Happy Saturday everyone! Here's another selection of recent articles.
You may have seen in the news this week that Baylor University has undergone an investigation into their mismanagement of sexual assault cases. While it's being mainly treated as a sports story in light of the coaches and football players involved in assaulting women and covering up their crimes, it speaks to the ongoing tension in the church between valuing women and believing they also reflect the image of God and are worth listening to, and treating women as second class citizens thereby silencing them and making assault possible, even in the church.
...When we do not advocate for women in leadership in all areas of life, we are sending the message loud and clear that women’s voices are of secondary value at best, unwanted and justifiably dismissed at worst. When we’ve barred women from the pulpit regardless of how passionately they tell us they are called, we should not be shocked when some of our sons do not regard a woman’s sexual consent as necessary either. We have taught our sons and our daughters that women do not really know what they want, that their opinions are invalid, and that their voices are not worth hearing. It should not surprise us that administrators reportedly engaged in victim blaming. We’ve been blaming Eve since the beginning of time, and we have not yet repented of our slander. We have taught ourselves to ignore the voices, stories, and desires of women, and such rejection of any woman’s inherent worth and equality leads to devastating results. Baylor’s own scandal is no exception. (emphasis mine)
Michelle explores the value of being rooted and finding contentment in where we are, something I've particularly struggled with this past week in the midst of discouragement and transition.
When they first join the order, Benedictine monks and nuns take a vow of stability. “The vow of stability affirms sameness,” says author and Episcopal priest Elizabeth Canham, “a willingness to attend to the present moment, to the reality of this place, these people, as God’s gift to me and the setting where I live out my discipleship.”
To “affirm sameness” is radically counter-cultural in our society. We are conditioned, even encouraged, to drop one thing and move onto the next. Marriage grown stale? Divorce. Bored on the job? Update the resume. Shoes scuffed? Buy a new pair. Acquaintance irritate us on Facebook? Unfriend. We abandon with ease, enticed by the fresh and new.
We are also expected to be as productive as possible, to hustle, push ourselves to the max, and multitask like a boss. The person who resists the rat race is an anomaly and is often seen as weak, an aberration. We wonder what happened to their ambition. A lot of us – dare I say most of us — equate stability with failure, or, at the very least, stagnance. (emphasis mine)
Sarah Bessey is one of my favorite writers on the internet. Here is a piece from a few years ago discussing shame-based fears about clothing and weight.
I know that for some segments of the Church the thought of good-Christian-women-in-bikinis jumps your fence because of a lifetime spent labouring under strict modesty rules....Instead of treating women and girls as persons with full minds, hearts, souls AND bodies, they were treated as essentially physical stumbling blocks to men. And I think that dehumanizes women – in the minds of men and in their own souls. In a way, these modesty rules are a version of the tired and terrible questions asked about victims of rape: “What was she wearing?” meaning “Was she asking for it?” Answer: never.
(My other issue with the modesty rules stuff is that it paints men as unable to control their urges or bear responsibility for their own attractions and thought life – and that’s crap.)
...A woman’s spiritual depth or intelligence – let alone her value – isn’t indicated by how high her neckline or low her hemline.
Regardless, growing up in a shame-based culture around one’s body is crippling and hard to release. It leaves one feeling disjointed and separated, unconnected and even ashamed about one’s body. It can take a lifetime to unlearn those lies.
And finally, a story of a goose who asked a policeman to help her baby, which was trapped in string.