Monday, September 14, 2009

Remembering the Good Girl

Somehow, growing up, I got a reputation as "the good girl." My good girl rep. involved church, bible memorization, prayer, and a general resistance to peer pressure. In fact, peer pressure never really pressured me. If my eyes were fixed on something, I did not often deviate.

Church family would praise my focus with a quick side hug and comments like, "You are so wise beyond your years. Does anyone ever tell you that?" I started getting requests to teach children in Bible school and various church studies before I was even out of high school.

As I left my hometown for college there were many well wishers. I was told what a wonderful preacher's wife I would make. God had other plans and thankfully, I knew how to differentiate between God's voice and the voice of those who claimed to speak for God.

Last week I had the privilege of spending a day with a room full of Baptist sisters (and one brother) at a symposium called, Women, Sexuality, and Church in the South. This gathering was designed as an opening conversation surrounding issues female ministers face in southern, typically evangelical churches. We talked about what it looks like to minister in a region that is often afraid of sexuality. We discussed what it could look like if we encouraged our congregations to re-integrate the spiritual and the sexual. We shared hurts and fears. We offered one another support. We sang. We read the bible. We prayed.

And in the midst of meeting God among my faith community, I received an email asking me what had happened to "the good girl" I used to be. This friend had read about the upcoming meeting and was appalled that I was involved in coordinating the event.

The symposium last week was a wonderful beginning to a much needed conversation about being the hands and feet of God in a deeply fragmented world. What isn't good about that? It was a fabulous day and this good woman is thankful.

Many thanks to The Religious Institute (Kate Ott and Debra Haffner) for leading the symposium. You will find a variety of helpful resources on their website. Also, take a look at Rachel Simmons' new book, The Curse of the Good Girl.


Blogger Debra W. Haffner said...

Thanks for having us, Suzanah. We were delighted to have time to meet with you and your minister colleagues.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Mandy Mc said...

Oh my word! I cannot believe someone had the nerve to e-mail that to you. Okay, actually I can. I hope you responded with an explanation about the GOOD of what you are doing through workshops like these.

I SO wish that I had been able to attend. I spent Thursday night at an informational gathering about HER2+ breast cancer with my grandmother. It was so good for her to be around others who have struggled or are currently struggling with breast cancer. I'm so thankful for those who shared their stories so Grandmother wouldn't feel so alone in what she's going through right now. Strong women unite!!!

6:36 PM  
OpenID leanngunterjohns said...

I wish I could have been there as well. Thanks for being you and offering a different voice through all of my life too! I'm thankful for you!

10:56 PM  

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