Entries by Annie Lockhart Gilroy

Thinking Broadly, Going Deeply

In a world where youth and young adults are increasingly finding meaning outside of the Church, the question many congregations are asking is, “How do we get youth and young adults to come to Church?” Instead, we should be asking, “How do we meet youth and young adults where they are?”

To Whom Does My Body Belong?

When embracing embodied theology and embodied pedagogy with teens girls, a key question to ask is, “to whom does your body belong?” After this, ask the follow-up, “What messages do you get about who your body belongs to?” Girls receive very different answers from both the Church and wider culture about who their body belongs to.

“Appropriate” Embodiment

I am concerned about the psyche of the middle school girl who is growing into this new body that she does not recognize. I am concerned about the teen girl that still doesn’t understand the body she is in. I am concerned about the only Black girl in her youth group who wants to wear what her friends wear but doesn’t understand why this popular outfit seems to be problematic only on her body.

Undressing the Dress Code

The theological discussion to be had is an important one, and we should talk with our young girls about how one should dress as a representative of Christ. And as we help girls wrestle with this, we ought to ask them to reflect on what God is calling them to present in this world. We should talk about societal appropriateness and we should talk about how our theology influences our dress (as it should influence everything we do), but we ought not confuse the two.

Claim Your Voice, but Change It First

We cannot help girls claim their metaphorical voice if we do not appreciate their literal voice… So, when we work with youth for presentations during service or in plain conversation, we need to be careful to discern what feedback helps them claim their voice, and what squelches their voice, forcing them to adopt another voice not their own.

Recovering the Imago Dei for Girls

One does not have to look too far to see that, while our culture tries to put different images on our youth, many of the images presented do not look like anything divine… Therefore, one of our jobs as people who love youth is to be journey partners helping each girl to refuse any limiting images that diminish the imago Dei within her.