With the departure of summer, “people from away” are slowly filtering out of Maine and life is balancing out once again for those of us whose livelihood is impacted by the tourism industry. The last four months have been insanely busy for me and Becky. There hasn’t been the space in our lives to write, but that will change over this fall and winter. We look forward to getting back in the swing of blogging and vlogging for you!
I promised to share my Imago Dei presentation from our women’s retreat earlier this month, and I will get to that later this week hopefully. I am always checking in with my favorite blogs and keeping track of important conversations that are happening, so today I want to share some links with you to posts that have had me thinking. I’m whetting your appetite with a quote from each post, and I hope you are able to read some of these in their entirety.
When one considers the fact that studies overwhelmingly show that spanking is seriously harmful to children, that it damages their brains, lowers their IQ’s, reduces their ability to make good choices, increases their aggression/violence, and leads to a pattern of negative behaviors that simply require more violence on the part of the parent, the scientific evidence against spanking should be clear. When a Christian couples that scientific evidence with the nonviolent teachings of Jesus from the New Testament, along with a warning from Jesus himself that it would be better to be thrown into the sea than to harm a child, there aren’t many arguments left to support the old way of doing things.
Now, let’s talk about “hostile attribution bias.” This means you live your life expecting people to be mean to you. UM. WHOA. Hi, self. My ingrained response to the world is that people are mean and scary and out to get me. I am constantly surprised when people love me–and I have to repress the urge to be suspicious when they are kind.
Here’s my default thought process: What do they want from me? Why are they being nice? They must have an ulterior motive! Don’t they know I’m a bad person? I can’t trust them! BLOCK THEM OUT.
The hardest thing for me to do is receive love. There, I said it. I have a huge fear of intimacy because I just don’t trust people. This is my trauma wound.
I can’t go back and change my past. But I can change my future. I don’t have to perpetuate the cycle of violence. I can do something different. You can, too. Our children deserve it.
In which I talk about spanking – Sarah Bessey (she lists great resources for further reading)
The short list of why I don’t spank
- Personally, I believe it’s morally wrong to strike a child. Also, it isn’t Biblical.
- Hitting teaches hitting as a solution.
- It creates an adversarial relationship between parents and children – Us vs. Them.
- It can easily lead to abuse.
- It doesn’t work over the long term.
- It promotes anger or gives place to anger in both the parent and the child.
- It doesn’t teach inner discipline.
- It creates a behavioural response out of fear instead of love.
ON GENDER EQUALITY IN THE CHURCH
women, men & church: what hurts, what helps – Kathy Escobar (here are her “what helps,” but you should really read the whole post and consider “what hurts.”)
Here are some tangible and practical “best practices” that can help us move toward greater equality in the church:
- Friendship. This is a core practice that opens doors to equality. We’ve got to find ways to practice being true friends together.
- Be intentional about inviting, including, empowering, and releasing women into all levels of leadership. It won’t drop out of the sky so needs to be clear and strong message–“we need you, we want you, and here’s how we can make this happen.
- Pay properly and equally. Period. Figure it out.
- Avoid gender-biased comments (on both sides) about looks, athleticism, feelings, and other stereotypical ways of viewing both sexes.
- Create intentional and brave conversations about gender in our communities–places to share, evaluate, process, adopt new practices together.
- Ask at every table of leadership: how can we make room, make this table more balanced, who’s missing?
- Recognize the realities of childbearing and honor it completely. That means keeping positions open, building flexible schedules, re-thinking the plans for advancement in churches & ministries.
- The older generation of both men and women mentoring, supporting, encouraging, calling-out the younger generation of female leaders. Not just women supporting women but men and women supporting men and women.
- Consider how to support women practically and tangibly through seminary and then ministry related to childcare help, books, mentorship, and financial support.
- Start naming the elephant in the room before certain meetings and planning sessions get started–“We know women haven’t had an equal voice in this before. How can we shift that dynamic in here right now so everyone is heard?
- Conference organizers and local have a solid and clear list of female speakers to draw from and use them; intentionally work toward balance.
- Men showing up for gender equality conversations as much as women do (I added this one).
Women Like Me Are Abused Worldwide. Here’s Why. – Anne Graham Lotz
If you doubt that sin is the root of the discrimination of women, look at Jesus. He was raised in a religious culture where people were taught that women, at the very least, were much less then men. As a rabbi (as his disciples called him), he should have discriminated against women as every other man did. But there was a significant difference between Jesus and everyone else. He had no sin in his heart.
As a result, we see him. . .
honoring women as he did when Mary anointed him with oil during a dinner in Simon’s home,
singling women out for praise as he did the widow who placed her “mite” in the temple treasury,
caring for women as he did the desperately ill woman who reached out to touch the hem of his garment,
protecting women as he did the one caught in adultery who was in danger of being stoned to death,
giving women new purpose and elevated status as he did the ones who were the first to encounter him after his resurrection and were commissioned by him to go tell the men what they had seen and experienced.
The New Wine of the Kingdom: Equality in the Church – Brian Wiele
You drink what the host is pouring… but unfortunately, within a short period of time after the New Testament era, church leadership rudely refused to drink what the host had poured, and declared, just as Jesus had predicted, that the old wine of patriarchal dominance would serve the church just fine.
Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical Protestant – the majority of the distinctive church families have continued to trot out their preferred vintage – sometimes with new labels on it like complementarian – and then audaciously decreed it to be the blend that Jesus preferred and recommended. They control the cellar, and their hierarchical vintage is thus the only one poured. As a result, anyone advocating that the church drink of the new spirit of equality is at best considered suspicious and liberal, and at worst divisive and heretical.
I’m convinced that Jesus poured a new wine – men and women, both created in his image – into new wineskins, a Trinitarian model of shared leadership. Throw whatever labels you like at me, the refreshing blend of gender equality will continue to be served in my congregation. I’m drinking what was poured for me in order to honor the one who poured it, Jesus Christ.
ON MISOGYNY, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND PATRIARCHY
Changing the Culture that Enabled Mark Driscoll: 6 Ways Forward – Rachel Held Evans (read Rachel’s fantastic elaboration on these 6 ways forward:)
1. We must educate Christians about abuse, bullying, and misuse of power in church settings.
2. We must value and preserve accountability.
3. We must take misogyny and homophobia seriously.
4. We must measure “success” by fruit of the Spirit, not numbers.
5. We must protect people over reputations.
6. We must treat our pastors and church leaders as human beings–flawed, complex, and beloved by God.
The Spin of Patriarchy – a podcast with Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller (with links to related posts). They discuss these questions:
On the surface, Patriarchy families may look very harmless and even attractive. Everyone wears a smile, they tend to have a quiverfull of obedient children that they homeschool, and they present to you a formula for success. But what exactly does the husband and father’s “authority” entail? Should a husband be a mediator for the family, acting as a priest between them and the Lord? Is a college education wasted on daughters, because they are being raised to be homemakers? What’s the deal with stay-at-home daughters? Can women work outside of the home, alongside other men? What happens if you don’t have a happy disposition that reflects positively on your father or husband? Is a woman’s worth tied to the number of children she has? Do you believe that women are always prone to rebellion and satanic deceit and therefore need to be directed into submission? Is it a sin to educate your child through a different avenue than homeschool? And how does this all play out politically?
Why I Won’t Watch #RayRice – Angela Denker
Biblical traditionalists often forget to mention that the language of submission in the Bible is grounded in mutuality. For each instruction to women, Paul has an instruction to men as well. Relationship—love–is meant to be sacrificing, loving, and kind. Violence, vengeance, of any kind is condemned from the Old Testament to the New. Vengeance is mine, says the LORD.
Jesus himself says this, in his first sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me … to proclaim liberty to the captives … to set the oppressed free,” (Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isaiah).
Jesus died so that no person might lose her personhood. So that no one would be controlled, manipulated, and abused. The love Jesus practiced and preached was a love that lifted up those who were brought low; a love that set people free from the roles society gave them and left them identified by an eternal life, an eternal light that could never be extinguished.
Domestic violence puts out that light. As Janay Rice-Palmer crumples to the ground in that video, she is reduced to something less than human.
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