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…

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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.

Hobby Lobby… How Do Politics Work?

This may be my most ignorant post yet, but in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling to allow corporations to refuse birth control coverage, I’m feeling quite powerless and undervalued as a woman.  I can’t help but feel that corporations are considered more of a human with more rights than a woman. What can we as citizens do to express our dissatisfaction and frustration with this supreme court ruling?

As a woman who has been on birth control since she was 18 for treatment of 10 long monumental, sleepless, period filled endometriosis days a month, I relate to this issue on all levels, medical, financial, re-productively and from pain management/quality of life standpoint.  Also, as someone who’s shed around $500 dollars a year for this basic every day necessity, it is beyond disheartening that the government thinks that corporations can just set aside and disregard this need because it’s not an immediate necessity for them as men making decisions on women’s health care.

Bona Fide Glass Hoarder – Monday Minimalist

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It started out innocent. We went traveling and picked up some souvenir glasses. Friends and family would bring back souvenirs for us too. A trip to goodwill to pick up themed glasses for a party, clearance isle at target. Next thing I know, my sisters telling me we have too many glasses to fit in our cabinets when we moved. My moms shaking her head thinking were alcoholics because they’re all wine or alcohol related glasses. In my defense, I’ve always loved drinking out of a wine glass since I was in middle school.

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My mothers guilt trip aside, we have too many glasses. Some had to go so I could appreciate and use the ones I really like!

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Leadership Journal, Christianity Today, and #TakeDownThatPost

Kelsey:

I am sick and tired of Churches giving oppressors a voice and a platform while minimizing and dismissing the victims.

Originally posted on Defeating the Dragons:

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Have I ever mentioned that my rapist is a youth pastor now? I probably have, but only off-hand. I cannot even begin to express the amount of grief I have suffered since I discovered that. I reported him to the police, but there’s no other action I can take. The only thing my report can really do is help a future victim. When—possibly if, but most likely when—he rapes someone else, if she has the ability to report it there will be a history there. It will help any future investigation be successful.

It breaks my heart every single day that there’s a rapist walking around a church, and he’s a pastor of children. He is in a position to do to another girl exactly what he did to me, and I have I wept so bitterly for those children. I still do, every time I think about the power…

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Man’s Intellectual Myopia – Thursday Theology

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One of the go to scriptures that advocates for female equality in the Church is the passage on the resurrection of Jesus. As you may know, I’m reading through Jesus was a Feminist by Leonard Swidler. As usual, he has some amazing thoughts and research. One of my favorite passages:

“In the several evangelists’ accounts Jesus is depicted as one learned in the law, and therefore obviously aware of the stricture against women serving as witnesses. Hence, their describing his first appearing to and commissioning of women to bear witness to the most important event of his career cannot be understood as anything but deliberate; it was a dramatic linking of a very clear rejection of the second-class status of women with the center of Jesus’s Gospel, his resurrection. The portrayal of Jesus’s effort to connect centrally these two points is so obvious that it is an overwhelming tribute to man’s intellectual myopia not to have discerned it effectively in two thousand years.”

I think he sums it up well. The church has indeed ignored or brushed under the rug the significance of Christ commissioning women to witness and tell of his resurrection, there’s no restrictions or parameters in his assignment. He’s not telling them to be quiet or not to lead the men, he’s telling them to go tell the men! It would seem to me, giving women in the church a directive to be silent or not talk to/teach men is in interference with Jesus wishes after his resurrection!

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Now I have a huge reverence for the Bible, but Swidler follows up with a good catch of Paul’s own miscommunication when it comes to the resurrection. Apparently, Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 has Jesus first appearing after his resurrection to Peter then to the twelve disciples. And after that Paul mentions Jesus appeared to James also….

Are we missing something here Paul? The gospels collaborate end clearly show the first appearance and commission to a women/women. What’s going on here? Well, it seems Paul either doesn’t really care much to mention the fact that Jesus chose to appear to a woman first or as Swidler seems to allude to, Paul is experiencing his own myopia and being blinded by his culture’s rejection of a woman’s testimony. Paul didn’t think that the women’s testimony would hold up and help prove that Jesus lived and was resurrected. Fortunately, Jesus clearly and dramatically places a lot of weight and value on not only a women’s witness, but her voice.

Thursday Theology