I have to be honest and say that ministry is hard! Working with people is hard! There are times when I daydream about the perfect exit from ministry. I imagine what that would look like and sometimes, I play the scenario in my head, but if I want to have a voice in the immigrant community, if I want to see a change in the way that this community does church and treats women, then I have to stay and be a voice. Many before me have exited, and though exits do speak, the impact of an exit is temporary and people move on. A voice that speaks from the inside is harder to be ignored. Don’t get me wrong it can be ignored for a little bit just like a dripping faucet, but after a while you have to do something. I believe that this is my position in the immigrant church… to be a dripping faucet. They will have to deal with me at some point, and I will be ready.
With all that said, I do keep the idea of exiting on the back burner. I realize that it’s always an option… and I realize that I can play that card any time I want to. This gives me the freedom that I need and the boldness I desire in order to keep dripping and to keep making a noise.
In his book Exit, Voice and Loyalty, Albert Hirschman says, “exit has been accorded an extraordinarily privileged position in American tradition…. This preference for the neatness of exit over the messiness and heartbreak of voice has persisted throughout our national history.” (P. 107) Though many times exiting is a cop-out for our unwillingness to fight, I am thankful that by living in America I do have this option. It’s one thing to pick my battles… It’s one thing to be afforded the luxury to fight, but there are so many women who don’t have the option. I wonder if I owe it to them to fight. I wonder if I owe it to them to do something and to put myself in difficult situations so that if I maybe do my part, it will trickle down to them… somehow… I don’t know!
Hirschman’s book reminded me of my options, reminded me of my freedom and reminded me of my privilege. I walk away refreshed, thankful and convicted. I don’t think that this is what the author had in mind when he was writing a business book.