“So, what’s your plan? You going to keep working your way up to bigger and better churches and church leadership positions?”
This was the end of a conversation I had with one of my parishioners at the church where I am the newly minted minister to children. Over the past few weeks it has become clear how difficult it is for most people to get their heads around my recent change in ministry roles.
The New York Times recently published an article about the revived process of accountability in the Mennonite church between our now-deceased, famed theologian John Howard Yoder and the victims of his sexual abuse. I’m not an expert on Yoder, and, like most people, I too am realizing that there is much I didn’t know about the extent of Yoder’s sexual coercion—both its content and its reach.
But I have been surprised by the number of people who were unaware this was part of Yoder’s past.
In her essay in The Postcolonial Studies Reader, “First
Things First,” Kirsten Holst Petersen writes about her experience
attending a conference in Mainz on “The Role of Women in Africa.” She
recalls the young German feminists discussing the “radical feminist
solution” and debating their relationships with their mothers.
Yesterday I traveled to Elizabeth, NJ to celebrate Ash Wednesday.
This vigil was unique in that it took place outside the Correction
Corporation of America detention center. This purposefully inconspicuous
building is tucked in an industrial zone outside the city. It houses
300 undocumented persons.
I just spent the last three hours trying not to cry my eyes out in
pastoral care class. The topic this week was funerals. I rightfully
anticipated a swell of emotions and prepared my heart accordingly. But
in class the conversation the stories drifted towards the death of
children, the most precarious moment of pastoral engagement.
I’m going to
try to devote some of my limited blogging time to the experience of
being a woman with young children in seminary. When we were discerning
coming to Princeton I had a very difficult time finding resources to
aid me in the part of the discernment involving my daughter.