When did Christian feminists have to decide whether they’re conservative or liberal?

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Christian feminism is already a harrowing lonely narrow niche to be in, but lately I’ve seen more divisions requested of them. This need to be divided among the conservative Christian feminists and the liberal Christian feminists is frustrating and pits groups against one another. I’ve seen for the first time, conservative christian feminists attacking liberal christian feminists and I can only describe it as a side show to a circus. When did God have to pick a political party? Why are we so certain that only certain causes can matter and there’s no room for other causes?

Causes are like love in that they are not finite but exponential. Caring builds off of more caring not cutting people off and saying you can only care about these set causes.

To say I’m frustrated is an understatement. I understand people are passionate about their political agendas, but to cut other people off from the genuine revelations that are characteristic of Christian feminism just because of their political party is petty at the least, and at the worst, another way of barring someone from their own choices regarding their own relationship with God.

What I’m hearing is that you can’t be a Christian feminist if you don’t hate Obama and terrorism. Or you can’t be a Christian feminist and be pro birth control. All I have to say is, I’m tired and offended at being excluded from a label I previously found so comforting. Do we need different labels for conservative Christian feminists and liberal Christian feminists? I say no, since we’re already existing in such small numbers. To divide the already small fraction, doesn’t sound helpful. I just wish that Christian feminism did not have to be divided and could consent to the fact that causes are exponential and one cause doesn’t always take precedent over the other. Love and caring are exponential, cutting people out of groups is not. Then we’re left powerless and voiceless.

This Insults Women – Sexist Advertisements and Street Activism

This Insults Women, Feminist Sticker Pack 6pc

https://www.etsy.com/listing/192176721/this-insults-women-feminist-sticker-pack?ref=sr_gallery_2&ga_search_query=THis+insults+women&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

I found this little nugget yesterday on Etsy and I am so glad someone has thought of this!  I get upset or annoyed so often by sexist advertisements or abusive elements in media.  Now I have cool fun stickers so I can send feedback out into the world instead of keeping it bottled up which will probably be good for my health.  I will try to document my usage of them and keep you posted.

The creator Kelly Elizabeth says “Have you ever encountered a piece of sexist advertising or imagery in your travels and wished you the means to call it out for what it is? Now you can! Keep this pack handy and at the ready for a little street activism whenever the need arises.”

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CandyPunkCo?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Friday

Benevolent Sexism in the 1800’s – Heathen Slaves and Christian Rulers

Heathen Slaves and Christian Rulers

As good as God’s Word to Women was by Katherine Bushnell,  I was pleased to find an online copy of the creative and ironically titled Heathen Slaves and Christian Rulers written in 1907 by Katherine Bushnell and Elizabeth Wheeler Andrew on http://www.godswordtowomen.org/Heathen_Slaves_and_Christian_Rulers.pdf . I just finished chapter one which introduces the British men coming to Singapore and Hong Kong in the 1800’s and how it progressed to such a state of brothels and the sexual commodification of local women. The chapter ends with a glorious classical narrative on benevolent sexism and the infamous problematic word “protector”.  On page 12, Andrew and Bushnell write:

What charm this word ‘protection,’and the title ‘Protector’ has held for certain persons, as applied to the male sex! ‘Man, the natural protector of woman.’ Forsooth, to protect her from what? Rattlesnakes, buffalo, lions, wildcats no more overrun the country, and why is this relation of ‘protector’ still claimed? Why, to protect woman from rudeness, and insult and sometimes even worse. But from whence comes that danger of rudeness and insult or worse from which man is to protect woman? From man, of course. Man is, then, woman’s natural protector to protect her from man, her natural protector. He is to set himself the task of defending her from his injury of her, and he is charmed with the avocation. He will protect her as Abraham protected Sarah when he took her into Egypt. ‘Do so-and-so,’ said Abraham to Sarah, ‘that it may be well with me,–for thy sake.’ The history of the Chinese slave woman as she came in contact with the foreigner at Hong Kong and at Singapore proceeds all along a pathway labelled ‘protection,’ down to the last ditch of human degradation. ‘Well with me,’ was the motive in the mind of the ‘protector.’ ‘For thy sake,’ the argument for the thing as put before the woman and before the world.”

Bushnell was a beacon well before her time. She leaves me speechless sometimes. To paraphrase it bluntly and much less eloquently, societies need to wake up and see how this word “protector” so often devolves into pimps protecting whores.  Some kind of magical protection rhetoric can sneakily lead a culture down the pathway to accepting of “protectors” making decisions that do little to protect the souls, voices and worth of women.  To truly “protect” women there must be a firmly established precedent of equality guarding against a privileged class disguising their own interests as “protection” while in turn harming or devaluing said protected party. Cut through the bullshit and you’ll see often times, “protectors”, “decisions makers”, “job providers” can become misleading rhetoric to disguise systems of privilege to further promote themselves while degrading others all under the self-deluded guise of benevolence.  

What do you think is worse, benevolent or overt sexism?  I know benevolent sexism/racism gets much deeper under my skin.  Intuition is one of the most effective tools we have in identifying and correcting some of the harmful insidious impacts of benevolent sexism.   What can you do to exercise and expand your intuition? Imagination, daydreaming, improvisation, journaling, dreaming/sleeping, reading, trusting your instincts more, letting your instincts talk and connect ideas, foster all the connections in your head that seem unconnected but really are, open your mind, imagine a better world. When things feel like they are imposing or insulting your imagination of a better world try to speak up and explain why because it is important. Give your intuition a voice and let the outside criticisms of going against the grain of culture roll off your back as sweet victory beacons announcing that your intuition is no longer hidden and buried but prized and thriving.

P.S. I did just watch The Invisible War on Netflix which is about the hidden and unprosecuted rape and sexual assault occurring in America’s military ranks. I highly recommend it. This is another perfect example of the “defender” and “protector” ideologies being turned on their head to show a susceptible to corruption power play war.

Santigold – Friday Feminist – Modern Feminism and Prized Intuition

20140715-004903-2943872.jpgSantigold Interview

Another one of my favorite musicians is Santigold. She’s fearless, creative and independent like M.I.A. but also very melodic. If you look at the interview I linked she explains her thoughts on how our imagination connects with our intuition and how much our intuition can help us in life. She also explains how little we value intuition as a society. One of the characteristics I have seen and like to see in modern feminism is how much it’s driven and articulated by powerful calculated intuition. My hope is that with the use of intuition and cultivating the capacity of imagining a better world we can start to make further progress in gender as well as all forms of discrimination. One of the best things about Santigold is her intersectionality as she studied African-American studies and develops deep commentary on inequality. Also, if you’ve ever heard Santigold’s “I’m a lady” I think you’d agree she has strong feminist undertones:

“I like to watch the way the wind blows
What does it know that I don’t yet?
Oh oh, look so pretty now, you’re just so sweet
But see how far you can get
See just how far you can get
She’s so fine

And I like sometimes to wave it high
Up where everyone can see
I’m a lady
Got my mind made up”

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/santigold/imalady.html

Minimalism for Charity – Monday Minimalist

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I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been doing okay at keeping up with minimalism. We did a goodwill drop off last week, and I’ve starting to bike to work 2 to 3 times a week. Lately, I’ve been thinking of ways to motivate and challenge my minimalism. One of the ideas that I’d like to expand on is channeling minimalism directly into charity. Of course you have the obvious goodwill or charity donations of physical possessions, but even more involved than that, I’m thinking of a whole anti-consumerism smashing homelessness and poverty type of scenario. More specifically, by doing things like saying I’ll bike into work instead of drive three days a week and giving the saved gas money to an environmental charity and tracking it for impact analysis, not just in an I’m so good, look at me king of way…. I think.

Other ideas for channeling minimalism into charity are:

1. Saying no gifts on your birthday and specifying a charity (this is a tough one because some people just like to get and give gifts)

2. When you get the urge to buy something you don’t need, donate that same amount! And if you really really want something, match the price with a donation of the same amount or item to make it more pricey for you to really think about whether you need it enough to pay double for it. This is similar to the toms idea only self directed and less gimmicky.

3. Instead of that latte or coffee drink buy some fair trade coffee in bulk and donate and track the amount saved.

4. Instead of watching a commercial, read an ethics blog, or better yet watch that commercial, analyze whether it’s consumeristic or not and critique your brain’s reaction to it and redirect your thoughts. If the commercial was for a highly gendered up charged product focusing on insecurities, find an charity that combats that.

5. When you get a raise, if possible try to divide the increase into goals like a third for charity, a third for debt, and a third for travel. You were surviving before the raise, hopefully, so this should be painless if you catch it. I realize it’s not safe to assume everyone has a job much less gets raises, but I am merely trying to point out that if you have a job and are set in your spending habits, raises are the easiest point to step in and curb consumerism and give the extra to charity or debt reduction. It’s crucial to catch this point before lifestyle adjustments are made in a consumeristic direction.

6. Instead of buying books for yourself, buy ebooks for your local library and then check them out! No physical hoarding, and community knowledge is enriched.

7. Instead of upgrading and throwing out everything in your house at the first sign of use or decline, wait another couple months or year or maybe realize you don’t need a replacement and donate or buy that item for the needy or homeless. For example, the rug in my bathroom faded and scrunched up all the time. I just decided I don’t really need a rug there at all…

8. When it comes to food, maybe don’t get those extra junky sugar processed foods, and give that money saved to a charity that focuses on feeding the hungry. You weren’t getting any nutrition from the cheese-its or candy anyway.

9. Going out for drinks? Maybe don’t get that second or third drink and save the money to give to a charity involved with drug or alcohol addiction and rehabilitation.

10. Along the same lines, if you feel depressed and are looking to shopping for a quick pick me up, instead give $5 to charity involved with depression.

The whole overarching idea is that any negative stemming from consumerism can be turned into a positive that combats that destructive or hindering force in your life. I know people say “ohh if I go out to eat and shop I’ll help the economy and create more jobs”. Make no mistake, if you buy unnecessary items in excess, the top dog guy man on a yacht is getting the majority of your money. Now I have no problem with yachts, but wouldn’t you rather have all your energy, money and resources flowing toward the common good while curbing you insecurity based consumerism, instead of the 5-20% that is trickle down economics. However keep in mind that experiences, memories, and relationships are always to be valued even at the expense of money because after all, your life matters too! The difference is cheap shot insecurity induced items that clog and hoard up your life, space, and mental capacity.

I don’t think detailed tracking is absolutely needed, but I do think it’d be helpful to gauge the whole cumulative impact of shifting from consumerism to minimalism and then following the further progression into charity, humanity and the common community good.

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hormonal therapy: medical treatment and birth control

Originally posted on Defeating the Dragons:

Close-up of birth control pills in two plastic tablet dispenser cases

On Monday, Rachel Held Evans ran “Why I Use Birth Control,” which featured my story with ten other women. What I wrote for her focused on the fact that I use the NuvaRing to manage my PCOS/endo and painful periods. I focused on that part of my story for a few reasons; first, it’s the only reason I’ve really had to use the NuvaRing up until recently, and second because the time in my life when I couldn’t afford it and had a cyst rupture was extremely relevant to what’s happening with the Hobby Lobby decision.

However, I’ve been married for a year and a half, and both I and my husband would prefer not to use condoms, especially since I’m allergic to latex and the non-latex options tend to be more expensive. We don’t have to, fortunately, because I have hormonal contraception that I tolerate fairly…

View original 659 more words

Thoughts on “The Resignation of Eve”

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Many women in today’s Christian culture are experiencing disillusionment and very unique forms of resignation whether internally or externally. I just started reading “The Resignation of Eve” and am already refreshed by its psychological standpoint and perspective since a lot of the books I’ve read lately have been complicated exegesis or intense historical contextual Scripture studies. I get to read the stories of women who have long been undervalued by the church and growing up in the church myself, I can definitely relate.

The author Jim Henderson takes a sociological analysis of the root causes of this resignation of women from the church. It’s hard to understand the reasons why the church has long undervalued the input of women, often ignoring or belittling women who have the courage to actively contribute in all spectrums of the church. Of course you have the obvious, God says so, so we do it, but more conceptually and psychologically why is the church just okay with not questioning this. Jim says,

“Evangelicals are passionate about personal sin- swearing, adultery, gossip, drunkeness, lust, anger, and so on. They have significantly less interest in systemic sin- racism, greed, selfishness, and repression of women. We interpret the powers and principalities in high places that Paul refers to through a mystical rather than a practical lens. We pray against things but fail to protest them. This low view of systemic sin, this privileged paradigm of power, makes it easy for us to ignore the way we treat women in the church.”

I had never really thought about the repression of women in the church framed as a product of a low view of systemic sin. It makes sense though as the people I’ve observed who have been immune to hearing the predicaments of women in the church have also never held a high moral compass regarding greed, racism and selfishness either. Church, growing up, was all about tackling the known behavioral sins, but going beyond that into our moral responsibility to fight racism, greedy politics, narcissistic leaders and the repression of women, were largely and gapingly ignored as if we have no personal responsibility to actively and daily combat theses more deeply ingrained culturally shoved to the side sins.

I’m a little more than halfway through the book so I may do a part two, but so far I’ve loved seeing and relating to all the women’s stories even though they are all considerably different. Some days the waves of resignation and disillusionment I feel are so strong that I have a cold lump in my throat as I swallow back the the conflict and belittling I see affecting women and even young girls. Who from within the church will let women know that their voice and opinion matter and that it is not something to always assign to potluck and childcare. For now, it’s not me as I am on the outside. The powers and infrastructures within the churches around me are so firm that even a concerned effort could not make a dent in the rock solid idea that men have to run and lead the church instead of an equality driven relational church.

Like a lot of women, I do feel I have more of a voice and matter more at work and with friends than at church. How is it that the church is the last place I’d go to feel valued, heard and loved? Something’s wrong with this picture. Some women may be able to feel loved while not being allowed to speak and participate fully, but that will never be me. Jim Henderson describes a woman who has left the church as she explains,

“A big part of my indifference comes from having worked out my relational patterns with narcissistic, self-focused male leaders. I grew up in a milieu in which everyone orbited around a central figure and protected his interests at all costs, even to our own detriment. We all played supporting roles, and our own lives were simply not the point of our existence. Over time I looked at the church the way I look at a narcissistic family.”

I really relate to this quote as I tend to think a lot of my passions for women in the church come from being fed up with male leaders thinking they are so righteous by making everyone subservient to them, how does that work, it makes no sense. In the end, I would describe myself as resigned from the church right now, but never resigned from God. Every day, the church and God are becoming more and more separate and opposite in my head, and it’s a daily battle trying to reconcile how I as a Christian feel such a chasm of reasoning in the church.