one form or another.

I have been tasked with the challenge of reducing my time spent on social media. To me, that is akin to torture aka a new level of Dante’s inferno. I never see other people being asked to do such things. I usually see people deciding on their own to do it.

Here are some pros and cons:

Pro: I have a lot of people I consider friends on social media

Con: I could do a purge

Pro: Comps and dissertation 

Con: Stress outlet

Pro: I can work on minimizing

Con: Why am I still listening to others?

So these are some of the thoughts that swirl around my head when I’m not in pain or super anxious.

Have you ever been told that you spend too much time on social media? If so, how did you cope?

Peace, Love, and Smoothies 🙂

I Miss My Friend

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So a lot is going on with me but for whatever reason I miss my old friend. It has been over a year since we’ve spoke. I’ve tried to reach out. I’ve prayed about it, and I’ve looked at my part.
I’m still happy for my friend, I guess it’s just not the same sharing those things with her.
I just feel out of sorts and of course it’s out of my control.

So take it from me, if you have a friend that you value, let them know. Treat them well. Respect their differences.
Otherwise, you will be left wondering where twenty years went and basically feeling horrible because you lost one of the few people who truly knew you over something stupid.
At this point, I can’t even blame my old friend for not wanting to be friends with me because I’m not a great person.
So in a nutshell, I really hate myself and this is probably just karma.

2016 What About Your Friends?

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I was wrong. A few things had happened and I took them to be something different then what they were. So I proceeded to talk about a friend behind their back. I did this instead of talking to my friend about it. Well, of course what I said went back to my friend and they were hurt. I figured as such and I reached out to apologize. I felt bad. I was wrong for what I did.
So my friend told me how much I hurt them. I was devastated about what happened. So my friend said I needed to make a public apology and guess what? I did. My friend means more to me than the people that I was talking to and even if our friendship is never the same, atleast they know where my heart is. I also know that I have to reevaluate my friendships. Maybe the truth is that I consider everyone to be my friend but in reality I don’t have any. Don’t let my Twitter or Facebook followers fool you. I probably have more associates than anything. At this point in my life even though it makes me sad, I have to be okay with that and I will. So many people underestimate me and cannot begin to understand the pain that I have felt in my life. And again that is okay. People may have to be hard pressed when I go mute because I’m really really good at it.
At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what and who matter. There is no point in letting people get me down just because it is easy. But oh it is so easy. So I’m going to go through the motions just to get through because that is important to me. Maybe it is much less important that my voice be heard because in a vaccum of white noise everything cancels out anyway. I’m very disappointed in myself for believing that things were different. I only had a few friends growing up and I don’t even have them now.
So here’s to me learning a lesson in being quiet.
Peace

2016 When Everything Turns Up Roses

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Hey y’all. I hope this finds you well. If not, I hope you feel a little better after reading. Why? Because you deserve to feel great. I know it sounds cheesy, but once you start telling yourself what you deserve, you start feeling better. Now this may get a little bumpy as I tend to go all over the place(just like my writing, and another reason why revision is a great thing, not something to fear or hate).

First things first, this semester is going awesome. Like I totally turned things around in Stats(and each class session is even more awesome). For instance, last week we began a conversation about multilevel modeling and I am telling you it was like poetry. Pure mathematical poetry. Every day I realize that I love math(a lot).

Second, I got an awesome job. Like it is so awesome that I still can’t believe it. I just can’t believe that I have this opportunity. The people that I work with are great. I get to work on real world projects. I am in a good space.

Third, every single conference that I submitted to, I was accepted. I still can’t believe that people want to hear about my work and what I have to say. So, a lot of people are proud of me and I have been given permission to be proud of myself. I am. I am.

Fourth, everything is working out wonderfully, so for the first time in a long, long time, I have no drama. Yep, you read that right, no major drama in my life(or the dancery quoting MJBlige). What does this mean? It means that I have a lot of time to make up my own internal drama(filled with over thinking and wondering where Prince Charming is). But I have an amazing support group who nudges me and jostles me out of the drama cloud and I am on my merry way again.

So, I plan on doing a better job of writing on here. So, be ready for a bunch of stuff because I have a lot to talk about(or be ready for a little bit of stuff because I might get busy lol). Who knows, let’s just be optimistic and hope for the best.

I am hoping for the best in all things. Even though I am turning that big scary 3-5 in a few months, I am going to be optimistic. Even though it seems as if Prince Charming lost all of my contact info, I am going to be optimistic. Even though there are a million things that I cannot change, I am going to be optimistic. Because really at the end of the day, I have no other choice.

Peace, love, and light y’all 🙂

 

2016 Gratitude

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    Hey y’all! I just wanted to post some good stuff. With all that is going on in the world, I don’t think positive vibes hurt anything.
In line with the year of yes, I accepted a super cool job. My family is proud of me. My friends want me around. I am doing well in my classes.
     I know that doesn’t sound much but it means a lot to me.     No I haven’t met the great love of my life yet but I still manage to smile at the world. I’m trying to be the change that I want to see in the world and on most days, I think I’m on the right track.
    It seems like everyday I have an epiphany about something and I’m humbled. I know that my journey is only through the help and strength of a ton of angels on Earth.
    I got to hear my sponsor’s experience, strength, and hope tonight and I know that God blessed me with her awesome example of living life on life’s terms. I have had the opportunity to hear so much wisdom from my professors and I’m blessed to learn from them.
    So I’m just a bundle of gratitude because when we talk about the promises, I know that I didn’t envision anything that even remotely looks like my life today.
   I’m grateful for you taking the time to read my roller coaster of a blog.
Thank you!