Sunday Specials

Jul06

Sunday Specials: Let Freedom Ring

*Sunday Specials are a weekly round-up of happenings on the web-o-sphere. So enjoy your coffee (or late night beverage) while checking out what’s caught our attention. 

I love the 4th of July. I love that we celebrate the holiday with relaxation, community, food and fireworks. But more importantly, I love that as a diverse collection of people we celebrate the beauty of freedom. Ideologically and theologically, I lean toward pacifism so some might think it strange that I can appreciate a holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence – which was ultimately the conclusion of the American Revolution (a war with an estimated death toll of 25,000 people). Let me reiterate – I love that as a diverse collection of people we celebrate the beauty of freedom. We may have different ideas around how to achieve freedom politically, spiritually, or otherwise, but nonetheless, it is (at the very least) claimed to be a widely held value in our country. Freedom is a big old messy category. One that I can’t unpack in this tiny little post, but it’s on my mind this week. Here are a couple of posts that have generated further thoughts.

The Path of Freedom from Addiction

A colleague and husband of a friend, Jay Stringer, continues his  this week in his post Part 2: Buying (and watching) Sex: It’s Not About Sex.

Buying or viewing sex is rarely, if ever about sex; it is about power and control. When life is difficult, when it does not work the way we want it to, when our accomplishments gradually fade or are exceeded by those more gifted, we will almost always experience a dimension of the curse that is described in Genesis 3. Pornography and purchasing sex in hotel rooms, massage parlors, and vehicles offers the seduction of an experience that is unlike anything that can be experienced on this earth– to dictate what one desires without any immediate fear of failure or relational futility. A committed relationship does not provide a context for such control. This is evil’s seduction to men; give me your defeated and angry heart and I will give you a kingdom where it will all go away.

 

Fighting for the Freedom of Others

I continue to be challenged by the writings of some of my favorite bloggers who recently went on trip with an organization called Exodus Road where they explored the issues of Sex Trafficking in SE Asia. I am in the midst of sorting out how I can enter into this issue in a more concrete way, but for now, I continue to  learn more and more.

It’s why I send my husband out into brothels to look for children. It’s why we work long hours to raise funding for equipment that trusted police partners have asked for. It’s why we advocate and travel and write and have meetings, and quite frankly, bleed-out. Because a girl or boy in a brothel, and even millions of them, are begging for freedom, are desperate for it. And it’s not a half-hearted effort that will provide it for them. – Laura Parker (read more from But What About Trafficking in the United States)

 

I’d love to hear what caught your attention this week!

Jun29

Sunday Specials: Bathsheba and Sex Trafficking

*Sunday Specials are a weekly round-up of happenings on the web-o-sphere. So enjoy your coffee (or late night beverage) while checking out what’s caught our attention. 

With Krista here for a visit on Colorado soil, your 3 therapists are about to have a day of exchanging many many words (people…you I wish I could have a word count on our conversations), creative ping-pong-like sessions, enjoying some scrumptious food and celebrating loving each other face to face. But before I head out for this day, a day I have been looking forward to for weeks, I wanted to share my Sunday Specials.  So without further ado, here’s what caught my attention this week:

Bathsheba and the Myth of Unconscious Seduction by Kate Schell

So King Peeping Tom summoned Bathsheba. This wasn’t considered criminal at the time, because the king had the legal right to claim any woman. But today, if Secret Service agents abduct a woman and take her to the White House for sex with the president, that’s called kidnapping and rape. Call in Liam Neeson, because she’s been taken. In this situation, Bathsheba could not say no and therefore, by definition, could not consent.

If you have been following our posts on Facebook you may have noticed that I have been tracking with a team of four bloggers who recent returned from a trip with an organization called Exodus Road. I’ve selected a favorite post (out of what they’ve published thus far)  from each of them as they reflect on their experience:

A Million Ways to Say it Wrong by Jamie the Very Worst Missionary

This is the part where we each stare at a blank page on a computer screen for too many hours trying to find the right words to say all the things we want to say and share the things we want to share. This is the part where we desperately try to do justice in what we write to the things we’ve seen and the stories we’ve heard, for all the hands we held, and eyes we met, and the hearts and souls we felt keenly connected to over one week across the world. This is the part that means life or death for a blogger trip, yes, but far more important, this is part that can bring new life to victims of human trafficking and sex-slavery. Let me just say this out loud; No one wants the trip we “survived” to matter in tangible ways more than we do. No one wants to share about the things we witnessed while preserving the privacy and dignity of the victims we saw more than we do. No one wants to help you feel a deep connection to the good work happening in the world more than we do. And no one is more afraid of saying it all wrong than we are. No one.

Oh no, dooce found Jesus by Heather Armstrong

On the last day of our trip I was talking with the founder Matt Parker who articulated exactly what I had witnessed the previous four days. He said, ‘If you read the Bible, if you study the person that Jesus was when he walked the earth, you’d understand that there was never a trade or a cost for his service. He fed and he clothed and he healed because he loved. He didn’t require anyone to accept a message or make a promise before he administered any help. He served because that is what good humans do for other humans.’

 What I learned about sex trafficking from an evening with two prostitutes by Kristen Howerton

In that room, I think we all felt an overwhelming sense of empathy and connection. I fought the urge to try to fix things, and instead to just sit with them and empathize and listen. We reiterated that we felt it was not fair that such disparities exist based on where we were born. They seemed relieved to hear us acknowledge that. I think we all sat in that room feeling that we are so much alike. I couldn’t help thinking that it is women who really need to rise up and help one another. These girls are our sisters, born into different circumstances, and doing what they need to do to survive.

Delicate/Brutal by Roo at Semi Proper

I cried with a sex worker. I rode on the back of motorcycle taxis. I reviewed pedophile cases, and now I can’t get the images out of my head. I watched an undercover investigation happen from the back seat of an SUV and ducked every time I saw headlights. I questioned God. I met a baby elephant. I watched horrible things unfold but I sat on my hands and smiled – as instructed – so as not to cause suspicion. I met people who have devoted their lives to rescuing victims and prosecuting evil people. I laughed with my friends in the back of a pickup truck and rubbed at the pain under my sternum by myself in the shower. I danced on a rooftop. I visited a Buddhist temple. I sat and talked with girls identified by the number pinned to their bikini bottoms. I connected with them. I felt a deep love for them. I wanted to rescue them. I left them behind.

 

 *Please feel free to share any links to posts that caught your attention this week in the comments below!

Jun22

Sunday Specials: #WorldCup and Women

*Sunday Specials are a weekly round-up of happenings on the web-o-sphere. So enjoy your coffee (or late night beverage) while checking out what’s caught our attention. 

I’m not sure about you folks, but I am still recovering from the intensity of the USA vs. Portugal game this evening. And I’m still shaking my head and repeating #FrigginRonaldo over and over again. So I guess I’ll still be carrying around the combination of anxiety and excitement that makes my belly feel all aflutter until Thursday. And no, I am not talking about the butterflies so many women are giddy about on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate the ridiculousness of their talent, the capacity of their bodies and the beauty of these so-called men (though I think they deserve their own separate category). But I am blushing at half the posts I’ve been reading all week and I’m horrified at the reverse objectification evident in the other half of the posts. And most of the comments are by 40+ year old women. Geez. I think this cultural phenomenon is in need of some serious analysis…but I’ll save that for someone else to do. In an effort to prove that I am not a complete prude on the matter, I should mention that I did find a Post by Momastery to be rather funny. 

On a slightly more serious note, I actually find women to be rather fascinating creatures (even though I’m poking fun at their fainting at the sight of Ronaldo’s abs). Historically, our differences from men (whether essential or constructed) were viewed as dysfunctional or inferior at the very least. In many ways, modern day gender dynamics continue to reveal the impact of such thinking upon our culture. I think that is why I am so drawn to some of the feminist thinkers of our time – so many women trying to sort out how to reclaim equal footing, not just in rights, but in how we view and feel about being female. I was so pleased to read The Gift of PMS by a fellow graduate from The Seattle School this past week as it is a fantastic example of the small ways we can shift our thinking about our own bodies.

So many women I know, including myself, are ashamed of their PMS symptoms. Even in San Francisco, the most liberal city, women come into therapy and sheepishly confess ‘I get really bad PMS,’ as if it’s a sin or a personal flaw. They want to know how to manage it, how to be less volatile to the people around them. Sometimes PMS is the one Octopus leg that they can’t wrestle down, and they think the problem is that they’re not wrestling enough. Our embarrassment comes out of what’s called ‘Masculine Normativity’— the cultural belief that normal is male, and what deviates from ‘male’ is abnormal and inferior. Masculine normativity dictates that women should not have fluctuating moods (as if men don’t!), that we should remain roughly the same temperament week to week, month to month. Western patriarchy adds to the shaming by insisting that there is a state called ‘rational’ or ‘intellectual’ that is somehow separate from ’emotional’ and ’embodied.’

*Please feel free to share any links to posts that caught your attention this week in the comments below!

Jun15

Sunday Specials: Day of the Dads

Burning the midnight oil in this house after a day of honoring and celebrating the wonderful DADS in my life. I am only going to leave you with one very interesting article on fatherhood and culture that I came across this week. There were plenty of other internet conversations that caught my attention this week, but it feels important to pause on holidays like today to reflect upon certain categories with intentionality. I am familiar with the tendency to lean into cynicism and chalk up days like today to Hallmark and the cultural impact of consumerism. However, being the meaning-maker and meaning-seeker I am prone to be, I think we can utilize any day to serve our own desired good and purpose. So here’s an article that can serve as a launching pad to generate your own thoughts around modern-day fatherhood (and there are plenty of links within the post worthy of further exploration). And Happy Dad’s Day to the men trying to find their way in this wild and crazy world.

Is 2014 ‘Year of the Dad’? By Andy Hinds at The Daily Beast

When I asked him about his take on why fatherhood in general has become more of a newsworthy topic lately, Behson, who writes about working-dad issues on his blog, Fathers, Work and Family, he answered, ‘The code of silence around the ‘open secret’ of involved fatherhood is finally breaking down. In large part, I think we have working moms to thank. We are all recognizing that the equality of women at work is inextricably tied to the equality of men as parents.’

Jun01

Sunday Specials: #YesAllWomen Continues, the Relationship Between Sin and Goodness, and #HonoringMaya

*Sunday Specials are a weekly round-up of happenings on the web-o-sphere. So enjoy your coffee while checking out what’s caught our attention. 

#YesAllWomen Continues to Create a Stir

The hashtag #YesAllWomen that I highlighted in last week’s Sunday Specials post has continued well into this week. Along with women cataloguing various experiences of misogyny and stamping their posts with this hashtag, others have utilized the online forum to debate the prevalance of misogyny altogether. This article published by Slate Magazine offers some insight into why misogyny can at times fly under the radar of many men.

Why It’s So Hard for Men to See Misogyny by Amanda Hess

 A week before the murders, I experienced a similar dynamic when I went for a jog in Palm Springs, California. It was early on a weekend morning, and the streets that had been full of pedestrians the night before were now quiet. When I paused outside a convenience store to stretch, a man sitting at a bus stop across the street from me began yelling obscene comments about my body. When my boyfriend came out of the convenience store, he shut up.

 Our Battle is Not Against Flesh and Blood

A colleague (and husband of a friend) recently posted on Red Tent Living courageously addressing the spiritual implications of sexual sin. Beautifully and brilliantly articulated, I encourage you to ponder his thoughts on the matter.

Men Who Buy Sex, Part I: Sin Is Trafficked Goodness by Jay Stringer

The word sex is taken from the Latin word secare meaning to sever, to amputate, or to disconnect from the whole. Sex then is the awareness of how severed we are from one another and the way we go about reconnecting…It could be said then that the goodness of sex gives us the experience with our beloved of finding ourselves less severed, less amputated and less disconnected from our fragmented world. Sexual sin or perverse sexual behavior on the other hand exists to the degree to which an individual consciously or unconsciously experiences secare but then requires or uses another human being or created thing as the object of their lust and anger.

Maya Angelou

As we continue to process the loss of this great teacher in our lives may we drink in her words and wisdom with unquenching thirst.