Once upon a time I came face to face with a man with a mindset Jesus acutally came to irradicate.
Gentlemen, when you inquire of a woman what her name is and her response is one that is shortened from a more formal version, under no circumstances should you suggest she use her given name because it sounds "more professional".
"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Proverbs 31:29-31
In April 2019 I was asked to speak at the Boston Latin school as a part of a panel of professionals. My part to play was to speak on being a successful woman in business and what faith in my business looked like, without saying Jesus, God, etc... ok, sure...
It was a huge honor, one that of all the public speaking events, this by far was my most favorite. In case you have never heard of Boston Latin, let's just say Harvard was founded for the students who graduate from this school. It's a school for extremely gifted children and it is incredibly old. Like, 1635 old...
What Should We Wear?
Isn't this the main concern for every self respecting public speaker? Though I was the only women sitting on the panel, this was the chief question the gentlemen attending had. Boys, turns out more concerned with fashion and those particulars than yours truly. Of course they wondered about the nuances of speaking about our faith in business without actually saying Jesus or God or any such words. Heaven forbid right? I'm sorry, did that sarcasm spill over into this story? My apologies...
I mean, I get it. When you are a group of people coming into an atheist type environment, perhaps you shouldn't have a full gospel presentation as your monologue. But goodness. Can we pray and simply trust the Lord to let words like God, Jesus and faith in Messiah slide? And we wonder why Boston is one of the darkest cities.
So the question is answered, professional dress please and thank you. Like, to the nines professional dress. Of course Mr. Oxford and Mr. Lawyer were all set with pro dressing. They live for that stuff. However, Mr. Spotify says, "ok sure, but I work for Spotify and it's kind of our thing to not dress like stiffs." Here's me- breathes super big sigh of relief on account of I pretty much wear Red Sox hoodies, jeans and slippers all day so even a nice pantsuit is going to be a stretch. Mr. Boss of the event says "oh yes, hadn't thought of that. Well, I suppose that makes sense and since you're successful and wear hoodies, wear whatever you'd wear to work." It's at this point that I purposefully choose to be a little above my dress code and ditch the slippers for some smart black ballet flats. I mean, we're all compromising right, so may as well not shlep up to the door.
Mr. Boss of the event then asks how to spell our names so that when they have the signs for us to stand near they say the correct name. Fair enough. Here's the part of the story where I start to kind of panic for a minute. You see, at the end of our talk the kids in the school were going to be given a chance to talk with us, ask questions about our businesses/careers and we all go to our respective corners of the room and wait for them to walk over to us. Seems innocent to the average onlooker. Except for those of us not athletically inclined in elementary school, and were always the last picked on the dodgeball teams, well, it's a little triggering to imagine yourself standing in an empty corner waiting for someone to pick you...Eeshh... Tell me your palms didn't begin to sweat from reading that horrifying memory?
After a few deep breaths and self talk yada yada yada, Mr. Boss of the event gets to me. "Jennifer Weir, let's see spelled with two 'N's or one?"
"Oh no, it's just Jen Weir.", says me.
Mr. B.O.T.E.- "Just Jen?"
Me- "well no, it's Jen Weir".
Mr. B.O.T.E.- "But.... Jennifer is much more professional."
Me- "wait, what?"
Mr. B.O.T.E. - "Well, yes you see this is a professional event and it just seems more appropriate if we call you Jennifer."
Ladies and gentlemen, it is at this point that I refrained from going all Boston language and letting him just what I felt was appropriate to call him right then. Also, this is the part where had we been in person I might have gone all Scarlet O'Hara on him and given him a good old fashion slap in the face. Being a believer in Messiah Jesus I suppose he would have then turned his other cheek?
"Well, if you must know I prefer to be called JenWeir, no space because that is what everyone calls me. I am not Jen, nor am I Jennifer but I am actually called JenWeir by all who know me. If you'd be so kind as to use the name I am normally called, that would be just fine.", says me back more politely than I wanted.
"Alright, JenWeir it is.", says Mr. B.O.T.E.
Even in the year 2019 there are men lurking with ideas contrary to the word of God. At first blush this doesn't look at all to be a violation of something the word says right? Except when you consider the notion behind it. Women ought to act a certain way, say a certain thing and speak a certain word, least of all, a word in front of men. Women are to know their place in this world and in the Church.
Oh dear friend, and precious Mr. Boss of the Event, I most certainly know my position in the Savior and my place in the kingdom of Heaven. It's why I am very comfortable with being called JenWeir, rather Jennifer and I am more than comfortable with others being uncomfortable.
Do you know, understand and believe that Messiah Jesus came to set the captives free? Captives which tend to include women and children. Our cultures through the ages have suppress women and children, deeming them the inferior sex and children to be seen and not heard. Our Jesus had some strong words about how we treat children. Something about a millstone, necks and drowning? (Matthew 18:7-10)
As for His view of women, oh sweet sister does He love us! A women was the first missionary (John 20:17) , in addition, women supported Him and ministered to His needs along His journeys for three years (Luke 8:2-3)
Jesus was always seeking women out, the woman at the well, Mary Magdalene and Joanna the wife of Chuza just to name a few. And yet in our culture even today, women are told to be a certain way and call themselves by this and such name.
Ladies, the Lord has called us to a significant purpose, and since the Fall, the enemy of our souls has worked tirelessly to reduce us to such a state that we cannot even. For the sake of digression, I won't go into great detail here but will save it for another day. For now I'll ask this one question- have you been set free from the shackles that #Messiah #Jesus removed from your wrists, from your ankles and from your waist?
I'm happy to report I was not standing alone in a corner. Not only was I not alone, but I had the biggest crowd around me, precious young men and women wanting to know more about life as an entrepreneur. And I'm also excited to report, I did refrain from a gospel message so as not to be a nuisance, but, when we were in the corner, I shared that my faith in Messiah Jesus is how I followed my path to owning my own business.
Seeds planted, seeds watered....