Bob Marley knew what would resonate in the souls of many.
He sang about a great future–something he could see by faith and imagination.
For him, fear becomes courage. He responded in song to a deep human need for “ok-ness”–for significance.
The words paint a picture of comfort. Even though you may be crying, wipe your tears because help is on the way.
I like that he doesn’t sing to the woman who sits looking for her next meal as if he were distant from her.
He sang to her, as one on her side.
“Then we would cook cornmeal porridge, say,
Of which I’ll share with you, yeah!”
No woman, no cry began as a gospel record. A song of good news, that the way things currently work aren’t going to be the way things will always be.
Prophetic in hope.
Rich in solidarity.
I like to think that this is how things are going for us more often as women in ministry.
The forecast in my heart is that there are a lot of men and women who are with us–saying, I’ll suffer with you, I’ll share with you, and I’ll walk out of this pain to a safer place with you, I’ll celebrate you, I’ll lift you up.
The truth of the matter is that God is for the redemption of humanity and gave us Jesus to lead the way.
I’ve been a pastor in evangelical churches in the US for the last 15 years. I will say that I am blessed–to have the opportunity to be educated and ordained as a pastor in God’s beautiful yet imperfect church.
It hasn’t always been easy.
I have faced some discouraging days.
But there have always been a few people, men and woman, who remind me that everything is going to be OK. With their words and their actions, they tell me that sometimes “our feet are our carriage” and that it’s good for me to keep on keeping on, in Jesus’ name.
I wrote a blog post a few years ago that I never published about some of my questions about “why” and “why not” and “what if things were different” for women in ministry. I think I’m ready to share parts of that post. So that those who are wondering about their worth in ministry would be encouraged. Where there are questions about the validity and authority of your call-that you would be lifted up. That those who honestly aren’t trying to limit or oppress us would see that they play a subtle-and-very-changeable role in our limitations, that they could see themselves anew as brothers and sisters of freedom in Christ. Where there are men and women championing each other in Christ-that they would continue with renewed passion.
Some of my original thoughts were written in more raw places. Because, sometimes, that is where we are, in the raw places. These same writings I have reflected after the rawness became less irritated–in that place where you have compassion for yourself and for those you have been discouraged by. I’ve found a place that isn’t as interested in focusing on who is wrong or who is right, but on what is the most loving way. All of these places are important for us to consider.
I believe that our minds can be renewed. I believe that all of us can be changed. It is the point of the Scripture. It is the point of writing. It is the point of our preaching. That we would consider how Christ might change our minds and our hearts to become like his. To become aware of the possibility of peace.
Grace should be the place where our conversations always start.
Grace should be the place where they rest and wait too.
So no, woman, no cry;
No, woman, no cry.
I seh, O little – O little darlin’, don’t shed no tears;
No, woman, no cry, eh.
There is a great future for us all.
(Be looking for 1.2 I’ll be posting soon.)
What are your thoughts about Bob Marley’s song? No woman, no cry? Do his words resonate with you? As a male in ministry? As a female? As someone who has faced or is facing difficult days? How have your ideas of women in pastoral ministry been shaped? Are you willing to learn some new things?
Brooklyn I am bawling my eyes out reading this post… (ironic). I came to your site today looking for encouragement as a woman in ministry. I am the “Student Ministry Director” at my church and have been for over a year. Under my leadership the ministry has almost tripled in size. I am about to transition out of the role into a new position that has been created for me at the church. No pay raise. No education opportunities. I found out that the young man that I have been leading and training for over a year will be taking over my position in Student Ministry once I transition out. The first step after he receives the position is to have him ordained. It is frustrating that my work ethic and quality of ministry didn’t warrant me an ordination or further education opportunities… But because my replacement is male, it is the first item on the agenda. I am also certain that his title will be changed to “Pastor” as opposed to the ambiguous “Student Ministry Director”.
I am so discouraged by the lack of equality in my church right now. I am an ambitious woman who strives for excellence, yet these qualities seem to be overlooked because of my gender. As a woman in ministry, how have you been able to survive?
Thank you for all of the incredible work you do.
Wow. I hate that you’re going through this. And I have gone through something similar. I would be happy to talk to you about this privately. Just message me. email@example.com
I have survived through amazing people who helped me, have been safe for me, and who have given me great advice through the hardest times. God is able and wants you to remain in ministry, maybe not at that ministry, but in a ministry where your gifts and calling are recognized and not minimized.