Vantage Point

2 comments Written on March 23rd, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Recently, on a road trip, I observed the road rage of two drivers. One had jumped out in front of another car, while oblivious on the phone. The other one almost hit him. The fight was on. The chase was brief with a few very choice words and crude gestures. (No, I did not hear the whole conversation, but the gestures gave me a vivid picture). Everyone was aware of the ludicrous sideshow except for the two vehicles giving the show and putting the rest of us in harm’s way.

As I reflected on what had just transpired, I thought about how each of those individuals would justify their very dangerous behavior. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Christian symbols on cars that appear to be driven by the insane. It also made me reflect on my own driving skills. Ouch!

We are living in very stressful times. We are all vulnerable to denial and how it affects us and those around us. To add insult to injury we deflect and blame others for our bad or indifferent behavior. Why so much anger? We are living with constant, unrelenting and often unbearable pain. We feel misunderstood. No one seems to want to listen. We are addicted to the feel good, candy-coated experiences. We say yes when we should say…No way! Some of us have created such a thick fortress around us that no one dares tell us the truth. We make decisions without prayer and often without wise counsel. Denial also enables us to be unaccountable. We can create an illusionary world that includes only the things we want to believe. Denial allows us to see what we want to see. We are the heroes in this make-believe universe all our own. We believe our own press that we are always right. There is no room for error. Our way is the only way. We become intolerable, dogmatic, and legalistic. Creativity is crushed under these conditions.

So how can we deal effectively with our pain and the pain of others? One way is to be honest. Stop lying to yourselves. Be accountable for the times you have cut someone off by your insensitivity. A pastor’s wife once cut off another on the highway. She was so convicted she had her daughter write a sign on a piece of paper that said SORRY so the other vehicle could see. Extreme maybe or maybe not. I have found that those in denial have a hard time apologizing for their blunders. It is harder for some than others to say, I am sorry.

We also need to allow others to be honest. Don’t be afraid of the pain others may be experiencing. I have the toughest time with people who want to argue with me about my pain. Oh, it is not that bad . . . Oh, you shouldn’t feel that way . . . Oh, I don’t believe that… I have found the blessing of affirmation when colleagues, friends and family have listened to my pain with ears of compassion, hearts of mercy and eyes of justice. Remember it is not always about you. I also know that being cut off on the highway of life can bring out the anger in a lot of us. However, the justified anger can often lead us to compound the pain. It also can be toxic. We can become cynical and see only the injustices. We all need healthy pathways to express anger that does not alienate. The flip side is that insensitivity to other points of view is often done by people who are scared of the pain of others. They think they have to fix it.

Listening is a gift to someone who has experienced pain of any kind. Many of my women colleagues have experienced great pain and have done so alone. They have not been allowed to express their anguish to others. Sharing your anger about the very brutal sides of life is sometimes shunned by Utopian Christians who think talking reality is being negative.

Painful experiences are unfortunately more common than we realize in the church. Imagine the energy that is exerted when all you do is to keep up the facade that everything is fine, wonderful, peachy… St. Augustine once wrote: “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to make them the way they ought to be.” Notice, he said two beautiful daughters…

It is time the church had a heart to heart talk with Hope’s two beautiful daughters concerning the issues of Biblical Gender Equality.

Not every woman is in pain but some are.
Not every woman is angry but some are.
Courageous women are now stepping up and speaking out with wisdom, authority and holy boldness. We need to support them in every way we can.
Some women are leaving and we need to ask ourselves why?

We all need a reality check from time to time. Unfortunately, even when faced with the truth of these issues we choose to look the other way. Since it is not our own personal experience we dismiss it as false or not important. As leaders we need to have an honest evaluation of our churches and we need it soon. Changes are happening everywhere. This is a strategic time for the church. Yes many of us are weary, exhausted and stressed out; however, we cannot give up now. This is the time that we need conversations that are honest, candid, open, Christ-like and intentionally authentic. We need to develop Leaders who take time to listen attentively to the pain and truly celebrate women at all levels of leadership. We need men and women who genuinely respect those whose experiences are unlike their own. They consider it a valuable learning curve in their leadership development.

Set your bias aside and seek the wisdom of God so that you can truly understand the reality of others that are different by gender, ethnicity and culture. Voices that are different from our own. Voices that represent and are in the process of becoming the Mosaic Bride without spot, wrinkle or blemish. Women and men serving side by side building the Kingdom of God. That is a realty that I want to see as we participate and experience life together. A journey of men and women partaking in ministry together. Sharing the bread of life at the feet of service by God’s grace. Let us pray through every change and comfort one another through the painful transitions in life. It will make us stronger when we work as a team to accomplish the mission God has set before us regardless of race, gender, or culture. We will truly become people who do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God.

“We will become a church with a myriad of experiences shared at the vantage point of the cross of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.”

Rev. Gricel Medina, OWS
CBGE Chairperson

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2 comments “Vantage Point”

May we continue to speak truth,with no thought of consequences. Only then can we truely be set free.Thank you for speaking truth. Stir up oh wells of Hope for our Deliverer is nigh.God Bless, continue to bring peace, in thought,word and deed.

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Amen! So true. Thanks for sharing.

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