While the western church is struggling to know how to empower the women within her ranks the culture around her is throwing its arms open wide and celebrating their liberation. Meanwhile, half way around the world, as a huge bureaucratic government disenfranchises the common man, the underground church is setting them free at an alarming rate! The common theme is exile and disenfranchisement.
Carla Brewington is someone Angie has known since her family first came to YWAM 25 years ago. In fact, Carla lived with Angie’s family while working on a book not long after that. I hadn’t met her but was intrigued when she said she was in Kona and wanted to see us and meet the family.
Carla comes from a Radical feminist background so she is quite familiar with the struggle and the strugglers. She has traveled the world as a missionary and a writer. Her vision of redemption for those who struggle without Jesus and her vision for a network of support for those who love the Lord but don’t find a place within the normative context of the western church or western missionary society is needed in our world today.
Having gotten to speak with her and learn a little about her perspective, I was intrigued to read her book “The Sacred Place of Exile” (Even though its audience is primarily women).
What I found as I read about the nature of exile and the “outsider” status of pioneering women in ministry was actually fresh water for my soul! From the “desert mothers” to 19th century pioneers like Gladys Alward and Annie Taylor there is a rich heritage of following God from a lonely, often lowly position.
It struck a chord with my own places of exile. There are huge swaths of my life that are marked, often bitterly, with exile. What a shame not to have known that I could embrace that pain when I was feeling it. Not to have realized that out of such despair and trial God could birth ministry and success. But alas, I live in the by-your-bootstraps America of the latter 20th and early 21st century. A place where exile is in exile and the consensus is the law of life.
There is much hope in embracing a God-ordained life as an exile. Connecting to God and networking with those who share your societal position can bring meaning and purpose to your time in the desert.
I especially recommend “The Sacred Place of Exile” to women but I also will say that anyone who finds themselves on the outside of the western church paradigm could find strength in its pages. I did.
Buy it here.