A few hours ago one of my beloved friends called. This particular friend lives on the West Coast and more often than not we play phone tag. Since I spoke to her last night, it was a real Christmas in June treat to hear her voice two days in a row. She had asked to hear one of my sermons. I sent her the most recent one. Even though it is part of my job to proclaim God's word to God's people, every week I am nervous and scared beyond belief to preach to my congregation. I answered the phone and she says, "I listened to your sermon, it was so good, you have a gift". Not one to know what to do with compliments I fumbled around to a "Thank You".
The sermon she spoke of was the first time I had preached sans manuscript. I had two friends last weekend while I was going through my Saturday afternoon and Saturday night routine of "WTF am I going to do tomorrow?" say why don't you just tell 'em what you told me. The text was 1 Kings 17:8-24. The story of Elijah + the widow at Zarapheth. SN: Don't you hate when people cite scripture like anyone really would have known what was 1 Kings 17:8-24 without me saying what it was. That story is ridonkulous. It's got crazy prophets mansplaining, a mother and her son preparing to give up on living, a woman giving a l man and his God a piece of her mind, and a resurrection and before that the crazy bum prophet is eating from the mouths of ravens. Ridiculous. I will (gulp) post the sermon at the end of this here blog.
My point is despite the t-shirts that say I am a feminist, my love of Beyonce, my frequent references to Lean In and Chimanda Adichie, I am afraid to use my voice. Scared not that I have nothing to say but too much to say. Scared that when I speak my mind, my truth, my opinion that it will be misunderstood and that people won't like me. So when I speak, I apologize. I don't want to offend, right? When I preach, I use a manuscript because I like the written word, I trust my written word. But lately, the Universe or great Mother God, or something/someone has put on my heart this desire to find my voice, use my voice and be myself. I am not there yet.
Just yesterday I used my voice to express a theological and scriptural argument about who/what/how the Holy Spirit works in what we call church and someone told me that I got into a "pissing match". I thought of it as a teachable moment, a victory for us who hope to Lean In, and using their/my/our voice. As soon as it wasn't received well, I began to second guess (let's be honest 700th guess) myself.
But what if I am supposed to speak? Speak up and Speak out, maybe even speak over. What if this word really is like a fire shut up in my bones, what then? People who speak up, out, and over tend to have haters. Is it par for the course? As a woman can I speak my truth directly or does that type of power come from the penis? Let's not act like patriarchy isn't alive and well, even in spaces where we have polity and confessions that speak against it. So many times when I have found the courage to speak up or out, my words have been devalued, discredited and dismissed by men and then affirmed, lauded, and deemed as inspiration when another man says the same thing. It makes the INFP, who doesn't trust her voice go inside herself. But I have a voice, it gets angry and passionate, it wants, wishes, hopes. It quivers when it goes off script, it fades and trails off in the ends of sentences but it demands to be heard.
That particular Sunday for about fifteen minutes, I risked believing that I have a voice, trusting that voice, and letting it speak. May it be so that we all find our voice, our particular one and speak out, up, and over.
My voice is deep, sometimes mistaken for a males. My voice is cautious, when I write i wonder about words and alliterations, metaphors and similes. When I speak, I am afraid to cry. When I'm angry, I'm afraid I will scare someone. All of that may be true and none of it may be true but regardless it is still my voice, i have a voice and i must not be afraid to use it.
Actually Sermon entitled "Ridiculousness" is posted in the sermon section as well.