(In The Life Of The Church)
Wednesday was international women's day. March is international women's month.
As Baptists, UBC has a history of observing Martha Sterns Marshall month of women preaching. That choice came from our deeper conviction that women are called lead in the church in all capacities. As a pastor, the way i've tried to lead out in this conviction is by asking women to preach 50% of the time when I'm absent. We've gone through seasons when that's been more and less. In addition to this Jamie tries to be cognizant of who's leading our liturgy.
Last February ('16) when our staff was planning for the year we decided to do something different. We decided that, with the rest of the world, we'd observe Black History Month and with the rest of the world, we'd observe Women's Month in March.
It strikes me that one could fill up their entire calendar year with movements and causes. If you add in all the liturgical demands from the church calendar, you could have a very complex and perhaps discombobulated approach to ecclesiology. So the question worth asking is, "why are we doing this?"
I think I was blessed to grow up in naive environment. My household was one in which both of my parents had a deep sense of agency. My mom would often voice wanting to go back to college, but she didn't, not because my dad wouldn't let her, but because it was more important to her to be involved in our lives the way she was. I've always recognized and appreciated that sacrifice. When my parents would fight, it was clear that both of their opinions mattered. When big decisions were made, they shared the cost and joy of those decisions together. When they divided up household chores, all of them were a shared responsibility. My dad could alway be found doing dishes and I have vivid memories of my mom helping split wood. They'd weave in and out of what society might call gendered expectation in terms of the work they did. It was never about whose job it was, all of the work of making a life for themselves involved both of them all of the time. Trying to parse responsibilities based on what was appropriate for their gender just wasn't a discussion that provided much utility. I think life is both more beautiful and complicated than that.
My freshman year of college, I took a course called Christianity and Western Civilization. In that class we learned about the Roman Empire and it's cultural norms like paterfamilias. From that moment forward I began tracing a trajectory into the present day in which my eyes were opened to the history of women being treated 2nd or less than, even if implicitly or unintentionally. I then began seeing the way I was doing this.
My basic hermeneutic as a Christian is this. Philippians 2 includes the Christ Hymn. It's italicized. That cue clues us in to the fact that it was probably a song and consequently some of the first theology Christians did. At the beginning of the Christ Hymn is the claim that Jesus made himself nothing. He moved from God to human. He gave it all up. That's what God does with power. He gives it away. What this teaches me is that before I can make a judgment about anything, I must first listen. It doesn't mean that I accept everything I hear, but I do feel Jesus calls me to listen.
There are feminist voices of a big variety. I don't know many of them. In fact most of what I know about feminism comes from Bell Hooks and a conversation I recently watched her participate in with Parker Palmer. She was delightful. I do understand that some people are turned off by a kind of feminism. Likely, that rejection is of an attitude they detected in a person who represented that version of feminism. But I also know that my mom loved my dad and my dad loved my mom. And I do know that in places where that's not the case, namely where people don't love each other as equals, Jesus asks for those with power to move towards the powerless with a listening ear.
So that is why UBC is celebrating women's month. Because Jesus gave up power and so we want to follow his lead in giving up power. We are listening to a tradition.
Matthew Henry wrote this about Eve's creation: "The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him." I think that's true.
God's design for humanity is one of mutual self giving where roles are given in service to a larger shared vision not as designations of worth and identity.
Some day in heaven the world will be "put to rights," to borrow a phrase from N.T. Wright. And when that happens there will be no Black History Month, Women's Month or any other month. There will simply be the reign of God and all that the justice that, that reign entails. Let's get ready for it. Let's listen together.
Women's Month Schedule @ UBC
3-5 Communion: led by Pastoral Associate Kim Stuebben
3-12 Special Guest Preacher: Rennekia Goffney
3-19 Installation of Children's Pastor: Taylor Post
3-26 Special Guest Preacher: Sarah Bessey
Meet Our Newest Leadership Team Member
What are you doing in Waco?
- I grew up in Waco and I now am a sophomore at Baylor studying Great Texts and Religion.
What is your fav TV Show/Movie?
-Definitely Oceans 11. I have watched that movie well over 50 times with my dad and brother.
Book You’ve Really Enjoyed?
-The Fellowship of the Ring is probably my favorite book of all time.
Best Restaurant in Waco?
-I've done some pretty extensive research in this area over the past several years and I must say it is undoubtably El Crucero.
A Bible Verse/Chapter/Book that has been formative for you?
- in Matthew 3, after Jesus' baptism, God says "this is my beloved son, with whom I'm well pleased." This verse has meant a lot in my own faith development and growing understanding of God's nature. I am continually comforted by knowledge that we are all uniquely and wonderfully God's "beloved."
Something we might not know about you?
-My family lives on a farm with cows, and chickens, and crops, etc. so basically I'm more Wendell Berry than Josh will ever be.
UBC Spring Retreat (Freshman/Sophomores only)
Spring is in the air, I know it’s only February, but it’s Texas. We are going to do an overnight retreat at a lake house in Malakoff, TX, April 7th-8th. The cost is $20: that will cover meals, lodging, and a shirt. The retreat has limited space, so it will be for the first 20 people who sign-up, and pay their deposit. Sign-ups will start this week, after church. If you have any questions, please email
Work is Worship
Greeters: Ricky & Juliet
Coffee Makers: I have no one signed up for coffee this week. If you come and would like some coffee, please feel free to make some coffee.
- Sunday Sermon: Nehemiah 2:1-8 Please be in Prayer for our special guest preacher Rennekia Goffney.
- March 18-- The Middle Ages -- TBA
- March 24th -- UBCYP cookout at Jamie's House
- April 2-- UBC Families @ Soccer Fields -- More Info to Come
- April 7th and 8th - Spring Retreat (Freshman/Sophomores)
- April 13th - Maundy Thursday
- April 14th - Good Friday
- April 16th - Easter
- April 22--The Middle Ages Baylor Theatre production of the comedy NOISES OFF—
- April 30th - Mr. Rogers Sunday
- April 30th - Graduate Luncheon
- May 2nd - Study Hall
- May 5th - Rend Collective @ UBC
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