Shownotes: Episode 029 Interview with Rev Kendra Thompson, Minister of Faith Formation, Edwards Congregational UCC, Davenport, IA, #Mom Theology
The origin of Mom Theology
Kendra Thompson was invited to be a contributor to the “Mama Bear Dares” blog by Leslie Klipsch, the author of Mama Bear Manifesto. The author believed that moms joining together can change the world. The thing about the Mama Bear Podcast is to think of mother self and other self and how you integrate those two. Kendra is constantly thinking of how to be a mom and minister well. Her thing is writing Mom Theology. When she writes for the blog she tries to root it in grace and also find ways to affirm this calling of motherhood that seems like a lost art.
It’s important to affirm moms because in our modern day world, it is affirming that women can be anything. Something is lost. In the invitation to be anything we feel we have to be everything. Sometimes, what gets lost in that is the vocation of motherhood. Many of them feel the call to motherhood. It’s not always seen as valuable. No salary. It is very important work. Giving children a sense of nurture, comfort, and discipline from early in their development.
How Kendra’s faith in God informs those decisions
Being a Christian is counter-cultural and involves sacrifice and discernment. She has considered taking on a solo or head of staff role in churches. Back to you can be anything so what not be everything. There could be a temptation. Sense she gets from God—this is it. This is what she is hearing from God. This is her calling.
Mom theology is looking for the connection between the spiritual and the maternal; the intersection of what it means to be a mom and speaking words about God.
How it informs her writing, work and parenting
Mom theology surfaced from something she noticed in her writing. The journey to motherhood is complex. She found herself wrestling with a lot from pregnancy to motherhood. There are things about it that can be trying. Sometimes motherhood in TV shows, etc is depicted as cutesy. There is a side that can be dark—post partum depression, sleep deprivation, feeling a loss of self, struggling with body image. She noticed patterns in her writing and where her prayers were direction. A lot were about concerns for her children. Spiritual practice.
There is a tendency with mom groups and communities in churches where moms gather it is assumed moms aren’t very bright or they can’t handle complex ideas. Mom theology is recognizing that you may be a mother and spending most of your time at home with picure books, etc, but you have the capacity to be a deep theological thinker. For the Mama Bear Blog, a lot of what she writes about is finding those intersections. Stories from Scripture that really connect with our day to day life as mothers as a way to invite deep theological thinking and also affirm the role of motherhood.
Some of the grace comes from telling her story, being honest about times of frustration and how those can also be opportunities. Using interruptions to pray. Sometimes it is in the vulnerable places when we can’t be our best self, when we’re struggling to be calm or kind, those are perfect opportunities to commune with God and be reminded that we need God that we need to be grounded in the source, that we need to be people of prayer.
Implications of Mom Theology for ministry in general
Ministry is about serving God an when we are serving God we lift up the least. Some of the least in our midst are mothers. Not necessarily moms in a position of privilege. Many people in church who are single mothers, mothers living in poverty, single moms, survivors of abuse. Being a mother is hard enough when you have everything at your disposal to do it well. Often this is not the case.
There is an opportunity for our eyes to be opened. There are many who mother among us and face barriers even to putting food on the table. When people don’t have transportation even accessing diapers can be difficult. It puts a strain on how you are able to mother.
Different types of poverty. Physical and also spiritual.
It is an opportunity to come alongside moms and support them. Kendra aims to do that with her writing and it is something we can do in our ministry.
How Mom Theology relates to living from God’s center
It’s noticing the vulnerable places where we feel our best self is challenged. Instead of shaming or judging ourselves in that moment seeing that moment as an opportunity to draw closer to God, to use it as an opportunity for prayer and even reaching out to one another. If there is a community around motherhood, to realize when we can’t do this on our own. It starts with prayer and looking for Christian community to come alongside us.
Rooting this calling in grace. Sometimes as the church we will be asked to extend grace to people we don’t understand, who are not like us, those might be people who get impatient with unruly children. It is an opportunity for grace.
Check out Kendra Thompson’s blogs at:
Photo credit sevenminutechannel / Pixabay.Com
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