Thirty years ago, I wrote a controversial article that was printed in my university newspaper. In the article, I addressed injustices that I saw taking place in a nearby church. The article raised some hackles. I remember the day that the head of the Religion Department and board member of said church came to the newspaper office to express his disapproval of the article. He asked to speak to my husband.
John informed him that *I* was the author of the article. He responded by saying, “I know, but she only wrote it because it is *your* opinion. You’re the one I want to talk to.” John took two steps back and waved his arm to usher me in. It was a terrifying and painful conversation that ensued, as I did my best to stand my ground and voice my own opinion.
Some years later, I submitted myself to a community that taught me to be quiet. To take a back seat. To allow my husband to lead. They taught me that I was to “stay in my role,” that women are naive and easily deceived, and that because of my gender, I was not qualified to teach males over a certain age. *And* they taught me that all of this was God’s will for my life. John and I both did our best to submit to that “will.”
The story is a long and painful one of how we left that community and began to heal. John and I have struggled through our own discovery of mutual submission and freedom to both operate in our gifts and talents, and respect for one another. It has not been easy.
As I began to live from my true self, to do not only what I am graced to do, but what I *love* to do, I have encountered opposition. One nearby pastor even announced that it would be better that the good work that I do at Joe’s Addiction not be done, rather than a woman pastor be doing it.
Saturday, I marched with my daughters in the Women’s March. It was a beautiful experience for many reasons. But one thing bothered me. Every time a chant was started (usually by someone in the crowd), all I could do was cry. I could not raise my voice.
I am a crier. Can’t help it. Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears. It used to embarrass me that I cry so much, but I’m okay with it now. I know that to be tender in such a mean world is to be brave and strong. So I cry. But Saturday what bothered me was that my tears closed up my throat. They choked out my voice.
My soul burns for justice. I see the things that are not as the should be, and I dream and hope for the day they are fixed. I’ve been thinking a lot about Martin Luther King, Jr over the last week, and I, too, “refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him." I also believe what he said is true: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Here I am thirty years after I wrote that article for the school paper, and I have some things I need to say. A lot of things actually. So I am going to start saying them here on this page. Some will disagree. That is okay. Some will have a different perspective to add. That is okay too. I am happy to dialogue. I believe we can help each other become better human beings if we will *really listen* to one another’s experience. If we will *empathize* with one another.
So you can ask me questions on my page. (If you really want to understand my perspective.) You can offer your own opinions. (If you genuinely are sharing another view of how to improve the world.) But you cannot be mean. And you cannot make any of us feel unsafe. (I reserve the right to delete mean comments or block unsafe people. We can all feel the dark energy of a troll, and ain't nobody got time for that.)
Now, with all of that understood, I have some things to say, and the first is that I will not be quiet. I will not be quiet anymore.