Wednesday, 14 April 2010

To learn to speak, learn to listen ... at feminist theology

Claudine Haenni Dale spoke to our theme of "trouver sa voix trouver sa voie" at our feminist theology group last night. Claudine is in training to be a lay reader in the Anglican Church and is a human rights lawyer who has specialised in work on the prevention of torture and victims rights.
She chose two texts - the call of Samuel and Moses' response to God's call - to speak personally about her own quite recent journey of faith and the different emotions and sensitivities about speaking on behalf of others, finding her voice as a woman, pitching the message to the audience.
How do you, as a woman with a concern for the legal rights of non-combat people and a responsibility to communicate that to the military, find your voice when speaking to a group of 200 16-18 year old soldiers in central America? How do you speak and listen to those you visit in prison?
Claudine spoke movingly and with great humour and humanity about finding her own voice, the conversion experience of finding her way back to faith (her "way") through being invited to sing in the church choir, her choice of Anglicanism as the right place for her faith.
As we find our voices do we do it - when learning the local language say - in order to blend in so as not to be noticed? Or in so as to be able to use that voice in whatever language to plead a cause, our own or the cause of others? Claudine moved around alot in her youth, learning different languages in order to not get noticed - at least not stand out because she didn't speak the local langauge.
Yet how do we ever dare to speak of faith, in particular as women who have often been excluded from this role for many centuries in most of the Christian churches? Do recent converts have to right to speak in front of others? Does the fact that women preach and lead in some churches today mean that what is said is listened to less?

We returned to the call of Samuel in order to speak, in order to receive the call, the vocation he was counselled by Eli to listen. If we learn to listen to both words and what is left unsaid we will begin to find authentic voice and perhaps also our authentic way. In terms of faith this does not necessarily mean that we always have to find words to preach, things to say; it does mean we need to listen to God in ourselves and in others and bear witness to what God is showing us, doing for us and giving us.
I'm sure that as the week progresses I shall return to some of these thoughts but as we spoke last night I realised what a privilege it is to be part of this group where we both listen and speak. It is a space of liberation and grace.

2 Comments:

Rachel Marszalek said...

"If we learn to listen to both words and what is left unsaid we will begin to find authentic voice and perhaps also our authentic way. In terms of faith this does not necessarily mean that we always have to find words to preach, things to say; it does mean we need to listen to God in ourselves and in others and bear witness to what God is showing us, doing for us and giving us."

That is so beautiful!
"I'm sure that as the week progresses I shall return to some of these thoughts" - I hope so and please share them with us.


Thank you
Rachel

Jane said...

Thanks RAchel - I want to write about emotiona and speaking later in the week - we'll see whethr I make it!