As I think back upon my life, and spiritual journey, it is not a stretch to say that a majority of any fruitfulness can be traced to Seeds of Sisters that were planted in me:
- I can remember from my earliest years, as a boy, running into the room where my Great-Grandmother, Granny, lived with us. She would either be doing one of two things, watching Geraldo, or reading her beat up Bible. She would routinely scoop me up into her lap and tell me about Jesus.
- As a pre-teen, when the rest of my family had stopped attending “church,” for some reason, I would often want to go, still. My Grandparents, and in particular, my Grandmother, Maw Maw, would make sure that I was there.
- I love both of my parents, and respect them deeply. But I was always closer to my Mom. It was with her that I would spend hours on baseball road-trips, and evenings into the early morning – talking about life and all of its dimensions.
- My greatest failure in life involved hurting my greatest love, my bride. Gloriously, it was in the healing after-effects of this where I really came to know Jesus for the first time. It was in His eyes of Grace, through my wife, that I saw Him.
- During this same time frame, the person who was single-handedly most impactful in pointing not only me to Jesus, but both Marie and I, was our counselor, Beverly Ross. She was Christ incarnate to us, and we are eternally grateful.
All of these were “Spiritual” in the sense of growing me into a knowing of God, but none were in the context of how we have commonly seen “ministry” or “church.” But it was, however, Life.
I see it as no coincidence that I am a Daddy, raising two Ladies in the Kingdom.
A little more than a year ago, I wrote what amounts to a letter to them, in which I expressed my heart, a Father’s Heart, for them in the context of their Life in this Kingdom, the Church. When I read it back to myself, it dawned on me that I also see this as Father’s Heart for all of His Daughters. I have a lot of new readers since I wrote that, so if you haven’t, you may want to take a minute and do so now.
I have a dream, and my dream is Jesus.
He has a dream, and His dream is you.”
This is my heart for my daughters, and this is my understanding of Father’s heart for His Daughters. But, I know this hasn’t always been your experience, or reality. Sadly, more often than not, it has felt like what my friend Kate Wallace poetically wrote recently. It has felt like a box.
…I came to you, and you met me You loved and cared for me You grew me and taught me You fashioned me and called me And I took what you had given me and went back to the place I had first heard about you I was filled with anticipation – what would they have me do? You had given me so many gifts Perhaps I could speak about you Perhaps I could teach others to follow you Perhaps I could spread your message to the world Perhaps I could invite others to your table, to take part in your supper For they had always prayed for you to raise up people of my generation They had always said how desperately your Kingdom needed more voices, more hearts, more hands, and more feet So, with anticipation I presented myself to them Only to be confused by their response For when I offered them this voice that you had given me When I offered them these hands that you had strengthened When I offered them these feet that you had guided They gave me a box They gave me a box in which to keep my passion They gave me a box in which to store my wisdom They gave me a box in which to put my words They gave me a box to hold my hands and my feet They gave me a box and they told me it was your “will” for me as a woman When I asked if they had a box that fit a bit better, they told me to be happy with what you had given me When I told them you had given me things that wouldn’t fit inside the box, they told me I must be mistaken When I asked if there was anything else they could offer, they told me the box was a perfect place to keep my questions…
Ladies, I know that many of you would say that you feel this. That this has been your experience, your reality… your pain.
I want you to hear, I need you to hear – that what has caused your pain is not right. It is not ok. It is not your fault.
On behalf of all of the Brothers throughout the Church:
I confess, that we have believed a lie, we have been deceived away from Father’s Dream for His Daughters, our Sisters – one of inclusive inclusion in His Oneness of co-equality, co-creativity, and co-reign. We have instead accepted an un-reality of separation. We have caused you much pain.
I repent. On behalf of Brothers everywhere, we choose to change our mind about Father, about you, and about us. We agree with Dad that He has included all His kids, male and female, into His Family, equally.
I ask for your forgiveness. On behalf of all the Brothers, we desire reconciliation. We desire unity, togetherness, inclusion, co-___, Oneness. We desire for The Box to be forever dismantled.
Earlier, I stopped short of including the finale of Kate’s poem:
…And so I come to you Me, and everything you have given me Me, and everything you have created me to be Me, and everything you have called me to And the box I’m a bit bruised from trying to fit inside of it And now that I’m standing in front of you, I realize that you don’t want me to And I see that I have a choice I can keep this box they have given me and throw out all the things that don’t fit I can ignore the time I spent with you, the gifts you have given me, the calling you gave me I can dismember my soul in order to fit into the dimensions of the box I can live for them and let their box define me Or I can trust the way you made me, the way you prepared me, the way you called me I can lean on you for guidance and walk in the footsteps of brave women who’ve gone before me I can live fully alive in you and trust that you are a God who is bigger than the box I can set the box down and walk away I can live for you and let you define me They gave me a box – and called it yours You offer me freedom – and call it mine So I take the box And put it on a shelf And label it history Then I take your hand and we walk away, because life with you is far better than life in a box”
Here’s the beauty of the Gospel – The Box died with Christ on the Cross.
What we hear as the Good News is that all are included, equally, from before time.
We are all created in the image and likeness of God. We exist in the Fellowship of the Divine, together. This is our Objective Reality.
But we’ve been living a lie.
The Fall veiled our Reality – and moved us into an existence of un-reality.
This un-reality of “the knowledge of good and evil” is hallmarked by fear, the need to control, shame, hiding, scapegoating, comparing, desiring what another has, defining….separating.
This un-reality created boxes – one of which was rift between man and woman.
The essence of religion is mankind working, efforting to get back, to get right with God.
Religion (wrong tree) creates “right/wrong,” “in/out” – it says man is greater than woman, in authority over woman, can do things for God that women cannot.
Religion is existing in an un-reality in our minds of separation from God… and from each other. And we’ve read all of this into our Bibles and understanding of who God is, and what He has for us.
But – the Lamb…
The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. We all died in Christ – therefore, so did the Box, so did the comparisons. So did the un-reality of separation.
We all are raised in Christ, and in Him live. The veil of un-reality in our minds has forever been torn so that we can subjectively experience and manifest what objectively, eternally always has been, and already is.
We are One with Divine (Father, Son, Spirit) – and One with each other.
We share THEIR image and likeness. We have been reconciled. It is ours now, to be in our reconciled Truth (reality) with and in God, and each other. We must reconcile in our own minds the Truth of our inclusive inclusion in Trinitarian Life.
I want to practically, and supernaturally practice this ministry of reconciliation, together.
Ladies… If you have never had a man, a Brother, confess for the wrong, the pain, the sin committed and caused toward you – I am that man. I stand in the gap on their behalf. I confess, that I have believed and acted out of un-reality toward you.
If you’ve never seen repentance from a man, a Brother, who has made you to feel “less than” in the Body – I am that man. I stand in the gap on their behalf. I repent. I change my mind. I see, believe and will live from Divine Oneness and Inclusion in the shared image and likeness. I turn away from separation from each other, and choose to see the Divine imprint in all humanity, especially the female form.
Finally, on behalf of all men, I am the man who humbly asks your forgiveness. That, together, we move forward in Unified Oneness – in Love – that a hungry and broken and watching world that is still living a veiled un-reality – may see and know that our Father is Love, that by our Love of one another, we too, are Love – and that in seeing Love, they too would know Him – Love – within.
Then I take your hand and we walk away, because life with you is far better than life in a box.”
Our Life, our Reality, is in Him, with Him, One with Him. There is no Box, only the lie of a Box that has been allowed to be told, and lived in. The Truth is, we can only Really exist, together. I need you. You need me. We need each other. We are better (The Best), together. As we take His hand, let us do so hand in hand, unboxed, and walk with Him… with each other.
I love you. God bless you.
Brothers, I urge you, to ask Holy Spirit about the Ladies in your life. Consider your legacy and lineage. Consider what you’ve seen, what you’ve experienced, what you’ve done. Then, ask Him to show you what they have seen, experienced, and had done to them. In His mind, we are reconciled, One. If you can see that, it may be yours now to supernaturally allow space for that reconciliation to be subjectively received, experienced, manifested. In my experience, this starts with your humble confession, repentance, and appeal toward forgiveness and unified Oneness.
What I’ve written here is the meat of a time of healing and ministry of reconciliation that I was humbled to be a part of recently. There is a movement amongst God’s people right now, one of inclusion. Eyes are being opened as He is reminding us of the eternal Reality of our Oneness in Him, together. I want to thank Kim Vastine and Felicity Dale for your labors in this movement. Thank you Kate and Junia Project, as well. You bless me. In response to what the Lord is doing following Felicity’s book, The Black Swan Effect, there are Roundtable events happening around the country, where men and women are gathering to hear the Lord about the inclusion of all of His people. If you get a chance to attend one, please do. You will not regret it.