Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Answer- Ruby Slippers Luncheon

Well it's been one hour since the Ruby Slippers Luncheon, Biola's University's First Annual Luncheon honoring Women in Biola's history. We also honored women today who are working for Jesus in the community. It was amazing.

I think it was the most calm I've ever felt for an event. Even this morning I woke up without rehearsing all the details over and over again about what I would say. Dale spoke in the morning at a Junior High school and that left me with the solitude and space to wake leisurely, go over my notes, shower and prepare without interruption. It was just what God knew I needed.

We loaded up 1 1/2 hours ahead of time to get to the event in time for sound check. And I was delighted by the decorations. They went all out with the theme, red roses, red glittery shoes (all types, even sandals, to show how every woman's "ruby slippers" i.e. femininity is unique to her) as the center pieces at every table, Ruby Awards for Women of Excellence (I had helped brainstorm the ideas for these over 6 months ago)... now to see it all incarnate. Oh it was thrilling!

Then as women and men in the community began to arrive, I started to feel my heart beating harder.

Here's a picture of me after the sound check.

It is a nerve-wracking thing to speak in the community you grew up in, to see in the audience, mentors, friends, old Sunday School teachers, professors and so many you really do want to impress. So when the time came I ran up the steps and launched in. I focused on speaking what a knew, on releasing my dependence on my notes and stepping away from the podium to speak these points home. It was amazing for me.

I think this was the best talk I've ever given, in it's humor, in it's passion and clarity. I felt like I delivered what they wanted, a time of refreshment and value for women. Afterwards people came up in droves to buy Ruby Slippers and get their books signed, young women, older women, teachers, business leaders, pastors, even Biola's new president's wife, Paula Corey, told me she looked forward to reading my book. The recipient of the Deborah Ruby Award was an alum of Biola, Tanya, a woman recently featured on Oprah for her work with teens earning a 2.0 and under, helping them get their G.P.A. up and into colleges. She wants to use Ruby Slippers as required reading in her curriculum and wanted to book me for speaking to her teen women.


Can I just say I felt your prayers, all day long?!

Even as I recuperate at Panera, I'm thinking of how great out God is, to listen to us, to honor us when we try to follow him, to buoy us up, to network for us. Thank you, dear friends!


Pace said...

Congrats Friend! Had been thinking of you all of yesterday and prayineg for your preparation. I wish I could have been there to hear you and cheer you glad you feel good about how it went, especially after the inquiries regarding what your presentation might be like. So proud of you and your commitment. What a treat for the community to see one of their own strong in information, humor, conviction and presentation style. Your own Ruby Slippers are beautiful!

DA Holman said...

That's wonderful, Joni! What a great blessing to walk away feeling confident and content. I'm excited to hear that your book is getting into all those hands -- and minds and hearts and souls!
:) Jodi

Jennifer said...

You are right! The decor was beautiful.

I have one question, though. You mentioned the woman who received the award was featured on Oprah for her work. Now, I'm not saying that her work wasn't fitting for recognition or that she shouldn't have received the Ruby Awards for Women of Excellence, but I am saying it's interesting that we as Christians find it necessary to include the world's applause as well. It gave the undertone that this was one of the deciding factors.

Oprah is involved in the New Age cult and she has no use for our precious Savior. We need to leave her out of the equation and look only to those who love Jesus and want to please Him.

Dale Fincher said...


Thanks for your comments and for your many prayers for us. We sense on the road that we are surrounded by the saints as they lift us up.

I want to make a couple of mentions here about your comment regarding Oprah.

First, I see what you're getting at, but I don't think the entry said Tanya got the award because of the 'world's applause.' That certainly wasn't true for the other awards either. But just mentioning that Tanya was on Oprah and recognized for her sacrificial work shouldn't be a problem. After all, wasn't it Solomon who said that a person skilled in their labor will stand before kings? He didn't say he or she would just get the recognition of Christian kings. Being pointed out by Oprah is a strong attestation that the gospel is noticed when God's people live it well and that's nothing to be ashamed of. Solomon thought this was a great way to live to make the world notice the Gospel. We should be pleased of the recognition as it will likely open up more doors for the the Good News. It is obvious that Tanya herself was caught serving Jesus, not merely caught trying to please Oprah. We don't want to be suspicious of great opportunities. One day Oprah herself may know Jesus.

I don't think anyone here believes that Oprah is a Christian (yet) or upholds Christian ideals. Let me recommend that when something like this catches your attention that you practice charity in recognizing the comment for what it is. (This is something I've had to work on a lot with the church tradition that I grew up in.) If we were praising Oprah in the post, that'd be another story.

Secondly, I want to ask that we not use the prayer blog as a forum for disagreements. Do feel free to write us personally of any concerns you may have. But overall this is a place for encouragement, prayer, and thanksgiving. We have our own personal blogs that we are more than willing to join others in wrestling with opinions and ideas. And you can always jot us a note and discuss whatever you like.

I just felt the need to address this, just in case there was a misunderstanding.

Again, thanks, Jennifer, for your prayers and support of us on mission. It opens doors and hearts!