Leaving 2008 Behind: A New Year Reflection

As I sit avoiding work, I reflect on the year that has passed. I am having a hard time remembering all that’s happened this year. A lot of it was really good:

I started the UCC ordination process and found respect and validation of my call
I sang with my choir at Jazz at Lincoln Center
I went to California for the first time
I had a really nice birthday party and basked in the diversity of my friends
I started my first full time job (w/benefits!)
I moved to a very nice apt in Brooklyn
I found some more allies and “brothers in ministry” (aka Pips) in my CPE co-workers
Barack (Freakin’) Obama!

In my mind I know that I am blessed and that I have been blessed in 2008. Yet there is so much old negativity that my heart can’t take anymore. I don’t want to/can’t carry it into 2009. My New Year’s ritual will be just to cry and cry until all of that ugliness and loneliness of old is washed out. I wish I could go to a Pentecostal church and just shout and scream the New Year in.

I want to enter 2009 with a renewed “joy of salvation” and ‘joy of call’. I no longer want to be resentful and untrusting of God because of all of the pain I’ve faced in my life. I want to move forward in my process. I want to feel my call and not feel like I am lying when I say I am a minister.

My father died in 2008. I really was expecting him to live longer. But he didn’t. And along with other things, I want to leave his legacy in 2008. I want to no longer feel his abandonment. I want to no longer feel his criticism. I want to no longer need his validation. And more importantly, I want to say to myself, “It’s not ok that you were abandoned, criticized and devalued” and mean it. And maybe this will push out the people in my life who treat me the way that my father treated me.

2009 will be the year that my circle will be filled with those who are present, loving and validating. I also want to be present, loving and validating of myself and others. I want to feel joy as much as I feel pain. I want to sing “I Won’t Complain” in a non-sarcastic way. 2009 will be there year that I make room for myself and the partner, who I don’t know but my heart breaks for…

I wish you all whatever your heart breaks for, whatever you ALWAYS pray for, for love, blessings and peace in 2009…

Mad Preacher

If I Were A Boy…

Not just a Beyonce song… simply my life in a nutshell. I wonder if I were a guy would I be like my male contemporaries in ministry (not all of you guys but most) who give me “simple” “solutions” to my “problems”. According to them, the roadblocks I’ve face have nothing to do with my gender it’s simply that I’m doing it all wrong. And by wrong they mean, I didn’t do what they did. “Just (fill in the blank with whatever those male preachers think they did), and you’ll be just fine.” See… your problem is (fill in the blank with something about not conforming). Just be quiet until you get ordained. And you’ll be fine.”

If I could be “quiet” and ignore the fire shut up in my bones I’d go take a civil service test and get me some job security. If God didn’t speak to me, wake me up at 3am to tell me what I need to do… harassing me when I try to give up, I have a feeling, I’d be doing something else.

And I’m not trying to say that I’m perfect and I should be the pastor of some huge mega church by now and the fact that I am a woman is standing in my way. But I am saying that most churches are still learning how do deal with women in leadership. Therefore as a woman there are things that you face that male clergy will never see. Many women have suffered this reality silently. It is true that if you are silent you will get through the process faster. But I think speed and silence often mute God’s voice and God’s intention. Did God really call us to process and silence? Or did God call us to divine action and an openness to God’s voice?

Alas… I’m trapped in the world of male dominated process. But I can’t help it but wonder if I’d be more comfortable with it all… if I were a boy…