The God Who Sees Sarah Thebarge

The God Who Sees Sarah Thebarge August 9, 2012

There are faith-communities that still forbid women from preaching.  I grew up in a community like that. Girls and boys weren’t even allowed to study the bible together once we reached puberty. I guess all those adults worried that all that talk of who beget who might stir up the wrong passions inside of us. Or maybe it was all that rape and incest stuff they were hoping to avoid.

I have female blogger friends who spend a great deal of time and energy railing against this sort of mentality. I’m too tired to rail on this subject matter much. Too many other important issues to rail against. Some of which I may actually be able to impact.

But this week I came across the best argument ever for allowing women to preach.

Her name is Sarah Thebarge.

She has a book coming out next spring with Jericho Books. Sarah is an amazing writer and courageous spirit and all things bright and beautiful. A two-time breast cancer survivor.

She preached this past Sunday at Portland’s Imago Dei and you simply must make time to listen to Sarah. Seriously. Just click this link and listen. Sarah preached a sermon in the way only a woman could have.

And after you listen to her amazing sermon 0n The God Who Sees, click on Jericho Books link for more information about her forthcoming book The Invisible Girls. 

Do I know the most awesome people or what?

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  • Karen, I love Sarah’s writing, and have already downloaded that sermon, though have yet to listen to it. I read an early copy of her yet-to-be-released book “Invisible Girls” and agree with you about her.

    I will take issue, however, with your opening statement. Many people who believe that women shouldn’t preach are simply going from a literal interpretation of a couple of scriptures. There is no ulterior motive, and for you to assign an ulterior motive, rather than simply acknowledging that a reasonable bible-believing person could see it differently than you, does more harm than good, considering the current state of political and theological discourse in American Christianity these days.

    Rather than accusing such people of trying to avoid talk about uncomfortable topics, why can’t you just say “some people don’t believe women should be able to preach, but I disagree, and here’s why…”?

    • KarenZach

      Uh… James… My assigning of motives had to do specifically with the decision to separate us for bible study, which, however, you parse it, is just plain weird.

      • Sorry. I read it as more of a blanket statement on all those who have the position I mentioned.
        As for the gender separation for bible study, I can’t speak for them, as I have never been part of such a thing. But I will refrain from calling it weird, simply because it was done that way for thousands of years, and still is, in many Jewish synagogues.

        • KarenZach

          You are a better man than me. 🙂

          • You’re right. I am a better man than you 😉
            What I meant was: to me, the word “weird” means something very strange and out of the ordinary. Since separation by gender in synagogue teaching has been practiced for so long by so many, it didn’t fit the criteria for ‘weird” to me. But that’s just me.

          • Yes, the word “weird” in this case reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis.

            “Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

            After spending a good part of my adult life in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the “segregation” of the sexes in religious contexts is anything but “weird”. Over one and a half billion Muslims do it. Some Romanian Baptists even do it. So, it is not “weird” in the sense of unusual.

            Still, I’m sure it is weird for Karen just like a want-ad for a secretary in Turkey is “weird” when it lists among the qualifications “good-looking”

            In the West, they would be sued. But, it’s weird to us and not weird to them. Weird is apparently relative… (In fact, the word seems to apply to lots of my relatives, which is also weird when you think about it since they should be part of my “normal”)

  • AFRoger

    I’ve been at that point where endless cries to the sky brought only silence. Some of the time. At other times, the cries to the sky seemed to be answered by bricks falling out of the sky. Weeks, months, and sometimes years passed before I could see how I had been carried to another place by it all. Wilderness time.

    I admire and am inspired by Imago Dei Community in many, many ways and have been blessed to know many folks there. They give me hope. For all who lament our so-called “post Christian” times and long for a Golden Age of the 1950’s to return I say this: The church is most vibrantly alive and faithful precisely when it seems to be dying and is being reborn before our eyes. If we haven’t figured out by now that rebirth and new life are sorta integral to the whole kingdom of God deal, then it’s time for us to start all over in Kingdom preschool and kindergarten.

    Three important lessons to draw from Sarah’s message and what Imago does in general: 1) Don’t be so busy doing all our churchy, worshipy stuff that there is no room and no time in worship for Jesus to show up. 2) Just as much as Jesus showed up at the communion table when Sarah was on her knees hiding tears behind sunglasses, Jesus showed up in her heart and in the lives of the family placed in her path. It’s never an either/or situation. The kingdom of God is a seamless whole. 3) We don’t have to make things happen in order to get Jesus to show up. We need to leave room. ‘Cause if Jesus shows up, something WILL happen, I guarantee it… No, I don’t. He does.