We don’t always think we have the power to make any difference. We downplay the power we do have which diminishes the power we have. So our power is lessened. Not by anyone but ourselves. My mentor taught me to use the power I do have. I watched her do it.
She had finally had enough. It was an election year at Annual Conference so there were conversations happening all over the place. There was a constant hum even as the reports were read over the microphone while at the back certain ones went on behalf of a caucus of The Women or The African-Americans to wrangle with the Good ol’ Boys for votes. Smaller groups would try to gain traction with The Women or The African-Americans because they were the only ones with enough votes to try to trade in order to sway the vote. This was a high year for politics with more openings than usual.
I was blown away as she challenged someone who now is in a position of power. He was one of the few that held some sway with the Good ol’ Boys but he wasn’t old. She said, “You keep saying you are for women in ministry but all you do is allow women to be in ministry. That is not being for women in ministry. Allowing ministry to happen while you do nothing is not the same as being for it. You only get to say you are for women in ministry when you push and shove to make room for women and you intentionally lift women up. Until you use your voice and your power on behalf of women in ministry you.are.*not.*for*.women.in.ministry.”
While he stood there sputtering, she walked off, and then he chased after her. His behavior changed dramatically from that time forward. He still had his moments as a jerk but he was an equal opportunity jerk. He intentionally watched for quality young women to put on his staff so he could help launch them. He also became more of an advocate for persons of color.
Not everyone listens.
But change won’t come from silence.
Sometimes you have to put on your brass bra and speak up.