Harmony, by Zoe Pimentel

10 Feb

Another guest blogger responds to this week’s challenge – this time trainee vicar Zoe recalls how her preconceptions were seriously challenged – and how God spoke to her powerfully – through an unlikely group of people…

zoepimAs a young female trainee vicar, in her third year of college, the issue of ‘women in leadership’ has been the big thing for me recently, particularly during and since the women bishops vote. Believe me, if you looked in the right places, there were endless blogs, e-petitions, and facebook groups about it – for and against.

I confess to getting quite upset by, and reacting to, things I saw on the internet, and it ate away at me. However, one Sunday over Christmas, I found myself in a South London church who prohibit female leaders in any form except leading other women, and who had wholeheartedly petitioned the Church of England to vote against the women bishops measure (in case you weren’t sure, I was for it). I was visiting an African friend of mine who is working there for a year, and he invited me to visit.

There were so many things that I found myself rolling my eyes at, cynically mocking in my head, as I sat silently in the pews and observed (well, judged…) all these people that I’d never met before in my life. Shameful, I know. But afterwards, I was invited to do some carol singing with them in the local high street. Being a deep lover of singing and harmonies, I leapt at the chance.

Then, I had to seriously check my heart and attitude. These people were going onto the high street because they had a gospel that they loved and deeply believed in, just like me. As we sang, I could hear strong vocals behind me making beautiful harmonies with the well known carols, singing as loudly and proudly as I was. They love singing, just like me. The beautiful irony of joining myself in a physical, audible, act of unity with this group of Christians that I otherwise probably wouldn’t choose to spend time with began to dawn on me. And I realised, they were people, who loved singing, and loved God. Just like me. We had so much more in common than I had originally thought, including, God. I couldn’t believe I’d overlooked the most important foundation of all.

Ever since (so, only in the past month, not very long!!), I’ve been attempting to seek out different voices that I could physically meet and befriend, not just different voices on the internet (although I admit that it is easier to take the relational route while at a theological college than in normal life). I believe the incarnation of Jesus shows us a God who made the effort to come and meet us, face to face; despite all our apprehensions, misconceptions, and judgements about him. The least we can do for our brothers and sisters, with whom we may differ, should be the same.

Zoe Pimentel is a trainee vicar with a background in youth work. She is also a tea drinker, nature lover, roller blader, and an occasional tweeter.

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One Response to “Harmony, by Zoe Pimentel”

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  1. What I learned in week six « God 52 - February 12, 2013

    […] was forced to wrestle a bit with his preconceptions as a Conservative Evangelical, and Helen and Zoe, both of whom found wisdom or grace they didn’t expect among complementarians. Elsewhere on […]

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