recently i attended an event in east africa for east african christian leaders. ordained and lay, catholic and protestant, men and women. and there were some women who were lauded as “strong” and “brave” and one who even has the word “crazy” attached to her name because of her bold desire to love.
but why is it, do you think, that these bold, brave and crazy women aren’t encouraged to be bold, brave or crazy while gathered together with all these other leaders?
why is it only okay to be crazy, and do crazy things when you’re not in a big-flashy (yes, it was flashy. flashy at attempting to be simple) “gather them all together” thing?
WHAT IF we allowed these bold, brave and crazy women to BE crazy RIGHT THERE with all those other people [men] around?! what if instead of talking about talking about things we were just crazy and loved each other.
THAT’S reconciliation. being crazy enough to love the perpetrator of heinous acts against you. crazy enough to speak up when you realize someone’s voice isn’t being heard. crazy and bold enough to notice and name when people are being overlooked and ignored right in the midst of your ecumenical-middle class-we’re changing the world together-retreat-thingy.
crazy enough to tell the person who writes the checks, “you know what, you’re wrong.” and bold enough to do it in love. not out of spite or hate.
we “honored” women by letting a few of them speak, but couldn’t go so far as to consider discussing gender as a group. it came up organically once or twice–this should tell us that its something that leaders and movers-and-shakers in this region should be seriously talking about.
you want reconciliation? start with yourselves. look at what message the limited role of women in this group is sending to those women, and to the young women sitting in the plenary. you say that women are the ones out there moving and shaking…
then let them lead.