I was raised Lutheran, identify as Lutheran, feel comfortable in the Lutheran Church, but I struggle with the church. I question the space the church has made for young women, like me, who crave an institution that questions the status quo, that demands justice, dignity, and protection for all our neighbors, and that puts social justice and activism in the center of the church.
Growing up in the church I was encouraged to participate in service projects and mission trips. While in hindsight that work was problematic in the relationship dynamic it created, it did lay a foundation for faith in service and in action with the community. I craved this active and moving faith that was modeled for me.
As a young adult I have looked for new home churches that reflect my ideals and values, but have found that the way church is structured now is for middle class, white families that are comfortable with tradition. When you are looking for the faith-based activist community for young single 20-somethings, you might want to invest in a community outside of the church. Continue reading “The Role of Young Activist Women in the Lutheran Church”
Melissa Pohlman, Pastor For Community Ministry at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN
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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. Continue reading “Justice for Women for the Sake of the Entire Body of Christ”
– pausing to give thanks as we begin-
The first time I came was for CSW56.
ELCA World Hunger had graciously invited me to translate for la estimada Irma Rodriguez Leon during the LWF side event. What that actually meant was that I had flown in in the pocket of one of the bravest women I will ever meet. Ask me about Irma. What was framed as a role that I could play was truthfully an opportunity to receive.
Translating for Irma (this image humbles me- how did I even get to sit with her!? Thank you, ELCA!!!)
Jessica Arneson, Mikka McCrakken, Irma Rodriguez-Leon, lil ol’ me
Together we exited the elevator to join in the Ecumenical Women orientation. A nun at the registration table handed us little button pins that said “Jesus Loves Feminists.” Irma and I giggled with gratitude. She said bluntly, “Well, he is one!”
That year, the progress hoped for at the CSW was seriously thwarted by religious groups whom are also claimed and loved by Jesus. I have spent the last four years trying to reconcile how this could be. My guide in healing and growing has been to watch the women who have spent their lives marching toward justice, unweighted down by the moments of despair, seeking freedom ceaselessly. What ground could be more holy than these strong shoulders upon which we are invited to stand? Irma, Leymah Gbowee, Cristina Rendon (to name a few CSW Lutherans who endlessly inspire me and whom I think you might enjoy learning about).
Lutheran women group with Kevin O’Hara, Dennis Frado, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee (4th in from left). Delegation: Jeannette Ada Maina, Mikka McCrakken, Daniele Schmidt Peter, me, Irma, Grischdl Maier, Jessica Arneson, Christine Mangale
Continue reading “On the Shoulders of Giants”