Sunday, April 6, 2014

On Continuing the Conversation

This weekend I had the privilege of joining about 20 women from my church on our first ever Women's Retreat. Personally, I had my reservations--aren't "women's retreats" for my mom, and are we going to hold hands and sing kumbaya? Despite my qualms, I had a lovely time. A few ladies from our church shared their stories with us, and we had some great, honest discussions surrounding their words to us.

We went to Tel-Hai Camp in Honey Brook, PA. If anyone is looking for someplace to hold a retreat, I highly recommend it. The accommodations were great (we were on the decidedly non-rustic end of the housing options) and the staff was friendly and super helpful.

Of all the great things that happened this weekend, however, one of my very favorite things occurred at the very end. Most of us were packed up and getting ready to go, and there was an impromptu conversation between myself and about five other women on the topic of feminism.

I won't hash out all the gritty details of what we discussed, but it ranged from feminism in the 60's, feminism now, feminism in the church, and why any of it matters.

It also included three women in their 20's, one mother of toddlers, one mother of teenagers, and my pastor's wife. A range of life experiences, ages, cultural backgrounds, and faith backgrounds was represented.

Nobody was put down, had their opinions dismissed, or laughed at crazy ideas (ideas that we fully admitted may be blasphemous, and that's why we felt compelled to ask and study and pray about them). We talked about how far feminism has come, what it looks like today, and what we as the new generation of young adults, professionals, and parents want the future to look like.

It was a beautiful thing, and it was deeply encouraging to me. Not just because we were talking about something that I personally feel is important, but because our thoughts and opinions were being respected, validated, and discussed in a church setting, with ladies who hold some level of authority and experience over us (I never thought I'd interrupt my pastor's wife!).

I am deeply lucky that I have found a church home where this is the norm, where this is allowed, and where this can happen freely and with love.

If you have any resources on any of these topics, please share them! I don't want the conversation to be over, and we are always eager for more to read and think about.