Melissa Pohlman, Pastor For Community Ministry at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN
There are moments and times when I expect things to be different and then they are not. When things are exactly the same as they have always been, I chide myself for being fooled once again, for giving people and institutions more credit than they deserve.
Being in spaces where women are working so hard to bring about gender justice has been invigorating and exhausting. Most days I remain hypervigilant to the words I choose and how my choices impact all those who surround me. Words that used to be synonyms in my mind now hold delicate nuances based on the stories from women who have entrusted me with their moments, stories told at times to entire rooms packed full of other women.
There are also men in these rooms. Sometimes I notice them heads down with no eye contact, brought to places where they can no longer look up. More times than I am comfortable with, men are the ones holding the gavel and declaring when, how, and where women will be heard in this process. Men have told the stories of women through their lens of power and privilege and turned what was ripping, tearing, and pain into something that sounded more like a nice day at the spa.
This is when my anger burns hot, and I am reminded of the work we are called to engage in for the sake of God’s entire creation. Justice for women isn’t only about women. It is a reminder that as long as one member of the Body of Christ suffers, all of creation groans as it waits for redemption. It is the whole embodiment of Jesus’ promise of eternal and abundant life for the whole world.