Anyway, we gave an open invitation to whoever wanted to attend an Emerging Women lunch at the Gathering. Men and Women both (or as it has come to be phrased at these things, "Emerging Women and men who like them"). We had a good sized group show up for a spread of cheeses and organic soup and salad (thank you Sarah Sayles for helping prep). I gave a very basic introduction to the types of activities Emerging Women is involved in and then we opened it up for people to share their stories. The storytelling took up most of our time, but I found it to be a very blessed and supportive time. There was a wide diversity of women present who have come to this emerging conversation from a variety of backgrounds. After sharing our experiences as women in the EC we spent a (very) short amount of time discussing the lack of visible women in leadership in the emerging church.
There were a few highlights in the conversation that stood out to me that I want to mention here -
One woman spoke on how she wished God was more like her father. Unlike the women who try to get away from the Father image of God, she is seeking to understand God in that way. Her own father encouraged her and told her that she could do/be anything. But it was God (or the church's representation of God) that seemed to be restricting her. She wants to see God in the encouraging and supportive role her own father played in her life.
One woman mentioned that for this emerging conversation to be balanced (have equal representation of men and women's voices) everyone needs to be willing to give up something. Be it ego, power, ease - if we care about balance we have to work for it.
Some women brought up that in the emerging church we shouldn't be having to work for equal representation and respect for women. We should just already have it if we are truly a representation of the body of Christ. That sparked a discussion on the way things are verses the way things should be. A couple of women who work with victims of domestic violence brought up that there shouldn't be violence against women, but there is. They are not just going to wait around for the way things should be to just happen because of their inherent rightness. No, they are going to fight to bring justice and make things right. The same goes for being proactive in demanding women have a voice.
And I want to thank Jeff for his portrayal of the unenlightened vs enlightened emergent male. According to his division, the unenlightened emergent male sees that there are so many issues to deal with and hurdles to overcome in moving this emerging conversation forward, so he brushes women aside as an unimportant issue in light of the bigger picture. But the enlightened emergent male will continue this whole revolution by doing his part in helping bringing women alongside as an equal and powerful voice in helping make things happen.