We’re Complicit In Sexually Objectifying Her

Posted by on Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

At one point or another, every woman must deal with the fact that her body is a problem. Isn’t that what we learn from the #METOO movement? Women face sexual objectification, assault, and rape in alarming numbers. Last year there was an outrage for a brief moment. There was hope that change was in the air. Finally, women’s voices heard and bodies appropriately honored. It wasn’t long-lived. The November 8, 2016 vote minimized us, silenced us, – or so it seemed. And as a woman of faith, the deafening silence by my male leaders left me feeling betrayed and disturbed. It’s been a year since Trump was elected, and once again I have a spark of hope. I contribute the outcry to be directly related to last year’s tape and election. Outraged women were silenced but even still the smoldering stayed. Last year‘s silence made way for this year’s cry of “ENOUGH!” I believe that’s what we’re observing with men like Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and as I write – Roy Moore. But even with the loud outcry of “enough” I’m bothered by the silence or worse yet, support reported by my brothers of faith. I’ve been noodling on why they support men who objectify women. I choose to think the best and forgo the idea that perhaps they don’t think what’s being done to women as a very big deal. You know, the “boys will be boys” attitude. Rather I’m wondering if it’s because they truly believe the church doesn’t contribute to the sexual exploitation of women. They don’t have a dog in this fight because they protect women rather than sexual objectify them.” It’s time to rethink that! We, the Church, also teach that her body equals sex. We hosted a salon on body image and had women write on sticky notes the messages they received about their bodies from their mom, culture and the church. As we read them out loud you could feel the toxicity. What caught my attention, which I’m sure it’s due to the climate right now, was how the church is also complicit in sexualizing the female body. We don’t do it the same way as our culture, but it’s still very real and present. Here’s a sample of the women’s sticky notes.   Take note how every message relates to her body and men. Sex, purity, and marriage. Her body is a problem for her and for him! Just like those men being accused, we too see her body as sex. Whether she’s a temptress or frigid, she’s defined by her body. And although I’ve never had a man of faith sexually assault my body (there are women who...

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She’s Putting Us On Notice

Posted by on Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Next April I’ll be in Israel teaching on women in the Bible.  One of the women I’m teaching on is Tamar (2 Samuel 13). Tamar was raped by her half-brother Ammon. She pleaded with him not to do it; she knew it would be her demise. In fact, she even suggested he go to their dad, King David, and ask for her hand in marriage. What does that say about her desperation? How many women ask their rapist to marry them? Immediately after he raped her he felt contempt towards her and instructed her to leave his room asap. Can you imagine your rapist looking at you like you violated him? As she left his room she ripped her clothes to let others know what happened to her. Her other brother, upon learning of her rape, instructed her to be silent. Have you ever had someone silence you? Voicelessness is an act of dehumanization. And what did her father do? In her culture, the father was to avenge the dishonor done to the family. As King, David was to obey the law and bring justice. He did nothing. Nothing! It’s like she kept getting violated over and over again. Violated. Discarded. Shamed. Ruined. Silenced. Ignored. Her story is the story of so many women throughout history. And obviously, it’s still our story -in America 1 out of 4 women is sexually assaulted. So when we read the headlines with names like Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and now Roy Moore – as much as it feels like dominos falling – we must remember we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Over the weeks I have sat back and quietly waited. I’ve waited to see if we would brush this under the rug like we did when we elected President Trump. Last November many of us woke to learn that once again we’d been violated, discarded, silenced, and ignored. So I’ve been waiting. Waiting to see if those in power are willing to take a stand. For us, their sisters. There have been a few voices speaking out, like this morning when Russell Moore tweeted, “A church that worships Jesus stands up for vulnerable women and girls. A church that worships power sees them as expendable.” He couldn’t be more right. And what Tamar’s story conveys to God’s people is… Well, I’ll let you connect the dots. If we look at the book of 2nd Samuel we find: First 10 chapters are David’s successes and the rise of Israel. Last 10 chapters are David’s failures and the decline in Israel. In the middle is what some might call a Hebrew chiasm. Don’t freak out. It’s easy to understand....

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Women Haven’t Forgotten Nov. 8th.

Posted by on Thursday, Nov 9, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

I think the #Metoo campaign is a result of what began last January in Washington, DC. Women and men marched for a variety of reasons; one of which to make it clear we are not okay with powerful men grabbing our private parts. A year has come and gone, and women continue, in a variety of ways, to carry the torch of the march. Whether it’s #metoo or women in politics, women continue to stand up and say “Enough.” Yesterday my sister called and shared the following story. “My husband always said I would make a great politician. Usually, it was when I was winning a discussion, but none-the-less. Last night his prediction became a reality. This victory was more significant than just any running for political office. Last year after the presidential election several people vowed to get involved. I, like many others, were disappointed by the swift change in direction of politics, but with three young children, two jobs, a husband who travels, and no real daycare, my plate seemed a little full. I thought about changing jobs in order to get more involved in politics. Two opportunities presented themselves on the horizon. One was a prestigious job with the Governor but would necessitate over an hour commute each way and long, long hours. I would never be home. The other opportunity was local and very close to home: City Council Ward 1 Representative. The city council position for my neighborhood had just been vacated, and the Mayor was seeking someone to take the position and then run for the office in the November election. Running for an office was out of my comfort zone. I can interview with the best of them, but running for office is a whole other beast. The interesting part was that during the budget negotiations for our small city the year prior, I had been angered by my ward’s representative when he voted against funding summer programs for children in the city. While my children actually don’t attend those programs because my work schedule is flexible, I am acutely aware that there are working families for whom the summer strains daycare options. I also love where I live. It is a place that kids can ride their bikes to the neighbor’s house, play outside, and generally be kids. I live in community, real community. Part of that community is taking care of all our children, not just our own. And so with all of that, I sent an email and volunteered to serve. The bonus was I didn’t have to actually get elected. I could just sit for an interview with the mayor. I was appointed in August and LOVED serving and...

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Living the Blessed Life

Posted by on Monday, Apr 10, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

I never heard it growing up. It just wasn’t a saying. I heard it when I moved to Dallas. You’ve heard it, too – Blessed. We Christians use it often. “They have a blessed life.” “I’ve lived a blessed life.” I googled images of “blessed life.” Here’s a sample of what pops up. I’ve been noodling on the birth of Jesus in Luke. There I tripped over Mary’s words in the Magnificat, specifically the ones where she proclaims that she’s blessed and that God has done great things for her. And I’m wondering, as I noodle over the meaning of her life if I’ve minimized the meaning of blessed. What exactly are we referring to when we say “our life is blessed?” That we are financially ok…that our relationships are in a good place…that our health is holding up? The more and more I read Scripture the more I realize how unsanitized it is, how what we say or think isn’t what’s being said through the lives of those of whom the Scriptures speak. Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49) I’ve spent the week noodling on Mary’s life. The events that Scripture reveals about her. As I’ve pondered I’ve increasingly wondered how she could say, “God did great things for her?” Mary got pregnant by the Holy Spirit. (That’s freaky!) She could have faced death by stoning for the pregnancy. (That’s scary!) There was a time of tension over it with Joseph. (How awkward was that conversation?) She lived in a shame/honor culture. Where her parents ashamed? What about the community? Did they mock her? Leave her out? Say mean things to her? Her reputation, the most valuable possession a woman had, was on the line. While very pregnant she traveled on a donkey. (Ouch.) She gave birth in a cave with animals. (Smells. Need I say more?) She had no other woman present for the delivery. No mother, sister, or aunt to look her in the eye and help her navigate this painful experience. Herod’s threat forced her to go on the run. She left her home and friends. Some of those friends she left behind lost their sons on account of hers. Don’t blow past that. When I had my 2-year-old son Hunter, we had playdates with other 2-year-olds. And us moms would make them PB&Js and chat while the kids played. What was it like to leave...

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Water’s Women’s Work

Posted by on Monday, Feb 27, 2017 in Blog | 1 comment

Steve ran across this talk he gave at the UN a few years back on “Women and Water in South Sudan.” Thought you might enjoy hearing it.  “Distinguished Attendees – What is the greatest invention of the 20th century? Before the invention of the washing machine, WOMEN gathered water from a pipe, lake, river, well – it required 8-10 trips per day, then the water had to be heated, poured into a tub with soap, and then the real work started. The washing machine, piped gas, running water, and all these mundane household technologies enabled women to enter the labor market, which then meant that they had fewer children, had them later, invested more in each of them, especially female children. That changed their bargaining positions within the household and in wider society, giving women votes and endless changes. It has transformed the way we live. Ha-Joon Chang, a South Korean Economist, suggests that simple labor-saving inventions, the kind we pay little attention to, have reduced household labor from 60 hours/week to 3-4. Is he right? I have no idea, but I do know this…if women in the developed west were still spending 6,8,10,12, 15 hours per day managing the home, collecting water, cleaning clothes, gathering food items and then cooking them and then cleaning up afterward and then getting the clothes around for the next day and then… and then… and then… We would not see more women in college today than men.  There would be no women at this UN gathering.  In Sub-Saharan Africa, 200,000,000 hours are spent each day collecting water, 40,000,000,000 hours/year. I hear that 71% of water gathering is done by women in Africa. I don’t know how that number was arrived at because I have rarely seen a man collecting water. Given that women raise 75% of the crops, 50% of the livestock, and yet collect only 10% of the income and own a mere 1% of the assets in Africa… There is a great deal of talk these days about slavery as well there should be… But I suggest: Unless we free women from the slavery of daily household chores, how will they ever change the statistics I just gave? Unless women occupy key decision-making positions, who will free them? In 2012 only 6% of ministerial positions within government environment and natural resource departments were held by women.  Unless women are seen as partners rather than competitors in the labor marketplace, we will not see their many hours of toil for the waste that it is.  As Lakshmi Puri said at this very United Nations, ‘Development is neither sustainable nor inclusive if it does not free women and girls from the burden of carrying heavy buckets of...

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