Thursday, July 29, 2004

Q's Questions

"Q" , a young woman, studies theology at Harding Graduate School of Religion. She blogs earnestly, asking heartfelt questions. She recently explored that ever sensitive territory of the Bible, God, and women. Sometimes, it is hard to describe how it feels to be a woman reading the Bible. There are moments that one wonders why God bothered to make women with minds and voices and then let them get educations. Q ventures some of these concerns on July 23 in a discussion about what she refers to as an invisible male bias in society. Here's my response:

There is more than one thing at work here. You identified what you consider invisible. My perception varies. What remains visible really is the power of the masculine. It screams at us from the images from Arab-Muslim nations and whispers to us in the contemporary church. As to the latter, lean in close and sense this simple representation of male privilege—presented with no malice, but because “it’s just the way things are” from James Wiser, a blogger you may appreciate. The blog brings to the table an announcement of a special day of encouragement designed for ministers and their wives sponsored by a Christian university.

Visible and disturbing in a visceral way is the crushing domination of women in many Arab Muslim communities. Veiled, silent, and subject even to point of socially sanctioned honor killings, these women live in a world I have to see as much like the world Jesus came into.

Now to the invisible. Imagine Jesus today in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Iran with an entourage of women talking theology. Think of Mary, with her spirit and mind as well the uniqueness of her female anatomic capacity, encountering Gabriel, trysting with the Holy Spirit, and experiencing the inner affirmation in her meeting with the expecting Elizabeth. Relish these encounters with the divine. Between us girls, the friendship of Jesus with Mary and Martha and the other women and baptism into Christ thrills me more than the circumcision deal the guys got before the new covenant. From my eye of faith, the appearance of Jesus to his followers, both male and female, and the partnership of Paul with women in the gospel supercede the problems, large as they loom, with roles in the burgeoning movement.

Cable televsion beams the ancient order of male authority so starkly that I am now thoroughly convinced of the fallacy of putting a literal contemporary application on some of Paul’s teachings. What is visible, Q, is this: we, women in the milieu of Churches of Christ, attend and work in groups of Christians who have utterly inconsistent, even schizophrenic applications of some scripture. This is not true for all folks who take God’s word for God’s word, but it is true for many. You live with this don’t you? As hard as it is in the meetinghouse, don’t miss the invisible reality of Christ and his vibrant, radical relationship with women for visibly weak attempts to appropriate the treasures of his will. And don’t quit asking questions, Q.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Spitting in the ocean

As genocide raged in Rwanda and the rest of the world "dithered" Carl Wilkens stayed and saved as many lives as he could. Today, Nicholas Kristof's column poses the question,  "So, what would you do if, like Carl Wilkens, you were caught in the middle of genocide?"

Carl Wilken's story parallels the story of a Moravian missionary Samuel A. Worcester of Worcester v. Georgia fame. In the early 1800s this missionary took the cause of the Cherokees of Georgia all the way to U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled in favor of the Cherokees, but Andrew Jackson, the hero of the common man in America, said that if Chief Justice John Marshall had an army, he can enforce his decision. The fate of the Cherokees fell to the Commander in Chief in the end, and the result was the tragic removal of the Cherokees to Indian Territory. But what did Worcester do? He walked the Trail of Tears with them and made his home in Indian Territory.

According to Kristof,  Wilkens sent his family home, and all other missionaries left.  "Of course, Mr. Wilkens managed to save only a tiny number of Tutsi in Kigali, and Americans sometimes ask if his work wasn't like spitting into the ocean. That's true, he acknowledged, adding, "But for the people you help, it's pretty significant."

So we know what what Worcester and Wilkins did. What would WWBevDo?


Sunday, July 11, 2004

Trevor composing Posted by Hello

Band Parents-"Kendred" spirits

Riffs, breakdowns, CDs $5.00 for 5 songs. Black hair, blue hair, $7.00 for 5 bands.
We are band parents, but not the regular kind.

Many East Cobb and North Fulton parents support their children's bands, but usually they are large marching bands with semi-trailer trucks carrying brass, wind, and percussion. These bands perform on football fields at half-time and in parades at Thanksgiving. Band parents I know spend countless hours raising funds--working concessions, organizing grapefruit sales, distributing chocolate bars. A myriad of projects advance their offsprings' musical passion. Marching bands command committment and achieve accolades.

We are band parents, but for an indie rock band. Indie rock kids perform in venues created from empty strip mall storefronts, community centers, church youth centers, and old factories converted into clubs. One time our son Trevor's band played on a trailer of a semi parked in the back of a church youth center. Indie rock band parents I know haul merchandise "merch" to shows--t-shirts, CDs, stickers, patches, and buttons. They bring lamps to set up in the back of dark rooms so kids can find a dollar for 2 buttons and patch with the bands name on it. Indie rock bands demand commitment and achieve accolades.

My son, Trevor Taylor Dowdy, played with Two Week Notice during his four years of high school. During that time, we went to every show that we could, experiencing a dimension of life we consider priceless. Frankly, indie rock kids can look anywhere from simply thrift store to--well, to the uninitiated band parent, downright frightening. For all of the ferocious dress, among the indie rock kids we persistently find gentle, intelligent, and thoughtful young artists. Many express profound faith in Christ and spend their lives serving Him.

Trevor, delights us with the love for Jesus he holds in his heart. He inspires us with his determination to create and innovate musically. He honors us by sharing the songs he writes day by day. Trevor warms our hearts with his love for his friends. Trevor pleases us with his perceptions about human nature and character. Trevor calms us with his careful driving and firm decision to avoid alcohol and other drugs. He encourages us by making us welcome with a hugs and introductions when we show up at his indie rock shows.

We treasure our time spent with Two Week Notice--Loryn Snell, Hudson and Abigal Philips, Andy Lee, and their kind and dedicated indie rock band parents. We miss seeing them at shows, maybe in somewhat the same way regular band parents miss the excitement of half-time shows and competitions. We remain grateful that Two Week Notice was not so independent that they wouldn't let us have a once in lifetime shot at being band parents.

Last night we went to hear Parksideview, a rocking indie band from Peachtree City that Trevor joined this spring. Ken and I renewed our acquaintance with Jen, a friend we met through Two Week Notice, and met a few new kids. We met Daniel Davidson of Norma Jean who touched us with his gentle spirit. While a young band waled out electronic experiments in the background we shared his enthusiasm for what he saw on his European tour and for old photos. Best of all, we observed his commitment to living and making music to honor Jesus. As parents, we felt a certain peace knowing our son meets guys like this in his indie rock world. So a little shout out to Daniel. Thanks for being open to us.

Tommorow Trevor and Parksideview--Jeff and Jake Turner, and Bobby Kyser pack up the merch box and go on tour sans parents. I am grateful for the Turners and Kysers and grateful for their kids. Quirky band parent facts: Two Week Notice dads were all ministers. Two of them are named Ken. Parksideview dads are all named Ken! Join us as we pray for their tour to bring glory to God, to provide great entertainment, and to be SAFE. We have to include the SAFE part, because We are PARENTS--the regular kind.