Do You Know The Muffin Man? A tale of Muffins and Misogyny

I love men. I’m married to one. I love my man’s masculinity, his strength-physical and the strength of character. I admire his stoicism in whatever life throws at him. I trust in him, depend on him, and look up to him. He’s my favorite man.

For today’s purpose, know I am talking about a way different kind of man—not a bad one, just a misinformed one.

I remember back in the 90’s there was this movement calling men from in front of their tv’s to large stadiums of sweaty testosterone-thunderous men, praising Jesus together while they learned ways to stand up and lead their families with character and discipline. It was phenomenal. I’m too lazy to look up the numbers, but thousands upon thousands of men met in stadiums all over the country over the period of a few years. My own husband attended a few of these, and he returned from them profoundly and utterly changed. He was a wonderful husband when he left, but he came back on fire, blazing with light and joy and passion for Jesus and living a holy life. The fire spread to his friends, our church, community, and so on.

A few of my friends and I were so moved by the changes we were seeing that we decided to go to one of these events to serve however we could. We were open to anything, anywhere we were needed.

As the day approached, we realized we would have to leave around 3am to get to Indianapolis by 7am or so. We were excited. We were happy. There really is no joy that compares to giving time to help others and volunteer to make a difference in some small way.

I believe it was early spring in Indiana, which usually means cold as winter with an occasional glimpse of the sun. This special day was dmn cold. Not just a little cold. Dmn cold. On top of the cold, it was raining. None of us realized we would be working outside the entire weekend, so none of us were dressed for the weather. I had a wind-breaker on , a sweater underneath, jeans, sandals. My first memory of that weekend is jolting around in a golf cart that came to pick us up and take us to our stations. It was raining, as I have mentioned. The golf cart bumbled along with all six of us holding on to each other for balance. I was on an outer edge and as we hit each bump, muddy rain water from the damp earth splashed onto my jeans and coat. We laughed and laughed because otherwise I may have cried.

The golf cart driving man grunted at us to get out under a tent that said “Volunteers”. We found where we were supposed to go. None of us had eaten breakfast because they said all food all day would be provided for us women folk. We assumed we’d grab a quick breakfast before the day stared. The volunteer leader walked us to an area where six cash registers were set up in a tent with resources and books on how to be a good man piled everywhere. He pointed to the cash registers, just a few feet from the edge of the open tent. There you go. He said. No instructions. No encouragement. No food! My clothes were soaking wet at this point, my hands icicles. It was only 7am. We knew we’d be there well into the evening and the next morning as well.

We started ringing men up on the cash registers, smiling, nodding, telling them we hoped they were having a great experience, etc. Pretty much all of them were smiling and very kind. It was nice. I was really happy to be there. The air was electric with the buzz of revival and new life. It was palatable. It was also cold, very, very cold. The open tents created a sort of wind tunnel, so the air blowing at our backs was icy, rainy and freezing.

Around 10am, none of us had eaten yet. There was a table with muffins and orange Kool-aid on a table in a corner with a group of men who were volunteering in the tents stood around the table, consuming MANY muffins and as many cups of orange Kool aid as they wanted. We assumed this food was also for the women volunteers. I was afraid to ask, because the guy in charge of us was grumpy from the cold too. Finally. One of my friends asked him, and she relayed to us that “One trip” to the table was all that was allowed. We took turns waking to the table to grab a muffin and orange Kool-aid. The man hovered over the well stocked table of muffins, glaring his disapproval and obvious disgust at us eating the mana from his stock.

One by one we went, grabbed our little muffin, unwrapped the muffin paper, ate the two bites of muffin, then licked the muffin wrapper before throwing it in the trash, the man gazing with fiery eyes at us. After the third one of us went to the muffin and Kool-aid table, he began the questioning. “Is this your first trip? One trip to the table per person. Period.” With shaking and freezing hands, each woman replied a quiet “Yes”, grabbed a muffin and ran. He continued glaring at us while we rang up men buying stuff. We’d blow on our hands between each customer, trying to keep them from going numb.

We started to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. We did laugh and laugh. We were so hungry. There was no lunch. No more Kool-Aid. No more muffins. I don’t know how we did it, but we worked all day long until we went back to the hotel and fell asleep before our heads hit the pillow. I don’t remember eating that night.

Just as we closed our eyes, our alarms went of and it was 3am again, and time to get up and ready so we would be back to the stadium and in our places by 6am. Once there, it was the same routine as the day before. The muffin man held his place by the muffin table. We stoically marched one by one, careful to be seen taking our one and only one muffin and cup of orange Kool-aid. The muffin man truly did not like us. We were not men.

It was a joyful experience for all of us, despite the muffin man’s zealous and watchful eyes. It is obvious to me, that as well meaning as his own volunteerism was, he was missing the whole point of the men’s movement. We got it, the other men got it, but the muffin man did not.

Do you know the Muffin Man? If you do, pull out a chair for him, grab a plate of muffins and a pitcher of orange Kool-aid. Tell him he’s alright. He’s the best muffin table watching guy that ever was. Then maybe tell him it’s ok to share his muffins with the women.

Tradition

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Family. Home. These words remind us that we have a place. That we have a space and people to come home to that is safe and warm and full of grace and hope.

Home is a place to come and heal after mistakes are made, or to recover injuries from ugly words thrown around like darts at our heads. For us, family is about being the best “us” we can be for each other in times of joy and sadness.

Quite often, we forget. We get selfish, run behind, pour into the important and pass over the eternal. We fight. We stick with our correct and rightly defended arguments. We fuss over silly things and make room for unreasonalbitlty when our own self gets in the way.

Family is hard. Five personalities stretching and pulling and growing to boundless dreams and limits and further in to independence pulls at all of our hearts. There is pulling, stretching and hurting as growing pains do often hurt.

In these times, it is important for us to practice long held traditions. Practicing our family traditions remind all of us what makes a Wegner a Wegner.
One especially fun tradition Rob and I have kept since moving away from Chicago and deep dish pizza in 1993 is creating our very own likeness of our favorite. We make the pizza together, and eat. Our tradition has gone from the two of us, then Maddie helped us. When Maddie was old enough she would show Whitney how it’s done and pour the cheese like a pro. When Belle was old enough, she had four people to tell her how it’s done, so she usually does it her own way, which is what makes it even more special.

Since the girls were old enough to hold a spoon and stir, they have been our little helpers. Everyone matters in our family. Everyone is equally important an is needed to fulfill this task. There have been years our pizza barely made it through the process of being made because there were spills, tears, dogs grabbing a sausage and running away, but these are the real moments that make family family. We laugh so much when we are all together. Watching my girls grown in independence, creativity, boldness and humor have been the biggest joy filled surprised of my mommy-hood.

We come home at the end of the day to life, to love, to tradition, to family.

USE FOR ALL SOCIAL MEDIA-DO NOT edit crop out logo or print-90-Wegner Pizza Night March 2018

Thank you to Mike and Julie Storytellers for capturing this part of our Family Story

Breathe it in…

My babies. The most precious gift I’ve ever been given and the hardest ever to give away.

Wherever you are in raising your babies, hit pause. Take it all in, the chaos, the noise, the mess…breathe it all in. The fun moments, the heart to heart talks, the fields of millions of fireflies under a full moon when you stood speechless, knowing the miracle was as deep for you as it was for her….

Breathe that in.

These precious souls are in our care such a short time. Just have fun. Let joy lead you. Live your own life alive as you watch them spread their wings and fly.

Trials will come, but Love will win.

The #metoo Movement in the Context of the Church

People will no doubt go round and round for the rest of all time about guilt or innocence of Bill Heybels, lead pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. We have been extremely close to the leadership of Willow Creek church over the past 25yrs. We love them deeply. We hurt with them and for them.

I have thought long and hard, as you probably know, about the #metoo movement within the context of church culture.

Sexual impropriety is a part of human nature. Just because someone is in church leadership doesn’t exempt them from being a part of what the rest of the world is drawing attention to.

I absolutely have been treated in the most respectful manor by 90% of men I have known in church leadership over the years.

Working and living close to the center of the circle of church staff leadership for 30yrs, I can say without shame or doubt that absolutely sexual harassment has happened in just about every church I’ve ever been a part of.

Nothing turns my stomach more than when I hear about a pastors or church leaders messing up. It’s just awful and sad. I’ve seen time & again what happens to the accused, their spouse, their & children—So incredibly devastating for everyone involved.

With that said, know how firmly I believe that PASTORS ARE PEOPLE TOO! They are imperfect just like you and I. They make mistakes. Give grace, give hope to them and their families. Give them privacy and space to heal.

Because they are not super human as many might think, please, please, hold them accountable just as anyone else you might care or worry about.

Love people who mess up. Don’t gossip. Don’t gossip about people that write or talk about their #metoo experiences within the walls of the church or out. Nothing is more hurtful to a victim than to be shamed for sharing their experience.

Peace to You

On Mental Health

If you struggle with dark, uncontrollable thoughts, feelings & moods, it probably seems the most difficult thing you can do is reach out for help. You’ll feel exposed and vulnerable when someone shines a light into your darkness—But there will be light. Just about then, you will understand how very brave you are.

If you don’t get help, Shame will hold you in that dark place. It will surround you, seemingly protect you, and hold you away from any one else’s light.

It’s pretty lonely in that dark place, isn’t it? Know you are not alone. I’ve been there, living with a perma-cloud in my head, covering everything good with dismalness.

Text a trusted friend for help, call your church, or find a good therapist. There are so many resources and so many warm, caring and loving people who will hold you tight until you heal.

Please, please don’t give up when no one else gets you. Jesus is there, your Heavenly God that made you is over and under that darkness. He knows it too. Pray, ask for God’s help. A step toward God will never be a misstep.

A step toward light will give you enough hope to take another step.

Your God is a good, good God. He sees, he cares, he knows.

Peace to you friend. You are never alone, ever. There is love, there is light, I promise. ❤️

A Post From The Smartest Person I Know

This is me and my dear friend Christa when we were floor mates at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Christa is in the middle, I’m to her right.

And this is Christa and I 22 years later.

We were able to spend a few days together in 2015. Being with this lifelong friend was a deep breath of fresh air to me. Telling the stories of where we’ve been, how we’ve grown, deaths, births, joys, disappointments, etc…there was a lot to catch up on.

When Christa and I were college freshmen, we both knew we were at Moody to get equipped to serve God in some type of ministry the rest of our lives. I was a writing major, her, Bible Theology. I remember one time watching her study her Greek flashcards while I was literally practicing headstands in our hallway. (Maybe that’s why she ended up the smart one 😉)

The Roles for women in Ministry were pretty cut and dry back then. Women could be missionaries, play piano, or marry a pastor. Ha! I’m Exaggerating a little. But truly, in 1991 the options were few.

My own path to where I am lead me to Kansas, still writing, but also certified through Fuller seminary as a Spiritual Director. Christa in Indonesia raising her family. She has so much to say, so much up in her head and in her heart that others need to hear.

Here’s her beginning. More to come soon.

I wasn’t the kind of child who dreamt about what wanted to be when I grew up. By the time I was in Jr High all I knew for sure is that I wanted to do whatever God wanted me to do.  By the time I was a senior in high school in the early part of 1991, I briefly thought about joining the Air Force just as Operation Desert Storm was going on. About a month before graduation my pastor and parents suggested I apply to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL. Since I had nothing else I was interested in doing, I applied. I didn’t have high hopes of getting accepted for the fall semester because the application deadline had passed 2 months before. When I got accepted 3 weeks later, I took it as an indication that I was supposed to go.

I enrolled as a music major because I had played the piano ever since I was 8. Not the best reason to choose a major and was it ever the wrong decision for me. I was miserable. Thankfully, I got a severe pinched nerve in my neck and I had to give up the piano. Now what was I going to do? Moody had 5 main majors back then: Music, International Missions, Communications, Education, and Bible Theology. One of my friends at the time was a junior and a pastoral major. For whatever reason he kept encouraging me to switch to the Bible Theology major and take Greek. So that’s what I did. I figured that if I didn’t know what else I wanted to do, majoring in Bible Theology would at least get me a good solid Bible education.

I remember sitting in a large auditorium my second semester looking at all the other people enrolled in Bible Theology. Out of maybe +200 people, 50 of those being my fellow freshman, there were just a handful of women.

Starting my sophomore year, I began 2 years of studying Greek and I loved it right from the start.  It was a little intimidating being the only female in a class of 25-30 other students. Many of my fellow students were pastoral majors. In fact, with my degree, I ended up taking 90-95% of the same classes as the pastoral majors. [Back then, women couldn’t major in pastoral studies. It wasn’t a big deal since that wasn’t what I wanted anyway.]  The men in all my theology classes were accepting of me and so were my professors. In all 4 years, I don’t remember ever feeling like I wasn’t wanted or I couldn’t speak up in class when I chose to. I never felt like I had to prove myself to them to be accepted. I look back now and wonder why that was especially when it was far from the norm at that time in the evangelical world to have women pastors or women in leadership positions other than women’s ministries.

I think maybe it was because I wasn’t trying to break the mold. I wasn’t outspoken or trying to prove that I was just as good as or better than the men. I was just quietly following the path God placed before me. I remember one or 2 instances where I received more push back from other women who thought I should break the mold and become a pastor and they were offended that I didn’t want to.

Here I am almost 23 years later. I continued to follow the path God set before me and have spent the last 15 years serving in Indonesia my husband who is a missionary pilot. My role the whole time has been as a stay-at-home mom. While I am extremely thankful for my education I have often wondered what the purpose of it was. It’s been a struggle to know how to use it other than for just my own personal enrichment. Now that my kids are older I am looking for something more. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens when I am all grown up.

More to come..,