Streams Run Uphill: Highlighting Other Voices

Streams Run Uphill: Highlighting Other Voices

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This week Jim Kast-Keat of Thirty Seconds or Less will be hosting the writers’ voices of Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Clergywomen of Color .

“Where streams run uphill, there a woman rules.” -Ethiopian proverb

After Making Paper Cranes I found myself desperate to uncover the meaningful and pertinent experiences of the rare but growing number of other clergywomen. I needed to know that I wasn’t totally alone in this journey. I needed to hear from the ones that looked like me. Those that are other in that they are non-Anglo. Those seen as exotic, foreign, and mysterious.

Some have accents. Some look and sound “American.” Some look incredibly young. Some are bilingual. Some are quiet. Some are vociferous. Some are incredible preachers. Some have a healing pastoral presence. Some are mothers. Some are single. Some are gay. Some are recent immigrants. Some are second or third generation. They serve in Asian American, African American, and Spanish-speaking congregations, or, like me, they serve congregations that look nothing like them. I hungered for the life-giving words that came from our unique calling and the acknowledgment of the distinct challenges we faced from the moment we decided to say, “Lord, here I am. Send me.”

Because there are times I question whether or not my call is as real as others around me – those who seem to have the unwavering support of their congregations and communities, those who seem to have little struggle beyond the “usual” in ministry, those who look so comfortable in their robes and in the pulpit.

All of us – the writers – felt it behooved us to share a little glimpse of the struggle – that perhaps this would be an encouragement for women of color pursuing the call to ministry, but also women of color in any leadership type position in whatever context, and even the congregations who are led by women of color. I grow increasingly convinced that women of color voices need to be centered in the kingdom of God, and that the way to a deeper faithfulness by the church is to position themselves towards these lives and perspectives.

Thank you again to Jim Kast-Keat who provided the space and inspiration for these voices this week:

Larissa Kwong Abazia
Yana Pagan
Laura Cheifetz
LeQuita Hopgood Porter
Cheni Khonje

Streams Run Uphill: Official Release

Streams Run Uphill: Official Release

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Where streams run uphill, there a woman rules. —Ethiopian proverb

Happy Women’s History month! 

I’m also super happy to announce the release of Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color.

After Making Paper Cranes: Toward an Asian American Feminist Theology (The Young Clergy Women Project) I felt like there needed to be something about ministry and vocation itself as a follow-up to my journey towards a contextual feminist theology. Something a little more on the ground and touching issues that are often completely absent or misunderstood by others.

Some excerpts from the beginning:

It is the dynamic but unexpected harmony of streams that “run uphill” that compels me the most. There is struggle in an uphill endeavor, but miracle in its very existence. There is an irrationality about it, as well as a subversive, kingdom-shaking quality. There is something off-putting and hard to swallow but undeniably compelling about it. So, too, it is with the “other” clergywomen and our work and ministry, their calling and community relationships, their voices and their perspectives. There is a necessity for their ministries and their stories, a need more pressing now than ever.

I remember from a seminary class the words of our mujerista sister theologians: La vida es la lucha. Life is a struggle. Despite the distinctive quality of these stories, what ties us together, and with all our sisters around the world, is the struggle. We claw. We scuffle. We rise, tooth and nail, tear-soaked and blood-spilled in it all. But it is not only the hardships, the obstacles, and conflicts; it is the miracles. It is the miracle and wonder, the undeniable beauty of grace we encounter in ourselves and in our callings. We overcome much. We surmount even more. We triumph over the impossible. Yet, even more importantly, while much of the journey is uphill, the promise of God in community is that we never journey alone. We share each other’s burdens. We carry each other on our shoulders. We hold each other’s tears. And so, I hope it is with these words: that they would remind us of our shared baptism, the promise and proclamation of God’s claiming us, and how that is the most important voice in our lives, and one that comes to us and we hear in this community.

And in that sharing, we hear and know God’s unquenchable love for us and press on all the more.

To all those women, 
the mothers, the writers, the artists, and the prophets, who are an oasis 
and who stir up a fresh vision of God’s kingdom with their work and lives
so that we might continue faithfully in this journey.

We’ve got a great line up for the upcoming blog tour, author videos in the works, and hopefully webinars/discussions. These are SUCH important issues and all the honesty and vulnerability from the authors has compelled me to make sure we hear their voices, and offer a space for those needing to articulate the struggle. Please join us!