Friday, February 03, 2006

Fish outta water.....

Last night I was at church for music practice, and a couple of us were talking while we were waiting to begin. One of the ladies mentioned that she was going to be in the pastor's class on Sunday because she wanted to learn doctrine/theology etc. Our music director, who is a woman, looked at her and said, "Why would you want to do that?" Huh. Boy did I wanna jump in. But I didn't - not then. "Are you one of those women's libber types?" Confused look on the part of my friend.
"No, I just want to learn."
"But it's all men!."
"Won't that bother you to be in a class that's all men?"
"And why would you want to learn theology?"
OK - now I am getting frustrated. So I do jump in.
"Hey, I love theology. I love to learn. And why not in a class of men? If I wasn't doing something else on Sunday morning I'd join you..." (Well, probably not, cuz the doctrine they are teaching isn't where I wanna be, so I'd be arguing every minute, or frustrated beyond belief...)
Now I'm getting strange looks. OK, whatever. I just don't get it. Why is this mindset about women/theology so prevalent in our churches? It's just so, so ingrained I'm afraid.
Can we change it? Doubtful.
Do you ever feel like a fish outta water?


Christine said...

Look at it this way: You're not a fish. You're SuPPOsed to be out of that water!
They're drowning, believing that they're fish, or pretending to believe that they're fish.

I'm kind of figuring that the fish-pretenders will die out....after all, how many young women do YOU know who don't see why someone would want to be in a mostly-guys class, learning something, if they find it interesting?

Your church must be full of fossils. Pretending to be fishies.

Sandy Mc said...


I almost feel like I should *duck* when I suggest this...but maybe you *SHOULD* take that class with your friend. Maybe God has a desire for you to be a Spiritual guide to this friend and to help her discover for herself what you already have found.

I know I have only recently posted on your blog, so you may choose to label me as crazy, but I had that distinct *feeling* I get that I have come to understand the Spirit speaking to me that I should suggest this to you.

The vision that came to me was one expressed as *fear* that your friend's desire to understand the depths of her faith through this class might lead her farther away from knowing she has the omnipresent person of God in her life in a real way right now!

Karen, I confess I do not know you personally so perhaps I am not making the right call here, but I sense you (like me) may be a person called out by God to step forward and challenge some of what you are seeing/experiencing. I see in your writing a great deal of real-life wisdom, a dose of restraint, and much compassion. I believe you may also have the resiliency to endure.

In an e-mail exchange I had with Reggie McNeal (author of The Present Future), he encouraged me to seek out those who want to hear and to not waste time casting my pearls among the swine. (Matt 7:6) Perhaps there is a place for you to have a foot in both worlds and reach others.

gerbmom said...

Nope, not gonna. Gonna take a sabbatical. Need it desperately so I can figure out what to do about church. Pretty much gonna lay low for awhile and be still and let God lead. Not gonna be easy - lots of guilt and what ifs, but I truly feel this is the way I am being led. Who am I to second guess God? And I may come back to this very place I'm taking a sabbitical from, and that's ok if that's what God wants. But until I know, I'm not gonna become more involved. Neither will I ignore responsibilities.
Thanks for the suggestion, and no, you don't have to duck. Feel free to say what you think - that's part of the journey, eh?

gerbmom said...

Thanks Chrissie - :D
I know you understand.

Mike Clawson said...

Wow! I have to say that that kind of sexist attitude is beyond even what I've experienced in my fairly conservative churches growing up. I don't think I've ever been in an environment where women were actively looked down upon for wanting to learn theology and think deeply about their faith.

Even now I don't think I fully realized how extremely conservative the environment you're in really is. If this is the kind of stuff you're dealing with, then perhaps a sabbatical would be the best choice for you right now.

Just my .02...


sandy mc said...

Hey Karen,

No hard feelings if I made a mis-call, ok?

I admit I felt sort of *distressed* at first when I read your reply. But, upon reflection, I just felt sad (and alone)once again that God keeps calling me to persevere in this stuff when it's SO hard :( Jonah, I feel your the pain of your choice!

Why am I SO wierd, why did you make me like this God? My human heart wants a break like my friends...


annegogh said...

Karen, how crazy was that exchange. One would think that conversation went on in 1946 not 2006. It sounds like a sabbatical will be a good thing for you to do for yourself, and I'm glad that you're going to take it! My prayers are still with you, my friend, of course, and thankfully there are others here online traveling down this same path...a bit of comfort there, isn't it? All the crazy people, where do they all come from? A lot of us from the Ooze. :)

Darla said...

agree with christine... you're not a fish outta water, because fish outta water flop around and then can't breath and then die. hm.... nope... i think you're a fish that maybe needs fresh water... maybe the water you're in is a little mucky and polluted. you're looking for that river stream that's crisp and cool and fresh, constantly flowing and changing and moving. lots of good swimming in water like that. :)

Kevin J. Bowman said...

OMG!!!! That is totally unbelieveable!!!! I can not EVEN imagine people having the audacity to have that attitude today....

ON ANOTHER NOTE: I feel like a flopping fish alot.... but I think Darla is right... We are gonna feel out of place as fresh water fishes in salt water churches.

Mike Clawson said...

I think what gets me even more is that it wasn't the men giving the women a hard time about wanting to learn theology, it was other women doing that to each other.

It's tragic when the oppressed become their own oppressors.

Christine said...

Karen, your decision to take a sabbatical is making me feel very good, very, very good~ I'm getting the feeling it's taken a lot of courage for you to reach the spot where you can do something against everyone else, for the sake of God's will in your life.

Bravo to you for following Him when the road gets scary!

Retreat is good.
And sometimes, God calls us to stay where we are, and let Him bring the answers to us.

gerbmom said...

Mike and Kevin:
Yeah, I think these attitudes are having a huge impact on my decision. When I look back on the various problems since July that have involved (directly or indirectly) me and my family, a lot of it comes down to this truly chauvinistic attitude on the part of leadership in our church. It has even started to bother Kim. And you are right; when the women began to adopt the attitude it becomes that much worse. It was interesting - there were 3 women in pastor's class on Sunday. Interesting to see if they are made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, and what they then do.
Thanks for your thoughts and support guys!

gerbmom said...

Thanks Christine -
I appreciate all your prayers and the support you have given me. It is a tough decision, and one I am not making lightly. It makes me feel very sad - and still a little concerned about the reaction of others. But Kim and I talked Friday night and he is fully supporting my decision. I do have some responsibilities that I have to fulfill before I take a full sabbatical, but a modified one is definitely underway.
I'd appreciate your continued prayers!

gerbmom said...

Consider yourself included in the comment I posted to Kevin and Mike. And thanks for your support and prayers also!
Darla - I love the thought that I'm just a fish in the wrong body of water. So I'm gonna move on and find a pond I do belong in! I'm so glad I met you! Thanks for being my prayer warrior!

Kelly said...

Blub blub - you're still in the water, Karedy; the woman who questioned you is the one who's out... That's just crazy talk! Is she our ageish? Goodness!

I'm glad you're going to take a break from the church organization; maybe you'll go back, maybe you won't - but whatever you do, God will never take his hand off of you. xo

gerbmom said...

Thanks Kelligan :)
Slightly older. Still.....
I know you've been where I have been. I know you understand how I feel. I know you have been praying. Thanks! I'll let you know how things go.

GoteeMan said...

Wow! Amazing the neanderthal thinking some seem to be stuck in... maybe the music director needs a copy of "Why Not Women?" by Lauren Cunningham (who is a man, incidentally, an an international ministry leader). It's an eye opener...

Let's see, if I wanted to make my enemy ineffective.... Hmmm... What if I got them to believe that over half (and the more perceptive half, often times) are somehow limited... Yeah, that would do it.


Sandy Mc said...

GoteeMan...that is an AWESOME book! Glad you mentioned it:) I also just ordered Lynne Hybels book "Nice Girls Don't Change the World" and am looking forward to reading it when it gets here next week! Any input on that one?