Since being in a leadership role at my church, a question I’m frequently asked is: “What’s it like being a woman in leadership?” It almost always catches me off-guard, but I’m quickly reminded of what my role must look like from a distance.
Many days, I’m often the only one at meetings without a Y chromosome. As the first woman in my position, I had to be approved by a roomful of suits. I have an office, a title, and a team.
But I really don’t feel like a leader, to be honest. Maybe because I’m still relatively new in my role. Maybe because I was promoted from within and my co-workers are also my long-time friends. Maybe because the word “leader” seems to imply that I should know where to go, what to do, and how. I don’t.
Sometimes I get caught up in “improving my leadership skills”. I read the blogs and listen to the podcasts about “casting a vision” and “inspiring the team”. Apparently, I’m supposed to think more about “empowerment” and “innovation”. Occasionally, I take notes and make flow-charts. I set agendas and SMART goals. And eventually, I make myself sick… Continue reading
I used to know things. I mean really know them. As a child, I knew dads got ready for work while kids watched The Lone Ranger at 6:00am. I knew moms always bought girls new outfits for picture day. I knew homework would be returned with a star and a smiley face from the teacher.
I also had a solid grasp on marriage and parenting, but that was way before I had a husband and kids.
Then, as an adult, there were other things I became so sure about: Continue reading
Theologian Stanley Hauerwas argues that to truly learn a story, we must act it out.
In my experience, Hauerwas is spot-on, but I’d like to apply his theory a step further. I believe the real, most-important learning comes not only from the acting out, but in the company of the actors.
Every Christmas at pageant time, the kids act and I direct, but it’s the company that changes us. The kids come to that first rehearsal either struggling against or showing off their part. They come clutching their scripts and focused on their own small scene.
No, we can’t have the shepherds use a GPS to find the manger. No, you can’t ask Joseph if he made a reservation. No, the Angel of the Lord can’t wear a gun and holster…
The irony isn’t lost on me that I’m the one who must lead them. Continue reading
All he wanted to do was hammer something.
Eli* wasn’t a regular church-goer and wasn’t sure how to find the book of Galatians in his Bible, but he heard there might be an opportunity to build things, so he signed up.
“When are we going to build stuff?” he asked as we settled in for our group devotion.
“Soon,” I said, but I wasn’t sure. Not at all. We were barely 24 hours into the youth-group service trip when I realized things were out of our control. Our group was randomly split up at lunch, placed in prayer groups with people we didn’t know, and assigned to various work-sites without our consent. Clearly, we weren’t in charge. Continue reading
I’m Jamie Afshari and still girlishly giggle when I say that because it’s a new- to- me last name as of September 2. My husband Jahan and I live in Tower Grove and love city living. I work at Central Presbyterian Church and love serving the women there. I was fortunate to get my Master of Divinity two years ago from Covenant seminary and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of plumbing the depths of God’s love. As a Chicago transplant I am thrilled to say that St Louis is right; Baseball is pretty great in October. Who knew? 😉 Continue reading
One of my favorite parts of my morning walk is when I pass by our local library just before it opens. If my timing’s right, two staffers come outside just as I pass and I get to watch their reverent ritual of hoisting our flag for another day. It’s cool to watch, and I’m enough of a geek for it to put a little spring in my step.
Last week, I was a little behind schedule, but I rounded the library corner just in time to see Continue reading