Anectdotal Woman (or) 24 churches and a feminist

There are lots of stories about women in the Bible. Not all of them have names, but its nice to experience the parable.

So I’m going to tell a parable about an unnamed woman. And then I’m going to tell a lot of anecdotes that are by no means scientific but start to bear out what a woman may feel in ministry…they certainly confirmed my own experience

An unnamed woman I know got referenced for a local solo pastor position (yay!). This was very cool for many, many reasons, the first and foremost reason being that this woman is currently serving as an interim and needs a new position. This church was liberal, and Southern (thereby making it even more liberal) so looking at a young woman pastor was a pretty cool move.

She got turned down for the job, and the person who got hired was…..a man.

I have nothing against men, I think they are awesome. However, women have outnumbered men in seminary for many years now, as of 2012 only 1/3rd of pastors were women. Yep, that’s right, the PW reported to General Assembly that fully a third of pastors were women.

I am a liberal person, the PIF process is a long one. Once upon a time (a while ago) I applied to 24 “really liberal” churches. They were the “cool” ones that were Presbyterian Light, Rainbow-Friendly and environmentally sound. They were changing the style of worship, being creative in mission and had worship committees who were involved in writing liturgy.And Open, they were really, really, really, really, really, really open to ALL types of everyone/thing peoples….

24 self-proclaimed really liberal churches.

Basically none of them even called me back for a phone interview (I think I’m not hipster/cool/lesbian enough for the cool churches…I more dynamic extroverted female pastor who still does traditional worship in normal clothing, so most churches are uncertain what to do with me)

So anyway, I was deciding when/if I should follow up with my self-referrals, and it was too cumbersome to do phone calls. Since these were the hip churches they all had fully functional websites (something that drew me to these places in the first place). So I simply looked at their newsletters<–which always proclaim when new pastors come.

I noticed a pattern. I didn’t mean to notice it. I didn’t want to notice it. But after the 4th and 5th church had it, there was no stopping it.

23 of the (self-proclaimed super liberal and open) churches had hired men……only 1 hired a woman. That’s the broad perspective

On a more personal level–I am convinced that I would be in a totally different place were I male….or a different kind of female….
Lets just say that when I do the intervieiwng thing, I bowl people over (and that’s not always a good thing)

They weren’t expecting…..me….

I think the word that is the problem is Pastor…..

“You saying its hard to picture me as a Pastor…pastor, pastor…..

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I don’t fit the word “pastor

into what I have found to be the three traditional roles for women ministers. Please note, I am naming these stereotypes as I see them perpetuated in culture. As I do not fit these, I also know many women for whom this stereotype falls short even if they fit it on the surface.

1. Those introverted, superfocused and reflective awesome chaplain types who can do pastoral care like no one else! Associate for pastoral care, go!

2. Those extroverted women who are loud & bombastic and obviously need to put their energy to use with the youth (preferably the younger children, leave the teens to an extroverted “very cool” male who has not yet realized his call to be the head pastor of a multi-staff church but will probably realize said call and be parachuted into said congregation once he catches up<–I’m trying not to be bitter about this pattern). Youth Associate Go!

3. The really creative and out there single mother/lesbian/crazy single lady who has short spiky hair (usually of some outlandish color), many piercings and tattoos. Amazing Solo Pastor who probably overworks for a half or three quarter time ministry, Go!

I guess I break the Mold

I am, in fact, a woman who unashamedly pursued a full time solo pastorate

and when people meet me….you know people who are looking for “the pastor”….
they don’t know what to do with me

Because I am a woman

an extroverted woman who is a great preacher, a good people person and who works really really hard at the ministry of listening and the ministry of presence….but otherwise is not shy, retiring and is not afraid to speak my opinion and to (kindly) tell the truth. In fact I rarely participate in the politicking that is usually associated with my gender.

Anecdote: I have been called many things, once I was called edgy for quoting the Book of Order, Another I was called unusual when I talked about serving the neighborhood. Some of this is part and parcel with the job, but I do think that I say things that people would expect um…..a man to say…..Specifically: I laugh a LOT in the pulpit. Every want ad for pastor I’ve ever seen wants a pastor “with a sense of humor,” but usually at some point I’m told that I laugh to much in the pulpit, because when a woman laughs, when I practice what I consider to be a spiritual practice of Good News, people assume I’m irresponsible. Laughter and Joy in a woman is assumed to be a point of flightiness (I am type A…..so I’m really wayyyyy on the other end of taking my responsibilities TOO seriously). I also have been called “young lady” whenever I tell a hard truth and speak to my authority, by multiple people.

I am a woman

A mother, who is not interested in being a children’s associate. I studied Christian Education to support the entire church’s learning and (fingers-crossed-maybe-someday) hopefully would be able to partner with those who are already doing the Christian Education in my church. I am not planning on only being a youth minister, despite the fact that I do indeed have three children…

Anecdote: I have a space marked “pastor’s spot” at the parking lot, which isn’t really my thing (special honors, no thank you), but it actually saves a lot of time. I don’t look like a typical pastor, esp. when I have a couple of kids in tow. Sometimes I have to convince people I’m a pastor, usually I have to repeat it more than once, and I’ve even had to argue with people about it (usually I just turn it into a joke). The parking spot saves me a lot of explaining, you can tell they’ve had that internal argument so by the time they arrive they are able to say “So YOUR the pastor”

I am a woman

a girl-next-door-looking-woman (brown hair and glasses to-boot, oh and I look a LOT YOUNGER than I am) who is super creative about how I build partnerships and relationships, full of energy and life I am ready to spark the excitement within the church and yet somehow does not have a million tatoos and piercings.

Anecdote: When I was in seminary I got hired on to do ministry at a Korean American church, to this day I am convinced I got hired because Koreans are used to people holding their Asian/youthful look against them and instead looked at my VERY impressive resume which states that I (always have and probably always will) have experience beyond my years! Yay for Bethany Pres!

I am a woman, and the church hasn’t found a stereotype for me……..

I have a VERY successful ministry where I am, the church is doing great, I am proud of all I have accomplished, and I’m still me, but some days its hard to have to consistently explain that not only am I actually a Presbyterian Pastor…..but I’m actually the only Pastor that I know how to be….

I think I’ll just start handing out cards that say
“atypical pastor” do you think people would then get the message not to expect whatever it was they were expecting?

And, how can we train churches (and the outside world, who seems to be just as surprised) to expect those types of people we aren’t expecting….

Book Review: Sassy Steampunk–A Study in Silks, A Study in Darkness, A Study in Ashes

Baskerville Affair by Emma Jane Holloway

Evie Cooper is a not quite fashionable young girl living in London in the midst of the Steam Barons Rule.

Part Steampunk, Part Revolution, Part Mystery this book follows the adventures of Evie Cooper and her closest friends during a tumulteous Time.

“You have to decide that for yourself” Variations of this line are put forward by characters of all stripes indicating, strongly, that who you are depends highly on who  you decide to be and no one can really tell you how that is going to work out for you….this could be the theme song of the entire book–making me a very happy Katy.

Things I liked about this book

1. Character development (everyone develops, everyone)

2. Fleshed out characters (good and evil more often turn to gray, and love is highly valued)

3. Love Triangles…but they are relevant to the plot

4. London: Victorian Age

5. Steam Punk

6. If you’ve read Holmes (YAY) you get Lotsa extra plot points!

7. Class Revolution: This book takes on income differences and revolution in an interesting way (causing some fun 99% thoughts), down with the Steam Barons….

Things to note: The main character is a little annoying at times (she is definitely a teenager when compared to characters such as Mary Russell) and the plot is not strong on the mystery and be warned there is a love triangle, however the strong characters of which there are many who we get to know and see develop and the play with family dynamics are awesome. And the fact that no one is condemned to be evil if they choose not to be is great (I’m a sucker for redemption) Of course I always love Victorian era women, because if they are awesome by today’s standards they are even more awesome for stepping out in a restrictive age…I love me a rebellious woman

And I hope there is another trilogy exploring this underworld with WAY more Holmes in it….

Study in Silks

Book Review: “Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse Series)

In honor of this being the last book in the series, I did what I always do with good series, I reread the entire series before starting on the final book…(I’m a rereader)

(Note, trying to avoid spoilers)

The ending is good–there is still a lot of mystery-type-plot…a lot of loose ends are tied up and there is a definite progression of characters (esp. Sookie Stackhouse). Here is the deal though, I don’t think of books individually (esp if they are about the same character)…they are just HUGE chapters to the ongoing story.

As my husband says, the ending is key…because it reflects on the WHOLE (not because it is an important piece)..see I do book reviews like I do my theology (w)holistically,

ps wholistically should totally have a w on it, it helps the meaning…

Anyway…Here is what I think what makes the Sookie Stackhouse series so good.

1. It explains why so many deaths happen in a dinky little town…my mom says she likes mysteries but after a while its hard to buy that so many murders are happening in the middle of nowhere, vampires, werewolves and shapshifters help

2. It struggles with the questions of humanity (what does it mean to be human? Why am I here?) through the contrast and comparison with the supernatural

3. It deals with Bigotry–big time… it deals with real and perceived differences, prejudices and how even other groups can be bigots (homophobic shapeshifters anyone?)

4. It shows growth…again I know I said this, but the only way you can sustain an ongoing series is to have the characters grow–now Sookie Stackhouse sleeps around a little too much for my taste, but I think that she is sleeping around because she is searching for some self-definition, and in the end, she has learned a lot, not just about guys but relationships, friendships and herself. There is a little bit of obsessing about looks, manners, appearances etc. but I think that is the reality of Sookie’s life (some of it being the culture of a small town, etc)…and she doesn’t frustrate me too much with these hang ups….

I recommend as a fantasy and mystery fan and as a feminist

Series List

Better Off Dead, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead and one, Dead in the Family, Dead Reckoning, Deadlocked, Dead Ever After

Another Vampire Review Here

Theology of Vampire Here

(PS I did watch the first couple of seasons of True Blood, but it was a little too drug obsessed for my taste, not to say that it wasn’t good the focus just seemed to be different…………..)

Ode to Cimorene

One of my favorit-ist series EVER

Disrupting Dinner Parties

***NOTE: this post will be a little bit of a spoiler for the book Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. The post will discuss the first two chapters. SO if you do not mind a very little spoilage, read on! ****

Throughout most of my youth and young adulthood, I was a reading fanatic. Any fantasy, sci-fi or fiction book I could get my hands on were devoured by my need to escape into another world and for a little bit of time, become a character on a space ship or a detective on the streets of London. My favorite books had female protagonists and authors such as Tamara Pierce, Robin McKinley, Diane Duane, Phillip Pullman, Holly Black, and many others, were the ones who introduced me to the basis of my feminist belief that women are as kickass, powerful, and moving as men. One particular book whose character…

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Love Joss Whedon

Love Joss Whedon

(in other words, what’s with your obsession with females with swords..oh wait it might not be an obsession…it might just be awesome writing!)

Various Book Reviews or My Hero(ine)

Note the riveting chart of young adult heroines below–what do they have in common (getting over the fact that Hermione was NEVER part of a love triangle)–they are all young fighting women white (sad-day), virgins (probably) with low self-esteem (except Julie from Warm Bodies) and are shy/quiet. Most of them have brown hair, protectors (male of course).

First I need to note the GROSS (and probably sexist) oversight, that Intelligence or smartness was not a factor–whereas I bet if it was about males it would have been!!!!!

That’s it next novel I write (i.e. if I ever get around to writing) it should have a nonwhite (although I am white, maybe I could do a Korean-American girl…I have some cultural experience there), assertive (not quite, even if she likes books…I’m bookish and I am SO not quite), with no Protector (LIKE CIMORENE), who is SMART, has good Self-Esteem, No love Triangle (ugh), don’t know about the virginity thing–I think young heroines tend to be virgins on principle (unless abuse is involved), with black hair (which the Korean thing would totally take care of). Hmmm….Who’s up for cooler Heroines…I think my favorites of the list below are Katniss and Hermione, I have even cooler ones following the chart. YAHeroineInfographic-650dpiWidth4

original article here

Cool Heroines not included here are Robin McKinley’s heroines (yes all of the them-I’m not going to list them), All of Tamora Pierce and Kristen Cashore (DITTO)  Patricia C. Wrede’s Cimorene, Dave Duncan’s Inos, Harry Potter Hermione (who is not a title character, but deserves a better rep then what we have here), Scott Westerfield’s Tally Youngblood, Madeline L”Engle (who was so ahead of the time her feminist characters sound forward thinking even today 30years later), Anne of Green Gables, etc. for more see my fairy tale lists–my classic and my alternative (not well-known) list.

The 10 Most Badass Cartoon Heroines of the ‘80s

Review “A Wrinkle in Time: the Graphic Novel” Adapted & Illustrated by Hope Larson (and written by Madeline L’Engle)

I am a total fangirl of Madeline L’Engle, she is most likely my favorite self-named Christian Fantasy author (as opposed to Lewis or Tolkien or the like)…so A Wrinkle in Time I bought with my oft hoarded holiday gift cards.

so when my 4 and a 1/2 year old son saw The Invention of Hugo Cabret on the floor and was fascinated by the fact that grownup books can have pictures. Immediately I t

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old him some adult books are entirely pictures, they are called graphic novels, and I showed him A Wrinkle in Time. He then asked if we could read it.

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I’m a “Why not?” parent, and said “well we can try…” uncertain of its quality, his interest and our schedule (reading a chapter a night is a big commitment)

Bulletpoints of A Wrinkle in Time

1. The pictures were totally used to “fill in” the story. I have an ongoing theory that all remakes of classics (Oz, Narnia, Lord of the Rings) tend to be better if they were done by children who grew up with the tale, because reading things as adults–we just don’t connect the same way, and we tend to put our own values and systems on instead of exploring the world that is presented (Harry Potter comes to mind, the first movie the director said re: Dumbledore’s Office “what was fun was we could do whatever we wanted, and create it from scratch…um…excuse me isn’t there a perfectly perfect BOOK to refer to argh, a guess that’s another post for another day.) Hope Larson definitely got the world, genre, passion and feel for L’engle’s tale

2. This is what I always pictured a “graphic novel” to be, its a real novel, told in graphics (comic books are great, but they always sound shorter to me). At 383 pages and multiple panels a page (1-10panels) the story is given the breadth, width and depth to be a deep telling of the truth that is in the books

3. She gets stars: Stars are a L’Engle thing, Larson, totally uses it, bonus points galore.

4. My four and a half year old was entranced, wondering when they would finally get to rescue first Meg’s father and then Charles Wallace…He was very disciplined about the one chapter thing, telling me it was “so exciting” to wait til the next day (like me he’s a sick person who enjoys delayed gratification–this makes us really great readers, we will willingly believe whatever you tell us because we like not knowing the real answer)

5. When we finished the book, Franklin (my son) wanted to know if we could pa-lease-read-it-starting-at-the-beginning-tomorrow-night-RIGHT? (needless to say we went a reserved the graphic novel of The Hobbit at the library ASAP)

Katy’s Review 4 out of 4 stars

Franklin’s Review 60 out of 4 stars

PS: The story of love’s triumph over nothingness is amazing, and I can only pray that Hope Larson has been engaged for A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and not someone else–because, hey, I trust her….She was able to show me Aunt Beast, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit without messing with their alien/mysterious natures!!!

Other pictorial interpretations of Wrinkle in time

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762 × 1048 – nastasiarocks.deviantart.com

400 × 279 – bookiewoogie.blogspot.com

356 × 500 – thisrecording.wordpress.com

180 × 229 – wanderingeducators.com
158 × 224 – sfpl.org