Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Women In Theology

The Church needs more WIT

It's been buzzing like an irritating fly for some time - the realisation that I can't wait around for the church (whoever that might be) to provide me with everything I want and need in order to grow as a Christian, a woman, a minister, a human being.... I perhaps have to be a tiny bit proactive!

I've finally worked out that one of the unsettling, constant inner naggings (which some might call the Holy Spirit and others indigestion) is to do with how to help women feel confident in discussing things of a theological nature. I perceive barriers that prevent women from describing themselves as 'theologians' - these include:

1. the idea that such things can only be discussed in the 'academy' and despite significant steps - academia is still a male dominated environment 
2. a resistance to ask 'silly questions' in case we look silly - whilst those who appear to be in the 'know' are making it up as they go along
3. the multi-tasking and ball-juggling lifestyle of many women connected to Church does not make it easy to pause for breath, let alone attend conferences, talks, take up study, etc, etc.

Please suggest further barriers!

There are so many areas in which women and the church and, dare I say, the world are poorer because of these barriers - mainstream theology remains schewed to the male as 'normative'. Christian publishing, academic and non-academic, remains dominated by male authors. The bodies in church life which act as filters to 'orthodoxy' and 'heresy' (i.e. what's allowed and what's not) remain largely male. 

Please suggest further consequences of these barriers!

SO I'm being proactive! Yes, really! Via Facebook - but not limited to it I am beginning a group called 'Women In Theology'. Open to women of any tradition who want to talk about, think about, learn about, write about God, the Church and life.

I'm hoping to have a day's gathering in the Autumn for those who want to shape this group. If you would like to be part of this, have ideas about what we might share together and who it would be good to invite, do get in touch - via comments here, the Facebook Group, or by emailing me at michaela.youngson@mac.com

This is a beginning, a germ of a seed of an idea. The question that is at the heart of this is 'how can women be given confidence in talking about and writing about theology?'.

Looking forward to hearing from you and seeing what you think!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Wonderful Day

I've just spent the afternoon and evening at a very special celebration. This was a service/concert at Kings Hall Methodist Church Southall. It was a Calvary service - nearest English equivalent would be a Christmas Carol service but for Lent not Advent. Asian Christians from Oxford, Nottingham, High Wycombe and closer to Southall gathered and shared poems, songs, readings and prayers. Some of the elements were in English, most were in Urdu/Hindi.

Songs ranged from children singing 'Father Abraham', a soloist doing a great version of Robbie Williams 'Angels', and wonderful, haunting Asian songs. With eyes closed I could see the cross on the hill top and feel the hot, dry wind taking the moisture from my skin. 

The atmosphere was warm, friendly - at times very reverent, such as when Christ walked to the front carrying a huge cross and stumbling. 

The service laster about 2 hours longer than planned yet I didn't feel anxious or bored, people were clearly having a good time. 

I went not having a clue what to expect and having prepared a tight order of service (not needed at all). Those who had invited contributors did a fantastic job and the food afterwards was delicious.

All in all a good afternoon.