I want the entire church to look down at its body and realize that large parts of it are missing.
I want the church to cry out in anguish as it realizes its chronic, degenerative disease: the tender parts that were dishonored, cut off, ignored, mistreated.
I want it to start caring—now! for the parts that have gone missing. I want it to mourn the women it abused throughout history.
I want the church to be like the woman with the bleeding: seeking endlessly and with everything she had to find wholeness and restoration.
I want the church to be healed just by touching Jesus’ robe.
I want the leaders to seek out each of the church’s women—not just the women in leadership already, with resources or privilege—but all its women, the women of color, the queer, the poor and broken. I want the pastors, elders, deacons and prophets to plead with each woman to speak, to lead, to teach, to minister.
I want those women to be commissioned. I want their sisters and brothers to stand up and applaud them as they take the stage.
I want the church to go back into history. Into all the parts of the Bible that boxed us into corners. I want the church to start talking about those verses, reinterpreting them. I want them to be redeemed, so we don’t flinch when we read them.
I am hungry for someone to say, with grief in his voice, that upon occasion St. Augustine and Martin Luther were misogynistic bastards.
I want someone to take all those words, those hurtful things about women: the woman from Judges, the impurities from Leviticus, the verses from 1 Timothy that make us all scratch our heads, the holy church fathers’ ignorance, and print them over and over in eight-point font on miles of paper.
I want all the little kids to plan a world-wide craft party: we’ll make found poetry, collage, origami and papier-mâché with those trembling, tall reams.
I want the church’s approach to power and influence to start resembling the Beatitudes.
I want the church to learn the art of being quiet long enough to hear. To hear the silence of some of its members. To hear the echo of patriarchy losing its grip.
I want to arrive at a Sunday school completely staffed by men—and know in my bones that my daughters will be safe.
Here’s what I long for: I long for a lament from all my brothers. I want them to repent if they’ve participated in oppression. I want them to repent of silence. I want them to cry out in anguish at never noticing that their sisters, wives and daughters were grieving. I want them to understand that they don’t understand. I want that song to be lovely and sad and whole and to rise in a gigantic wave of cleansing.
And then I want them to shut up for a while and listen to the women.
I want us all to stop pretending our brokenness is okay.
I want a thirteen-year-old Latina girl with a quiet voice and blue Converse to interrupt a pastor’s sermon at a mega-church and have everyone strain to hear what she’s saying.
I want someone to hand that girl a mic.
Oh, I know it’s not going to happen.
And yet, here’s the thing:
That verse in Hebrews about two or three gathered together in Jesus’ name is true.
Those two or three are church. I am part of that body, and my sisters and brothers here in San Diego are the body, and the bloggers and authors I’m reading are the body.
And I see so many people—me included—doing this impossible task, this thing I’m hungry for, in small ways.
It is not enough, but like the loaves and fishes broken into tiny, endless bits, it is feeding me anyway.
(Originally posted on Preston Yancey’s blog.)