by Jody Smiley
One recent Sunday, my pastor used a bicycle as an analogy for faith in his sermon. As I listened, I realized that I could also look at Women of the ELCA in the same way. Thanks, Pastor Paul, for inspiration.
History tells us humans invented the wheel about 3,500 B.C., but the bicycle doesn’t show up till about 1818. We built the bikes similar to the ones we ride today around 1886 A.D. That is more than 5,000 years since we first saw the wheel. Why did it take so long to get to the modern bicycle?
We know the bike is a great way to get around, but think about it. Suppose you saw this two-wheeled contraption for the first time. Two wheels seem unstable. A bike doesn’t balance on its own. If you get on, you will fall over.
Take risks, go faster
Then what if I told you if you move forward, the bike will become stable. I say, “The faster you go, the more stable the bike becomes. Just go down that steep hill.”
“Impossible,” you say!
I could tell you the physics behind it, angular momentum, longitudinal acceleration, and gyroscopic effects. Yeah sure. So, we have this bike–great potential but useless if you’re not moving forward.
When Women of the ELCA began, it might have seemed like an impossible idea. But as we moved forward, we got our balance. We saw great potential. We empowered women around the world. We started and supported many amazing ministries, and we inspired others in their faith journeys.
I fear participants of Women of the ELCA are slowing down. And as with the bicycle, the slower we go, the more off-balance we become. Like in our faith journeys, we must be active, searching, imagining, and moving forward.
Our Women of the ELCA executive board is doing just that. If you read the news article about the October meeting, you know that the exploratory committee presented its report. The board discussed it and is moving on recommendations in the report and ideas presented by the individual committees.
We, as participants in this organization, also have to keep from slowing down and falling off our bikes. Is your congregational unit or your synodical women’s organization slowing down? Are you losing your balance? How can we get our angular momentum and longitudinal acceleration going again?
Jody Smiley is chair of Women of the ELCA’s exploratory committee and soon-to-be-retired environmental analytical chemist at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. She is also president of the Virginia Synodical Women’s Organization. Jody was vice president of Women of the ELCA’s executive board from 2014-2017. Photo by Andrew Gook on Unsplash
One way you can pedal faster is by subscribing to Gather magazine (gathermagazine.org/subscribe). Subscriptions to the magazine help the organization’s bottom line. Now’s the time to give subscriptions as a gift.