The good news is that Holly and I are expecting a baby girl in early June. Everything looks healthy. We've even given her a name. She will be called Addison Grace Packer.
I'm so excited! Yet, this is new territory for me. Growing up, it was just my brother and me. So, as I continue to see the pink outfits and bows already going on the credit card, it's becoming a bit more real.
But while our bundle of sugar and spice and everything that's nice is growing in Holly's belly, I'm becoming a wreck. Not just in the knowledge of fending off our pretty girl from those obnoxious teenage boys, but from the theological problems this causes me.
Because now, the discussion of women's role in Churches of Christ isn't an issue. It involves my own flesh and blood (Although, Holly has often reminded me that I've always had a wife who's been affected). It's now about my daughter. It's now about me. And if I'm honest our position on women's role has always affected more than the women. It's affected all of us and diminished all of us.
On my blog, I've been careful not to rock the boat too much. Perhaps I write so infrequently because most of what I want to say I'm afraid might make too many waves (or perhaps too few because I'll finally find out how few actually read my blog). Perhaps the echo of my professors' voices warning us as students not to publish things on blogs that will cause us trouble when looking for future jobs still rings in my ear.
But there comes a time that silence must give way to words and action. And the arrival of my baby girl has created just that space for me.
So, here it goes: Our churches must begin to talk about the role of our women in leadership and in our public assemblies. We must make space for these discussions. We cannot allow our fear of some unknown enemy to keep us from engaging in a conversation that should have already happened.
I wonder how many of our members are as dumbfounded as many of our ministers about our current practices with women in our churches, but have allowed fear and caution to keep them silent as our practices remain the same.
Is it groupthink? Do we have well thought out theologies supporting our current practices? Do most of us realize the oddity of our male dominated services in 21st century society? Perhaps there are more who want to ask these questions than we sometimes imagine.
Last year at ACU Summit, Stephen Johnson and several women in the Graduate School of Theology at ACU began a conversation entitled "Half the Church." There was a great deal of discussion at the end of last year surrounding their studies and dialogue about women in Churches of Christ.
If you are not yet aware of this ongoing conversation, be sure to check out www.halfthechurch.wordpress.com. Listen to the podcast, "She Is Called." It's a moving piece. Also, subscribe to the "Half the Church" podcast on iTunes.
But my baby girl has rocked my world far more than she will ever know before Holly's third trimester has started. And I'm sure I will never be the same again. Thanks be to God!