Saturday, June 26, 2010

Preachers (and Pastors) Don’t Dance

Tonight my church hosted an All-White Celebration in honor of my pastor’s birthday. The party came with much opposition and I really didn’t think it would happen when I first presented the idea. Though it seemed as if everyone (and I mean everyone) was determined to shut it down, it was my pastor’s desire and I was going to make it happen. Even up to the very last minute before the party it seemed as if everything still wanted to oppose the party. Nonetheless, the party was a success and my pastor was happy. Mission Accomplished!

In all white, we danced to the tunes of artists such as Frankie Beverly & Maze, all the way to Soulja Boy. We even had to go back into time with a little Bobby Blue Bland but we brought it back with a little “Walk it Out”. The interesting aspect for me was the reaction of some people in the crowd when I got out with the young adults to dance, trying to encourage the crowd to dance. (As an event planner, sometimes you have to get the party started to break the ice.) It looked like some were horrified to see the Executive Pastor (or E.P. as the young adults call me) on the dance floor. Why be shocked? I love to dance and danced before the pulpit and still love to dance outside of it from time to time.

While some may have found it inappropriate, I found it as a perfect opportunity to connect with the young adults of the church. They may not always connect with you in the traditional Sunday morning service but they will connect with you when they see you can (and are willing to) meet them in an activity that is fun for them. Sometimes we have to step outside of the binds of traditionalism and old school mentality to learn to “get in where you fit in” and enjoy the moment. All things must be done in moderation and I would never do anything to degrade myself. But I see nothing wrong with a little dancing every now and again. U-Turn and Cupid Shuffle work for me.

To all the people that think preachers and pastors don’t dance….yes they do. We all like to have fun, enjoy people, enjoy ourselves and appreciate being able to relax every once in a while. Maybe if more preachers and pastors danced every once in a while we all would enjoy a more balanced leader. As for me, I don’t think I am fully ready to retire my dancing shoes just yet.

So as the song goes, "I hope you dance". And my reply...yes I will.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And the Women Shall Keep Silent (Not!)

A few nights ago I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion focused on youth issues. After listening to a group of adults talk about youth but fail to ask the youth present about the things which affect them, I became quite frustrated. At first, I was not going to voice my concerns. However, my mother told me that I had a voice and I had something to say. As I stood to address the panel with my concerns, it was part of the process to introduce yourself before stating your question or comment. After introducing myself as a pastor, the look of horror on the faces of the women and the clergy in the room was monumental. If I had not realized it before then, I had officially stepped back in time. Standing in the sanctuary of a traditional, southern, Baptist church was a 34 year old, seminary trained, black woman addressing a black, all-male panel recognizing herself as a "pastor". Who was I to make such a claim?

Following the panel discussion, as we were preparing to leave, a couple of persons who knew me shared with the pastor of the church that he should invite me to preach at his church sometime. The first statement he made was "Can you bring a word?" At the end of the conversation, he states "I will give your card to my wife and she can have you preach for a Women's Day" service. My first reaction within myself was "Who does that?"

In 2010, it amazes me the number of pastors and/or churches that still hold to the traditional thought process or theology that women are not to be anything more than Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, church secretaries but not ministers and definitely not pastors. In 2010, women are still trying to break out of the box of preaching assignments which only encompass women's day services, women's conferences or some other female approved church holiday. In 2010, women are still pushing to break through the obstacles which relegate them to dying churches, churches in rural areas, or non-growing churches. In some institutions, women are treated as children of old...seen but not heard. The women are to keep silent...NOT!

As a seminary educated, former corporate woman, it is quite disheartening to face the closed minded theology of those who do not believe women should be preachers and ministers. As one who understands the divine call of God on your life, it is interesting to stand and be questioned by man (or woman) as to the validity or the ability of the call of God on your life. Those who face these challenges and obstacles cannot be relegated to the back of the room, to the "suitable" positions in the church, or to better yet, sit quietly in their place, preferably as the elegantly dressed "pastor's wife".

It is time for the women of God to discover and develop their voice. It is time for the women of God to "accept their acceptance" as vessels that God can and will use. There is a Word from the Lord and it may come from the mouth of a woman.