Saturday, May 03, 2008

"And our guest speaker is..."

With Amber gone at a woman's retreat, i began thinking about what a key note speaker that appeals to women looks like. Do want a female superstar speaker? What are the credentials for a superstar speaker? Who do Christian moms and wives look up to?
For a guy the questions seems easy, as guys seem to flock to hear a Christian professional athlete, or a successful Christian entrepreneur or CEO.

What does the ideal speaker look like
for a woman's retreat. My dad's wife went to a retreat that had Stephanie Edwards from the Rose Parade and Lucky Store's commercials.

Is the ideal speaker the mother of 10 kids? Two? A missionary? Someone who is successful inside and outside of the home? Do they have to be an author, able to communicate with written words? Or is it simply someone who has mastered speaking in public?

I know that Shane Claiborne would dismiss the entire idea of a "Super Hero Christian" as a guest speaker, and although I agree with him, I still know that some people flock to hear one speaker, and dismiss another. One generates excitement, another boredom. And although he would dismisses the hero title, I felt honored to get to hear from Shane, and to chat with him.

When I think about an ideal candidate for a woman's retreat, I envision almost any of the women that I know from church being able to fit the bill.

One reason for this is because I see great value in sharing with each other our own successes, failures and points of view.

But I also think that we hold all Christian women to incredibly high ideals. We expect them to run the household well, to educate, feed, entertain, and taxi their children around. To support their husbands, learn about God, and to make sure that everyone gets to church on time.
When I think about exemplary women of faith who are running, or who have ran the race well, many women come to mind. I don't think that we give them alternatives. We might (perhaps misguidedly) even say that they a woman wasn't being a good mom/wife if they weren't doing the aforementioned things.
The standards seem to be lower for men. As long as he is providing for his family, few would say that he is a bad father/husband. Unfortunately, although I could fill a day's schedule with women of faith whom I know could speak truth to a group of women, the list of men is much shorter.
You have someone who is successful, educated and following God and suddenly, he is the ideal candidate to be a speaker for a men's retreat; he is the exception.
In listening to women's expectations for themselves, it seems that the exception for men is the standard that many women hold them to.

So, besides the obvious of being able to communicate clearly, what does your ideal speaker look like? What experiences do you hope they have?

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