More than a year since I started the project, I’ve been asked, indirectly, to re-publicise the lending library in my church. It’s hard to feel enthusiastic about it for all sorts of reasons, and since it’s that kind of day I am going to list them here.
- the book stock is old and uninspiring. There is no budget for new books.
- previous publicity has been met with unmitigated indifference
- publicity slots ‘booked’ in the noticesheet have been moved without warning leaving me with ‘library time’ planned in for the wrong weekend, scuppering work plans
- sarcasm at best, and indifference, at worst, from some who should know better – or at least be able to remember my name by now
- ideas fall into a black hole of non responsiveness
- donations consist of books fit for the bin – “we have these out of date publications, would you like them for the library?”
Why am I always approached via an intermediary? Why am I not allowed to attend or contribute to discussions about the project, leaving me reliant on games of chinese whispers to communicate with the church leadership to try to make my case? Am I not trusted to behave at a meeting?
In my less cheerful moments the apparent misogynistic attitude is really depressing. It reminds me of the cartoon of a board meeting where the chair comments ‘That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Smith. Now perhaps one of the men would like to make it.’
(thought that was done by Jacky Fleming, can’t find it, but have seen another favourite – flamethrower)
It’s so frustrating. I am an independent, intelligent, well-qualified, professional woman. I have managed budgets of £500k, conferences in major exhibition halls, events with attendance of 10,000. I can sift and interpret business information from more sources than you can poke a stick at. Yet at church, I am a voiceless, marginalised, irrelevant, odd-one-out woman, only to be talked to indirectly. I’m not asking to be in charge, just to be treated in a civilised manner – the way that the men involved would, perhaps, value female work colleagues.
…all of which makes the Lord’s work such a joy to undertake.
Is this a problem because it’s an evangelical church? If the focus on the church was less on bringing more people in, and more about discipling/ teaching/ growing those already there, would several hundred books be seen as a useful resource, to be maintained, promoted and valued instead of shoved in the corner for the toddlers to be sick on?