Last night, as CCfB's regular minister was away on a very arduous trip to Jamaica, my friend Jen was in charge of teaching class and later preaching. When I walked in she asked me to read a scripture and said, "It has be read by a woman. You'll see why." The scripture was from Proverbs 8, and is the embodiment of Wisdom speaking in a female voice. I was greatly amused to be the voice of wisdom.
Growing up in the Church of Christ, I always knew that I would never be called upon to lead the church anywhere. Even then, I didn't have very many close female friends and found it difficult to relate to woman on any level, and thus could never see myself as a teacher of the fabled Ladies' Bible study, and I am not patient enough, nor knowledgeable enough, to being called upon to mold young minds. I remember in junior high and high school there were months when the boys were separated from the girls during Bible classes, and we always wondered what the other was talking about. The girls in my youth group were close enough to the boys that we got the secret out of them. While we were talking about sex, and why we shouldn't have it, they were being taught to be church leaders. In the coming months they would do sermons on Sunday nights, and lead singing and pass communion, while we sat in the pews and remembered the reasons you should never touch a boy on the knee.
Upon moving to NYC, I had my first experience with a gender inclusive church, and found it slightly intimidating, but also so freeing. To sit in a pew and listen a beautiful, honest prayer given in an untrained female voice. To see my friend Laura lead singing while holding her little girl on her hip. And last night, to hear Jen speak with such great understanding, while periodically stopping to tell her daughter hello.