Holy Humor and Horror Stories
Let’s be honest…religious professionals deal with a whole lot of crazy: parishioners, denominational expectations, and our own lives. And when you add onto that list the different ways that women in ministry are treated and experience ministry, then we should be high-fiving every woman in ministry because they have to overcome and deal with a lot more than men in ministry (just speaking to gender differences).
But more than high-fives, one of the ways to support one another is through shared experience and writing about it. RevGalPals (twitter) has been around for a long while and I’m a big fan of their network.
From the editor:
In the online universe of bloggers over the past decade, a group of women coalesced around their common work as pastors. Many of them were pioneers—they’d left the denominations of their childhoods to follow Jesus; they’d taken risks and talked about that story in the news no one wanted to hear connected to the Gospel; they’d been the first woman to serve a church, or the first mom. Deep relationships formed in the writing and sharing of their their stories of ministry in the pulpit, through the sacraments, outside the church walls, in their homes, in holy moments and at times when they wondered why they don’t teach pest control in seminary.
This collection of stories captures and expands the fierce and faithful bond among members of the RevGals blog ring, offering insight into the lives of Christian clergywomen and the rigors that come with commitment to religious life. Intended for laypeople, women discerning a call to ministry and clergy of all levels of experience, these stories and prayers will resonate, challenge, inform, inspire and amuse anyone who has a passion for the work and the faith that they love.
For women, especially, I would suspect this book serves both as a release valve of humor in the trenches and a light shining in the night reminding them that they are not alone. For men, I hope it shines a light on the very different reality that women serve under, and to be mindful of the ways in which we are complicit or perpetuate that inequality.
It’s great. Buy the book. Support women in ministry without ceasing.
I was floored at the sheer volume of writings. It’s a bit over 200 pages, and I think there’s around 30 contributors, some with multiple articles. Some were HILARIOUS (talking about their lack of male anatomy), some were heartbreaking (of leaving ministry, of being LGBT as well), some were shared experiences among clergy (being at death’s bed, baptizing a premature infant just before their passing), and some were very challenging even to men who consider ourselves to be feminists!
Overall, after shaking my head, laughing out loud, and feeling righteous rage clenching my heart, I finished this book with a stronger sense of how the day-to-day feels to women in ministry. I’ve seen the inequality happen in front of me (comments on the preacher’s earrings, calling a female superintendent “the prettiest” and other comments), but it was fascinating to get a holistic across-the-denominations and across-the-world perspective. It’s truly well done.
My hope is that folks see this collection of holy humor and horror stories as a way of connecting everyone who feels isolated, empowering us to combat the *isms in the church, and encouraging all of us that we can love our roles and our people in spite of it all.
Some other reviews I read:
A moment of personal privilege
I hope you will forgive a moment of personal privilege. I was sent an advance copy to review and, if desired, endorse. I certainly enjoyed the book and sent in my endorsing paragraph. Could it be on the long list of endorsees in the front few pages? Could it be used for promotion to United Methodists? Either would have been fine–I had no expectations that a blogger and pastor would be of use to a national book campaign.
Imagine my utter surprise to see this on the back cover:
To think that someone thought my opinions were worth putting on the back page of a book is incredible to me. And to share the quad of endorsements with people like Dr. Amy Butler and Dr. Hunt is just marvelous. Thank you for allowing me the privilege to read it.
Love in Spite of it all
Pick it up here at Amazon (Kindle and Paperback): “There’s a Woman in the Pulpit”
(Disclosure: I received a review copy to offer an unbiased review, and book links are referral links)