I grew up believing that ladies:
- Respect our elders even if they are being foolish/mean/abusive. (e.g. That time the older church pillar made racist statements at a Session meeting.)
- Don’t cause a scene. (e.g. That time the funeral director whispered something unspeakable into my ear regarding what he was going to do to me in the limo while we were standing together at Arlington National Cemetery.)
- Didn’t speak up. (e.g. That time a supervisor was shredding the reputation of a colleague at a party.)
My favorite “Somebody-Should-Jump-Up-And-Say-Something” Moment was on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago when Diana Butler Bass was speaking at the national NEXT Church Conference. Word was out via social media that the PCUSA denomination had just passed the same-sex marriage amendment. There was a buzz throughout the packed sanctuary. Diana was saying important things. And just as I was thinking that Somebody Needs to Stand Up and Make An Announcement, somebody did (thank you KS) and Diana stopped for a moment and we all cheered. Ladies aren’t supposed to interrupt people – especially during a keynote address. But it was the right thing to do that night.
Ladies are also not supposed to be loud or angry. Ladies are not supposed to defend ourselves – even when we feel profoundly wronged.
But healthy communities teach children to speak up when they feel uncomfortable. Healthy communities teach adults to speak up when we see injustice (or something’s on fire – literally or figuratively.) Healthy communities allow for constructive criticism, require safe boundaries, and trust each other enough to speak the truth in love.
The Church of Jesus Christ cannot be healthy until ladies and gentlemen and everyone in between speak up the way Jesus spoke up. (References: Matthew 22:16, Matthew 25:45, Mark 14:18, Matthew 20:16, Luke 19:46, Luke 6:27-31 – and there are hundreds of others.)
In faith and for the sake of the Gospel, God is calling us to speak up and step up.
Image of one of my favorite humans Erin Counihan who spoke at the NEXT Church National Conference in 2018 about her evolution as a Church Lady. Source: Presbyterian Outlook.