God is a woman giving birth and we are the midwife attending to God and to the new life that is coming into the world. That’s the image we’ll be unpacking in this episode of Spiritual Life and Leadership. It’s not an image that normally comes to mind when we think about God. But it certainly isn’t unbiblical. Listen to how God describes himself (herself?) in Isaiah 42:14:
“For a long time I have kept silent,
I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
I cry out, I gasp and pant.”
Christiana Rice unpacks this powerful and visceral image in this episode of Spiritual Life and Leadership.
THIS EPISODE’S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
- Christiana Rice grew up in Japan and feels most at home when she is traveling.
- If Christiana’s life were a book, it would be titled, Juggling Worlds.
- The current chapter of Christiana’s life would be called Exploring the World Again.
- Christiana wrote a book with Michael Frost called To Alter Your World.
- A key metaphor in Christiana’s book portrays God as giving birth and the world as a midwife, joining with God to bring new life into the world.
- Scripture portrays God in Isaiah as a woman in labor, groaning and panting, to give birth the new Israel.
- Christiana asked, if God is the one giving birth, then who are we? We must be the attendants.
- It is not simply the church that acts as a midwife to the new life that God is birthing, but humanity. It is from the new life that God births into the world that the church comes into being.
- Markus asks: Can someone who is not a follower of Jesus be a midwife to something that God is birthing into the world? The answer: Yes!
- “Midwife” means “with woman.” To be a midwife is more about being “with” than about controlling the outcome.
- The role of being with a woman in labor is incredibly intimate and vulnerable.
- A midwife must enter a birth with humility, recognizing that this birth with will be utterly unique. She must let go her expectations.
- As we attend to what God is birthing in the world, we, likewise, must be open to the new thing that is coming to life. We, too, must let go our expectations.
- The midwife knows that she is not the one giving birth. Likewise, we are not the ones giving birth; God is. But we must attend faithfully to what God is birthing.
- Markus acknowledges the challenge of helping churches reimagine the way they think of mission. Churches often want to demonstrate success by starting programs, increasing attendance, etc. The midwife metaphor pushes against that desire.
- Christiana’s spiritual formation has challenged her to look less to the typical metrics of success.
- Our typical metrics of success are too small.
- Christiana shares an example of how God birthed something new in her neighborhood schools. But it took time. And it required faithfully attending to the labor of God in her neighborhood.
- Christiana shares about her ministry with Thresholds in San Diego.
RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:
- Christiana Rice
- Website: http://thresholdscommunity.org/
- To Alter Your World: Partnering with God to Rebirth Our Communities, by Michael Frost and Christiana Rice
- Michael Frost
- Twitter: @michaelfrost6