I am reasonably self-confident and assured. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I am aware of my contributions. Yet, I am also conscious that before God “I am the least of Your Kingdom.” That has been a consistent phrase in my prayers for most of my life. I have been accused of feigned humility and I admit that I am pretty good at it – incongruity intended. But in all candor, I am aware I have not given God my best. I could have done much more for my Lord and having reached the stage of "Integrity vs Despair" I reflect often on my unfulfilled dreams of spiritual influence. Cheryl has suggested I need a Clarence (the Angel in It’s a Wonderful Life) in my life. Others have asked that I not be publically critical of myself.
Tonight, I am repenting of my failure to better work for the full inclusion of women in the ministries of the Church of God. Six years ago I submitted the motion to the Motions Committee to open all offices and ranks of ministry at all levels of the church to women. As a Parliamentarian I did not speak to the motion; I instead asked my friend and colleague John Christopher Thomas to give the opening speech. He did an excellent job. The motion was referred to committee. The committee prepared reports, both for and against, that were presented two years ago but without recommendations.
When I left the Assembly two years ago I felt a heavy burden and a sense of call to work for the liberation of women to minister freely in the Church of God. To that end I created a Facebook Group, “Free Our Church of God Women to Serve,” and hosted a couple of strategy sessions. But I was directing the seminary’s programs for reaffirmation of accreditation which overwhelmed me throughout last school year. I dropped the ball. I am currently praying about what I should do in the aftermath of this General Assembly. When the vote to allow women to advance to the rank of Ordained Bishop failed to pass this morning I was angry with myself for not trying harder.
When I walked out of the convention hall, Cheryl was standing at the top of the escalators with Jeff McAffee. I was upset about the vote. Jeff said there was something he wanted to say to us and he proceeded to thank us for our ministry in his life and to share how he was implementing ministries he discovered at New Covenant.
As we left the worship service tonight we bumped into three of our former students from Northwest Bible College whom we had taught in the 70’s. As we talked, another couple we had taught there walked up, followed quickly by another couple. We had a great reunion for a few minutes. (Those were three great years and our students were phenomenal gifts to our lives.) In the conversation two expressed thanks for my instruction and they proceeded to describe learning projects that had an impact on their lives and ministries.
Thanks be to God! I needed those reminders. I may not have made the best use of my talents but neither have I buried them. And I don’t need a Clarence to show me. I have the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the Church of God and now there is Facebook. I have been truly blessed to know some of the outstanding people of the world as students and church members.
July 28, 2010