A few weeks ago I sent my mom a few questions of my own about her experiences of gender and church. As soon as she gets off her butt and answers them, I'll be posting a JTB MOM interview. I'm excited about this, not just because I have the privilege of adding to the Women in Churches of Christ series, but purely because this ongoing conversation has afforded the opportunity for me to ask some specific questions about my mom's life that I'm really curious about. Not just how did being a woman in the CofC affect her experiences of ministry through the years (longtime VBS and Sunday school planner/director/teacher, adult women's Bible study leader, "preacher's wife," official and first female Children's Education Coordinator), but how those experiences affected parenting me and my sisters--did Mom and Dad consciously, or maybe unconsciously, try to counter the damaging messages of limitation we picked up from church? In retrospect, I see quite clearly that there are significant ways in which I was sheltered from the worst simply by the operating assumptions of our own home: that our voices were valuable, that there was no space or time in which they were not welcome, that God was always listening, that I could play soccer as good as any boy (and better than some), that I could choose to pursue any course of study or career I had interest in. And that last has held true even in the face of the odd choices I've made along the way which have landed me at this point: an almost credentialled theologian in a church that doesn't ordain women, or welcome their voices. Unlike many young women on similar paths, my family has never questioned, criticized, undermined or refused to understand why I have chosen to study theology and pursue this vocation, which, in the end, is best described as full-time thinking about God, in service of the church. This makes, not me, but my mother and my father, truly exceptional.
So: coming soon, JTB's MOM answers some questions on being a woman, a teacher, a mom, a thinker, a speaker, a leader, and a sometimes overly outspoken critic (Ma, you know it's true), in the CofC.