perseverance


I finished the manuscript I’ve been working on. Will be titled When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream. Excerpt:

Those of us who are called to fight for gender equality in the church need to be careful about how we measure success. We need to remember that we can only control what we do, we cannot control what anyone else does in response to what we do. We also need to remember that this change in the church will only come when hearts change, and we cannot change hearts. Only God can change a heart. He may use us as instruments to change hearts, but He is the one who does the heart changing.

As we swim upstream to advocate or fight for gender equality in the church, conflict and controversy will inevitably follow. We need to face it head on and deal with it in healthy ways. That’s what Jesus and the early apostles did when conflict and controversy erupted in response to their efforts to transition people from the old covenant to the new covenant. However, we cannot be conflict creators. We cannot create conflict for the sake of creating conflict. If we do that we are not operating out of pure motives. On the other hand, we cannot be conflict avoiders. If we are conflict avoiders we are operating out of fear, and “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

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Introduction to manuscript I’m currently working on which will be titled When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream:

Political and social movements which have changed the course of human history have always been orchestrated by individuals with a clear vision, a consuming passion, the courage to swim upstream against the status quo, the willingness to deal with the consequences of swimming upstream, and the perseverance to keep going no matter what.

As a woman who passionately believes in gender equality and lives in Lancaster County PA, I swim upstream on an almost daily basis. It’s tiring and it’s isolating. In light of this, then, you might be wondering why in the world I continue to do it. I do it because I have a dream. I have a dream that the following words of Robert Kennedy, the Apostle Paul, and Martin Luther King, Jr will finally come true.

o“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” Robert Kennedy spoke these words repeatedly as he campaigned for the democratic presidential nomination in 1968.
o“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Galatia in the first century.
o”I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed these words to thousands of people on August 28, 1963 @ the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

My dream is that children, as well as adults, will be able to pursue their dreams regardless of their gender, rather than being assigned roles based on their gender. Though I have this dream I do not have any illusions that I will lead a political or social movement which will result in full gender equality. I also have no illusions that gender equality will become a reality in my lifetime. Rather, I am hoping to plant seeds for change in some hearts.

Excerpt from manuscript I’m currently working on:

Though Abraham Lincoln is known as the Great Emancipator, there is one who came before him who is the true emancipator. His name is Jesus Christ. When Jesus walked the earth in the flesh he “…traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness” (Matthew 4: 23).

Early in his ministry, Jesus told his family, friends and neighbors very clearly who he was and what he was about to do.

“When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: ‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.’ He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. ‘The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!’” (Luke 4: 16-21”

Soon after this, he told a group of Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 RSV).

When you look at the diseases and illnesses Jesus healed, it becomes clear that he was setting people free from all kinds of physical bondage (paralysis, demonic possession, leprosy, blindness, even death) so they could live a life of abundance. When you look at how he related to women and treated women throughout his earthly ministry, it also becomes clear that he set women free from the bondage of cultural expectations so they too could live abundant lives.

“Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were
contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.” (Luke 8: 1-3)

Since Jesus apparently included women in his inner circle, we can surmise he did not demand women fit into the limited, rigid roles their culture expected of them. Rather, he set them free from the bondage of cultural expectations and allowed and/or encouraged them to be who they had been created to be. I find it incredibly sad that the church, his hands, feet and heart in the world, did not follow his example in setting woman free from the bondage of cultural expectations.

Watched Harley and the Davidsons, 3-part series on TV. Reminded me that success is never easy or quick, and that it is definitely a marathon NOT a sprint, with many hills and valleys.

I have been lost in the writing zone for the past two weeks. I have numerous chapters each partially finished. Every time I think I finished a chapter another thought pops into my head and I go back and rework it. In addition, I keep changing the order I want to put the chapters in.

I learned a long time ago that part of the creative process is this chaotic disorder. I know that order will eventually come out of disorder, however, tolerating the disorder and letting the creative juices flow is difficult for someone who likes structure.

My creative juices are FINALLY flowing after many months of them being dried up. I have been immersing myself in the writing of my new manuscript which will be titled When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream.

Excerpt from Introduction:

“Though I realize gender inequality is global, this book is specifically about gender inequality in the United States and the role the Christian Church has played in maintaining this inequality. I also realize that the United States is light years ahead of some other countries re: gender equality and I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude and appreciation for the strides that have been made in the U.S., and to applaud the courage and perseverance of the many men and women who swam upstream to make this happen.

Having said that, I also realize that we still have a way to go to achieve full gender equality in the United States. I believe that if sexism and racism are to truly come to an end people need to be color blind and gender blind, seeing each other as equal, different yet equal. Imposing affirmative action practices and equal pay for equal work legislation will not result in gender equality. Civil rights legislation taught us that. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to affirmative action practices and equal pay for equal work legislation. I think both are good things. I believe, however, that lasting change begins on the inside. Our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and values change first. Then, our behavior changes to line up with the internal changes. Jesus Christ made this same point to a group of Pharisees when he said “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Matthew 12:35).

I am writing this book in the hope that the words you will read will light a fire in your heart, making it difficult, if not impossible, for you to stand idly by as long as any members of the human race are treated as inferior second class citizens.”

I am working on a new manuscript which will be titled When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough, Swim Upstream. As with all of my books its roots are in my own life experiences. As a woman who passionately believes in gender equality and lives in Lancaster County PA, I swim upstream on an almost daily basis.

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