I have a good reason for not popping up here for a while: I'm writing a book. It's taken me a while to really admit that I'm doing this, but I've got both feet in now so it's time to 'fess up. Thanks to Kofford Books, I am working on WOMEN AT CHURCH: MAGNIFYING WOMEN'S IMPACT IN THE LOCAL CHURCH EXPERIENCE. (Title may change.) So for now, leisurely nights of reading and TV watching are not on the plan. (Not that they ever really are for me, but it's going to take me way longer to get caught up on Downton Abbey than it would otherwise.)
In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you. An important part of my book will be case studies I'm collecting from members about what is going right and wrong in their local congregations in the way men and women are working together cooperatively. So tell me: is there a practice in your ward or stake that has used women in innovative or creative ways? As a woman, have you suggested and implemented a new practice in your ward that improved the way women are seen, heard and used? As a man, have you developed a greater understanding or appreciation for the ways women can be seen, heard and used in your ward or stake? I'm also interested in stories of things that go wrong; learning from our mistakes is an important part of this journey of gender cooperation, and I know there are painful experiences out there than need to be recognized.
Please email me at neylanmcbaine at gmail dot com if you have something to contribute.
In other news:
- Last weekend, I went to San Francisco to present a tri-stake fireside on how we can magnify the way women are seen, heard and used at church. I was grateful to the San Francisco West Stake for hosting me and for the Institute there for arranging my visit. It was heartening to meet students from UC Berkeley who came across the Bay, students from San Jose State who came up the Penninsula and hundreds of other men and women who spent their Sunday night with me. I asked the Berkeley students, "So how often do topics of gender in the church come up in your discussions?" The answer: "Oh, three or four times a week!"
- This weekend, I was excited to see the New York Times article about the growing leadership opportunities for our sister missionaries. At first I was saddened and confused by the way the authors described the Mormon Women Project in the article, but they were gracious enough to remove the reference to the Project from the digital and late print editions, and the Mormon Newsroom also called out the misrepresentation. I was grateful to have the Church's official recognition of the misrepresentation since I spend my professional days working for many church clients and do everything I can to be trusted in that arena.
What I've Been Listening To:
I've gone to the Utah Symphony a couple of times over the past few weeks. Live music is my therapy. This is what was on the programs:
- Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony. It's hard to really appreciate this work over a recording. It was the loudest I think I've ever heard an orchestra play. A truly moving experience. My 10-year-old who attended with me woke up the next morning singing the main theme. That was a proud parent moment.
- A Freak in Burbank. Albert Schnelzer's tribute to Haydn and Tim Burton. Really fun.
- Grieg Piano Concerto. A staple. Always a favorite. Although I prefer it to hearken to the Norweigen folk songs that inspired Grieg; the (Russian) pianist I heard played it like Rachmanioff. Leif Ove Andsnes is the master here (see link).
- Sibelius Second Symphony. I love, love, love Sibelius. Epic. This isn't my favorite of his symphonies, but the sweeping themes and interplay between the orchestra sections makes for rich and rewarding music.