In April I posted about becoming visible at our denomination's district council. I never did come up with any real reasons for the evident change in other's attitudes--or was it a change in me?
Something else that seemed odd happened a few days ago. I'm not trying to brag or imply anything whatsoever. I am just curious, more than anything else, about the "whys." Just musing to avoid going outside and doing yard work maybe. (Today it is HOT in Wisconsin.)
I was attending a small, early-morning training session led by our district superintendent. There were eight ministers present. I was the only woman among them. We all know each other to a greater or lesser degree. I was last to arrive, but the superintendent was out of the room, so we spent some time getting coffee and exchanging small talk and good-natured banter. Two of the group, Rev. R. and Rev. H. are former pastors who are now employed as officials for the district.
I was included in the group as if I was "one of the guys." I mean this in a totally good way. I do not think this has ever happened to me before in a group of ministers. They are kind but I never feel like a friend and peer. This morning--something was different.
Rev. H., the white-haired and jocular man in the chair to my left teased, "Well [SingingOwl], it is good to have you join us. You just significantly lowered the ugly factor in the room." I laughed and replied with some similarly light comment, and the other district official (Rev. R.) in the chair to my right looked at us both very seriously and said, "She raised the intelligence factor quite a bit too." I was surprised at the comment and wondered if he had been concerned that I was offended by the earlier remark (I wasn't). There was no time to reply since we were beginning our class at that point.
Later I was carrying some light but awkward boxes out to my car. I juggled the boxes, my notebook, Bible, pen and purse, dropping the pen in the process. The others were ahead of us, but Rev. R. (carrying a load of his own) awkwardly picked up the pen, calling out loudly, "Hey GUYS! Someone could come and help the lady with this stuff!" They were too far ahead and did not hear him, I assume, since they did not stop. I grinned at him and said, "Well, when you gain some things you sometimes lose other things." He sort of "harrumped" and said he guessed so. I said that I'd take this anyday. He looked at me with what appeared to be somewhat surprised understanding.
We piled into cars and proceeded to Famous Dave's for some fabulous BBQed ribs. It was an enjoyable lunch with lots of warm conversation. There were six at our table, because a short distance away the district superintendent sat with one of our number who has recently been elected as an area presbyter. "Why are they eating by themselves?" I asked Rev. H. who again was on my left. He told me that since the pastor was assuming a new position, the superintendent had decided to begin the education process over lunch. Rev. R. (funny, he was on my right again) said "It's too bad we aren't a little closer. That way you could listen in and when you become a presbyter you can skip the first part of the instruction. Well, I suppose they'd just make you do it again anyhow." He didn't grin.
What kind of joke is that? I'm not saying I'm next on the list for presbyter or that I even want to serve in that way. I am saying that not long ago the remark simply would never have been said.
What is happening?
This is good. I'll carry my own boxes if necessary.