Space for Life

Women of the LPTS Class of 2009 are invited to a celebration in their honor on Friday, May 8, 2009 in the Women's Center

Women of the LPTS Class of 2009 are invited to a celebration in their honor on Friday, May 8, 2009 in the Women's Center

The mission statement of the Women’s Center at LPTS includes the effort to “provide a safe space to discuss and hear one another’s stories.” We become especially aware of that spatial dimension of the mission when we plan an event in the Women’s Center’s still-more-new-than-not space (WE LOVE IT!!). We can organize talks, discussions, meetings, celebrations like the one this afternoon, for women graduates, and these events can take place because we have a place for them to take place in.

But the physical space (WE LOVE IT!) of the Women’s Center is only part of the story. A room, or a program, is not automatically a context for discussing and hearing one another’s stories. That context includes what we might want to call interpersonal space, a space that we have to build between two or three or more people. That space consists of history, of relationship. It can open, or close, in response to our mutual activities; it can expand with our listening, care, attention, or contract with neglect. It supports its own language, a language that recognizes the personal meanings that attach to words, expressions, gestures, responses. In that space, in the relational space created between friends, co-workers, classmates, we can hear one another’s stories and tell our own.

Perhaps all change does happen through conversation, as my church newsletter reminds me from time to time. If so, that change has something to do with the change in the world — the interpersonal space that constitutes the world in which people actually live — that takes place in the very act of conversation. Or, at least, that can take place there, if we build the place for it to take place in between ourselves in that conversation. We don’t always.

According to our mission statement, the Women’s Center at LPTS “exists to work for equality and dignity of women in all communities, including religious professions, for the unveiling of the continuing oppression of women of all races and nations, and for the building of community locally, nationally and globally.” It sounds big. It is big, and we are small. But the interpersonal, relational space we are building — between friends, colleagues, classmates — including the remarkable classmates of the Class of 2009 — is large, and growing larger. And it is in that new space that this vision, and this mission, really take place.

This entry was posted in Points of Information, Theology & Other Thoughts and tagged , , , , by Ha_Qohelet. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ha_Qohelet

Ha_Qohelet is a transliteration of Hebrew definite article plus a feminine participle, all together meaning "the (feminine) one who assembles" or who calls together. Qohelet is the title of one of the books of the Hebrew Scripture, known in English as Ecclesiastes. The Women's Center at LPTS feels the epithet of Qohelet is a fitting one for what we do and are. The Women's Center is, indeed, a caller-together, a caller-to-wisdom, and an assembler -- of people, of ideas, of actions, and ultimately, we hope, of transformations in the world. In this context, Ha_Qohelet is the Director of the Women's Center, and Editor-in-Chief of Wimminwise.

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