Marta in Waco, Texas.
I am at a conference called Nevertheless She Preached. Two hundred women, whom, I assume preach. Want to preach or are learning to preach. Maybe they practice preaching each week or are just generally interested in the ideas that come out of preachers and their preaching-style. Perhaps, curious about identified female preachers, specifically. Women preachers can be something political. And being political is dangerous and therefor fascinating. There are about ten dudes attending the conference, by the way. Not nearly enough.
Yesterday, I arrived in Waco, Texas. They don't have taxis, so I shared an Uber with a Baylor student from San Francisco. The very large southern gentlemen that drove us, gave me his card, despite me telling him, that I would be walking. He immediately got on maps and told me that it was a twenty-five minute walk and that I would need a ride. I looked at him, and said that I was from Colorado, and that I could handle twenty-five minutes. What I didn't know was that I was on the South Side of Waco.
The South Side was the heart of Waco up to 1953, until a massive tornado devastated the area. Now it is largely populated to the Hispanic community and a number of Hispanic gangs. I decided that walking at night might not be the best idea. Maybe this is what the Uber driver was talking about.
Today I walked about ten blocks four times, almost six miles through the Hispanic neighborhood called Brazos from my hotel to the UBC (University Baptist Church) to a conference for women preachers.
For WOMEN PREACHERS,
the type of conference that is largely unheard of.
In Texas. Waco. On the South Side.
Preaching about patriarchy, LGBTQI, non-binary gender roles, pastors with babies and embodied theology. I would be remiss if I did not notice dear Lady Guadalupe on way to UBC and on my way back. There she was. On door steps. Crevices on the sides of the homes. Sanctuary in the yard. She is an image of not only motherhood and nurture but feminism and social justice. Of course she guided me on my way to a Nevertheless She Preached conference. An ultimate symbol of goodness. A symbol as old as Jesus. Though, somehow, women are still on the margins? Apparently she appeard to a peasant in 1531. Not a person of privilige but to a person that represents the other...the women of the world. Those people that, historically, don't get to stand in pulpits and speak about their lives and God. Lady Guadalupe said 'if you love me, trust me and believe in me, I will respond.' She provided a different kind of a church. A church where the pulpit was with the people, the hospitality like your home and the theology was of the heart not the head.
I loved seeing these little shrines, markers of faith, reminders of how important it is, SHE is, in our Christian faith. Of how far we have come and of how much more work we have to do.