Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Why My Unborn Baby Girl Has Rocked My World

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!



Rhesa Higgins said...

May your questions be answered with grace. May your heart never settle for easy answers. May your daughter and granddaughter benefit from your courageous quest.

And may God forgive us all for the years we chose to ignore the places where redemption was needed.

Lelo and Stitch said...

I am proud to call you my minister. You have stepped up and spoken on subjects that are touchy or "risky" but it is topics that need to be talked about and discussed. The fear to speak on such thing... though completely understandable... I strongly believe is the cause of Satan trying to stifle the body from becoming what God truly wants and desires us to be. WE are all part of the body, and important! we are each given talents and abilities that for centuries have not been used in the best way possible for many reasons, one of which I believe is the fear that stifles and leaves us stranded afraid to speak up or to use our talent and do what God has called us to do. I know that you will teach your daughter to follow God, and that you will teach her that God will help her get through things even when you might be afraid. Beyond that though, you will teach her that SHE has a purpose and that SHE can do AMAZING things for God and for HIS purpose, because even now she is getting Knit in her mothers womb, fearfully and wonderfully made!

Holly said...

Amen!! Thank you for posting this. My heart longs to see women's gifts used fully in the Churches of Chirst, and my heart aches every time I attend a service where I don't feel like it is happening. It is an extremely painful and raw subject for some of us. May you go forth with boldness and careful wisdom as you serve at Littleton. Thank you for getting the conversation moving.

And, congrats on your baby girl!

Lauren said...

I'm so glad I got to see a glimpse of your heart in this post, Collin. I have a lot of respect and admiration for the many great ways you impact the Kingdom. I praise the Lord for you.

Kendra said...

You will stand up. You will speak the words you have chosen with care. You will influence many in both halves of the body.

It's not just waves that rock the boat, filling the sails with wind will do it that too. :)

Anonymous said...

Way to go Collin. Congrats on the girl, first of all (they are super fun) and thanks for seeking to create a different world for her to serve in. When we applied at our current church home our then 4 year old daughter looked up and said, "daddy, there's a lady reading her bible to the whole church!" My eyes (and my wife's) filled with tears and we knew this would be home for us.

I hoped to chat more with you at the missional think tank...but alas.

Aaron Metcalf

Alwin said...

Thanks for making us leave our comfortable places

kingdomseeking said...

I have a 6 year old daughter who loves God, wants to do things that please God (whether it is attending a VBS or just doing something nice for someone), and is very quick to speak a word for God.

And I tell her to keep on keeping on...yet in the back of my mind I know that if things stay as they do, inevitably she will be taught (not by me but by the default practice) that though her little acts of ministry and proclamations as a witness to God might be "cute" for a little girl, they are wrong for a grown-up girl. That pains me because I am convinced such understanding is rooted in a misunderstanding of scripture and contextual application.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We need spaces for these conversations!

Grace and Peace,

K. Rex Butts

Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber said...

I feel you. The C of C loses some powerful leaders and preachers because they are not seen as having "most favored gender" status in the eyes of the Almighty. My suggestion: be more greedy. Do what you need to to keep your strongest leaders (hint:some of them may be girls)

I speak from experience.