The past few days has been rough for me at General Conference. I have learned some tough lessons, but yet remain committed to social justice and The United Methodist Church. I’m pretty exhausted and a little cranky (sorry Sara & Kevin), though there are some bright spots.
Yesterday was my denim jumper with pink heels day. I stomped around and meant business, made some impressions with said heels. Now why pink heels.
I am not getting ordained and for years I put power in a clerical collar. When I decided not to get ordained, I realized I had my own power, my own God-given agency and didn’t need a collar for that. I have my bright pink heels that embody the fierceness of my agency… instead of a clerical collar.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) did not come up on Wednesday after the Bishops’ took some steps to lead the church forward. Human sexuality has been put on hold legislatively until a special General Conference, and we weren’t sure where abortion was going to fall. On Wednesday night it was obvious today, Thursday, was the big day for the RCRC vote and perhaps the Social Principle on Abortion would go on the floor even though there had been a deal struck in sub-committee between the two camps, somewhere Responsible Parenthood is in limbo. Needless to say, I woke up this morning knowing it was vital to have my game face on.
The morning brought great conversations for working in coalition moving forward, support for the work I have been doing, and the knowledge that we were most likely going to lose our RCRC membership as a church. What I wasn’t prepared for were my angry tears. Originally I wasn’t wearing my pink heels, but they went on before RCRC was to go before the body. I needed my pink heels to remind me of my agency.
We got word that the elected abortion/diversity sub-committee chair for Church & Society 2 was not going to be the person introducing the legislation removing the church from the RCRC. Although totally appropriate of the chair to do, that was a political move and in my opinion lacked integrity. It set the tone of the legislation and also gave the woman presenting extra time for speaking for the legislation (so against the RCRC) instead of providing a neutral tone. Again she called herself a feminist, but her actions do not align with the accepted definition of feminism.
Instead of honesty and actual facts, lies about the RCRC were shared on the floor by those supporting us leaving the RCRC. Thank God for Becca and her speech against using the talking points I helped prepare for that moment. Truth was spoken, but damage was done. Points of clarification, order, and whatnot were used, and we put up a good fight. But at the end, we lost our seat at the table of the RCRC.
I am angry. Women and girls in the church deserve better. This is just another attempt of men controlling the bodies of women behind thin veils of theology that does not recognize freewill and God-given agency given to ALL human beings including women. It’s about more than abortion. Abortion is a symptom of a larger issue, women having a say over our bodies. RCRC advocates for reproductive health, choice, and justice which isn’t all about abortion, it’s about women’s health both physical and spiritual. It’s about trusting women to be moral agents, to live into grace and make the decision which is best for ourselves and our families.
If I wasn’t awake before, I am more so now. I am in it for another four years. I am committed to ministry through being an advocate, a progressive faith voice, being and acting prophetically about reproductive health, choice, and justice issues. My pink heels aren’t going anywhere, and neither am I.
So bring it those who attempt to strip women of our gift from God. You will not take me away from the table and I am going to get a lot louder believe you me.