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Sunday, November 19, 2006
Wouldn't it be great...
Emerging Women

I've been reading a lot and posting very little recently. I'm saddened, a little bit angry, but mostly hertbroken about the conversation surrounding Haggard, Driscol, and women in general.

I'm angry that women are not accepted as equals and that somehow we have to take the blame for the choices of others. But, even more, I'm saddened that this whole thing has opened up Pandora's box of mean-spirited conversation and--most of all--hate. I am not speaking ouf this blog in particular, but I've clicked on a few links here and there and it has taken me to places where I've read some pretty disheartening stuff.

I don't know if it's already out there, but wouldn't it be great if there was an open letter to Ted Haggard and his wife that just said "you are loved" "." And to Driscol--who although I do think needs to be challenged for using his voice to hurt women--"you, too, are loved." "."

Wouldn't it be great if somehow this whole mess was an opportunity for Christians (emergent and not) to stretch a hand across the void and say, "you are loved" "."

Wouldn't it be great if, for once, we could show the whole world that it is love that identifies us as Christ's followers, not hate?

Wouldn't it be great for this tragedy to be redeemed by our loving God, in order to bring hope to others?

I guess I'm a dreamer...But, I just can't take any more hate.

We all need a little hope. Last week, I visited www.bensbells.org. It's a website dedicated to love and hope. It's kind of a Tucson thing and I already knew a little bit about it, but boy did I need to visit that site this past week and see how it is possible to turn a horrible tragedy into love and hope. If you need a little love "." today, check it out. It's not "christian" in the evangelical sense, but it has the kingdom of heaven written all over it.

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posted by sylvia skinner at 10:18 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 11/19/2006 04:39:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Sylvia: Thanks for the call to higher ground. I was thinking as I read your post about something I have read more than once, that the opposite of love might not be hate but fear. Fear certainly motivates people to act in hateful ways and is one of the root emotions underlying anger. When we feel that negative energy, it is wise to stop and try and understand its source, asking things like "What might I be afraid of?" rather than "What is so hateful about this or that person?". I hope I'm making a little sense...

  • At 11/20/2006 12:57:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    I agree Nancy -and Syl ;)
    I think more often than not hateful responses are motivated by fear. It also is very hard to "turn the other cheek" when we feel we are attacked. I think it can be a vicious cycle. I have certainly had my fair share of "eye for an eye". I am truly trying to love inspite the actions of others. It's a very hard thing!
    I do feel that is something we should always aspire to.

  • At 11/20/2006 07:44:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Yes ladies, I agree hate is a secondary emotion to fear -- and also a sense of helplessness in the face of something bad happening to us or someone we love. So I'm not sure we can so much will ourselves to love or turn the other cheek as we can decide to choose creative, healing action rather than vengeance and a rehashing of pain. And in the process we will discover compassion, mercy, forgiveness and love for the ones we once feared/hated. Maybe this is what Jesus meant by, "The meek will inherit the earth," in the sense that those who choose a path of creative, healing action rather than violent reactivity will be usher in the kingdom of God for us all.

    What creative healing can we offer together?

  • At 11/20/2006 08:09:00 AM, Blogger Nancy

    One potential creative healing act is to understand what is at the root of our own reactivity and to take responsibility for it. To choose to bring love to the hurt behind the fear and allow love to do its healing work. Jemila, you are correct in asserting that when we do this, we invite compassion, mercy and forgiveness into the situation. Both for ourselves and for others. It takes commitment and perseverance because it is such a challenge to break from that reactivity and become more intentional in how we respond. Jesus said to tend to the logs in our own eyes before trying to pluck a speck out of some one else's eye. This process involves mindfulness, courage and tenacity. But what a blessing we could be to one another if we followed Jesus on this one.

  • At 11/20/2006 08:57:00 AM, Blogger cheesehead

    Yes, it would be great! Thank you for this post. I found you through RevGals Delurking Day. Thanks for blogging!

  • At 11/20/2006 09:17:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Amen Nancy. Compassionate Mindfulness is certainly a spiritual discipline. There's actually a cool book called Zen Amongst the Magnolias which is written by a priest, and is a Christian approach to zen practice. I'm about half way through the book and not nearly as far along in applying the ideas to my life!

    I think also in addition to tending to our own hurts in compassionate responsible ways, we can also take creative, healing action to get at the root cause of the hurt. For example, how can women help heal and empower one another in the arena of sensuality/sexuality and self-acceptance so that we are no longer victims of men defining what we should and shouldn't be sexually? When we love, cherish and honor ourselves, including our sexuality, I think we'll be less threatened and reactive when men say and do immature things that don't reflect a true honoring of womanhood.

  • At 11/20/2006 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    Thanks for the post and for your words. It leaves me wondering, are we never to stand up to injustice or fight for the oppressed? Are doing those things antithetical to love? Or does showing love to either the oppressor or the oppressed imply that the other can't be loved as well? Where is the balance? Or should there be balance? Just some questions.

  • At 11/20/2006 10:06:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    I think it's how we stand up. Do we make war or do we actively create peace and justice? Of course there's no formula; there is a time for table turning and a time for cross-carrying, a time for expressing rage and a time for offering acceptance and reconciliation. I think usually the initial standing up is good, but when it leads to endless rehashing of festering wounds, it's counter productive. I've blogged a bit about this on quirkygrace.

  • At 11/20/2006 12:06:00 PM, Anonymous Christina

    I think there are definitely times to stand up and speak the truth, especially for others who cannot speak for themselves. I think the thing that gets us in trouble is our motives behind the speaking. Are we speaking the truth in love or fear?

    The love/fear thing is something I've been examining in my own life recently. I've discovered that when I get angry or annoyed with my husband and ask myself what's behind that, every time the answer is fear. I was annoyed that he interrupting someone he was speaking with. When I was really honest with myself, I discovered that I was afraid of losing friends or business/ministry relationships if people notice he interrupts frequently. My fear kept me from dealing with the situation in love. Once I confronted the fear, I was able to see clearly to know if and how to mention it to my husband.

  • At 11/20/2006 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Yes, Christina, I could not have said it better myself. It is not an either/or deal. I too have taken that approach and found it very enlightening. I just wish it were all easier in practice.

    And Jemila, thanks for another book to go read! : ) And for your idea about creating a space for us to encourage one another in the area of our sensuality and womanhood. And the prompt follow through! You don't waste a minute, do you?

    Julie, I don't see it so much as a balance as I do a process. And Christina described that process so well that I don't need to improve upon it. But you raise an interesting point in the case that we are maybe a third party observing one individual or group being oppressive and unloving to another...and how do we approach this without one or the other feeling unloved or ganged up on. I think the "victim" often needs to be validated, like in domestic abuse cases. They need to hear that the abuse is wrong and that they do not deserve such treatment. And we can begin to consider what the abuser might be afraid of (often it is abandonment) and try to speak to the fear and help them discover more adaptive ways to deal with it. This would be a likely scenario one might encounter in ministry over a faith community and there would be a kind of balancing act required on several different levels, none of which would require a withholding of love so much as a firmness of it.

  • At 11/21/2006 12:23:00 AM, Blogger sylvia skinner

    Thank you for all your comments. I am feeling a little more hopeful.

    You make a good point. I don't think we just say nothing. I think there are ways to be true to a call for social justice for the sake of women and loving at the same time.

    Perhaps it would not be taken to heart (or even read), but a letter to Marc Driscoll expressing as graciously as possible that it is o.k. to believe what he wants (everyone has that right), but to consider how degrading and hurtful his sarcasim is to women.

    I didn't do that--maybe because I'm a little skeptical and pessimistic that it would make a differfence.

    A second idea would be to write a letter to the newspaper for which he has a regular column and ask them to reconsider publishing his writings, in light of the things he is saying publicly.

    I did do that. I asked graciously if they would take a closer look at the person they are letting speak for Christians, to see if it is really appropriate to continue his column. I wasn't rude. I didn't demand anything. I simply asked that they take into consideration the fact that it just may not be appropriate to continue publishing him. I said that perhaps the editorial page (where people do have the opportunity to express their feelings about a particular topic however they choose--thus, preserving a person's right to free speech) instead of letting him continue to speak for all those who consider themselves to be Christ followers.

    Their e-mail address is: www.customerservice@seattletimes.com

    I'm not sure if it will make a difference, but I tried to do something that I consider constructive, but not unkind.

    What do ya all think?

  • At 11/21/2006 01:18:00 AM, Anonymous christina

    Nancy, I like your point concerning dealing with abuse as a third party. I think that no matter what our relationship is to the people involved, even if we hear about them on the news, we have a responsibility to intervene through prayer--and that's where we need to start on any type of intervention. Sometimes that's all we can do. My heart breaks when women choose to remain in abusive relationships and I'm infuriated when abusers seem to get away with it. (OH! That's another fear that I need to deal with before I can act in love--the fear that the abuser will get away with it.) Anyway, even if the abuser needs to go to jail or put out of the church (as Paul did until repentance occurred) we need to keep ourselves from judgment and be willing to love them--although that does not mean to extend undo trust to them. In any case, I agree that we need to communicate to the victim that they didn't deserve to be treated like that and seek to help them close the door to any type of abuse.

  • At 11/21/2006 07:51:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Sylvia, I think the letter to seattle times is a wonderful idea. I just backed you up :) I believe a group seattle area pastors signed a letter written by a woman pastor letter to Mark. I think Julie put up the link somewhere.

    My passion is take the conversation beyond merely reacting to sexism and fighting for equality to actually defining our contribution to the conversation independently, so that men are adapting and responding (hopefully in healthy ways" to women being authentic and walking in truth and grace being who they truly are, however that shapes up for each of us individually and together as community.

    I'm so tired of women being defined in relation to men and men's opinions and the male way of running the world. I think that's where feminism went wrong is in fighting only for surface equality and settling for eliminating (somewhat) double standards, when what we need is a redefinition of culture that is more gender balanced and includes a fair contribution of women's gifts and ways of being in the very fabric of society.

  • At 11/21/2006 09:55:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    Sylvia -
    I think the letter to the Seattle Times is a great idea. Everything else has been done in a public forum in blogdom because Mark is untouchable. Email and letters don't get to him (he has boasted of that recently) and only a select group of yes-men are allowed to post on his blog. He makes public statements and has arranged things so that only his closest friend can ever actually respond to him - so responses have had to occur similarily in a public forum.

  • At 11/21/2006 02:10:00 PM, Blogger Psalmist

    Honestly, I don't think anyone hates Mark Driscoll. If we did, we'd be writing very different things and suggesting very different "solutions" to the problem of his hurtful comments.

    I think it's important that he continue to hear from women how hurtful those comments really are. Yes, there will always be women who will be too ready to tell him and others that we're wrong to be hurt by his words, but that doesn't change either the words or women's reactions to them. It is not loving someone to just ignore him and hope he wises up someday, maybe when he retires. He's a young man who, for better or worse, has significant influence over the people in his churches and his community. As he himself acknowledged in his "clarification" release, his critics do him a good service. He doesn't seem to have much of anyone who is going to hold him to accountability on his underlying attitude toward women, so it's that much more important that he be unable to ignore the effect the words that result from that attitude have on the very people he talks about so disparagingly: women.

    I'm not trying to excuse anyone who may have become personally insulting of Mark. It's not OK to claim he can't be a Christian based on his attitude or words. It's not OK to call him a heretic or deny his value to God. But it's not hateful to accurately identify when someone has expressed misogyny, or any other form of bigotry. We would not stand for it if he made comments of a racial nature on the level of the comments he's made about women.

    It's certainly OK to be uncomfortable when people focus on the negative about someone else. I simply think it's a mistake to think of that negative focus as hatred.

  • At 11/22/2006 10:12:00 AM, Blogger a

    But it's not hateful to accurately identify when someone has expressed misogyny, or any other form of bigotry. We would not stand for it if he made comments of a racial nature on the level of the comments he's made about women.

    It's certainly OK to be uncomfortable when people focus on the negative about someone else. I simply think it's a mistake to think of that negative focus as hatred.

    thank you for saying this. there is as big a difference between disagreement and hatred as there is between anger and hatred.

  • At 11/23/2006 01:45:00 PM, Blogger Psalmist

    there is as big a difference between disagreement and hatred as there is between anger and hatred.

    That is true. I think sometimes--too often--I post when I'm still actively angry about the expressed bigotry, and I'm sure it's very easy to read hatred into my anger. So "be angry, but do not sin," absolutely applies to me as I read and comment.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about, a.

  • At 11/24/2006 10:25:00 AM, Blogger juniper

    God calls us to forgiveness. I spent some time thinking about what bothered me about Mr. Driscoll's blog and its this: It hurt my feelings. I forgive Pastor Driscoll. He doesn't know what he has done.

  • At 11/24/2006 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Psalmist

    I think we err IF we believe (not saying this is true for anyone who's posted) it's unforgiving to discuss a situation like Driscoll's. When a Christian has publicly expressed attitudes that are so hurtful to a group of people, been told that it's hurtful, but continues to do while making excuses for it, there's a real problem, and it's NOT that he doesn't know what he's doing.

    This is an issue of basic justice and respect for women. It's not merely that women's feelings are hurt. A Christian leader is still claiming there's nothing wrong with saying these things, and plenty more agree with him. There's a difference between taking personal offense at Driscoll's rhetoric(as a woman, that's certainly understandable), and speaking out against that kind of sin in the midst of the body of Christ.


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