“I have an affection for a great city. I feel safe in the neighborhood of man, and enjoy the sweet security of the streets." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why Stand Out?

It is a gradual realization. It has taken about eight months and I am sure it will take a bit longer. When a group of my colleagues gather for an event I stand out. I really stand out. Monday I attended a clergy event for those in the conference. I first noticed the oddity when I walked into the women's bathroom to find no line (as most of you know, this is rarely the case). Then I walked into the auditorium at a United Methodist Church. I looked over the crowd and there was a sea of grey hair. Short, sometimes balding, grey hair. Yes, most of my colleagues are old enough to be my father. Most clergy in my episcopal area are men who are over the age of 50. So, obviously a 27 year old woman stands out a bit.... especially in my fabulous black paten stilettos. I sat there an wondered "how many of these men take me seriously, how many view me as a counterpart rather than a little girl playing preacher-woman?" Then I realized it did not matter, not one little bit. When I am approaching fifty and my hair is beginning to grey, there will be other women in this auditorium, and hopefully the church will be better because of it. I have a great deal of respect, gratitude, and admiration for those women who paved the way for me to stand where I do today. Maude Keister Jensen was the first women to be ordained by the Methodist church when it first granted full clergy rights to women in 1956. Since then there have been many women ordained but few of them seem to have stayed in my area. Times are changing, bigotry no longer has a place, and I am not just a "little girl playing preacher-woman." Like Faith Whittlesey said "Remember Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astiar did, but she did it backwards and in high heels."

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