I Am Disrupted

Posted by on Thursday, Mar 8, 2018 in #metoo, #silienceisnotspiritual, Blog, Gender, silenceisnotspiritual | 2 comments

The Huffington Post published an article By Carol Kuruvilla on how 1,400 evangelicals joined forces to urge protection of Dreamers. The list of signees was a who’s who in the Christian evangelical world. Men and women of great influence lent their name to the protection of DACA. I was thrilled but also disrupted. Why weren’t those men’s names listed alongside the 300 female evangelical leaders who launched the #silenceisnotspiritual movement? It seems like when it comes to the sexual exploitation of women our brothers are disturbingly quiet. Why the silence? Why are male evangelical leaders so quiet on the current issues our world is facing when it comes to women? Is it because men don’t like to identify with something so vile? Is it fear of the sexual sin hidden in their own lives? Is it because they are people of privilege and therefore do not see the issue as it really is? Is it because they can’t go after one of their own? I’ve seriously tried to understand why men in Christian leadership speak so little of the #MeToo, #Timesup, and #silenceisnotspiritual movements? More so, I’ve prayed about how I am supposed to respond to their silence. I want to be a woman who works with my brothers in Christ, not against. I don’t want to be divisive or do harm to a brother or the church. I wonder if my silence makes me complicit? I am not sure where the line is. I am disrupted. So I share my thoughts here with trepidation because I’m about to comment about some words spoken by my brothers, words that confuse the narrative and worse yet, cause women harm. I doubt that is my brothers’ intention but none the less it is the reality. Recently, I heard a sermon on why a particular church did not have female elders. The sermon opened with the idea that just as in biblical times so too, we the Church, find ourselves in a culture that rejects Jesus as Lord. Note, names are not used here as I believe this is not an individual silence but more specifically an institutional silence. The preacher continued by asking two questions: 1. “How do we conduct ourselves in a culture that rejects biblical authority?” 2. “How should we live in a culture that views the roles and relationship between men and women very differently than what the Bible teaches?” First let me say,  just because someone holds a different view on the role of women does not mean that person has rejected the authority of Scripture. Great scholarly theologians within the conservative faith community disagree on this issue. It’s helpful for a congregation to know that fact. It deserves to...

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We Are More Than A Vagina & Womb

Posted by on Saturday, Mar 21, 2015 in Blog | 3 comments

We like wine and cheese and meaningful conversation in our home. So we host “wine and cheese” gatherings on a regular basic. Here is how they work: A blind copy email is sent to a long list of people with a list of dates. People respond to a date they would like to come. No one knows who else is on the list. They show up at the door with a bottle of wine and a wonderful cheese. Each person sits around our table, never with the person they came with, and a meaningful conversation ensues spurred on by questions my husband has worked through for the night. This year our invites include a book to read prior to coming. A few weeks ago eleven of us gathered to drink wine eat cheese and discuss the book, The Underground Girls of Kabul. It takes place in Afghanistan, a place where boys are preferred over girls. In a male preferred society – a baby boy brings celebration and honor – a baby girl brings shame and burden. A woman’s value lies in her ability to marry and provide a son. To put it more bluntly her value is in her vagina (purity) and her womb (male heir). One of the women at our table was a doctor, the one they call in when a newborn baby is blue – not breathing – going to die. Her job is to make them “yelp,” she said. “I’m good at what I do,” she said. “I can’t imagine feeling shame over hearing the yelp of a baby girl.” Girls are often kept inside away from activities that might expose them to men or boys and therefore bring an appearance of impurity. Adolescent girls can’t be around boys. Period. Purity is crucial. After marriage it’s crucial she bare a son. It’s assumed her body decides the gender, if no son is provided she’s shamed. The husband is shamed as well. Without a son he is less likely to find a job or get a promotion and more likely to be harassed by the community. A son is everything. In a way I hurt for the Afghan men. They live in a country where there’s deep poverty and little employment or advancement. How emasculating to not be able to work or provide. Deprivation is everywhere. Honor and dishonor are tenuous. At any moment what little honor there is can be snatched away. In many ways the honor of a man is totally dependent on another – his wife. If she is pure … if she provides a son … I wonder if deprivation leads to domination over what few things one can control. It might...

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What Does Our Body Image?

Posted by on Monday, Nov 17, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Tonight The Marcella Project will host a salon discussion on body image. For several years I’ve been researching, noodling and studying the theological importance of the body. One of the most prolific writers on the subject was Pope John Paul II. He spoke on the body at 129 addresses within a five year period. We Protestants have some catching up to do! Recently I had the good fortune of attending  Christopher West’s seminar on body theology. (More on that in a later blog.) West writes extensively on the body – much of his work stems from Pope John Paul’s teachings. One of the questions I’ve asked  is “How does the body image our Triune God?” Scripture said, “Let us make mankind in our image – male and female..” (my paraphrase Genesis 1:26-28) There’s something significant about the fact that God placed our soul, spirit,and mind into a gendered body. We are gendered embodied spirits. Plato taught the body was bad (needed to rid ourselves of it) – but in fact if we separate the body and soul – well, we are dead. Today our culture says the opposite “our bodies are everything” particularly if you’re a woman. Well – that is if they are thin enough, sexy enough and beautiful enough. You get the point. We are our bodies but we are more than our bodies too. Neither Plato nor todays media have it right. Why did God give us gendered bodies? What about them reflects the Godhead? There’s something there because God gave us gendered embodied spirits in the beginning. Jesus came in the flesh (deity embodied) and we have new bodies in the new heavens and new earth. So what it is that’s so important about being embodied? I confess, I haven’t fully come to it yet – I continue to dig but I found something Carlo Maria Martini in his book On The Body, both fascinating and thought provoking. He said, According to the Scared Scriptures, the human being is a whole and the human body is at once part of earth and of heaven. It is clay come alive by God’s breath of life, “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). We usually refer to the human body as “flesh” – basar in Hebrew – flesh that lives for the “spirit,” which is ruah in Hebrew. The human being is fashioned of earth and of life-giving breath, and both come from God and were created by God’s Word. While it is said that each living being was created “according to its species,” there...

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Age, Shoes & Hair

Posted by on Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 in Blog | 4 comments

Today is my 48th birthday. There’s freedom in aging.  When I was in my thirties a woman shared the following piece of advise. She said, “Jackie, as you age take care of your hair and your shoes. Then no one will notice what’s in between.” I chuckled then tucked away her advise for another day. Now that I’m almost 50 I realize the wisdom in what she shared. As many of you know – I have long curly hair. Most people are so busy noticing my unique hair that they forget to focus on my crows feet and wrinkled forehead. I love my hair for its distraction. And because it requires little care which benefits a farm girl like me who doesn’t like to primp. This past month while in NYC I bought some sassy red boots. They were a bit more than I liked to spend but then again the lady did said to take care of my hair and shoes. So on my birthday I want to pass along the gift this woman gave to me years ago. As you age embrace the freedom it affords you. And get a great hair do and some shoes that put a bounce in your step.    Aging is...

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I love Aging!

Posted by on Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 in Blog |

I love aging. There’s freedom in it. I tell women that all the time. I don’t think they believe me. I’ve always been very upfront and blunt. I put forth my life. Most of it. It can make other Christians uncomfortable. Mostly because we don’t like it when someone takes off the mask and exposes the real us. I’ve noticed people receive my bluntness better now that I’m older. And I find I care less and less if I offend as I age. I can’t wait to see what happens when I’m 70. But that’s not all because I also find I fight less with those I love. You tire of trying to change things…others and get more excepting of imperfections. Perhaps because you realize you’re imperfections aren’t going away either. And marriage is sweet in it’s older stage. People say young love is beautiful, I’m finding old love is more so. And now I look at my body and think, “not bad for almost 50.” I sag. But I’m suppose to sag. No more pressure to keep up the youthful, sexy body image. Freedom. And my eyes can’t see as well. That means less house cleaning because I can’t see the cobwebs anymore. Freedom. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/booming/at-ease-with-a-body-fighting-gravity.html?_r=0 There’s freedom with age. So here’s a cheer for us older women. Let’s go buy some bathing suits 🙂...

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