Women in Ministry: Giving Voice to Silence

I wrote this for Ed’s series – it’s just the beginning so check out the rest, and the other stories over there! Also, there are some excerpts from Making Paper Cranes.


It’s a universal expectation for women – lauded by men and if absent, it is criticized by both men and women. For some reason, it’s an easy attribute to embrace and cultivate, and that makes sense because to raise one’s voice, whether in response to some injustice or simply to clarify or honestly express one’s feelings…it requires more than breathing from one’s diaphragm to get some good volume and project. Something much deeper needs to be coaxed out.

Growing up in a Korean home I saw my mom raise her voice – to me when I tortured my brother too much, to my father when he did or said something to make her frustrated, to the dishes when she got so sick of everything. But this was the only time. And it was the only time I really saw any Korean woman speak up and out. I’d never seen a woman preacher in the pulpit in real life, and even cringed at the thought of it. My home church was Presbyterian, but a traditional and conservative community. Women could sing solos, but not read Scripture or offer the congregational prayer on Sunday mornings. And even now, post-seminary, post-ordination, post-years-of-ministry-under-my-belt, although I have seen many women preachers, I have only seen one Asian American woman preach from the pulpit, and that was my current mentor, Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, an associate professor at Moravian Theological Seminary.

I’ve always wondered if something about my relationship with my mother was a key to this lack and struggle.

Read the rest at In a Mirror Dimly.