12 minutes of rage

didn’t have even a tiny dot of rage this week, until 20 minutes into the closing session of the convention. it’s been such a perfect week for me, such a gift from god to end our run at the convention with a week like this. the last session has a surprisingly good turn-out, and the time of singing-worship (lead by troy and alex – i’m so proud of alex for how brilliant he was this week in every way) was great. i wasn’t thinking about running an event or the fact that we have to tear all this equipment down in an hour or the loneliness of the empty hotel tonite or any of that. i was just enjoying the breath of god on my face. beautiful jeanne stevens takes the stage to introduce brian, and asks us to turn and bless someone next to us by sharing a highlight of the week. i turned to the guy sitting next to me (didn’t know him), and said, “wow, that’s a big question — i have to think!” he said:

“while i have your ear for a minute, i would like to share with you that ‘we couldn’t find them’ is never an acceptable excuse when you don’t have 50% female speakers.”

what the…?


momentarily, i thought of trying to explain to him, with a smile on my face, how i think he was misunderstanding the situation; that he was missing the fact that 3 of 4 general sessions here had a female speaker; that he was missing that exactly 50% of the learning community tour guides were female, and that the “lead” tour guide is female; that he was missing the fact that some large percentage (frankly, i haven’t stopped to do the math, but, then, it seems he hadn’t either) of the seminars were taught by female speakers; that he was missing the fact that the main-stage emcee (one of three) who had the clearest role in terms of spiritual leadership is female; and that he was missing the fact that we put a stake in the ground by having an 8-hour intensive focused on women in leadership, and a ys-paid-for lunch on the subject, and made space for an smaller gathering of influencers to discuss the subject; and that while we only had one female of the four practioners in the learning communities, and no female theologians, out of four of them, this only happened after inviting about two-dozen women to those roles (who all wanted to come, but were otherwise committed).

but i didn’t say that.

and i didn’t smile.

i said, “do you have any idea how inappropriate it is to say that to me in the middle of this time of worship?” i was almost crying, but i was a bit too angry to cry. i turned away. when i glanced back a minute later, he was gone.

the whole interchange took about 2 minutes, and it took me about 10 more to convince myself that a-holes are everywhere, and that i needed to get back to that “breath of god on my face” stuff that was intended for me (and everyone else, including that guy) during this closing session.

and the breath was still there, waiting for me.

11 thoughts on “12 minutes of rage”

  1. Woah. I am so glad that some self-righteous, self-important hack was prevented (by the living Holy Spirit of God, it seems) from taking worship from you for more than a short time. Sorry you got beat on; glad the breath of God was still there for you. Peace to you and your house!

  2. Marko,

    It was a wonderful, beautiful convention. Sorry that happened to you, bro. And sorry that there is not some forum for everyone who appreciates what you do to say so. Thanks for all your hard work.

  3. thanks will (and evers) — everyone DID say so wednesday night just after phyllis tickle spoke. i feel very thanked. probably part of why the guy didn’t phase me past 10 minutes!

  4. Sorry that happened to you but as you appropriately stated…”they” are everywhere. So good to know that you God was waiting for you. You are a brother on the right side (not the dark side sorry for the Star Wars humor) and I for one appreciate what you’ve done to make things happen.

  5. Mark-
    I happened to be sitting behind you during the closing session. I didn’t hear the guys ask you the question, but I did hear you say that you invited 3 times the amount of females than you did males. I would have never guessed how pissed you were by the tone of your response. It is funny now that I think about it, but I didn’t see that guy again either. Hmmmmmm.

  6. Marko, I do state-wide events for our “tribe” and I get the same stuff. Hey, I’m doing the best I can and I am sure that you are, too. Thanks for providing an environment where we can ask the questions.

  7. marko, sorry you got sandbagged…and by such an inaccurate statement. i was profoundly aware of the number of women leaders, almost as if it was a non-issue, unlike the on NPC forum i went to and was glared at for speaking out loud. what a contrast! after years of searching, i have found a safe place in the emergent conversation, to speak, to lead and to just be…kudos to you!
    (any man who would share his maduro indian heads with men and women alike is a rare find!;)

  8. I wept when i read this. I met so many women this week that I love, and will love more in the future. Like Susie, it seemed like a non-issue to me in all of EC’s efforts, all levels. blessings on you and YOUR efforts…

  9. I just think it’s awesome that women are being included. I have often pondered the issues of women in youth ministry and it’s been a rocky road for me personally. Thank you, Marko, for allowing women to have a voice. It takes REAL MEN like you, Brian McLaren, JOHN FRANKE, and several others to encourage women to step up to the plate. It’s true that there is hope and women do have a future in ministry. Thank you!

  10. once when i went up for communion at my little episcopal church, after the priest said “the bread of christ,” a lifelong member responded, “it’s a little warm in here.” sometimes inappropriate is so very painful to observe.

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