This week I want to share with you PART II of my interview with Rev. Dr. Angela Parker and her thoughts on freedom and liberation. In PART I of our conversation we talked about her new book, If God Can Still Breathe, Why Can’t I? Black Lives Matter and Biblical Authority. In that part of our conversation we talked about the ways the Bible can be a source of authority in our lives without being authoritarian. We talked about how scriptures have been used in a white supremacist culture to dismiss and ignore the experiences of women and people who inhabit Black and Brown bodies.
Dr. Parker is a preacher, a womanist biblical scholar, and an assistant professor. She teaches New Testament and Greek at McAfee School of Theology. In PART II of our conversation she names how we might envision the body of Christ as fully embracing Black and Brown bodies and experiences. How we might embrace women and all genders as essential to the body of Christ, rather than ignoring the witness of scripture to God’s call in women’s lives. Her womanist reading of the text always seeks freedom and liberation.
“Walk in such a way
that we all make it home”
-Rev. Dr. Angela Parker
Highlights of our conversation include these critical topics for ministry:
- women called to ministry
- writing through the multiple pandemics
- preaching to white congregations and going beyond allyship
- preparing the next generation of ministry leaders
She says of individual and communal salvation, “I believe in this Jesus so much, that as I am in community with other believers in Jesus, we are going to walk in such a way that we all make it home.”
Going above and beyond allyship
How do you come alongside Black and Brown bodies who are part of the body of Christ to walk with them communally? If we take the inclusion of all experiences of all people seriously, then we start with believing. We need to believe the people with Black and Brown bodies who tell us what it is to live and die in America. White people, like me and many of my readers, need to hear the voices and stories of Indigenous, Black and Brown people. And the church universal needs to seek forgiveness. For we have participated fully in the sins of white supremacy. We have ignored and done harm to body of Christ. Yet white churches need not be paralyzed by our guilt. Rather as Dr. Parker urges us, we need to find ways to show up and “walk alongside Black and Brown people who are the body of Christ.
Here is a question Rev. Dr. Angela Parker asks when she preaches to white congregations.
How do YOU come alongside Black and Brown bodies who are part of the body of Christ? How do YOU walk in community?@anp22fab #Pastoralimagination #BeyondAllies pic.twitter.com/EGxIh0x7o2
— Three Minute Ministry Mentor (@3MinuteMin) March 21, 2022
The demanding work of ministry
Overcoming the ways the church has gone astray is hard work. The call to embrace the ministries and gifts and callings of women takes working against centuries of patriarchy and abuse. The work of allyship and accompaniment with one another that truly hears and integrates the experiences of Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples into our worldview and church mission is big work. How do we do it? What will it take? Honesty. Humility. Willingness to own up to the sneaky ways that patriarchy and white supremacy worm their way into everything.
And we cannot do this big work without care for our own souls. In fact caring deeply for our souls while also caring for the soul of the church and our neighbors is at the heart of the work of ministry. Dr. Parker says one of the questions she lives with is this: How will I stay healthy and holy while doing the work of ministry?
She also cares about the next generation of church leaders. She knows how many are at risk of burn out right now. This is something my own research confirms. And she asks: How do we train ministers for the long haul of ministry?
What about you? What will you give yourself permission to do toward your self care? Grieve. Laugh. Read. Or just give yourself space to be? How will you do the small things that give you the energy and strength you need to participate in the BIG changes the church and world need?
March Book Giveaway
For simple reminders to yourself and your friends, visit our 3MMM shop. There you will find some beautiful Pandemic Permission cards. Something we hope will encourage you! And please share this post with a friend. Everyone who subscribes to Three Minute Ministry Mentor by the end of this month will be in the drawing for Dr. Parker’s book, If God Still Breathes, Why Can’t I?
And please join us for our Lenten journey, Picturing Pastoral Imagination. We want to see that big work you are doing! And also the ways your ministry is a spiritual practice. Watch this short video to learn how!