Monday, 15 October 2012

Sometimes I just want to sit down

I have great admiration for Rosa Parks; I first heard her story several years ago and was immediately impressed by her bravery.
Rosa Parks an African American woman refused On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat in the coloured section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled.
Her act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Sometimes I just want to sit down, on reading yet another blog, or piece written by a man who wants to tell me why I am confined by my gender to not holding a leadership position in a church.

I love to hear the stories of women that have made a difference in every area of life. Women who against all odds pursued the vision and dream to see other lives changed often times with the cost being their own lives. These women have had to combat at times overwhelming injustice and bigotry. 

Women who against all the odds pursued the dreams that God had given them, amazing women like Gladys Aylward a missionary to China, who was born into a working class family in 1902, she came to faith at aged 14, initially she was passed by deemed unfit to go. Undeterred she saved from her small income for a one way fare to China and at the age of 28 arrived to see this dream become reality. She became a Chinese citizen in 1936 and was a revered figure among the people, taking in orphans and adopting several herself, intervening in a volatile prison riot and advocating prison reform, risking her life many times to help those in need.

Jackie Pullinger at 15 graduated from the Royal College of Music, she also wanted to be a missionary, so she wrote to various missionary organizations. At first she wanted to go to Africa, but then she had a dream that impressed upon her the idea of going to Hong Kong. Unable to find support from missionary organizations, she sought advice from Richard Thompson, a minister in Shoreditch, who told her that she should buy a ticket for a boat going as far as she could get and to pray to know when to get off the boat. She followed his advice and went to Hong Kong by boat in 1966.
She found work as a primary school teacher in the Kowloon Walled City, which in the 1960's was not policed and consequently had become one of the world's largest opium producing centres ran by Chinese criminal Triad gangs. She established a youth club to help drug addicts and street sleepers. Her story like that of Gladys is full of drama and courage.

Courageous, awe inspiring women who make me feel proud to be a woman. The opposite sentiment of the prayer a male Jew would have prayed,

‘God, thank you that I am a Jew and not a Gentile.
God, thank you that I am free and not a slave.
And lastly…God, thank you that I am a man and NOT a woman.’

Consider this statistic from UNICEF and UN:

Women do 66% of world’s work, produce 50% of world’s food, but earn 10% of world’s income & only own 1% of world’s property.

I honestly feel weary and fed up at times and also immensely frustrated by the many blogs, the debating and various interpretations of the oft quoted passages that for the complementarian teaching limit the role of women to that of the submissive wife and mother, unable to lead in church alongside their male counterparts.

I look to these women of courage today who instead of letting these verses limit their ministry decided to just get on with it. They decided to just sit down. I feel that at times I have nothing else to add the discussion and it all makes me feel so weary when I see that there is so much to still be done. 
So for me and how I feel today, I think I will just sit down!

Thanks to Eugene Cho for these great blogs check them out.

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