This month at RevGalBlogPals we are having a summer “carnival” of blog posts. RevGals started in 2005 as a group of women pastors and their friends discovered that sharing their ups and downs via blogs was a wonderful way to network and support each other in their respective Callings. So this first Blog Carnival is about “Galship” – or as it is explained by Teri:
What does Galship mean to you? The phrase was originally coined to refer to RevGal Fellowship–all the ways we build community, share our lives, support each other, and have fun. So blog about Galship–have you had an experience of galship in person or online? Has galshipping changed your life or ministry? what’s your favorite part of our galship? Or whatever way you understand the question–there are no wrong answers! What does Galship mean to you? Ready, set, write!
Grab a cuppa.. this might take a while…
Back in 1985, I started seminary for the first time. I thought I would be going to Africa with my then-fiance. Well… He broke off our engagement, and I stopped going to seminary, in part because I was told (by people I believed were infallible) that “single women don’t need an M.Div.” (And yes. I know better. Now.) Bound by the obstacles of worshipping in a very conservative church, I didn’t explore my possibilties and I didn’t consider that there just *might* be another point of view. That people are not infallible. (I know. Shocker.)
A couple of years went by. I had a masters in music, and so I went back to work as a music therapist. I still served in churches as Music “Director” (not “Pastor” because, you know, I had ovaries.) I taught classes, worked with youth, read my Bible and tried to do things that I thought God wanted me to do. And I did a lot of growing up.
In the middle of that growing up process, I met my husband, got married, had a baby… and then one of the first and best women pastors I’ve ever met gave me a book by Gilbert Bilezekian, “Beyond Sex Roles.” My world kinda cracked open. Just a little bit. But I was still hearing sermons by… men. And I was still unsure that women could be pastors. I read everything our library had on women in ministry. They were nothing like Bilezekian. And I wanted more of that. (In case you wondered, the books which are in public libraries about women in ministry are all of the pink, flowered-covered, be-a-quiet-and-gentle-spirit, bake-a-casserole type of book. And I was all denim jeans, loud and happy, loved doing things for God, but was an indifferent homemaker. I put up a good front. But really.)
I could not, for the life of me, put the pieces together.
Fast forward a few more years… Continuing to serve in the ways that I could, I sang, played, studied, taught… and wondered. My place, my heart, my gifts felt… under-utilized. I had been keeping a web page and then discovered blogging. And then… ran across my first RevGal. And RevCats. And RevDogs. And more RevGals.
World view. Busted.
I went on a Walk to Emmaus retreat, and started serving on teams as a lay leader. On one particularly stunning weekend, three women each came up to me privately and asked me (a) why aren’t you in seminary and (b) what are you going to do about it?
Less than a year later, I was enrolled in seminary… unsure of what or why. A professor sat me down and said sternly, “You must stop blocking God’s Call on your life. You must. There are things that only YOU will do. Walk fully in the Calling God has for you.”
I went home from class, a little stunned. What the heck did THAT mean?
Then I began blogging in earnest, learning and struggling my way through seminary… with a whole bunch of folks reminding me that YES you can do this and YES you are called to this and YES YES YES be God’s woman wherever God leads you.
I gotta tell you. That kind of encouragement smoothed over a lot of vocational bumps in the road.
In 2008 I was ordained in a nondenominational church. in 2010 I graduated seminary and started my chaplaincy training. And again the words of love and affirmation, the wisdom that came from blogs and eventually, Facebook, came alongside me. We had never met in real life, but they were echoing the words of my husband, my kids, my friends, my mentors, my professors, my CPE cohorts… “Yes. You. Can.”
So blogging along we go… one imperfect day at a time, grateful that I’ve gone friends by my side and The Spirit at my back. That’s what Galship has been doing in my life.
Thanks Be To God!
P.S. Some pictures of the amazing women who have been part of my Galship in just the last few years… you’ll note there’s only ONE pic of a RevGal. We’ll work on that…
I always love hearing the entry points. So glad for the shift in your world view!
I totally cannot believe we have not met in real life – you have been an important Gal in my journey.
lovey love love! I’m so glad for your journey. And, like Amy, I can barely believe we’ve not met in person, because, well…here we are! More than internet friends, for sure.
Wondering if this is Teri Peterson from Bowling Green? This is Gail Hart formerly Seattle?
I hear so much resonance in your story. I almost went to seminary 15 years ago, and if I had it would have been a conservative seminary and I still wouldn’t have had a place at the table. I don’t know that I will go to seminary (it’s doubtful at this point), but your story gives me great hope. Thank you. –Wendy