Thursday, December 25, 2008

Interview Thursday: Rev. Lisa of Black Women, Blow The Trumpet

This is a very hot and resourceful interview with a woman of God whom believes so much in women's empowerment and freedom. She is an author of Black Women, Blow the Trumpet Blog.

She is Lisa Vazquez, a nondenominational (and unconventional) clergywoman who lives in the United States and has been in ministry for eight years. She has traveled all over the world and has lived in Ibadan, Nigeria. She has been a ghostwriter for an internationally-known televangelist and has been the editor and book reviewer for ten books that were published by an internationally-known televangelist. She has worked in the homeless community, with addicts and ex-convicts as well as sex trade workers. She has a ministry to rape survivors as a rape trauma responder in the emergency room of local hospitals. She plans to move to West Africa in 2009 and start a non-profit organization that focuses on women's empowerment. Blogshpere is a wonderful community, that has afforded me the opportunity to interact with a powerful woman like Lisa. I have never regreted visiting her blog. She is passionate about what she writes and I feel blessed to have discovered that blog! Welcome to Interview Thursday with Lisa!

Rev. Lisa is passionate about black women development, how did this come to be?
First, I want to say "Merry Christmas" to everyone who is reading this interview on Christmas day and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Prior to becoming a minister of the Gospel, I led two non-profit organizations in two states. I was also a teacher in the public school system in my early twenties. The Lord placed a mantle on me to be a prophetic voice in the desert places of our society. This mantle requires me to understand all of the levels of barrenness that people permit within their lives. God has given me a deep compassion for women and an unwavering commitment to be instrumental in equipping and empowering women to embrace everything that God has destined for their lives. For many, that journey can not take place without making healing a high priority.

Can you give us an insight into how your blog came to be?
Before I became a blogger, I had a large email distribution list and for years, I would send out essays about controversial issues that were occurring in the church and about issues related to empowerment and self-actualization. I would receive quite a few responses to my email. This year, God directed me to expand the distribution of the message to a larger online audience and that is how I became a blog host. I started reading blogs a year and a half ago and became a blog host in March of this year. I write about all of the things that I talk about to the women in the church. I believe that online activism is vitally important in empowering women and I can see that it reaches more people in one day than traditional channels of community activism.

What do you intend to achieve with your blog focus?
I believe that God would like for me to use the voice He has given me to reach black women who are enduring painful life situations and to speak to that pain in a way that enables them to see the unleashed power that lies within the core of their pain. God would also like for me to be an encourager to those who are living victoriously and powerfully so that they will be passionate about sharing their life accomplishments with other women. I believe that God wants my think tank to place for women to gather and share resources, insight and hope. (I should mention that I am using the word "He" but some women who are in the Christian community of faith do not use masculine language to speak about God because they believe that it negates women and obscures the feminine nature of God. That is certainly an opinion worth considering but not one that I support.)

Black women have being at the receiving end for so long, do you think the attainment of MGDs will change things?
I believe that the most significant level of societal change comes from within. I also believe that radical change cannot be achieved without a change in mentality, a change in value systems, a change in strategy, and a change in focus. There is nothing that is external that can produce long-term change without inner transformation.

Feminists, gender and activists and other human rights activists have in history, made contributions to women's freedom. How can you rate their impact and success?
I am not a feminist or a womanist but my message is often perceived as being feminist or womanist. I don't believe that black women have been served well and I don't believe that the issues that matter deeply to black women are usually placed in the center of the agenda of these movements. In so many movements, black women have been willing to roll up their sleeves and contribute and they were being offered crumbs at the table. They often came to the table presenting themselves as allies only to find that they had to fight at the table for an equal voice.

As a reverend have you come across any discrimination in your line of duty because you are a woman?
Every -ism that exists in society can be found within the church construct because people carry their dysfunctional thinking everywhere they go. All societal ills can be found in the church setting.

Can women be totally free?
I believe that freedom has to be defined correctly in order to be embraced fully. Women in different cultures and in different nations define "freedom" very differently. I believe that women can only be as free as their minds are. An enslaved mind will never make liberated decisions. From a spiritual perspective, I believe "who the Son sets free is free indeed". It is possible for women to be free because Jesus Christ has said that "I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly". (I realize that all of your readers are not of the Christian faith. Christianity is not a religion but many people who embrace Christianity have attempted to present it as a religion. This is why there are many people who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord who are still living in bondage.)

It's a general belief that religious discriminate against women, in your opinion, does Christianity or bible discriminate against women?
I believe that the opponents of Christianity have a vested interest in presenting misrepresentations about Christian teaching. For example, I have heard some black people claim that Christianity is a "white man's religion" that was taught to the black slaves in the United States. These people have not read the Bible or they haven't read the portion of the Bible where a black man helped Jesus carry the cross. Jesus was known to black people! They have not read that the Ethiopian eunuch who was in service to Queen Candace was reading the scriptures in the chariot. Ethiopia is part of Africa! The Biblical account proves that the knowledge of Christ on the continent of Africa existed before the black slaves came to America. In the Bible, we find examples of oppressed women and liberated women and we also find examples of broken men and self-actualized men.
Deborah was a judge and a leader. Esther saved her people. Rahab was shrewd and strategic. Vashti, who some refer to as one of the first feminists recorded in the Bible, refused to be objectified and courageously endured the cost of taking a stand. She was willing to be dethroned rather than be dishonored. The woman at the well evangelized her entire town after her encounter with Jesus. Mary Magdalene was the first to proclaim the Risen Christ. Philip's daughters were prophetic voices in their time. There are many examples of women who were influential and significant in the Bible. There are also examples of women who were brutally victimized, such as the woman who was gang raped and who died at the doorstep. Tamar was raped by her brother.
I do believe that all of societal ills exist within the church construct because people bring their thinking into the church setting. The mentality that individuals choose to embrace become the culture of that particular church. This doesn't mean that the Bible is responsible for the mentality that individuals choose to cling to. Racists are not racist because they are reading the Bible. Sexists are not sexist because they are reading the Bible.

I don't believe that Christianity subjugates women but I do believe that there are many people throughout history who have claimed that their actions were supported by scripture. There are churches who claimed to follow Christ who didn't allow blacks to enter. There were chapels built right above the slave dungeons in Ghana. I also believe that those who have an agenda to subjugate women will often attempt to put the label "Christianity" on their actions and perspectives in order to create legitimacy for whatever mindset they want to validate. There are many people who claim that what they are teaching or promoting is part of Christianity. The two largest cults in the world both identify themselves as Christian organizations on their web sites.

Is it true that women shouldn't be a leader in the church or be a minister?
There are some churches in my country and in the world that do not permit women to be ordained and do not permit women to serve as deacons or as pastors or in ministerial capacities. In the United States, there are millions of women of God who are leading churches and international ministries. Joyce Meyer leads an international ministry and also teaches the Bible. Bishop Vashti McKenzie is a leader within the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. There are women who are priests in ECUSA. I can't even name one denomination that does not have women of God who are in roles where they are regularly teaching and preaching to the masses. Some denominations do not refer to them as "preachers" and some do not refer to them as "pastors".
There are many African women who are leaders of churches and ministries in their own countries. I remember Bimbo Odukoya who was famous in Nigeria as a preacher before her death in 2005. Bishop Margaret Idahosa is an established spiritual leader in Nigeria, as is Evangelist Helen Ukpabio. Women of God are embracing their divine callings all over the world. As I mentioned earlier, there are women who are mentioned in the Bible who had leadership roles and who were influential among the people. I only provided a few examples but even in those examples that I have offered, those women were not operating in rebellion to God by being influential and revolutionary.

If you are referring to Paul's instruction to the church that women should be silent in the church, this is a passage that has been taken out of context because Paul was not speaking about the construct of the New Testament church for all of perpetuity when he made that statement. Paul received many questions from churches that were brand new. New believers were gathering and they wanted to establish meetings and they wanted to receive direction about how to conduct their meetings and how to organize. I am often asked to give my advice about different church situations. If I give my advice about a situation that is occurring in one church, and people take my words and tell others that I am setting a rule for every situation in every church to be handled this way, then they are taking my advice out of context to serve their own interests. In some of Paul's letters, we see that he mentions the women by name who were influential in their congregations. If it is true, as some allege, that Paul didn't believe that women should lead in the church or be influential among the flock then why would he have acknowledged them in his letters and given them salutations?

Here there challenges you face in your line of work as a reverend?
Every thing that God calls us to do The challenges that I believe God presents to me are the challenges of maintaining His example of righteousness, compassion, godliness and holiness. All of the ministers of the Gospel accept the accountability of leading and edifying the masses when and how God directs. The challenge of many human beings who love God has been to fully embrace the direction of the Holy Spirit, in the timing that God has set, without attempting to tell God what to do!

What would you like to change in the world?
God would like for the change I seek in this world to begin within me. God would like for me to continue to spread the message of reconciliation, restoration and transformation in Christ. God would like for me to continue to be the salt and the light in this world and to lead others into the understanding of who God is, since the masses have been given a lot of misinformation from people who professed to be experts in God.

Thanks for granting this interiew
God bless you and thank you so much for the time that you have given me to share with your readers. I am a huge fan of yours and an ally of the work that you do online to inform others about how to impact change in the world in positive and tangible ways. You are such a wonderful blogger and I am thankful for your contributions to the blogosphere. I hope that you will continue your reign of fabulousness!
Oh, thank you so much Lisa

Wish you all a very wonderful Xmas!


aloted said...

Men Rev Lisa is on FIRE! this interview is so heavy men and really insightful...i loved it!

ehm hem Standtall abeg no ask me hard hard questions o..when it is my

merry christmas!

God bless

Ore said...

ST, this was a great interview. Rev. Lisa gave very thoughtful and perceptive responses to your questions. You also asked some really good questions.

Linda Ikeji said...

Hey Standtall, just wanted to touch base here, will come back later and read ur posts. Well done and what questions did u send me? I ddnt get it, send another one...

Robyn.K.Y said...

followed the tag,,loved the interview.She is a great person.

Gattina said...

I would lie if I would say I read it all ! I have still 30 comments to answer, lol ! but one thing is for sure I love Gospel even as a child when I had never seen a black person. The first one I saw I was already 15 and in Belgium ! How times change ! today you don't see colors anymore (at least not me)

doug said...

Wow! Really really insightful. The woman has lots between her eyes. How's boxing day going for you!

Black Cat said...

What a wonderful interview with a wonderful woman! I believe she has true insight. Her words are inspiring!

Happy Boxing Day dear Standtall and may the new year bring much happiness and health to you, hubby and all the kittehs:) Luvzya! xxx

Anonymous said...

Rev. Lisa is a gem. Great interview and great blog.

The Activist said...

Aloted: Rev. Lisa is simply awesome. So focused about her goals. And you shd expect tougher questions o

Ore: I am so happy that you considered these questions really good. I wondered a lot before sending them to her

Linda Ikeji: I am so happy to have your excellency drop by. I will sure send your another email. It means a lot having you stop by

Robyn: thanks. Hope you visited her blog

The Activist said...

Gattina: Isn't color an offence word for the black people (just wondering). Are you saying you dont see black pple or black pple in the ministry?

Doug: People like Rev. Lisa make me feel proud

Black Cat: Thanks dear. Rev. lisa is trully inspiring

LorMarie: thanks for stopping by

Anonymous said...

Great interview.
Rev. Lisa surely has the Spirit of God within her.She is a wonderful inspiration and teacher to many.
I love your blog.


The Activist said...

Ana: Our Lisa is awesome, always is. Thanks for visiting

James Tubman said...

i agree with her assessment that the feminists really havent helped black women to deal with the patriachal issues that prevail in our society

i've visted her blog before and i think she has a lot of insight

unfortuantely when i commented on her blog she erased it so i guess she didnt like my comment lol

its okay though

i hope that she is really trying to help the people she talks about helping

god knows we dont need another wolf in sheeps clothing

Tears said...

i always loved ur catty pix..and really loved read ur posts,if they weren't so damn long :(

thnx for coming by :P

Sassy Kat said...

Stopping by to wish you a late Merry Christmas, hope you had a good one!!

Sassy Kat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

Fantastic interview...

Seasons greetings and happy new year in advance xx

How is Molly??

The Activist said...

James Tubman: I doubt if she said what you quoted. Like twisting things? She never said feminists didnt help patriachal issues.

That's by the way, do you have a personal issue with her cos you think she deletes your comments?

I dont think I am happy with your comment about what you think she is trying to do.

You are always judgemental. Aren't you?

Tears: Are you a man now? And you cld read some of the interview. My posting arent usually this long.

Sassy Cat: Thank you!

Jarrai: Thank you dear

AustynZOGS said...

Thanks for being an inspiration.
Compliments of the season to you too.

Tears said...

na just using Bernie Mac's pix...reminiscing :)

The Activist said...

AustynZOGS: you are welcome!

Tears: I see

Buttercup said...

wow..inspiring..may God continue to bless u and ur ministry Rev. Lisa, amen!

well done once again Standtall

lol @ Aloted

SjP said...

Wonderful! Just wonderful!

The Activist said...


SjP: Thank you

Divalocity said...

Thanks Lisa for sending me to this site, I have added it to my favorites.

Lisa is awesome! I've told many of my associates about her wisdom and her brutal honesty. She only deals in the truth!

The Activist said...

Divalocity: You are welcome sis. I am visiting your blog right away

My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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