Tag Archives: women

Around the web the last couple of weeks

Some of the articles that I found provocative, really got me thinking or inspired me from the last couple of weeks:

Film

Brilliant – 11 Film Posters Improved By Mark Kermode’s Scathing Reviews

Ferguson

Two helpful pieces from Vox relaying transcripts of what happened- with some commentary.

Officer Darren Wilson’s story is unbelievable. Literally.

Michael Brown spent his last day with his friend Dorian Johnson. Here’s what Johnson saw.

Darren Wilson, perfect and sweet vs. the big black demonic super monster

Development

Stop Trying to Save the World – Big ideas are destroying international development

Must read on development and for anyone who supports development charities.

Cities

The Guardian has been doing some great articles on cities over the last few weeks. The first is inspiring.

The Liverpool locals who took control of their long-neglected streets

If women built cities, what would our urban landscape look like?

How to build a fairer city

Not forgetting the poo bus…

All aboard the Number Two bus that runs on human poop

Quotes

What about you? Top articles?

International Women’s Day 2013

What I said last year still holds true. We shouldn’t need a day to celebrate women or to remind ourselves that discrimination based on gender is not how things should be.

jan carson_0A few months ago I asked where are the modern day prophets? Well, I’ve found a few and they are women.

The first is Jan Carson, speaking at AskWhatNow’s stimulus event on Faith and Arts in Belfast – a well spent 10 minutes watching this. (Click here or on the picture)

The second is Rev. Heather Morris. A lawyer friend told me about this talk that she delivered at the Annual New Law Term service in Dublin. Speaking to a congregation that included visiting judges from Northern Ireland, Scotland and England and Wales, as well as political leaders, members of the Irish judiciary, An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and the Diplomatic Corps she was a prophetic voice:

Faithful Christian living in whatever our sphere of work and influence demands that we address the hard questions, there are so many we could choose–

what do we do when our national character has become defined by aggressively defensive self interest? Faithful Christian living demands struggling, asking questions of a culture dominated by consumerism and asking the deeper questions of what has led to this? Demands that we listen to voices often disregarded and unheard. I remember very well listening to a young woman one evening as she courageously spoke in church about her life. She was a single Mum, living on benefits. And to good church people who from time to time asked “how can those Mums afford to give their kids those trainers, when I can’t”; she said “my kids do have designer trainers; we do have a Play Station and lots of games”, and then she talked about why. Because she said I want a stable life for my kids, I want them to have a Mum and Dad and a garden, but I can’t give them that, and I feel bad about that; but I can get then trainers– even if that means I have to move frequently to avoid debt collectors, and I will do whatever I have to in order to give them that. Commitment to the disturbing uncomfortable Son of God means prayerfully asking “What have we done which has built a society where self esteem is effected by the shoes we wear and the bags we carry?”

Allegiance to Jesus demands listening, demands holding back from the easy answer or the glib response that points a finger. Listening to Jesus may mean humbly being willing to name falleness, humbly naming where we have gone wrong. It demands a wholehearted commitment to Jesus who is the Lord in every sphere – for Jesus is not part of a collapsible morality that we can put into our pocket and pull out when we want it and ignore when we don’t. Remember Jesus is the Son of God, who simply speaks Peace and it comes to pass.

Sheryl WuDunn’s TED talk on our century’s greatest injustice is well worth watching.

Women, Leadership and the Church

It’s one of those issues that keeps cropping up again and again. From a conversation started by meinmysmallcorner a few years ago to our small group in church over the last few weeks.

We’ve been working our way through Acts, and it’s been really noticeable how much reference Luke makes to women. In the Jewish (the court for women in Herod’s Temple was part of the court for Gentiles which says a lot) and Roman cultures of the day (correct me if I’m wrong) women had little in the way of rights or social standing, and lived very much in submission to their husbands. But Luke keeps mentioning various significant women and uses phrases such as  ‘quite a few prominent women’ (Acts 17.4 and 17.12). Last night when looking at Acts 21 he throws in this seemingly random comment about 4 unmarried daughters who prophesied, which again stirred up a conversation about how we have to read the whole of scripture together and hold these references in tension with passages such as 1 Timothy 2.12. Scot McKnight does a great job of pointing out all the women God uses in leadership throughout the Bible in the Blue Parakeet which Patrick Mitchel works through on his blog. Another recent book called How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership brings together lots of interesting ‘conversion narratives’ including John Stackhouse – who makes his chapter available on his blog.  Our discussion last night and a conversation with a businessperson yesterday reminded me of the need for role-models and exposure. If we are to develop the gifted female leaders and teachers that God has placed among us, they need opportunities to use those gifts and to be seen ‘up front’. It is only when gifted women are made visible and given the opportunities they ‘deserve’ that the next generation of women can have role models. Which means in many cases it is up to the men in positions of responsibility to champion this cause and make a reality Paul’s words in Galatians 3:

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

NT Wright elaborates on the Galatians passage here.  I recognise I’m only putting forward one perspective here- because it’s what I’ve come to be convinced of, but also because I feel there is a need to really wrestle with this issue and provide a healthy alternative perspective to a lot of what is around in the evangelical sphere currently. I’m all about the liberation…

Women of the world unite! Free rice, and the poppy question continues…

Time for a quick round up of blogging action.

Crooked Shore has taken one (more) small step in the musings about poppies, and some of the attitutes towards wearing or not not wearing.

comicIt’s all been kicking off in the blogosphere – at least in our little corner of it. Women. Women in the church most specifically. So much so espero has been roused from her curtailment of activity by children to start blogging. Zoomtard has also begun to throw his weight around the ring with not one but three posts and another promised tomorrow. Jaybercrow is whispering wisely, while Vox is making comics about the kerfuffle, while all the pots are being stirred by a cheeky monkey. Mysmallcorner and Lilytodd – didn’t realise what they were starting – but thanks for making me start thinking about something I hadn’t given much thought to before.

Whynot smile directed me to improve my vocabulary whilst donating rice to the UN World food programme at Free Rice. Sound too good to be true? check out some thoughts here.

I leave with with some of Hugo (recently told in public to ‘shut up’ by the King of Spain) Chavez’s best lines

So any women on the go?

I had to restrain a strong desire to punch an elderly relative for this comment at my gran’s funeral several years ago. Whether I had or not was irrelevant. In my moment of grief all she was interested in was my relationship status, not the fact I may have been upset. This is one of the things that really bugs me about the Christian community in the North at least. It’s obsessed with relationships – which are a good thing but not everything, and in fact they have a very poor theology of relationships. There seems a massive pressure for people to get married. And so many christians get married so young, and some of those marriages run into problems. Northern Irish Christians all need to read some Hybels wisdom in Making Life Work (which is a fantastic book) or Fit to be Tied. It could only have good results.

Its one of the things that frustrates me about church. Sometimes I feel it would be easier to fit in if I was in a couple. Maybe I’m just more sensitive to it, having grown up with parents who split up when I was young, and mum sharing some really hurtful comments made by other Christian couples like – “if you were still together we could go out like we used to”. Can couples not spend time with single people? Are they so insecure about the stability of their relationship that they can’t be reminded of some of the harsh realities of life?

I was really pleased to hear a friend’s minister say from the front – “we will not be a church that only invites you for dinner if you’re a couple”, recognising that disturbing reality that exists in some churches. In churches that clearly are missing something major about all that stuff Jesus kept talking about when he called his followers to love one another, to show hospitality. I don’t remember there being any qualifiers, in fact that was the whole point of the good samaritan parable. Yet for single people churches can be lonely places.

It’s another reason why I have serious issues with John Eldridge. I read Wild at Heart a couple of years ago. While lots of people seem to think he says some good things, I had to restrain myself from throwing the book across the room on several occasions. His theology is woefully inadequate, especially when it comes to singleness. As in he doesn’t have a theology of singleness. I wondered why he didn’t really use Jesus as a role model for men – it would seem an obvious choice, but then Jesus was single and that kind of blows his theory out of the water. Passages like Matthew 19.12 and 1 Corinthians 7 are conveniently ignored by Eldridge where Jesus and Paul commend singleness.

Now I’m not just taking a pop at Eldridge but something that is endemic in the Christian community and has and is damaging lots of people. Churches sometimes assume marriage is the norm and everyone else needs married to sort them out.

In Genesis when God says its not good for man to be alone, I wonder if we read too much into that in taking it to be purely about marriage. If God lives in the community of the trinity surely what He was doing there was creating community for humanity – which is something larger than marriage, which is one expression of that. Maybe what our churches need more of is loving inclusive community with the recognition that marriage is not the be all and end all and recognition that singleness is exalted in the bible. Maybe then we might really see God’s kingdom touching earth and many of us who are broken and hurting actually finding a home…

Check out Tim Chester’s blog where he has been posting some great stuff on marriage and singleness – especially this morning’s post which precipitated this soapbox rant and has some fantastic stuff in it.

Soapbox – aware of the ironic timing of this post….