[guest post from Anna Lee]
Hello, faithful readers of David Park. My name is Anna and I have to admit, I feel a strange inadequacy to post on David’s blog. At his invitation, I’ve been given the freedom to journal thoughts here (thank you, David) and I invite you feedback (thank you, reader).
A bit about me: I am a Chinese American Christian woman, born and raised in New York City, now entering her thirties. I’ve been a Christian for at least 12 years now. I’ve spent the last eight years working in the non-profit sector, with the last five in a Christian para-Church that serves university students, faculty, and staff. David caught me while I’m in the middle of a life transition: due to recent circumstances involving professional and personal death in my life, I’ve found myself asking deep questions of calling. I’m no longer asking the “Who am I?” questions of my early 20’s. I know who I am. Now what do I do with me?
I am a professional Christian who’s hit a wall in her development. I feel the weight of some pastor/teacher gifts and strangely, I’m loathe to invest these talents. I’m considering getting a MDiv and seeking out ordination, but questioned my motives (am I just doing it for personal gain), questioned my theology (what about 1Tim2:12?), second-guessed God (are you really calling me to this, or am I making this up?), second-guessed my friends (are they really telling me the truth, or are they just being polite?), coveted the privilege of my brothers who have gone to seminary (I bet they won’t get turned out of their church communities if they went this route). So, as usual, I made a list:
Reasons for Anna to bury the proverbial talents:
1. I’m no dummy: I’ve seen the steady stream of my Asian American sisters mysteriously disappear once they get a MDiv from my Chinese American church. Women leaders not welcome here.
2. I’m not deaf: I’ve lost donors over the years who found out that I disciple men and gave me the 1Tim2:12 (to which I respond: well, what about 1Tim2:15? Does that mean my salvation hinges not on faith alone, but on giving birth? How are you expositing this scripture?)
3. I’m not blind: the pastorate is a male-dominated industry with women doing much of the heavy-lifting. Even if I graduated seminary and got ordained, would anyone hire me? Ironically, I read the statistic that the average wait for a Chinese American church to find a bi-lingual, bi-cultural, male pastor is five years. Aiya.
Reasons for Anna to go to seminary and seek ordination
1. I’m no dummy: I know what my giftings are. And I know what happens to the guy who burries his talent. No weeping and gnashing of teeth for me, thank you very much.
2. I’m not deaf: I don’t take the call of God lightly. I’ve entered my own make-shift discernment process and all signs lead to go.
3. I’m not blind: I’ve fallen in love with Jesus. During this time of death, I’ve invited the Spirit to cultivate my eyes to recognize Christ in the midst of this transition. Mother Teresa once called it “recognizing Jesus in distressing disguises.” Out of love for Him, I see and follow.
Tonight, a friend told me that he defined “coveting” as desiring something you already had. I hear this tortured process is endemic to other Christian sisters considering the pastorate. I covet God’s glory and lordship over the Asian American Church, over our sisters as we get called to go, over our brothers to send us well. Perhaps as women we covet the call to servant leadership, but it’s something we already have. As for God’s glory and lordship: may He work out his righteousness with his own right hand.