The term “principal,” means “most important, consequential, or influential: chief.” (Merriam-Webster). As a child, I was taught to remember the difference between “principal” and “principle” (a rule or code of conduct) by thinking of the school director/leader as our “pal.” With that distinction in mind, as well as the childhood imagery of a pal, Proverbs 4:7 can take on an interesting meaning: Seeking wisdom should be a top priority in our lives. We should make wisdom our best friend.
Wisdom challenges us to consider the broader scope of things and make decisions that are good, not only for the moment, but also for the long haul. Having said all of that, I’d like to suggest that women clergy could learn some things from male clergy that will benefit them over time.
The other day I heard a clergywoman say, “Men can argue all morning long in the board room, but go out to the golf-course together in the afternoon!” She was suggesting that in general, men are adept at separating business from personal relationships, networking and camaraderie. Of course, we have seen men ostracize one another, be “cut throat,” and have their own cliques and clans in business meetings, but we have also observed their ability to make connections, look for who has certain areas of expertise and tap into their reservoir of resources, come together to get a job done and then go out together and take in a sports event!
What, in wisdom, can we learn from their behaviors?
- Separate personal issues from business: Even if you don’t like the way “she” acts or dresses, or whatever, is there something you can learn from her? Is there any area in which you could collaborate?
- Learn how to disagree and let it go: So often our “board room disagreements” turn into long term “I can’t stand her!” As a result we miss opportunities to make connections, listen and learn, consider another person’s point of view and grow as Christians
- Learn the benefits of “playing well” together: Women miss so many chances to network, experience open doors and open doors for others, lifting as we climb. Frequently we allow our differences, jealousies, fears and insecurities to hinder the power and blessing of joining forces together with other women.
In wisdom, let’s learn. The next time you find yourself in a room full of men with one or two sisters scattered in the mix, take time to go over and introduce yourself to them. Take time to talk to them about their work, their lives, the ministries in which they serve. Avoid the temptation to only hang out with the “boys.” Even if, due to the unfortunate patterns of behaviors common to the few who “make it into the circle” they appear cold, disinterested, disconnected and even disrespectful, I challenge you to push past all of that and be the standard bearer.
In the spirit of wisdom, show other sisters how to affirm, encourage, lift, support, include, understand and advocate for other women. Even if you are misunderstood, rejected, given the cold shoulder, negatively spoken of etc., push forward. Your light, your example, your bold spirit, your love for the Lord and the “sisteren” will ultimately break down barriers, create opportunities and develop new and productive patterns for women to follow. We are better together. In wisdom, let’s learn and march on!June 30th is rapidly approaching! Take the opportunity today to register early and save $25.00 on registration for the “Empowering and Encouraging Women In Ministry” Conference, August 23-25th, 2012 in Beachwood, Ohio. To read more and register, visit www.wtimofgreatercleveland.org and click on “donate n register.”
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Until Next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris