If America has a cultural flaw, it is that we mistake volume for content and loudness for importance. As someone who shares his opinions readily, I have a real love/hate relationship with speaking. I was raised to not make a fuss about myself , because that implies others aren’t as good and yet, I — down in my core — don’t believe that. I think I’ve got something to say, but everyone else does too.
It’s a false dichotomy between “loud and empty” vs. “quiet and serious”. Loud people can have something to say — Martin Luther King, for instance. Loud people can say nothing worth listening to — Donald Trump, for instance. Quiet people are the same way. There are good people who keep to themselves and plotting, waiting-for-a-chance to attack quiet people.
Perhaps the people I most respect are what I call “accidental extroverts”. These are people who — if left to their own devices — would be quiet, and thoughtful, and caring. But these people are not left to their own devices. While they are being quiet and thoughtful, they see things and God calls them to say something. A few people come to mind in that category — my late friend Charlie Crook and my still alive friend John Odams for guys, my long-term friend,colleague, and to some extent, mentor Lynn Carman Boden is a prime example for women and then there’s my good friend and colleague, Char Corbett. If you don’t live in Connecticut, you’ve probably heard of neither of them. Lynn is an interim minister who is always going to some place new. Char is an Associate Pastor in Windsor CT.
Lynn found her place in the world before I knew her, and has been gracious to me at the times when others have failed me. Char continues to find her place in the world, to develop her voice, and find God’s call publicly while living God’s call privately. Both women are good preachers with deep knowledge of the Bible, God , and the Spirit. They are equal to the best of their male colleagues in every way, which makes them better than some of those colleagues at times.
Because they are quiet, they see the other quiet people around them. This makes them good leaders. Because they see those who have no voice, they see injustice. Because they see injustice, they work — in their public lives — to fight injustice. They are strong, competent, and knowledgeable women. They show up for life and engage injustice with their whole body and mind and strength and spirit. Then, I suspect, they go home and collapse. Lynn spends time with her dog or her kids or her husband. Char spends time with her husband, her daughter, and her family. Both like nature and its rhythms, which seem to echo their own.
If the arc of history bends toward justice, it is people like this that make it happen. God is pleased with their work and their lives and what they have made of them. I’m sure of this. I just like them as people. I like that they are colleagues, and glad that we have people like them in ministry, but I treasure them as simply good people with stable lives.
Char takes on issues of education, adoptee rights, and kids in general. She also fights for racial justice for all people, but especially for Native Americans and African Americans — and you better not mess with kids anywhere or her family!
Lynn believes in peace, so she never runs out of work. Lynn changes systems and knows that lives are a part of those systems. She also believes in building things in a world that likes to complain and tear them down. Lynn believes there’s a link between peace and justice and acts like it. She is madly in love with her husband of many, many years and is proud of her children.
Lynn has been ordained for longer than I have — probably close to 30 years now. Char was ordained 6 years ago this week. Neither of them are particularly like me, but I thank God for their ministries because, when all is said and done — I like to collapse in a heap as well. Lynn and Char are the kind of people I like to do that with. In the words of Neil Young, “Long May They Run”.