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.”
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.