Today, I was once again reminded of one of the main reasons the Women’s Center matters.
In a word: VISIBILITY.
The reminder came by e-mail, as so much does these days. It was not any one particular e-mail, either, but the net effect of a number of messages to which I had paid so little attention over the past months.
Whole worlds live their lives all day, every day, all week, all month, all year, year after year, the way the Seminary’s e-mail networks operate: unnoticed by the people who don’t bother to read the mail, or who are not even on the list. Even within the same “world,” there are separate lists for folks who presumably have specific concerns related to function (like faculty or administrators) or project (like worship planners or fundraisers for a trip abroad).
That isn’t necessarily a problem. But it can be. It is a problem when what goes on in one world has an effect on life in another, when the effect is one of suffering increased rather than relieved, and when that suffering is ignored — when the emails that call for change are deleted before reading, so to speak, because one of the things everybody knows is that “nothing they say has anything to do with me.”
The Women’s Center has the job of FORWARDING E-MAIL, to stick with that metaphor: from women, who might attend this Seminary or who might not, who might darken the doors of a church or who might not, but whose lives matter and whose voices need to be heard. From gender perspectives that some readers might not hear from that often, and so might not think of or remember, might not take into account, might ignore or ignorantly judge. From people who count with God, but who are small potatoes in the world that does not yet live like God’s realm of justice and peace.
The Women’s Center has the job of cluttering up the e-mail boxes of business as usual with annoying reminders: HEY READ THIS, NOTICE THIS, HERE’S A PROBLEM, WE’VE GOT AN IDEA. Even, LOOK, A CHANCE TO HELP!.
Because until justice and presumptive humanity for everyone is business as usual, the place of these annoying reminders is not on some other listserv, out of sight and out of mind, but on the official agenda.
Someone has to keep it there.
We are someone.
Read your mail.