We need each other’s voices. We do not need numbers. We do not need quotas. We do not even need goals or standards. We need each other. We need each other’s experiences. We need each other’s dreams. We need each other’s stories. (64-65)

51c+Dw5+FeL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Church would do well to listen to the stories of Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color (Judson Press 2014), edited by Mihee Kim-Kort. In these pages there is camaraderie for women of color striving to answer God’s call into ministry. In these pages there is truth-telling about the Church’s conflicted intentions toward diversity. In these pages there is affirmation of God’s gifts of and through the particularities of our flesh — age, gender, culture, language. In these pages there is dedication to the struggle, to the uphill swim, of living into the Kingdom of God.

Sometimes I wish I could just hang out with people like me. But ministry was never meant to be that way. Ministry is not a social club. Most of us are not called to minister to sameness. … Ministry is often a constant cross-cultural exercise, with each ministry setting having a unique culture shaped by its history and identity. (53-54)

My copy of Streams Run Uphill is heavily dog-eared and underlined — places where I paused to listen more closely, moments when I resonated with the joys & struggles of ministry, words that lingered to challenge me. I feel simultaneously encouraged and disheartened by the stories shared by clergywomen whose divine call and ministerial leadership were/are received by the Church through the harsh filters of racism, sexism, ageism, and general xenophobia. Through their stories and their ministries, these clergywomen are leading the way toward a vision of wholeness as one diverse Body of Christ. In order to follow their lead, Streams Run Uphill is a must-read.

Where streams run uphill, there a woman rules.
(Ethiopian proverb)

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