It’s International Women’s Day! How are you celebrating?
Here are some of the articles and posts I enjoyed this week. Read them with your favorite woman.
1. On the importance of girls
This post is from more than a year ago, but Princess Free Zone shared it again today on Twitter. It means just as much now as it did then.
Sadly, around the world, girls are undervalued, underestimated, uneducated, used, abused, and ignored. Research shows that the plight of girls is directly linked to many of the world’s problems like hunger, economic disparity, and disease. Inevitably, helping girls and women in various ways can have a tremendously positive impact; one way to do this is through efforts to improve education.
2. On body image
I linked to this post by Jennifer Luitwieler in my own post yesterday, but here it is again in case you missed it.
When we hang so many hopes on one thing, one arbitrary, deeply powerful thing, expecting untold happiness from attaining the holy grail of physical perfection, we will be disappointed. Our bodies may look different, we may feel like we look amazing. But it won’t change our circumstances. It won’t make someone love us better or our families not be weird. Being skinny will not make us also rich or flawless.
Being skinny is not everything.
3. On the Jesus bridge
Reading this fantastic post by Addie Zierman, I found myself nodding in agreement. I, too, have had negative experiences with Christian “counselors” who offer pat answers about just needing Jesus. I, too, have listened to the testimonies of people who leave the impression that their lives did a rapid 180 rather than the truth of a slower turn.
Instead of looking into my eyes and seeing that I was fighting to hang on, she assumed that my doubt and pain and struggle was symptomatic . She assumed it pointed to a faith that had never been there, and so she sent me back to the beginning to take a first step toward God.
But the truth was that it wasn’t a broken faith at all. Just the normal middle of things.
4. On being an angry feminist
I love this excellent response from Sam Ambreen to yet another shameful post over at Good Men Project. Not surprising that GMP has included a woman stroking the egos of the “nice guys,” unfortunately.
I have every right to hold patriarchy responsible for the ways in which it controls women. Unfortunately the patriarchy is mostly made up of men. I am angry but there is love in my life. It surrounds me and supports me. Anger at the patriarchy is one of my redeemable features and shock horror; there are men that get why! And totally dig it.
5. On “good” racists
I constantly have to check myself because I know that as a person with privilege, I’m in danger of ignoring that privilege. I don’t want to be the “good racist” in this post who refuses to believe that such things exist.
The idea that racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society, is reinforcing to anyone who might, from time to time, find their tongue sprinting ahead of their discretion. We can forgive Whitaker’s assailant. Much harder to forgive is all that makes Whitaker stand out in the first place. New York is a city, like most in America, that bears the scars of redlining, blockbusting and urban renewal. The ghost of those policies haunts us in a wealth gap between blacks and whites that has actually gotten worse over the past 20 years.
6. On making Satan proud
This is an incredibly heartbreaking story that should remind us just how important it is to make sure that we are holding churches, pastors, and leaders accountable not only for their own abuse of congregants but for their failure to take action when it’s warranted. Of course we want churches to be places filled with grace; but not at the expense of terrified 14-year-old girls. John Shore explains why he posted this:
I’m running this comment as a post for two reasons. The first is because if I have learned anything in this world, it’s that people—particularly if they’re trying to communicate an injustice visited upon themselves or anyone else—need to be heard. When you’ve been traumatized an affirmation of your trauma by others can spell the difference between salvation and desolation. I have no idea who has or hasn’t read this girl’s story. But having read it myself robbed me of any excuse for not making at least some effort to ensure that more people read it.
7. On speaking about spirtual abuse
Dianna Anderson writes a great response to Matt Appling (of The Church of No People) regarding his series of posts on spiritual abuse. As she rightly points out, co-opting the term is inappropriate and diminishes the suffering of those who have been abused by people in spiritual authority.
Appling suffers from a common malady that afflicts a lot of white male evangelicals – not bothering to research the actual definition of the terms they’re using, and predicating entire ideas on a misunderstood definition.
8. On God-centered shame
Elora Nicole’s post on how words mean things delves into the worrisome teaching that shame is godly because it leads to repentance. When we make words mean what they don’t mean, even ancient words in foreign languages, we risk presenting a false gospel that isn’t filled with grace.
“I still don’t see how they relate.” I said. “Grief is not shame. Sorrow is not shame. When I feel shame, I believe lies. Grief and sorrow are healthy emotions. Shame is not. Shame is negative. Shame speaks lies.”
9. On environmental impact on sexuality
I get fairly sick of hearing about how one’s childhood experiences must have “turned them gay.” I’ve found that the people who say that must not know a lot of gay people. Or a lot of people in general, actually. I don’t really know if I think that this particular cartoon by Naked Pastor is necessarily logical, but it did make me smile and wish I could say this to anyone who thinks they can explain why someone is gay.
I’m okay with theories. If they work. When they no longer work it’s time to dispense with them. The number of theories out there attempting to explain away the vast array of orientations out there are just that: an attempt to invalidate them.
10. On my fiction blog
This week’s story is about unresolved sexual tension. Kind of.
Whatever it was, Kay found nearly everything about Devon maddening. She disliked his booming laugh, his boastful reenactments of his weekend activities, and his assertions that the team would fall apart without him. She even disliked his obnoxious printed ties—even if she did have to admit they suited him. Kay’s least favorite thing about Devon was the fact that he always looked good, no matter how horrid his ties.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Go celebrate a woman you love!