I am in a good mood after enjoying a fantastic evening... I drove down today to Azusa because I happened upon the good news in my Twitter feed last night that Rachel Held Evans was speaking here at Foothill Community Church on behalf of Azusa Pacific University. Not only am I a fan of Foothill Church (a faithful Free Methodist congregation), but I am a HUGE fan of Rachel Held Evans!! (I also have to be in Pasadena all day tomorrow, so I decided to break up the drive. Nice.)
A Year of Biblical Womanhood. It accomplishes what I could only hope to accomplish if I ever write a book: it is equal parts hilarious, engaging, authentic and spiritually moving. You know a book is good when it makes you laugh out loud while you're reading it! It also made me cry a time or two, but not because it was cheesy or manipulative. In fact, I just downloaded the first chapter for free... either go to her blog and download your own, or take it off of my public dropbox folder. Yes, I'm a fan.
There were so many highlights to her message, and when it goes online I'll try to remember to post a link and reminder here. But perhaps one of my favorite parts of the evening was that I brought a former youth group student with me who is male (and yes, the majority of the room was female), who really enjoyed the evening. And we both agreed afterward that what is so nice about our history is that it never came up once in all the years of jr high and high school youth group that I was female. I just was. (And still am, let's be honest! I'm just not serving at that particular church any longer.)
I praise God that some thirty years later I am still at this ministry thing. I will not deny that there have been many bumps along the way, and I still encounter some now and again. But glory hallelujah, I have had some great opportunities to serve and lead in ministry, as a woman.
The first verse that made me know this was possible was the one I noted in this post's title:
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
I thank God for Rachel's message that is going out all over the country and online. I pray for her to persevere, and I pray for the many men and women who hear from her. May we be a hospitable place to gifted people. May the church not be a place of judgment and discouragement. Lord, may we all be FREE in you, to serve the way you created us to.