Reflection on Week 2 Prompt

What surprised me most rom my writing and reflection this week is the perfection of God’s timing and how patient God is with us. One of the aspects of my spiritual life had been my involvement with women’s ministries in my local parishes.  I have been involved with women’s ministry since becoming a Lutheran back in 1989.  It has been a mainstay for me but I turned away from it when I turned away from almost everything else (except my nightly rosary) about a year ago.  Last week, just after starting this discernment and having re-engaged with FutureChurch, I received an email asking me if I would consider leading the  Women’s Ministry at our parish again.  I don’t believe in coincidence.  I do believe that God isn’t finished with me yet and that God has been sitting there, sipping a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, just waiting for the right moment to say, “Well, are you ready to get back in the saddle again?!”  (I also learned that the call can come from anywhere, even email!)

5 thoughts on “Reflection on Week 2 Prompt

  1. As I have read all of your posts, and noticed how consistently you are offering a word of support and encouragement to others here, I did wonder: What is Barbara going to do with this deep passion? With the “I care because I cannot not care”

    What are you building?

    Have you considered it?

    What does it take to build a base of leaders who are ready to witness in powerful ways? How do you envision moving from studying towards change-making?

    I heard Deb (Future Church) share some vision, inspired by Maria 2.0 in Germany, about wanting to launch a similar effort in the US. And my internal response was: we don’t have a base for it. We are no where as organized as the women in the German Church who staged a country-wide walk-out of all women in ministry, and who are forcing their hierarchy to include their demands as a key topic for their conference’s synod.

    We are so used to being at the margins, where we talk to those who agree with us or get into arguments with those that don’t — that we haven’t built up capacity move things at the ground level of parishes, deaneries, dioceses. We are afraid or unwilling to play a power game, and trust the Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom, strength, courage and knowledge to take each step. We’d rather be right, even if it means all we ever do is launch messages in from outside the fortress.

    Can we develop a spirituality that’s ready for a long game?
    Can we see that we have to rebuild a movement — beginning with the training and development of dozens of leaders? But also finding new ways to have what can become a tired conversation?

    How do you want to expand who is part of the conversation? What would make it powerful? Representative? Inclusive? How can you imagine shepherding more people into meaningful dialogue towards action?

    Could you bring 500 people to your bishop to open up a meaningful dialogue about women & the diaconate? Not only an “I’m right, you’re wrong, Bishop” press statement — but a moment of encounter, where well-prepared testimony helps carry along the truth you know is irrefutable. The Church won’t be denied what it needs for renewal.

    Can we learn to speak the language of the institution, in order to call it to its potential?
    Can we let go of the bitterness, but allow our anger to be a fuel towards refining and reforming for renewal?

    I want Future Church to be powerful. I want our “Catholic Women Deacons” work to be powerful.

    As a leader in the mix, Barbara, with a depth of commitment and a new invitation to lead right where you are in your parish — what’s your vision for building power?

    I wonder where all this passion and ability is leading you — what will you build with it? What terrifies you about that? What is energizing? What will have to change within you, to be the person to do it?

    1. You ask the questions I have been trying to answer for several years. In fact, my intention when I did the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises several years ago was to discover how to move all that I had been studying from my head to me heart to my hands. I became very active with FutureChurch and did a lot of organizing when I lived in Southern CA, even participating in a peaceful protect at the Bishops Conference in Huntington Beach where we made quite a splash! When I moved to Reno about seven years ago, I felt like I had lost my spiritual support. I topped spiritual direction because I couldn’t find a spiritual director. The women in my new parish weren’t nearly as open to my more progressive leanings and I found myself blackballed for awhile…that has since changed. The good news, and probably what I should have nd should still latch on to, is that our Bishop is openly supportive of women’s ordination to the diaconate. Since my speaking of this was labeled “heretical,” I invited our Bishop to speak at our church and we invited everyone from the diocese to attend. Coming from an “authoritative” (i.e., ordained) source, people listened and I began getting invited to speak at churches all over the diocese.

      I was on fire until Pope Francis decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the RESTORATION of the women’s ordained diaconate and I really went into what I would call a spiritual depression. Had it not been for my ongoing connection with FutureChurch and the invitation from Russ Petrus to participate in this workshop, I would probably still be in my spiritual “funk.” Already in only two weeks, out of nowhere (OK, out of the Holy Spirit!) I was reached out to by some of the ladies in our parish women’s ministry asking if I’d consider coming back to lead them. And for years I thought I was “the only one” in Reno who was an advocate for church reform until Christina, a member of my Wednesday Learning Group who lives in New Zealand, introduced me to another woman right here in Reno who has been active in Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI). The Holy Spirit uses us as messengers to others and transverses all time and space. Who would have guessed that I’d make a connection with a like minded person from someone I never met who lives “down under!?” Certainly, not me!

      So, where will this journey lead me? I don’t know but I’m back on the path and I am excited to keep moving.

      Thank you for your thoughtful and profound questions and for traveling with us on this adventure.

  2. I am all for women deacons but I want women priests more. Women are equal and the Catholic church doesn’t treat women as equal.

    1. I, too, want to see women ordained as priests. I can’t/won’t believe that God says “Yes, you” to those with certain body parts and “No, not you” to those with different body parts.

      1. Odd that the body parts required for ordination are precisely the ones that can’t be used (forgive me, I had to say it!)

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