A Prime Minister, an activist and a physicist walk into a bar … or onto the stage at the World Economic Forum. Justin, Malala and Fabiola – PM, activist and physicist respectively, were in conversation regarding the current status, role and opportunities for women the world over. Talented; ambitious; humble and articulate, they shared their dreams for what an education should look like, how business should be conducted, and what it is to live a meaningful life.
My favorite story from their conversation was told by Malala. She was describing how the family tree is presented in her culture, dating back generations, but always through the male lines. She recalls the day her father stepped forward and wrote her name onto the scroll. Hers was the first name of a women to be included. It was a bold step on so many levels – a demonstration of his love for his daughter, his courage to move against the status quo, his belief that things needed to change and that his daughter was an essential cog in the creative wheel … He was ready for her to change the world. He was willing to let her take the lead, and to stand with her.
This weekend I am at what is called a “Ministry Exploration Summit” – a first step for people in the United Methodist Church who believe they might be “called” to ministry. At this point in my life, my vantage point is more from the perspective of one preparing to pass the mantle. Listening to the struggles and the dreams, the history they have lived and the history they hope to create, I am hopeful. I couldn’t help but compare Malala’s father writing her name into the annals of the family history with the image of names being written in the “book of Life” (Revelation 20:12).
For these folks attending this “MES” – and for anyone else who thinks of themselves as followers of Jesus … How do we help people know that the best way to insure your name is in that book is to do all you can to insure other people’s names are written their first?