Where Do I Go?’ -- By: Beverly L. Herbert

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 05:1 (Winter 1991)
Article: Where Do I Go?’
Author: Beverly L. Herbert

Where Do I Go?’

Beverly L. Herbert

I was at seminary—being equipped to lead and serve. I studied, I searched, was stretched and learned. Yet I also cried. I cried for myself; I cried for other women. We endeavored to follow God’s will in our lives, but found instead rebuffs, questionings, and disdain. One night in the midst of this time, I wrote the following piece. It shares my personal experiences yet is actually a composite of several women’s struggles.

February 23,1987

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me. If I say, ‘Let only darkness cover over me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee.” Psalm 139:7-12 (RSV)

But where do I go?

I was scared. I had never been part of a larger Christian community for a long period of time. I had just recommitted my life to Christ a year ago after having spent many years avoiding other Christians. Now I was excited: I was going to seminary, a Christian graduate school, to learn and prepare for the ministry.

I arrived eager to experience the love of the church and the accepting arms of the Christian community. I came to fine-tune my skills and to gain knowledge for the work that God had set before me. I came to see the fullness of the Christian community and church, but was I surprised.

I found instead disdain for my impending leadership as a female. I found lack of acceptance for my ministry and my leadership. I heard so many masculine pronouns used and masculine leaders speak that I wondered if there was a place for me at all. I began to wonder if God really meant to create us male and female, or to only create two males in different outer clothing.

I learned that I was not really a part of the community. That was made clear to me. I found professors who did not want me in class, but tried to camouflage it by calling on me, a woman, during every class to show how much my presence was “accepted.” I was confronted by male students who “wanted to set me straight” about the correct meaning of the women and leadership passages, that I might not sin. I had tensions with various other women students who did not think that what I was doing was biblical. Didn’t I know that the Bible said that women should not assume leadership in the church? Perhaps they thought that eventuall...

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