This remnant from a Sunday lunch with my husband sat on my desk for a couple weeks before resurfacing this morning, a stark contrast to the images included within my Nov 23 blog.
When I first open the cookie and read this fortune, I smile and imagine presenting it to the gatekeepers of Man Club, a vibrant and 'off limits' group within my faith community. Man Club is 'off limits' because I am a woman. And, I am ok with that.
Readers who've known me a long time, may need to read it aloud: "The group 'Man Club' is off limits to Renee because she is a woman. And, she is ok with that."
For a very long time I wasn't ok in being excluded by my gender. I fought against perceived barriers, expended precious energy trying to go places that an elusive "they" said I couldn't go.
The selfishness of my mindset hit home one Sunday morning. A friend expressed hurt in being unwelcome as a pastor/teacher within churches because he was divorced. Another friend pointed out that she's been excluded from teaching within these same churches from the day of her birth, simply by being born female. My heart grieved for my sister in faith, I've experienced her pain. And, throughout our remaining time together, my heart cried out in anguish for my dear brother in Christ.
Though a man may express wonder at the kick of the growing child within his wife's womb, only she will feel the first flutter of life, the tiny sensation from deep within.
There are countless others who will experience neither the kick nor the flutter.
All humanity is excluded in this fallen and broken world.
Christ came to save us. Christ asks us to pray:
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."
The words Jesus gives us in the "Our Father" offer the promise of God's kingdom in heaven AND on earth.
The selfishness of my exclusionary gender mindset is not based in historical fact nor Biblical truth. Like the fortune cookie, invented decades ago by Japanese Americans, my frustration is based in perceptions skewed by years of marketing and socialization, images and ideas assimilated from our broken and fallen world.
I am invited to be a woman of integrity, to respond with my abilities, to be part of God's plan to bring heaven to earth.
All are invited. Women and Men. All Humanity.
All are invited to integrity in Christ.