Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Spice Girls

September is going to be officially INSANE.

I was asked about a week ago in a meeting what was going on in my life, and my answer included:

  1. Being part of the planning team for the Faith & Gender depth class and Lauren Winner conference (more about that in a minute)
  2. Getting ready for another year of C group
  3. Leading Life Together and recruiting more folks for the LT leadership team
  4. Being on the WAC (Worship Advisory Council) and helping with 5pm setlist/team scheduling
  5. Moving (something I haven't done in over six years)
  6. Other assorted things in life, like dance lessons and trying to meet regularly with a girlfriend to "verbally process"

After listing these off, the WAC members looked at me in a mix of disbelief and horror and pronounced that I had too much going on.

What else is new.

I am trying to learn how to say no and choose carefully how I spend my time. It just happened that a few things I couldn't say no to all ended up in the same month. They are all really really good things. I'm definitely looking forward to Lauren Winner, who wrote one of my favorite books, visiting Quest. I am excited about C groups and Life Together starting again, I am beyond excited about moving, and leading worship is becoming one of the most fulfilling things in my life.

That being said, I tried very hard to get out of leading worship this past Sunday. I knew it would be a busy weekend, what with the Life Together Summer BBQ and all. I also knew I was starting to burn out and needed a break. However, the other worship leaders (and almost the entire team) were out of town, which left me to hold down the fort. Mattsy called it "Rebecca Torture Sunday". While it wasn't quite that bad, it was looking a little dicey there for a second.

Fortunately the fabulous Jessica and the equally wonderful Melissa came to the rescue, and the three of us led worship with no problems. Jessica plunked down some amazing guitar skills and taught us a new song, and we finished practicing in a record half an hour, allowing us to go relax over some coffee before church. With Jess taking lead I got to bust out some high harmonies, which I don't get to do too often, and all in all it was a good Sunday.

The only unfortunate thing was that both George and Matt kept referring to us as the "Spice Girls." Despite my contradictions, it came up in multiple emails. Jessica and Melissa also protested the moniker and insisted that we were more like Dixie Chicks or TLC, but the boys liked their idea too much to listen. It got to the point where I was being sent lyrics to "Wannabe", including a new verse:

If you wanna be a worship leader
you gotta be George's friend
making lots of music
and singing in his band....

Thanks for that one Matt. Really, there's nothing you can say to respond to that.

Anyway, it was especially cool to lead worship with two other fabulous strong women of God because of this Faith & Gender class that we are putting on. Jessica is on the planning team with me and we were joking about how we were a walking, singing commercial for the class. She said we should have made an announcement: "Wanna know why this is ok for us gals to lead you in worship? Come to Faith & Gender!" While it doesn't seem that crazy at Quest for three women to lead worship, in some church traditions, it might be questioned. And throughout history, it certainly would have been a scandalous thing-I can hear Tertullian yelling about the sinful daughters of Eve as I write this.

Although coming from a very conservative home, I was always encouraged to be a strong, independent woman. I am the first female in my family to have a bachelor's degree. My mom, who will be the first one to tell you that submission in marriage is part of God's design, is herself a fiery woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind. She more than anyone has taught me how to be strong yet gentle. But as I work through the readings and Scriptures we are bringing out for the depth class, I find myself struggling to articulate my own point of view on Biblical gender roles. I am proud of my female pastors, proud of being a woman in leadership at church, aware that my own ministries and callings would have been denied to me at other points in the history of the church. But I also see the beauty of my parents' marriage, and I am challenged by the Scriptures and how to interpret them.

The other big questions that keep coming up for me are, what is my role as a single woman? How do I express my sexuality? How do I reflect my wholeness in Christ while also acknowledging my deep desire to be a wife and mother? These are questions I seem to have trouble finding answers to. Books on Christian sexuality seem limited to telling us the importance of being chaste. Well, I know that, and I am pretty darn chaste, let me tell you. But I am also a real flesh and blood person. I don't have a sexuality switch in my head that I can keep in the 'off' position until I say my I dos. And I don't feel that singleness or celibacy are my calling, AT ALL. But I also cannot stand these books with titles like, Waiting For Her Isaac. I'm sorry, but I think that God has more for me to do than just sit around waiting for some man to come calling.

But I really do want one to come calling.

Sigh...so many questions, too few answers, and no time to sit and think and research and reflect. I am looking forward to the discussions in this depth class. While I know that not all my questions will be answered, at least we will bring up the issues, and I think I will find that I am not alone in having these questions (if the reaction from the women I have already talked to about it is any indication, it seems to be a common concern). As I seek to be more myself, more as Christ would have me be, I welcome this opportunity to explore these things with my church community.

But after this, I really am going to get better at saying no.

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