Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Conundrum

I really enjoy teaching Bible classes. Once upon a time I thought I would like to be a school teacher, but after substitute teaching for half a year, I quickly decided it was not for me.

But Bible class is different. I love the richness of the Bible - some of the stories practically jump off the pages at me, as they speak to whatever need I have at the moment. I've been fortunate enough to have a bit of exposure to great teaching - from my Bible classes at Harding to some of the great speakers I've heard over the years to the men and women I listen to on the radio. My favorites were the ones who could take those characters and stories out off the pages and put them squarely in front of me. They knew how to explain seemingly obscure or confusing passages in light of the historical context, often giving it entirely new meaning.

And it is in that vein that something has been niggling at me... annoying, like a chigger burrowing for shelter under your skin.

I want to speak - publicly. I want to do a ladies' day, or women's retreat, or - dare I suggest it? - even a radio program. I want to teach, and something in me actually believes I might be good at it.

Where this idea came from, I'm not really sure. I don't even know if I could do it right, but I want to try - or at least have a chance to. And therein lies the problem - or at least part of it. I am not married to a preacher. In all my life, I don't think I've ever heard a female speaker who wasn't the spouse of a pulpiteer. How does one with no real ties to the Spiritual Leaders of the Congregation get such an opportunity?

The other problem is my age. At 32, I'm just old enough for the teens to think I'm farting dust and young enough for the older ladies to scoff and call me a child. What could I possibly offer to either group?

And yet... I want to try. I suppose I've had a couple of opportunities, but they both came in another lifetime, when Jeff & I were still in youth ministry. One was a complete disaster - they asked me to do a talk on marriage, and I had barely been married a year! There was not a single woman in the room who'd been married less than ten years at that point. The other didn't amount to much; I was simply giving a demonstration of how you could tie scrapbooking into your faith.

Well, I'm older and wiser, and though I think I could handle that marriage talk a little better now, I still wouldn't want to give it. Crazy as it sounds, I want to do expository preaching! (Can a woman really preach? Perhaps I should term it "expository speaking.") I want to dig into a story and make it dance right out of the pages. I want to see the proverbial light bulbs flickering on because people finally get something they never quite understood before.

I had one of those moments with my 3rd & 4th graders Wednesday. I was teaching the story of Saul's death, and they were absolutely riveted. It was such a joy - they were hanging on every word I said, and reacting so strongly to the messages involved. That's what I want.

Admittedly, I'm struggling with the whole idea. Besides the obvious problem of there simply being no opportunity, I'm trying to make sure my motives are in the right place. I don't want to do it for the recognition - at least I don't think so. I'm digging deep down to try and make sure that isn't the case.

All I want is to try. Give me once chance to see if I can do it. If I'm terrible, then it's no loss (except perhaps for the people I bored to tears). Somehow, I don't think I would make a complete disaster of it, though.

I just want to try.


Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like you're ready to leave the CofC behind, my dear. C'mon over to the dark side. ;o)

Seriously though: Can a woman preach?

AUsome mom said...

As I remember, many biblical figures asked those same type of questions, but God had HIS plan for them. Don't ask if you can do it. Ask for God to open the doors and then take the step in. If it's on your heart, then God has obviously put it there and for a reason. Stay in prayer about it. Hugs...