What do the e-insurance commercials, the nagging question of how to get women especially young women active in the organization, a great Reformation celebration and my birthday have in common? I’m glad you asked!
Let’s start with the easy ones. My birthday? Nothing. Next, celebrating the Reformation always gives us renewed energy to change, especially with the gospel lesson from Matthew reminding us that the truth will make us free.
“Beatrice,” the character in the e-insurance series, thinks she has the truth about saving time and money. In my favorite episode Beatrice is speaking Facebook language about posting her vacation pictures but she actually has posted them on to her living room wall.
As for the nagging question of how to get women especially younger women involved? Staff gets a triple dose of this question when doing workshops and presentations at SWO conventions during a triennial gathering year.
Now what do they have in common? The truth. Jesus declares that the act of living the truth will set us free. It was Martin Luther’s action of telling the truth that brought about reform. Beatrice uses the right language but her actions don’t match. Ultimately, her truth is no longer accurate or reality. Beatrice hears the real truth from her friend, “that’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works!”
That exchange with Beatrice’s friend reminds me of those asking the nagging question about involving new and younger women and the truth we hear from many women new to the organization about the actions that make it difficult to participate or keep them out.
The real question is who will be the friend in local units, and to leadership at every expression of the organization that will say “that’s not how Women of the ELCA works, that’s not how any of this works” when the actions point to antiquated actions, traditions and practices that have no reality in our purpose, mission or constitution that keep women from freely living the purpose of Women of the ELCA.
And, yes, there will be resistance to the truth. Beatrice declared, “I unfriend you!” to her friend who spoke up but, the reality is we still have to tell the truth.
We know the answers to the question of how to involve new and younger women in our organization. Post your answer , and I promise I won’t “unfriend” you!
Valora K Starr is director for stewardship.
Photo by Rusty Clark. Used with permission.