Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Men’s Rights

If you think I’m taking a break from the feminist thing, I am. Don’t wanna talk about it. That’s obviously why I’m writing this.  So I’m not.

I’ve been watching this show called Man Men. Why? Because I’m an escapist and after an entire day of serving people I need something to take me off my feet and put some ice on my mind….perhaps the other way around… After endless tasks of napkins, puppy care, dishwashers and dish washing, it's a strange comfort to watch a show which subtly reminds you that life in the rat race is meaning less.  Really, it is.  Perhaps it's something like angsty teens listening to screaming-thrashing rock-n-roll.  The first few episodes you don't think it's all that dark, then a comedy, then you pretty much just feel sorry for them.

 Here’s the Netflix description:

Set in 1960s New York City, this AMC series takes a peek inside an ad agency during an era when the cutthroat business had a glamorous lure. When the cigarette smoke clears and the martinis are set down, at the center of it all is ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Meanwhile, his marriage suffers as his wife, Betty (January Jones), recoils from his womanizing ways. Garnering numerous awards, the show also stars John Slattery and Elisabeth Moss.

That is laughable.  Here’s my description and why I watch this show.  Donald Draper is Mr. Man.  He is everything the man of his era would have wanted, and he’s miserable.  It’s not that he doesn’t want what he has, he’s just miserable with or without what he wants.  In one season he’s had two affairs, both women end up leaving him. 

Men’s rights.  It’s funny that this miserable man’s “womanizing ways” seem pulled in two directions. Either he is evil or he’s a victim, he is ruining other people’s lives or he is in ruins. He longs for love and upon finding that he is unloved seeks it somewhere else. It’s ironic to me how “frowned upon” this personality is in society when if he were a woman she would be sympathized with.

His wife “doesn’t understand him,” but unlike her he has the job and the car.  He has the means so he should buy his happiness more responsibly? It’s amazing to me how social status actually matters today.  It’s so couth in our stick-it-to-the-man republic.  With “cool” being defined as over-educated poor hipsters working for peanuts. We like to believe that status doesn’t matter, that everyone is equal.  But honestly the only equal things in life seem to be hopeful at the starting gate and indiscriminant at the finish line.  But in between?

I don’t think men’s rights have anything to do with getting more established.  Perhaps less attacked in their establishments but more so men need to fight for their feelings.  With a divine kick of irony no one is questioning a man’s equal pay, or capabilities, we question their ability to fail.  We are disgusted with male moral failure because of his responsibility not because of his motives.  We are angry for the victims, without question of the perpetrator’s story. 

In the end Don Draper, partner of a huge advertizing company sits alone on his the stairs in his great big house, great big empty house. Miserable.

“Where O’ Israel are you lovers?”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A dream.

I see something more.  
So different, invaluable.  
So incompatible it's a necessity.
Why does a house benefit best with a Father and Mother? What is out of balance when one is gone?  
Why are we so scared of needing each other?  
We want to change the system but instead we're only editing the binary.  Perhaps "when the two shall become one," that one wasn't ever meant to divide from 9 to 5?  So much of marriage is the eternal commitment not to go through life alone.  What God has brought together let none other put asunder, not even the vocation of ministry?
In Jewish culture women cover their hair as submission to their husbands but it is also a symbol of the Spirit of God resting on them.  The "helper" holds the symbol in the house of the Helper Spirit of God.
What if that word"`ezer"  
Strong's H5828
--what if it wasn't used as some sort of accident for woman?  If we're all made in the image of God--made in a way that shows some sort of characteristic of our creator.  Could this mean more for the "humble helper" on earth?

What if it really wasn't good for Adam to subdue the earth alone?
                   What if together they were actually better at what they did

Because they're different,
            They are so, so different,
                        and yet there are two of them.
                                    Why wasn't the best of both worlds created?

But maybe they're halves of a whole, 
or whole but combined even more,
maybe that's the mystery.

Because they're great a lone,
and together they raise up a bunch of little mini-people.
--and God saw that it was Good.

Then we have this church,
and the two who are one become half.
One remains silent while the other speaks,
one serves and the other is glorified.

5 For this reason I left you in aCrete, that you would set in order what remains and bappoint celders in every city as I directed you,
 6 namely, aif any man is above reproach, the bhusband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of cdissipation ordrebellion.
 7 For the 1aoverseer must be above reproach as bGod’s steward, notcself-willed, not quick-tempered, not daddicted to wine, not pugnacious, enot fond of sordid gain,
 8 but ahospitable, bloving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,
 9 aholding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in bsound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

So often we write this verse off.  Or we go down right crazy, forcing families to be perfect for their leader so he looks good to his leaders.  Madness. But what about the eyes of love?  What are the eyes for this passage of a leader of sound doctrine?  Ephesians 5:33b “each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  What about this marriage?  Why is Paul so concerned with this house being in order?  This is the house of love, can we chose to see it as the ideal Paul sets before his people, and for his leaders in their search for other trustworthy leaders?  What if he is looking for a house at peace, running with both man and woman working together to do their first and for most priority of their family?

Why are we asking people to split in two for a job in the church? 
What if we’ve just gotten so used to half a person in the pulpit we don’t know what to do with one? 
Because it’s apples and oranges. 
Equally incomparable,
better at one thing or another maybe,
but each so valuable. 
Valuable in and of themselves,
but not good to be alone. 

When have we seen really them together in action?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

With Fear and Trembling- the place of the Christian Female.

I’m a Christian.  I couldn’t be anything else.  It’s a part of me, the way I tick.  I believe.  That’s enough. I have a problem.  It’s not simple.  It’s not something your mother can solve.  It’s not something kind people can bestow with their respect.

So often in all of this I can’t help but feel I lack a home.  Where am I?  It’s an odd passion for a 14 year old to have but I've wanted to be involved in the church.  Theology, to be specific.  I love a good theory, either something to throw rocks at or hail with praise, there’s nothing like the feeling of wrapping your brain around something.  It feels like cling-film around a globe.  This new amazing thought stretching out all I’ve already thought/feel/believed—stretching it out for me to see this theory in its wholeness, from every angle, while at the same time I uncrumple myself, I see more and more parts of me.  Wrapping myself around it is stretching my own heart out like a canvas.  It burns so good.

You still don’t know me.  There’s something in me that’s between pride and trodden humility, I like serving people.  Really, I do.  I remember my boss warning me that some of his previous employees felt ‘crushed’ by their work in food service.  I laughed but then again I do work at a little hippie coffee shop *hipster points?* But he was serious, “some people feel it’s degrading.” 

I love it.  I love making someone’s morning with the right bagel and a latte with their paper.  You need a knife to eat that? Well, that’s a first, but here’s some napkins—can I watch?  I love helping people with my 10 second interaction that only leads to an hour of bliss at my coffee shop.  I really do like this stuff.  I like doing things that save people time and make their day easier.  I think I can remember 3 times I didn’t do my friend’s dishes last year at Bethel. Realize I basically lived there…  Why? Because someone had to do them, and I didn’t mind that person being me. Someone else benefiting simply seems more valuable to me than a little lost time on my behave.  I’m a strange girl.

So what? I’m evangelical, we’re smart and servant hearted, but for some reason theologically as a woman I can’t help but feel the pull between these two concepts.  I could go to either, I would love them, but I might have to chose. 

How? I mean, the most theological person must serve, and the most humble servant has theology behind their actions.  Yes, but, to put it bluntly I expect to be more.
“Called” is a really lousy piece of terminology these days. “Called” sounds like something from an alien movie, “The Called” or a really scary North  Korean propaganda movie “The Called [One].”  I never saw “called” either way until I grew up and started telling adults what I wanted out of my life.  Then I realized I considered myself, “called.”

I was 14, at the bottom of an alter call so big I couldn’t get back to my seat because of all the bodies.  So I just sat there and kept praying.  Over and over I repeated what I had said before because, I didn’t have anything else.  Literally, I was pretty sure ‘Lord I give you everything,’ meant, everything.  From that day in August I was no longer mine.  I know this sounds, like some crap from that Mandy Moor movie “A Walk to Remember,” *barf* for the record I’m not dying of leukemia…

From then my life drew a drastic conclusion, my life is not my own.  I learned guitar because I felt called into youth ministry.  All the youth pastors around me were a) poor as dirt, b) played their own worship in services because they never had enough help, and c) were basically the church slave.  So I got on the list.  I was leading Sunday school, I was born to stack chairs, I was an interceding-bible-reading machine, and I was awful at it.

My pastor wanted me to teach this awful bible pamphlet stuff which I couldn’t stand, so after doubling the Sunday School I quit. *Rebel?* My voice wasn’t good enough for any worship team with options, but seeing as they often didn’t have options I got a few shots.  I worked hard in school and had a job.  My youth group had little use for someone babbling on about the New Testament-Old Testament paradigm, much less a use for me.  I didn’t make friends.  A lot of it was out of my control. I have still yet to have a friend for more than 2 years who didn’t lose interest in me or move away, and I was strange.  I usually asked questions people didn’t have answers for, I had questions and thoughts about things people didn’t like, and those were the times I could express what I wanted to know.

In the mist of this Christian bubble I clung to a few absolutes: I was God’s not my own, God wanted me in ministry, my life would never be boring (obscure is the grown up word).   I had a purpose yet at the same time I killed any thought of life outside of these principles. Being fully God’s, for some reason meant not even bothering to think about where I would live, what I’d like to do in my free time. Being God’s somehow encompassed every hope for my life. I would go to seminary, I would be a youth pastor. That’s about as far as I thought out. The more and more specialized this “call” for my life grew, the less and less did I think life would exist outside of ministry.

But then I grew up,
And what’s cute for girls
Is a problem for women.

See in Christian circle #1 women are beautiful, strong, kind beings, they are grace in bodied.  They are the picture of servant hearted sacrifice.  They are moms and they are silent as the grave.  They have women’s meeting and women’s socials where they socialize with other silenced beings.  Perhaps that’s why men find those things so scary; the silent house makers suddenly form a complex society with rules and hierarchy—almost too equal for a man to believe.  It’s petty, but women are just as capable of forming a social ladder as men.  That’s scary.

It’s scary to me because it’s beautiful.  It is a Christ-likeness unheard of; a love for family and friends that is backed with the sacrifice of a lifetime.  It is beautiful to watch as each woman becomes the pillar of a house.  They are the encouragement to their husbands, the open arms to their children, and the open door to their neighbors. It’s Jesus. But they are silent.

But I’m not stuck in that circle.  My Father has yet to accept an offering of chickens or cows for my hand.  I’m also free to go to the next train of thought.

So option #2: Everyone is equal.  

See women here aren’t dead weights, they pull their weight—hell, the pull their weight and all the extra weight they feel they need to pull.  In a kinder light they prove that women are mentally capable of theological discussion, they are not inept at leadership and decisions as well as mentorship.  To me it’s lacking.  It’s not that they are trying to be men as much as they don’t know what they are.  They call it womanhood but their “independence” simply drives them to deny their insecurities. “I don’t need to be told that I’m beautiful,” sure, okay.  Where they go a little crazy is, “I don’t need to be beautiful.” They are a graceless machine.  Not the warrior, male, father, types like the good ol’ boys they fight—no they’re something in between. They are neither soft nor strong, they simply are.  They represent the odd third option of simply ceasing to exist within gender.  Dress like a girl, but it’s anyone’s game after that point.

That is lonely, and bitter, hollow; honestly I don’t have the energy for any one of those things.  I was and often am exhausted by the Christian life which for the most part has been totally alone.  I know God of the Last Breath, God of the Inch More, God of the One-Foot-In-Front-Of-The-Other, a hell of a lot better than any Rich King.  He was Hagar’s “God Who Hears” for sure, but He was listening to me crying, and the words I didn’t have anyone else to hear.  But the reality is I don’t know of an option that changes that.

So upon this balancing act I can stand.  Forsake my gender and become a floating soul, reject the comforts of man and woman, or fall back fool heartedly.  I could dive deep in to an obscurity that will surely kill a part of what I have believed a calling towards.  I could forever silence my weary head and humble myself to a silent servant.  I could roar, without love but in loss, as a non-woman, or only smile from the sidelines.  Either I be filled with the goodness of love to say something, or fight for a voice that will have nothing to say when I get a hold of it. Because, as I see it now, I have been really, really, wrong about my “calling” and I freaking want to know which half I’m not supposed to believe in.

And this, breaks my heart.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Girls and Boys are different... don't read this if it will make you grumpy.

I’m thinking…
            This is dangerously abnormal.

If the earth can’t stand up to a good man who goes to war,
What about when your fairly contented, semi-smart, girl gets to thinking?

I have thoughts about a problem. I like patterns.  I like patterns a lot. Philosophically I like to call them principles.  “Love your neighbor,” is a principle. It means talk to an old lady, buy some girl scout cookies, keep quiet after 10, call the cops when you hear domestic violence and infinite other actions that stem from that one belief.  I like that.  I like it because it’s a concrete without confining rules.  It’s an absolute that requires application.  It is ridged and versatile.

 But I have a problem.
            I see what I disagree with,
                        but I can’t see the principle,
                                    to the problem, or the solution.

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...

It’s the big question.  Or rather, what you do after you agree to the “big question.” 

I have ideas.
            I have things I’ve been raised with
                        I have things I’ve been taught
                                    I have a bible
                                                And I have a slew of people I disagree with.

Problem? All I have is examples.  I have inductive research, I want the deductive stuff.  Say you don’t know very much math, but you happen to notice that you multiply the length of you field by its width and you know how many square feet of crops to put in it.  That’s fine, but its coincidence until you realize that L x W = Area. It’s not that you were wrong, it’s not that it didn’t exist, but it was coincidence until the formula.

I want the formula.
            This makes me grumpy.

Oh I see,
it’s ‘love’ it will “work out”… “it’s what works for you”… “it’s what you and your spouse decide…”
            Agh, no.

                                    No because, I’m not talking about that, this is bigger.

It’s bigger because there’s more than two people involved. 

What about kids?  Kids see their parents and then build their expectations on that view.  Kid’s set standards and place judgments based on their parents.  So you think you put up with our spouse’s crap, you’re not alone…

Pastors, pastors are an example to possibly hundreds of people.  They set a bar for more than their home.  Their lives are watched and judged.  It’s not even a bad thing, it just is.  People will not only look at their lives, they’re going to ask questions, receive marriage counseling, and enter into marriage! All alongside whom? Pastors.

Third, God.  It’s biblical people.  Christ is to Church, as Man is to Wife.  Sounds simple, it’s not.  It’s not simple to every black-eyed beaten housewife, every henpecked man, and every kid who has ever had to watch it go down.  Marriage?  There are way too many kinds of marriages to say that—come on Paul!

Marriage is a principle; I just can’t decide what it means.  There’s the historical, which sucks for women.  Then there are the present times, in which %50 don’t give a damn about marriage after the first few years.  In the past this would lead me to back up, go back to when marriage seemed to “work” and move forward from there.  But what am I looking at here?  Women couldn’t vote until the twenties.  In Jesus’s times women got stoned, a lot. 

Well then Adam and Eve perhaps?
            Um, the only real talk about their active marriage, (if you can call it that)
                        is fighting.
                                    Fighting and getting evicted. Joy.

Ok so what do we know? 
Do we actually know anything?
Sorry for being annoyingly postmodern….my bad…

Well here’s something I’m happy to assume is right.

Boys are different from girls
Girls are different from boys

Yep.  I believe that.
            Girls don’t grow beards.  Boys are allowed to have hairy legs.  That’s stereotyping but on average true.  For future record, we’re looking at the averages.  Ok? Got it?  Not universal truth, but what most is likely is true for the largest number of people in that category.  I’m just saying.

Boys and Girls are different.  God made them that way.  It’s a good thing.  Different body parts, different thought processes, what about different roles?

Here’s where we start stepping on nerves.  Since Boy and Girls are different it is IMPOSSIBLE to think that they would act the same way in everything.  In fact I would say it is more than likely that they would act very differently in a situation, job, or conversation.  That’s not to say inferior. 

Inferior, hmm
            Inferior = less than?  Could one gender be better at something than the other and still not be “inferior?”  Or is it okay?  Women make better researchers, using all those social-networking brain juices.  Men are better in maths, concrete, black white, stuff.  There are men in research and women in math, but that’s the average. While I’m too lazy to hunt down more sources it seems reasonable to think that at best men and women will complete tasks differently, which means, it’s not too far out there to believe one will do better the thing in question better than the other.

So we’re not all the same…
                        How equal is that?

I don’t know, how many ‘equal’ but ‘not the same’ things do you know?

The thing about different is I’m not sure about how comparable that is.  I mean it’s different, like, apples are to oranges?

Are you grumpy yet?

Okay let’s keep it biblical. 
That’s what your ma’ma says it fixes everything.

Gen. 2:But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

This is the start of it all.  It’s also the mantra from the men of, “Make Me a Sandwich,” club.

Strong's Number H5828

“Helper” is a really ironic term here because its used in the bible mainly to describe God.  Yep, God.  The Lord. Like in Psalm 20:2

“Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;

Gentlemen of the Baptisic Faith, I do believe you have almost expected God to go make you a sandwich.  Be proud.
…Okay I’m done.

Now that that’s out of the air let’s move on. Tune in next time to hear me say:

Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Life is lived alone,
as planets unto our own.
Our little wars; horrendous.
Our seasons passing within us.
We sail around and then collide,
out of our comfy silence births a newer kind,

This sudden clamor we uncomfortably find,
the rest is lived alone.

Post about being Post of something

Post modernism is a thought and a feeling.  It is a way of acting, and an intention.  But like most ideas that take the world stage, it is a reaction to the past.  We live in the age “post” of modernism.  We are rethinking what has happened before us, that means rethinking some key ideas.  Philosophy will force us to rethink the way we see the world and the problems we will address.

Modernism played a huge role in bringing up the women’s rights movement.  The 1960s are the heralded days of freedom fighters. Science took the thrown of truth and Christianity battled between irrelevant fundamentalist and liberal “social gospel”.  The world was painted in black and white.  The individual gained their rights and yet was now a part of the glorified whole.  ‘The People,’ was a part of every person, and together they planned to change the world.  It was an age of change; of good guys and bad guys.  Heroes rose, individuals like MLK jr. as well as their causes, bringing along the masses.  Civil rights, feminism, atheism, Christian fundamentalism, all rose to the scene, their battle cry “Enough is enough!”  People were “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  Author and blogger, Joe Cater, broke down the processs:  make the ‘unthinkable’ ‘radical,’ then change the ‘radical’ to ‘acceptable,’ let the acceptable become ‘sensible.’ Sensible will lead to popular, and popular becomes policy. Today in the 21st century the average American regards the ‘N’ word as vulgar, women as part of the work force, and is perfectly undecided about God.

Things have changed from segregated schools and working women scandals to paid Maternity Leaves and equal opportunity scholarships.  America is not the place it was in the first half of the 20th century.  It is still a work in progress, but something has changed.  What happens to our “work in progress” when we start viewing ‘progress’ differently?

Post-modernism is the revolt to the revolution. It is skeptical towards ‘society’ yet it longs for ‘connection.’  It is the glorious individual who contributes to, and yet is not, part of the whole.  We are truly islands unto ourselves, yet we are more open to visitors via facebook and twitter, than ever.  We have all the information and communication in all of history, but we revel in self-discovery and value found independently from others.  Our world has changed and we have too. 

Changing the way we see the world can only mean seeing problems. With the rise of the internal world social issues have become less about what we aren’t allowed to do and more about broadening what other’s are ‘able’ to think. We hold “Awareness meetings” in place of sit-ins and protests.  No doubt those still exist, but ask a protester why they do what they do and you’ll more than likely hear, “because people need to know.”  We are less concerned with people standing up for their rights, and more concerned with telling people we have them. Our principle is disconnected from the practice. With this principle over practice we can now apply a belief to more than one injustice.  However we can also simply never apply it at all.  Indeed all of this “awareness” has lead us to become the most over-informed and apathetic generation ever to live.

With this I would like to propose that we must rethink social action. That we will have newer challenges for hard fought rights and principles.  It is not about finding the new issues of today, but conveying truth in a new expression to the next generation of thinkers and changers.  Feminism, Racism, God and Science, have different values in today’s world and it’s about time we figured that out.