Hotdogs, Baseball, and Holy Communion

I pop in my contacts and smear on some red lipstick. It matches the skirt that I am wearing, the colors of the home-team navy, white, and lipstick red. Baby’s first Braves game for both of my girls, a milestone that means something in this hometown we have chosen for them. Gaah, I love this city.

When I remove my glasses to put in my contacts so that I can wear my new shades to the game, I become aware of just how tired my eyes are. I am writing a book this summer, and my computer sits on the kitchen counter perpetually opened. I steal sentences and shove them into my manuscript as my girls play in the kiddie pool or I marinate the meat that is going to go on the grill. Writing a book also means procrastinating the writing of  a book, and my twitter feed shows I have already become an expert at that.

It is a strange thing, online community. I have found real and true community on line, lead by a woman who shows us how to bring all of our pieces with us. To give our lives as offerings, holy and broken. But I have also found my own selfish tendencies, to unite with those who think most like me and declare all others unworthy of my time.

Before I found community online I found it at my church, spending weekends crashing on my pastor’s couch. My husband was out of town and they let me bring my dog. I tagged along to the grocery store, became a bonus soccer mom and both our butts went numb as we cheered for their son. Somehow our different views on the female role in the church never came up.

Our church has gotten bigger since then. There are more people  in the pulpit rotation and I sometimes wonder if this surrogate family of mine will grow into a shape that excludes me. I notice elder appointments (still no women) and phrases in sermons preached by men whose views make me nervous some days. I dissect re-tweets and question motives  and worry that one day there will be no room for me. It isn’t an easy thing, being a feminist at a Baptist church. It isn’t easy, bringing your entire self to be loved.

I confess too often my heart is encased in fear. Will there come a day that I am unwelcome, if others aren’t welcome could that protect me?

But today we aren’t gathered to hear the word of the Lord. we are gathered around a grill lit by a blow torch, eating hotdogs and sharing mustard. Summer Life is what our church calls it, the events from June through August where we get together simply so that we can be together.

One of the other moms mentions a recent facebook status of mine. how it ministered to her. We may disagree on the finer points of gender identity formation, but there is so much grace in knowing that another parent has two kids with a licking problem. (Seriously, what is up with that?)

At the kids space in the ballpark I wrangle with women who are in the same phase as me, or just beyond it only my oldest is the age of their youngest. There is so much they have to teach me. They have wisdom and grace and they pour it into me until it is surely running out of my pores. They have no idea how affirming this is. They think we are just swapping stories, sticking one more straw into the seven dollar coke. It seemed so important, when I was not sharing hotdogs, mustard, and stories of our children putting their tongues where they do not belong (No. Really. What is with that?), these differences of ours. It seemed so important that we are on opposite sides of so many theological arguments.

But when I am standing with them, eating with them, listening to the wisdom they have garnered going before me on this path of motherhood, we are simply sisters in Christ. We are just doing life together, loving our kids and Christ the best we know how. We all are rooting for the home team after all. There was no bread or wine, only hotdogs and overpriced coke. But there was communion, and it was holy. I came home fed.

Today I am linking up with Imperfect Prose.


8 thoughts on “Hotdogs, Baseball, and Holy Communion

  1. Abby,
    My kids grew up watching the Braves on TBS and we have made many 9 hour trips from Virginia to see the Braves play and a couple of times up to Washington but we prefer Atlanta to see them play. We buzzed around on segways and toured the park and ran around underground Atlanta too. Ate at our first Johnny Rockets there. I took my youngest daughter Esther now 20 out of eighth grade for her and I to come see her favorite player Jeff Francoeur play for 3 games and we have a grand adventure. We hope to make it down this summer.

  2. oh friend. i love this. i too am learning to commune with all people from all walks of life (and as you probably know, my views of women in the church are different from yours as well) but i LOVE that you hold those views while attending a Baptist church. that is grace, in my view. i think that’s pure grace and it’s holy and good and what we should all be striving to do. because we’re all different. the key is to love each other as if we were the same. thanks so much for linking with imperfect prose! e.

  3. Hi Abby,

    I really like your blog, writing and points you make. At one point you said something about “men whose views make me nervous some days.”

    Well, I may be one of them.

    I am totally convinced that church as we generally know and experience it, is light years removed from God’s purposes and design. I mean… not even close.

    I’ve put up a site at and I’d love your input on this, along with the input of any of your readers.

    You also said, “I have also found my own selfish tendencies, to unite with those who think most like me and declare all others unworthy of my time.”

    I don’t know how much or little you might agree with my point of view, but I’d sure appreciate the chance to interact.

    • I went to your website and could not find a succint set of beliefs. I am not totally sure what you believe…..I DO believe that the church is a living organism. The men who make me nervous preach in ways that exclude women to the full calling of Christ. That is what makes me nervous.

      • Abby,

        First of all, my site is brand new.

        Second, I will most likely NOT put some kind of “statement of faith” on the site, because most do that and then don’t live out the life.

        Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying I’m living it out to some high and great degree, BUT… I want to, and I want to relate with others who desire the same.

        Finally, the exclusion of women is something that troubles me too.

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