Witness

Man to Man: 5 Reasons I’m Going to SheLeads

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Women have always been leading God’s people. From the very beginning it has been this way.

From Miriam, to Hannah, to Mary the mother of God, to Mary the first theologian, and on to the present day, women are leading the church.

But too often this reality is obscured, forgotten, or denied. And that is exactly why we need a one-day summit like SheLeads.

It's often forgotten women have been leading from the beginning which is why we need SheLeads. Click To Tweet

5 Reasons Men Need SheLeads

But with a name like SheLeads, it isn’t immediately clear why men would choose to attend.

Or at least, it isn’t immediately clear TO MEN why men would come.

So here are 5 reasons why, as a man, I need to attend SheLeads (and please add your own in the comments):

1. Because the motivation is mission.

Too often when it comes to discussion of women and men in leadership, everything gets bogged down over who makes decisions, who is in charge, and who calls the shots.  Things can get pretty heated pretty quickly. Consequently, any sense of God’s mission in the world can get lost as people fight over which Bible verses say what.

But that is not the case with SheLeads. Everything is squarely centered on God’s mission in the world. We are not interested in arguing over who gets to be in charge—we know Christ is the head of his church. We are, however, invested in conversations that help his body more fully participate in the work He is doing to make this world new.

2. Because God made us all to work together.

When everything is about mission, the emphasis is then on how we work together.

This is crucial because women and men working together is a witness to God’s kingdom in the world. Through the hard work of co-laboring amid differences, the gospel is worked out among us and demonstrated to all.  In a world still straight-jacketed by gender oppression and inequality, women and men working together is a sign that God’s liberating mission is truly going forth.

Women + men working together is a sign that God's liberating mission is going forth. Click To Tweet

3. Because it is good to reverse perspectives.

It is easy for us men—especially a white man like myself—to think we have a pretty good grasp of reality. And we think this because everyone else—women and people of color—all adapt themselves to us.  They have to know the world of white men.  But there is no world of experience, outside of our own (especially white) male experience, that we are required to know.

This is not a good thing! It means there are huge chunks of reality that we are missing. It means I am blind and I do not even know what I can’t see.

How are we going to fix that?  By reversing our perspective. By getting out of our shoes and living in someone else’s for a bit. In seeing from someone else’s perspective, my own blinders can come off. That is what SheLeads can do for us.

As a leader, I need to learn a different way of decision-making. As a male, I have been rewarded when I have made decisions quickly and efficiently, which typically happens when those decisions are also made unilaterally. This is not always the best way to make a decision when you are building a church.

I need to learn different ways of understanding the role of emotions in leadership that go beyond the ones I find acceptable as a male. My male-centric understanding of emotions permits me to use the emotion of anger to express and consolidate my authority, but all the other emotions are shunned because they express “weakness.” This is no way to be truly human.

These male-centric understandings of leadership and emotions are are just two reasons I know I need a reversal in perspective at SheLeads.

4. Because we want to offer encouragement and support to our sisters.

Once we understand that we are created to work together, and once we see how much we need our perspective to be reversed and expanded, then won’t we want to know how to effectively encourage and support our sisters as we minister alongside them?

SheLeads is the perfect place to learn exactly how to do this in a community that is all about encouragement and support, not condemnation or shame.

SheLeads isn’t about hating on me for being a man.  There is no condemnation for being male.  There is just celebration that God has made us male AND female.

Come join the celebration.

SheLeads is a celebration that God has made us male AND female. Come join the celebration! Click To Tweet

5. Because there are such good people there.

And lastly, but also one of the main reasons I am attending SheLeads: everyone is just so great to be around.  Really, these people are AWESOME—the main speakers, but also the people working behind the scenes, and those who are simply attending.  Mandy Smith, JR Rozko, Tara Beth Leach, and all the other organizers are women and men who love and live ministry together. Many of them are friends who have helped me see and think differently about the mission of God. You will want to learn from these folks, and they are eager to learn from you too.

As I have met people from all over North America at SheLeads and other Missio events, I am always struck with hope and joy that these are the leaders who are praying for and building the church.

So check it out

Learn more about the speakers and leaders at SheLeads here as Mandy Smith interviews them.

And SheLeads is also the book launch for Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry by Tara Beth Leach (everyone gets a copy with their registration).  Hear more about Tara Beth and Scot McKnight as they talk about women leading in the church here.

I’ll be attending in Chicago. I hope to see you there.


These are the sort of conversations we are looking to advance through the SheLeads Summit. We hope you’ll consider joining us in Pasadena or at 11 other regional venues across the country on Saturday, October, 28. Click the banner for more info.

 

 

 

 

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23 responses to “Howard Shultz – CEO of Starbucks – Withdraws from Willowcreek Summit: LET IT BE!

  1. Amen! We all need formation in our sexuality – agreed! I also heard from this post that the “fruits/way of life” of each community will bear witness to whether it is submitted to Christ’s lordship in the long run – so there is a call for listening and patience. One thing I find myself wondering about – since we live in a world of extremely segmented communities, it seems really difficult to really listen or see the witness of other communities around us apart from ideological filters. It seems rare for “mixed” communities to “let it be” but essential for listening.

  2. “Let God’s salvation forged through the cross and the resurrection take shape in our sexual lives in real communities. And quit trying to control the sexual lives of others in their respective communities.” Amen. How will the world see the redemption offered through life in Christ if we in the church aren’t living it?!
    Very helpful, Dave, especially as I am working on my philosophy project which contemplates various ethical theories and how they can be applied in a pluralistic society. You’ve given me great food for thought (again)!

  3. This is a great idea. It won’t work. It assumes that there are two communities, church and GLBTQ. There are not. There are little communities disagreeing within the same church building, not to mention the same denomination. There are little communities disagreeing within GLBTQ. The disagreements are fundamental. For both “sides” whether political involvement. (You say don’t get involved). For gays, whether marriage. (Queers say gays who want marriage are traitors to the queer movement.)

    1. Gene,Valid point …
      Nonetheless, these divergent points of view, contested claims about sexuality must be put to test as to what they mean for the way we live together …. or else these claims are merely personal sexual preferences and/or tastes, which (if we build a community around that) in the end is really the American politic itself.
      Within the Christian community, each community, each denomination, we must go through the work of discerning what these challenges/claims mean for our life and practice. We must discern the purposes of God and His callings. How we do that of course is much up for grabs today in our denominations. It is the subject of many of my past posts as well as probably many more to come…
      DF

      1. I wasn’t thinking of denominations, but of the divide in my own Evangelical Free church (not the Ev Free denomination) between what the decision-makers, old men like me, say with clear unity, and what the teens are adopting as their stance. Think the book unChristian.

  4. Interesting points to consider. So, how does one “let it be” and still remain faithful to Scripture within the community of faith? I’m not advocating militancy, but there will come a time when faith and practice are going to collide with this issue and Christians may end up in jail for affirming that homosexual behavior is sin. It is this phrase that you use above “seeking real redemption in our sexual lives” that is the heart of the matter. Defining this, at least per the Biblical witness, is what will prove troublesome. “Let it be” is probably a good position to have much of the time, but I’m not convinced it should be the only position we have.

  5. I like this convers(at)ion. A dialogue moving to make manifest what remains unmanifestable: namely, How do “good” evangelical Christians get out of the spiritual-policing business?
    I struggled greatly with this issue in the past year within the context of my Fortune 100 corporate job. To make more opportunities for growth/career, I joined the communications committee of each of the employee network groups (ENGs).

    Except one. Yep, you guessed it. I couldn’t let myself join the PRIDE group because I didn’t want people thinking I was gay. And then a funny thing happened, I was on an informational meeting with someone related to my area of expertise, someone who I thought could give me insight into better crafting a lateral career move. She touched on the “first steps” and when she mentioned I should get involved in the ENGs, I said, “I’ve joined them all, except one.” “Oh? Which one?” “The PRIDE group.” “Oh. Well, then you have to join that one, too, because I’m a member.”

    That’s when I stopped trying to be a sexual “orientation” cop. And I did join the PRIDE group. And this group’s communication and events committees have given me writing opportunities, which is a main reason I joined any of the groups. Am I a bad Christian for helping the “enemy”? Nonsense. I’m serving the same that the LORD served. Of course there’s sexual sin enough to fill the Hippodrome, both sides of the hetero/homo-sexual coin. A coin that could’ve been flipped back in Caesar’s day and been just as relevant.

    There’s wisdom to the Let it Be mantra. Akin to that equally ancient saying, Thy will be done.

  6. David –
    I think we’re like minded about some of these things. Would you clarify a few things?

    (1) What do you mean by “each community self determined out of its own convictions?”

    (2) How do you reconcile someone like Paul who wrote to multiple communities and had them read the same letters? Paul seemed worried to let each community just figure things out for itself, ya know? (I know that’s simplistic). So, should we ever listen to a voice speak that is beyond our own self determined community? Which begs the question of why we should we listen to you, or me, or anyone who is not a pastor.

    I realize that #2 has an obvious answer of YES, it’s okay to listen to others, but I just wanted you push you to say more on this.

    Thanks!

  7. ? Mother mary come to me, speaking words of wisdom – let it be….?love it!

    love it!

    Dave, the more I read your stuff, the more I like you. I could not agree with you more!

    Has anyone in this group read Andrew Marin’s book, “Love is an orientation” ? I found his book full of love and very helpful for building bridges of communication between the christian and gay communities.

  8. As a evangelical Christian and a monogamous homosexual, I am offended by this post. Should I ‘let it be’ that my gay bros and sisters nationwide continue to be equivicated to bestiality and incest offenders, marginalized, excluded, maligned? Should MLK Jr have said that each community figure out slavery (and Titus) for itself? Or should we realize that some people are just born into complicated bodies and biologies? Will we again have the secular world leading the way (not the church) in bringing heaven to earth? Lets all read King’s letter from birmingham jail and stop dragging our cautious Christian feet.

    1. Dan,I suggest to you that the “Let it Be” stance, in a time of transition, change, confusion over these matters, is exactly what happened to bring down the slavery regimes … as well as invoke the civil rights movements at their best (remember the heart of MLK’s nonviolent stance). It also allows for the space necessary to navigate what sexual redemption shall be in this time.

      “Let it be” allows for those who want to cultivate same sex relations as part of life together to be granted such space .. as well as those who don’t … it does not have to be marginalizing

      It says, the witness of the way of life shall be witness enough to the truth God is working in the world.

      Instead what I hear from you is the kind of rhetoric that is violent and gets either side no where… It hurls accusations that don’t represent me, or the concerns and issues I’m navigating as someone who does not see same sex relations, or for that matter B,T or Q, as normative for the Christian life …Does not your position disrepect/marginalize those who wish to leave LGBTQ ways of sexuality? does it not marginalize people who for many good reasons seek to nurture a different vision of sexuality …
      Just asking?
      peace …

  9. Is “Let It Be” an adequate response to sin?
    If the LBGTQ community sees non-affirming evangelicals being cruel to other Christians, are they supposed to shake their heads and say, “Well, that’s just who they are. Let it be.”? I understand your post (and your previous posts) to be in favor of some kind of engagement between sides on this sexuality divide that allows Christians of good intent to speak into each other’s lives in ways that are transformational. So “Let It Be” is not meant to be an isolationist slogan.

    I don’t see any easy way around the hard kernel of morality that is at the heart of this sexuality divide. Both sides have something significant at stake. If we can’t talk about morality, I don’t see much benefit to either side in the discussion. But if an attitude of “Let It Be” can let us lay our arms down at the door and approach questions of morality with an attitude of humility, then I’m all for it.

  10. To Blake Walter, my co-laborer at Northern Seminary,…just got back from Canada, so this comment is a bit late but I nonetheless think it is important.
    Blake, I think you misunderstand the stance here that I’m calling for … what I have labeled “Let it Be”
    When you say “Is “Let It Be” an adequate response to sin?” I would say no, but “let it be” is a stance towards those we engage with OUTSIDE our Christian community of faith. Sin, I suggest, is something we deal with within the confines of a community where we have a commitment and a place from which to understand what “sin” is before God in Scripture by the Holy Spirit. This is where we deal with sin and where by the work of the Spirit we see transformation, true transformation worked out in the difficult issues. This is where our way of life is shaped under the Lordship of Christ …From here we have something to offer, a way of life from which our words can make sense …
    For sure, of course there are justice issues where we intervene into society (outside the community)… but this can happen only on a relational basis where people can see what we even mean by the word “justice”… many times we engage society on this basis where there is something of an agreement already as to what injustice/sin/unrighteossness is … the civil rights movement is an example of this kind of engagement, but even here… it was a way of life, nonviolence … and the life of the church (the black church and some white churches working together), which called the rest of society into something.
    In areas of confusion in society, where there not only is no agreement, but judgement is contentious, we need to work out what sexual wholeness looks like in a community of His Lordship first, so as to offer something to the world, to offer a context from which our words can make sense. This accepts we are as a church in a minority position in society … and must live our “morality” before calling other peope into it… This then is what I see as the “let it be” space we must now inhabit in the worlds of post Christendom of N America..

    Hope this clarifies
    DF

  11. Ah! I was confused. I thought this was a family affair, a disagreement between Christians as to the correct interpretation/application of biblical teaching in our lived-out walks. But if “Let it be” is meant to guide Christians in how they interact with the World outside the Church, then that is a different matter. Obviously, I have been hanging out in the wrong kind of church too long where the only disagreements I encounter are with other Christians because there are no non-Christians hanging around to be part of the conversation. You’d think I spent all my time at a seminary or something. Thanks for the clarification.

  12. I very much appreciate your post! I do have questions though. It seems that we can extend your argument to encompass moral issues in general. Would you say that general issues of ethics should be worked out WITHIN the christian community, because only within that community can we discern the will of God? It reminds me of the ‘binding & loosing’ which Yoder discusses in Body Politics.
    If my understanding above is correct, what does that mean for those of us who are professionally involved in the transformation of secular communities? If I, as an architect, attempt to ethically discern the best building solution for a particular problem, how can my christian community assist me in that discernment? We may assume that I could turn to the larger christian community, which also would include other architects, who could then discern with me. Even if this could be accomplished, would not the resultant project still be forcing my morality on whatever community i have affected?

    In short, many of us must influence & affect communities outside our own. We cannot JUST be witnesses to these social spheres, because we actively operate within them. I try to join Christ in bringing redemption to the world, through my influence in these places. How can I ensure that it won’t be simply a ‘coercive exercise’ which looses its intended value once enacted outside the church? I have had many conversations with people at my church on this, and still cannot find a solution….

  13. Having just read your response Blake Walter, i would like to clarify my comment above that i am specifically discussing how we can affect external communities at a SYSTEMS level. Architecture, as a public art, for example, does have relational components, but it also affects the larger image, values, and narrative of society. If your argument cannot extent past relationships, then I would find it difficult to operate morally within my profession…

  14. Thomas … good questions … for which there is no one answer eh? We anabaptists work from communal discernment out … so we are grounded in a community which ives us the wherewithal to engage society on all terms … i.e. there will be times to accept and enter into places in arhcitecture where it becomes clear God’s purposes are at work ..other times we will see and discern it is time to reject … then there will be times where some good is happening (prevenient grace) and we can particpate in bringing it to its completion in Christ … In any of these cases … the community as a language and way of life .. enable the navigating of new territory … “the hermeneutic of community” …Hope this helps …

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