Gifted to Lead 2

2 comments Written on September 10th, 2008     
Filed under: Books, Gender, Leadership, Vocation and Call
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Check out part 2 of a book discussion over at Jesus Creed: The book is Gifted to Lead, by Nancy Beach. Here’s a bit from the discussion/review today:

At the same time we feel the pressure to perform well, many women feel that being self-confident and strong is not an option because it is seen as too threatening. Humorously, Beach quotes Amy Poehler from SNL who says, “Women are often made to feel kind of audacious if they decide to be directors or producers or head writers [replace with preacher, or teacher, or head pastor!]. There’s this weird thing sometimes where we feel we’re taking up too much room!”

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2 comments “Gifted to Lead 2”

There’s a great phrase that was introduced early on in that thread at Scot McKnight’s excellent blog… “the freight of being iconic.” I think that definitely applies here, the idea that anytime a member of a perceived-weaker group (in this case, females) steps up to perform or serve in a highly skilled role or capacity, she carries the weight of representing her gender because of the disproportion of other women serving in that way. Thus for women who preach, a good sermon is never good enough, it must be a GREAT sermon, because any fault exposed will be picked apart and extrapolated upon all of womankind.

Speaking as a Black man, I am well acquainted with that burden, and I hope to have some of my blind spots revealed so that I can ease that burden for some of my gifted sisters in Christ that I minister alongside with.

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I, too, resonate with the phrase. Ironically, this is hard for me to admit, and the reason relates to another phrase that either the author or reviewer invoked.

It’s the idea of “taking up too much room.” I hesitated to track this blog back to the review of Nancy’s book, because I was afraid of “taking up too much room” on the new blog with… something that might seem… for women.

Now. That makes me sad. Because this is not for women. It’s for all of us. No human being should have to feel “iconic” or as though they “take up too much room” just for showing up and doing ordinary human things: such a preaching or leading a church.

Jelani spoke of “easing the burden.” That’s exactly what we can do for one another. We can act like it’s normal for women and men of all ethnicities to serve the church and world according to the gifts God gave and skills they’ve learned.

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