*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.
World Vision Waffle
On Monday evening this past week I learned of World Vision’s initial decision to modify their employee policy to allow for the elligiblity of Christians involved in a same-sex marriage to become part of the organization’s staff. Twitterverse was all energized around this particular issue. I witnessed celebration and hope as well as disdain and fear bleeding from tweet after tweet. I personally felt like I was witnessing a shift in Christian culture that restored my own sense of hope for the future of evangelicalism. This clearly divisive decision by World Vision was short-lived as they reversed their policy change by Wednesday. Though I am not ready at this point to expound theologically or psychologically or philosophically on my views of homosexuality, I will say that despite World Visions inability to live into their initial decision, I am still gut-wrenchingly hopeful that the voices of love will continue to revolutionize this relationally broken and busted-up world we live in. I have included some of the reflections on this decision that have sustained this hope below for your own explorations:
One Man’s Story: Jesus is Better than You Imagined by Jonathan Merrit
The timeliness of this post from Jonathan Merrit goes without question. If you read nothing else this morning, please READ THIS undeniably honest reflection of this man’s journey through shame.
Did the childhood abuse shape my adolescent and young adult experiences, or were those parts of me already there? I’m certain I don’t know the answer to this question, and I’m not sure anyone does except God. ~ Jonathan Merrit
Voices of Wisdom
It is because of the voices of those I consider wise that I maintain a sense of hope. This week some of those voices consisted of Rachel Held Evans, Tony Jones, Jonathan Merrit and Sarah Bessey. Bessey’s post on leaving evangelicalism spoke to my heart this week so I thought I’d share it here.
My friend, don’t stay in a religious institution or a religious tradition out of fear. Fear should not drive your decisions: let love motivate you. Lean into your questions and your doubts until you find that God is out here in the wilderness, too. ~Sarah Bessey
Malala’s Father: A Voice for Equality
In many patriarchal societies and tribal societies, fathers are usually known by their sons, but I am one of the few fathers who is known by his daughter and I am proud of it. ~Ziauddin Yousafzai
What caught your attention this week…or better yet, what broke your heart or inspired hope?
*Sunday Specials are a weekly round-up of what has been trending around the web. So enjoy your coffee while checking out what’s caught our attention.
A Thought Provoking Special
The Ban Bossy campaign by Sheryl Sandberg has been generating a huge buzz around the internet-osphere. I actually appreciate the controversial energy around the subject because it has inspired people to engage the question, “Do we as a society maintain a gender-bias that fuels the misattribution of a term to shame girls and women into silence?” And if so, what do we do about it? Although there is no indication of the research behind this campaign’s assertion that shaming girls for being assertive and exemplifying strong leadership potential can lead to self-doubt and diminished self-esteem, I personally intuitively lean towards agreeing. In part, this is likely because I too was called “bossy” as a young girl and still cringe when I think about how that made me feel. I also understand that there are times when behavior is justifiably characterized as bossy, but when a term becomes a catch-all for ANY form of assertive behavior and leans heavily towards one gender, then we need to reconsider its use. Literally banning the word is not the point. But questioning its use seems immensely valuable.
A Ridiculously Funny Special
Jon Stewart at The Daily Show inspired MANY people to join him in some #McConnelling fun. I dare you to search twitter and pick your favorites.
A Wake-Up Call Special
Rachel Held Evans has a wake-up call for all who call themselves followers of Christ…please read her post before you leave the internet this morning.
My evangelical brothers and sisters, we have an abuse problem and we need to talk about it. Talking about it does far less damage to Christ’s reputation in the world than covering it up. Now obviously, abuse is a result of sin and no denomination or community is immune to sin’s effects, but we do see a trend in which most of the organizations facing scrutiny over abuse and sexual misconduct charges of late are characterized by authoritarian, patriarchal leadership and by cultures that routinely silence the voices of women. So the point I want to make today is not that all who subscribe to patriarchy are abusive, but that patriarchy in a religious environment, just as in any environment, has a negative effect on the whole community and creates a cultural climate more susceptible to abuse than one characterized by mutuality and shared leadership between men and women. ~Rachel Held Evans
A Celebratory Special
Phyllis Tickle turned 80 this week. If you don’t yet know who she is, now is a great day to meet her. I think she’s kind of awesome.
What caught your attention this week?
“So be who you really are. Embrace who you are. Literally. Hug yourself. Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.” ― Ellen DeGeneres
This blog is all about real women sharing real stories. I have to admit, when I think of the term real women, famous women don’t come to mind. Why is that? After all, my guilty pleasure of Us Weekly devotes an entire section proving that “Stars- They’re Just Like Us!” They show pictures of them pumping their own gas, carrying their own yoga mat, and even pushing the crosswalk button (gasp). Why is it that for me to identify with a star, it’s as though I have to re-humanize her? Somewhere along the line I must have de-humanized her. I must have placed her above me. I compared my body, my face, my life to hers and determined she was better. I convinced myself that she was not a real woman, with a real story like mine. However, when I re-humanize a celebrity, I begin to see her as a real woman, with a real story…just like mine. Just like us…they succeed and fail. Just like us…they have wounds and tragedy. Just like us…they feel love and joy, as well as rejection and suffering. I begin to realize EVERY woman is a real woman. EVERY woman has a story worthy of being shared. By re-humanizing someone famous I begin to see them as beautifully real…just like us.
I recently heard Ellen DeGeneres’ story and was able to connect with her as a real person. To be honest, I giggle as I type her name. On the off chance I get to catch her show, you will witness me laughing out loud to the point of tears or pee in my pants. She’s on t.v., she’s wealthy, and she hosted the Oscars for goodness sake. All of these are aspects that previously de-humanized her in my mind. Here is part of her story – I hope you will join me as I re-humanize her and discover…stars- they’re just like us!
I’m a little stuck this morning. Stuck in the muck of comparison. What is the deal with women and comparison? I have all sorts of ideas around how our culture fuels this behavior, but I’ve begun to wonder if comparison is truly the big bad wolf. Perhaps comparing ourselves, our own stories, our bodies, our racial group, our socio-economic circumstances is inevitable in a world so filled with difference. Maybe there is no actual harm in comparison and instead the damage is more reflective of what we do with the differences we discover by comparison.
In the beginning of our development we sort out who we are by looking into the face of another. As human beings we are created with eyes that cannot see our own faces. We were created to see outside ourselves. Babies learn about their own emotions by scanning the faces of their primary caregivers. This process of searching the faces of others for their response and reaction to our own presence is how we develop a sense of ourselves and eventually a sense of separateness and individuality.
So perhaps comparison is an extension of that process. Perhaps it is a natural or instincutal component of our development. But the issue seems to be that we don’t always make neutral distinctions in our comparisons. They are loaded with judgments. In our culture, we often categorize differences into hierarchies. She wore that dress BETTER than the other celebrity. She is SKINNIER than me in a world where SKINNY=BEST more often than not. Her house is BIGGER and NICER than mine. She is SMARTER, SEXIER, WEALTHIER and ultimately SUPERIOR to me. Do you see the ranking system we have going on in our own little worlds? Instead of comparison revealing the beauty of difference – that there can be so many millions of beings on this planet and that no two are exactly alike (not physically and certainly not spiritually) – we opt to peer through a more destructive hierarchical lens that only leads to negative feelings towards the self or others. [···]