Friday, February 17, 2012

I Am Indebted to the Strong Women in My Life

I spent today interviewing 92-year-old Arthur Kennedy, Ph.D. (Northwest, Chicago) regarding his superb books on Oklahoma history. He signed one of his works for me, a history of the Seminole Nation that is, in my opinion, the best narrative of pre-20th century Oklahoma history in print. What made my conversation with Arthur particularly entertaining is that he knew my deceased grandmother, Margaret (Lee) Burleson, going to school with Margaret when she was a girl in the historic "Big Bend" area of the South Canadian River, just south of Konawa, Oklahoma, the small Seminole Nation township where Dr. Kennedy grew up. I was captivated by Dr. Kennedy's stories about my grandmother.  Someone once said, "Men are the thoughts of their mothers and grandmothers, embodied, and made alive. If a man is active, capable, and determined, he owes his inner strength to many great women, some of whom may be dead and gone, but yet speak through him today."  I believe that statement true, and am deeply indebted to my grandmothers Margaret Lee Burleson and Virginia Salyer Cherry, as well as my extremely intelligent and incredibly strong mother, Mary Frances Burleson.

Of course, my best friend (pictured) is my wife, Rachelle. She has earned my deepest respect for her accomplishments as a wife, mother and career woman. Her mixture of class, grace and business acumen is unparalled in my opinion. She is in Florida with our only daughter, Charis Burleson, preparing for Charis' wedding in June. Charis has blossomed into a beautiful and intellectual woman in her own right, providing constant encouragment to her father. The older I become, the more I know that who I am today is a result of the five women I've just named. However, there are many other females who have impacted my life for good. I think of Cherri and Melody, two gifted and talented sisters who inspire me every time I am around them.  I reflect on Debbie Kaufman and the incredible encouragement she is to me.through her words, her life and her writings. I consider the women on our church's Leadership Team, women like Gail Hackett, Carol Williams, and others and realize they have taught me much so through their leadership and friendship. It is no exaggeration to say I have been strengthened, encouraged, taught, and led by as many competent and gifted women as I have been by Christian men.

It's time to add two additional women to my growing list of personal indebtedness. Dee Parsons and Wanda Martin are two women from North Carolina who run the website Wartburg Watch. I remember when I first read Wartburg and wondered to myself, "Who in the world is writing such powerful stuff?" In the beginning, I didn't even know two women were behind Wartburg. Only after I read a few of their postings, then went and read the on-line profiles, did I realize that women were writing the posts--and writing them very well I might add! Within a couple of years Dee and Wanda flew to Enid, Oklahoma and Rachelle and I became instant and fast friends witth this delightful duo. They are wickedly smart (both have their MBA's), both have intuition about spiritual matters that can only be attributed to the Spirit, and both love (and I mean LOVE) the underdog--as do I. It is with delight that I join with Dee and Wanda in the establishment of a new ministry called EChurch@Wartburg. Rather than explain the new ministry, I would encourage you to go over to Wartburg and read what Dee and Wanda are saying about it. These gals are making an impact in the kingdom of Christ! It's an honor for me to include them on my growing list of strong, competent women who have taught---and are teaching--this pastor!


Anonymous said...

Congrads to Charis on her upcomin wedding!
Yes I would say you are one of those very few men whove taught me a lot. You, Jay Risner, Max Lucado (by words and preaching)...and my brother...cause hes my brother. That would be it...yep..short list...not really growing.

Its the womans list that keeps growing.


Anonymous said...

"These gals are making an impact in the kingdom of Christ! It's an honor for me to include them on my growing list of strong, competent women who have taught---and are teaching--this pastor!"

Add this strong woman to your list.
After humbly serving and remaining silent for years, she has spoken out:

Rex Ray said...


Paul wrote of Timothy: “…you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

“Listen, my son…don’t reject your mother’s teaching…They will protect you from an evil woman…can a man hold fire against his chest and not be burned? (Proverbs)

I believe your link is information straight from hell from people that are suffering from being there, but act as if they’re OK.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

Rex Ray,

It's important to understand that the blogger Anonymous heralds has written a critical post about the Driscolls' Real Marriage book.

A few people have sent me that link, and I am proud of this sister in Christ for speaking out against her former pastor. She explains that she taught women's Bible studies at Mars Hill until four years ago. She and her husband Andy assess the book and add details from their church experience that are definitely not flattering of Mark Driscoll.

Here is the conclusion of the theologyforwomen post to which Anonymous linked:

"I hope Mars Hill's current elders will encourage Mark to stop and repair with those he has specifically directed his anger and misogyny over the years and to seek counsel for his past issues he hasn't addressed, because the past verbal violence he directed toward individuals was verbal violence toward the Savior. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me” (Mt. 25:40). And the issues he hasn't yet addressed in his own heart will resurface again. In every instance in which Mark's accountability structure (whatever that is now) is aware of his verbal sins without holding him accountable and is aware of baggage from his upbringing without pointing him to gospel counsel, the name of Jesus and the good parts of doctrine Mark teaches will be undermined right along with him, as is now the case in many secular news stories."

Rex Ray said...

Wanda Martin,

Thanks for getting me straight. All I know is that I got disgusted reading that link and did not analyze what was going on.

Sorry for not replying sooner, but got a virus and haven’t looked at a computer in days.