Also Called

It was a bit unnerving to be called to ministry by that midnight spiritual revelation that caught me on my knees and very much by surprise. More surprising was to find my seminary classmates included many second-career people and mothers like me. In one class we read a book titled, “Also a Mother: Work and Family as Theological Dilemma.”1 I hated her title. I felt so guilty all the time about being in school, working toward a new career, putting my children in daycare, that I could not make sense of the, “also.” For me it was, “First, last, always.” After my ordination I finally understood the dilemma the author was wrestling with.

I stood before the Senior Adults lunch group to introduce myself for the first time in my new call. I told them about my faith, my education, my first career, my hopes for this new service with them. We then “opened the floor” to conversation and someone said, “Do you have any family you want to tell us about?”

For days, I felt the shockwave of having spent 5 minutes, at least, describing who I was and failing to mention my family, my kids! I had become in the career world, “also a mother.” Miller-McLemore’s challenge to us is an invitation to reshape the way we think of the gendered worth of work versus motherhood, but not both, and the absence of an option for men to embrace as fathers. This book nearly 30 years old; yet, the attacks today on women’s rights and the rights of transgender people and drag queens is rooted in the same ages old controversies of what makes a man and what defines a woman.

As our church begins a new church school ministry, we need younger and older adults, men and women and non-binary adults to step into the joy of being Mother/Father/Parent to our kids. Sunday is Hat Day. I invite you to put on a hat of being a faith parent to our children and youth. The kids need our commitment to them, not as an “also,” or afterthought. They need our First, Last, and Always—which is the promise of Christ for all of us.


I am the Alpha and the Omega,

the First and the Last,

the Beginning and the End. Rev 22: 13

1Author-Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore
Image: “Mother’s Love” by Fabio Trifoni is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Alpha & Omega” by Lawrence OP is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.