Some shots from the NPC Annual Meeting tonight:
As promised, I’m posting a few pics from the NPC Annual Meeting, along with some abbreviated notes from what I presented. Our longer testimonies and personal backgrounds were included in a handout given to those attending, and the seven of us were each given 5 minutes to share an answer to the question
You have just run into an old friend, not a Christian, and you are catching up. You tell your friend that in June you will be ordained. Your friend wants to know why you did this. What would you say to them about why you’ve chosen to devote your life to ministry?
Every time I went to church, I felt like I was given only a small piece of who God really is. You remember, you went a few times too. The God I knew was too big for those four walls. I felt God when we had conversations about life in Drama. I felt God at work when I worked for AmeriCorps to advocate for housing and health care for undocumented immigrants. In studying philosophy, becoming an ally and worker for racial reconciliation. I advocated for international human rights, and taught university classes about the emergent field of international law. The common denominator in all those pursuits was God. As I read scripture, I felt we were all called to encourage one another to live differently than the world around was telling us.
Look at me, can you imagine someone, a woman, who worked with undocumented Spanish speaking families in —–, Washington being welcome at the church we went to? But since middle school I felt called to share the goodness and grace of a God we never saw in church. For so long, I felt like I had to keep my church faith, and working for justice separate. But that didn’t feel right, it didn’t fit with how I read the Bible.
And then I started attending a new church, and met other people who believed it was possible to be a Christian, and work for justice, to work toward change knowing that there’s a way the world was meant to work, and that we’re called to speak for justice, to stand up for the poor, and to live that out as part of our faith. All the different work I’d done had prepared me for this. I also realized that my faith could, and should, inform the work I did for justice. I want my life to be about sharing with others what I had discovered about who God is, different from what I had been told. I had always had a deep love for God, in high school, remember when Amy asked me if I would be a nun, because that was what women in the church did? I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do, but always knew I wanted to spend my life serving God. The details just weren’t clear.
I’m being ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church, a denomination that also believes God is bigger than we have been told. I’m being ordained in this denomination, because I believe it is a place where, as a white person, I can enter into the discussion of white privilege and white western inculturation of theology and the Christian Church, and join my brothers and sisters in working for change so that our churches can reflect God’s kingdom. I am excited to join in a larger body of people who believe that we need to undertake the hard work of reconciliation, and as a White person, that it begins with recognizing and repenting of my own power and privilege. I’m being ordained in this denomination because I have been led to believe that as a woman, I will have the chance to work in ministry as I am called and gifted, one day I will not be called upon to share my voice only four to six times per year, but there is a place for me to serve the church and support my family. I am being ordained in this denomination because I believe we can come to the table and repent of the heterosexual privilege many of us enjoy and learn together what it means to serve our brothers and sisters who are so often outcast in both society and in the church.
Really, I’ve chosen to work in ministry because I realized that God’s overwhelming love for me, and for the world, were the fueling energy behind all the work I had done, and all the work I wanted to do, and I want to continue sharing that love.
Check this out, it’s from the book of Amos:
21-24“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.
Amos 5:21-24, the message
My awesome mom-in-law giving her speech as well! Way to throw down!