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Saturday, January 27, 2007
NW EW Gathering - Creating Safe Space
As we gathered as women from a variety of different backgrounds at the NW Emerging Women Gathering, the leaders led us through a process of deciding what would define our safe space. We would be sharing our stories, or passions, and our struggles with each other and as a community we set guidelines for how those interactions would proceed. The question was how will we be committed to learning from each other by creating a safe and sacred space. I liked the guidelines the group came up with and wanted to share them here.

- No “scripturizing.” No throwing scripture out to hurting women who probably know it already. Using the Bible as a weapon or excuse doesn’t help.
- In our groups we need to seek to understand rather than fix. This means not offering input unless it is asked for.
- Don’t make people feel rushed, but still allow everyone a chance to speak (don’t let one person dominate conversation)
- Be aware of our internal responses to what others are saying (like disdain for what we have left behind or fear of where we have not yet been). To respond in love as we are aware of our own baggage.


posted by Julie at 2:17 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/28/2007 08:30:00 AM, Blogger anne

    Julie, thanks for taking time to share your experiences while at the gathering. I was pondering one of the guidelines you mentioned: "No “scripturizing.” No throwing scripture out to hurting women who probably know it already. Using the Bible as a weapon or excuse doesn’t help." In our small group we signed a covenant with guidelines, but "scripturizing" wasn't addressed at all. Fortunately I'm in a group where that wouldn't be an issue, though I have in the past encountered it a little bit. Where you're at right now in the emerging women gathering, I wouldn't have thought this was something anyone would even think of doing. But then again, perhaps it's a diverse cultural stew of women who are in attendance, (which would be a good thing), ergo this was a safety precaution of sorts?

  • At 1/28/2007 09:40:00 AM, Blogger View from the Trekant

    "No scripturizing-"

    I'm pretty certain I know what you mean by that, but wonder how you define it. There are going to be individuals who feel it their duty to hammer on the areas you disagree in. How to separate scripture from its use....?

    Your site BTW is an incredible encouragement to me.

  • At 1/30/2007 09:43:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    I think there are a couple of things that were meant by "scripturizing".

    First is was meant to not give trivival answers to hurting people. Like telling someone who is going through a huge struggle that in all things God works together for the good... Or to use scripture like a band-aid. Just apply this Psalm and its all better. Instead we were asking women to be good listeners - actually hear what others are saying and not feel the need to apply a quick scripture fix. And if advice was sought, to give meaningful, heartfelt advice instead of a scripture quote.

    Then there is the use of scripture as a shield or weapon. While I think the group there didn't think that this would be a big problem, it was mentioned as an issue. So many of the women there have been seriously hurt by the church and silenced by people throwing scripture at them. So this was a reminder that we all have different interpretations of scripture and to assume we all think the same way is unfair and inaccurate. And that we need to respect where the other women are at on their journey. There were women there struggling to find the best way how to submit to their husbands and others who were exploring the expessions of goddess in their lives. True dialogue and understanding would not occur between them if all they did was throw bible verses at each other.


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