Monday, August 22, 2011

What do you do?

Have you ever noticed that one of the first questions a man will ask about someone else is “What does he/she do?”  My husband asked me that at breakfast this morning about someone from my past.  I’m still digging up people from my past.  I guess it will never stop.  I just like doing it and am a “connector.”

Recently, a good Facebook friend started a Facebook group, Brooklyn Norwegians.  It took off like lightening.  I like this guy.  He’s a writer.  We seem to think alike about things.  We went to the same “grammar” school, PS 94, then the same Jr. High School, John J. Pershing Jr. High School – I left Brooklyn during High School and he was smart, he went on to what was then Boy’s Tech.  I imagine at some point in our childhoods our paths crossed. However, neither of us remembers that time.

All this Brooklyn Norwegian talk – we talked about food, the closing of the last Norwegian bakery, we talked about the neighborhood, churches, people, schools...  I asked about Nancy Andersen whose father had the fish market on 8th Avenue.  I used to wander the neighborhood around Pershing with her during lunch.  No, we weren’t skipping class, but we were not eating lunch at school.  During 7th and 8th, I’d walk home for lunch.  By 9th, I decided to buy candy and walk around with Nancy instead. 

I also thought about other people I knew from Pioneer Girls and 59th Street church.  I keep hoping one of them will pop-up on Facebook. Hopefully they'll remember me when they do.  I’ve written before about worshiping around Lapskaus Blvd.  You can read it here.  I was very ecumenical at a very young age J.

It seems surreal to think of those days.  I may be merging names and faces together.  Two girls who were in my Jr. High classes stand out though.   They both had beautiful Norwegian Bunads.  On 17th of May they’d come in their bunads and we’d chat as we waited in line to go into the school.  I didn’t have a Bunad in Jr. High but I did wear a red, white, and blue ribbon and my Sølje pin to declare my Norwegian pride.   They spoke of Kumpa as their mouths watered.  We didn’t eat Kumpa at my house.  They were more pious than I.  However, I remember them so fondly.

I discovered that one is married and lives in New Jersey.  The other remained single and lives in Brooklyn.  This morning I told my husband my tale.  I think he gets both bored and amused at my tales of time so distant.  I don’t think he fully understands its importance.  When I spoke of the married one, he just said oh… When I mentioned the single woman, he said “What does she do?”  I thought HUH? I don’t know.  It never even occurred to me to ask.

In reply, I said “well, when I was growing up and someone asked a girl what she wanted to be when she grew up, there were three possible answers.  One was a nurse.  The other a school teacher.  Or you might answer, I want to do a commercial track and learn to type, do steno, and make coffee for men who have the real jobs.”  Oh okay, I didn’t say anything about coffee and men when I was a kid.  Our options were limited.

I went on with my early morning rant.  I said, “Yes, a lot has changed.  A woman can be anything she wants to be now except… the ministry. “   He said, “Yes, you’ve sure experienced that.” 

The glass ceiling in the church is lamentable.  If you haven’t seen it, you might enjoy the video I did on the women of Azusa Street (turn on your speakers).  Women traveled around the world with the gospel only to be eventually pushed aside and back into the kitchen and working with children.

Last week I attended the ministerial association in my area.  Nice people… I really like all of them.  I got involved with them when I pastored a church.  Even then, they treated me differently.  I don’t think they took my seriously.  The associate pastor I had, a male, was taken seriously.  I was there to share my research project.  Another woman was there to talk about Child Evangelism Fellowship and a Good News Club.  Great ministry – my mother was involved with it when I was a kid.  The Good News lady would set up her umbrella in Sunset Park when I was a kid.

At first I was taken aback by the comment.  I made a joke.  But in retrospect I wondered.  It was suggested that I work with this woman with the children.  Nothing wrong with working with children.  God bless those that do… but I thought… it hasn’t changed much, has it?  A woman’s place in ministry is in the kitchen or with the kids.

I read a great blog about this on Huffington Post – you can find it here.

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