Faithful Rebel: Author Felicity Dale on How to Stop Waiting for Permission

SwanJacketfinal“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,” writes Marianne Williamson, and I know in my bones she’s right. If you’ve noticed it’s been quiet on this blog lately, it’s because for the last three months I’ve been finishing up my manuscript revision  for a new book coming out with Crescendo next year (more on that soon). And in very un-Erin-like fashion, last night I dreamt it was a huge success. Like award-worthy success. The words “shoe-in” were used. I’d never considered such a thing in my waking hours. You write a book and you think you like it and you get some sleep, and this seems the best possible outcome.

Women have a habit of underselling our power. In this month’s “Lessons from a Faithful Rebel” video, I interview author and house church leader Felicity Dale on her anthology The Black Swan Effect: A Response to Gender Hierarchy in the Church. The book includes essays from Dale herself – in one she describes the church as hemiplegic, that is, the female half of the body is experiencing paralyses – as well as contributions from other women and men who support the inclusion of women in leadership in more than just word but deed. (For instance, when’s the last time you sought out a woman to be your mentor?)

While we don’t agree on everything, Felicity helps me see that we don’t need to wait for a man’s permission to use our gifts in the church. More importantly, we don’t need to wait for God’s permission; a faithful reading of Scripture makes it clear it’s already ours in spades. There’s only one skill you need, Felicity says, “Listening to God and then doing what he says.”

Take twenty minutes to listen to Felicity and then consider who in your life needs a reminder that they are powerful beyond measure.

Feeling inspired? Who was the first woman in your life that taught you your own strength?

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5 responses to “Faithful Rebel: Author Felicity Dale on How to Stop Waiting for Permission

  1. Can’t wait to listen to it! And I think she’s completely right – whether inside or outside the church, women sell themselves short far too often. It’s a cultural norm …at least within white culture, I’d say. Have you read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In? PS: Congrats on all your manuscript finishing – I look forward to cheering you on! xo.

    • Thanks, Cara, for pointing out how “playing small” is particular to white women’s culture and not all women. I haven’t read “Lean In” but from what I’ve heard there’s a tension it’s generated between owning your strength and accepting your limits. Sometimes, I have to ask myself, are you taking this gig, writing this article, traveling to this conference, because you want to or you think you should? And further, if you say no to said things, are you doing it because you are afraid or because you are content? I often need others to remind me what I’m about.

  2. Barb Boone and Mary Elaine

    • Yes! I remember Barb and Mary Elaine at our church in high school. They seemed at home in their own skin. It reminds me that as much as I think my “neuroses” are endearing to other women – and give them permission to have some of their own – we also give other women a gift through carrying ourselves with confidence.

  3. Ellen Quarry, a Jewish psychologist who was my mom’s friend. She knew my so-called “bossiness” could be a strength.

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