Notable News: Week of August 17-23, 2013

Here we are at the close of another week.  It’s been a busy one for me, with my volunteer work at the kids’ last summer camp of the season.  I can’t believe that school is just around the corner for us.  Two weeks from today, my kids will be finishing their first week of classes.  The summer has flown by.  Meanwhile, I’m trying some new things in my life outside of blogging.  I’m looking forward to new challenges and opportunities.

This week, there have been some great posts.  Here are some of my favorites:

1. Religious privilege

This is a great summary of the privileges enjoyed (often unawares) by most Christians (other than those considered too “fringe”).  Because I still identify as Christian (even if I don’t always know how to define that, even for myself), I have definitely experienced many of the things on the list.  Although I’ve done well as an ally to people of other faiths in some ways, there are places where I can improve.

2. Love and Marriage

This story from Lana Hobbs is incredibly moving.  I’m not posting it here in order to “prove” to anyone that courtship works.  I’m posting it because so often lately, I read black-and-white pronouncements without any sense of the varied experiences of real people.  Lana’s story is one of hope in which despite her feelings about the process, she and her husband value and affirm each other.  There is rich beauty in that.

3. Leaps of Faith

I wish erinrebecca a blessed, hopeful journey this weekend in coming out to her parents.  I don’t have any special words of wisdom or deep, meaningful prayers to offer.  All I have to give is support from one writer to another, a thin line of Internet hope, and an affirmation of God’s love and mercy.  Grace and peace be with you as you go.

4. Jesus’ Gag Reflex

One of many fine responses to the gag-reflex-worthy poo fest that was Thabiti Anyabwile’s dreadful Gospel Coalition article.

5. More Gag Reflexes

And, of course, this one.  A friend of mine made a similar comment about his gag reflex for het sex.  Gee, thanks, guys–you’ve cleared things up for me.  Now I know I’m the one sinning because I’ve tripped your gag reflex!

6. Misogyny of the Week

I honestly find purity, modesty, and “courtship” culture kind of trips my gag reflex.  I’m glad my parents didn’t encourage any of this.  I’m also glad I married a man who even thought it was weird to ask my parents for permission to marry me.  After reading this dreadful post, I’m currently glad I will never have reason to allow this man to counsel either of my children.  I’m still laughing about how he calls this post “PG-13.”

7. Virgin Sacrifice

I’m glad I wasn’t drinking hot coffee when I read this.  Also, I misread “virgins” as “vaginas,”  to which my brain helpfully supplied, “That too.”

8. Christian Music

Apparently they meant “Grew Up A Christian Music Fan After 1992,” as I didn’t relate to most of this.  But I was a Christian music fan in the late 80s-early 90s, and I was one of those die-hards who refused to listen to secular music.  Other than the Billy Joel I used to sneak in.  And whatever my sisters happened to be listening to.  And U2 after they weren’t Christian anymore.  And Metallica.  And REM.  And…oh.  Never mind.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  See you on Monday.

Looking for Super Girls

This post is a bit lighter than my last one.  It was written for the Creative Buzz Hop; this week’s theme is “Superheroes.”  If you’d like to join us, write your post and link up at either Pen Paper Pad or Muses from the Deep.

I was a little disappointed to see this week’s theme, superheroes.  After all, I’ve never been much of a fan.  I don’t think I’ve been to a superhero movie in the theater since Spider-Man 2, and I’m not sure I’ve seen one at home in that long either.  Neither of my kids is much into superheroes.  So what the heck was I going to write about?

Even though I have some thoughts on comics, superheroes, and geek culture, that didn’t seem appropriate.  It’s true that there is a distinct lack of super women, and the women in comics play a wide range of “stand by your man” (even if it means death) roles.  I’m put off by the skimpy costumes on the women and the disgustingly large muscles on the men.  I could probably write forever about that.  On the other hand, there are already some women writing about those things who have more of a vested interest than I do and who can speak to the issues better than I can.  I’ll leave them to it.  It also occurs to me that lots and lots of people love superheroes for a variety of reasons, and I’m sick of the feeling that we’re all being policed for our choices in books, movies, and television (see my post yesterday on why, sort of).

Where does that leave me?  It leaves me with the one “superhero” my daughter actually likes: WordGirl.

Yes, people, I know it’s a PBS kids’ show and it’s meant to be educational.  But come on.  Who wouldn’t like something that, in the last year, has helped my daughter expand her vocabulary by several hundred percent?  Besides, WordGirl has an enemy called Lady Redundant Woman.  What’s not to love?

For those not familiar (probably because you don’t have any kids under age 10 in your house), WordGirl is an alien from the planet Lexicon who lives with an Earth family and goes by the name Becky Botsford.  She has a sidekick, a monkey named Bob (or Captain Huggy Face, when he’s in full superhero sidekick mode).  WordGirl fights villains such as the meat-slinging Butcher, the cheese-obsessed Dr. Two-Brains (his second brain is a mouse’s), and the conniving knitter, Granny May.  The whole show is just such campy fun.  The best part is that WordGirl is a strong, smart, and capable role model.

The show’s writers have created one of the most likeable characters, appealing to kids of all sorts.  The feminist mama in me rejoices that there is a fantastic television girl out there that is relatable for both boys and girls, something sorely lacking in a lot of our culture.  At a time when so much of kids’ literature, television, and toys are separated into boy and girl categories, we have a show with a main character that appeals to everyone (even mom and dad).

I know my daughter’s time with WordGirl is limited.  It won’t be long before she wants to watch things she perceives as more “grown up.”  Maybe someday she’ll be interested in more mainstream superheroes; maybe she won’t.  Maybe the culture will have changed enough that we’ll see more and better options regarding women in superhero comics and movies; maybe it won’t.  For now, she and I can enjoy watching Word Girl and learning something new–and hoping that once again, WordGirl will protect Fair City from the likes of Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy.


For the very curious, you can see what I’m talking about:

Notable News: Week of August 10-16, 2013

It’s been hard staying in a rhythm over the summer, with both kids and my husband home.  I’ve also had twice as many editing/proofreading projects as last summer, so that’s left me little time to keep up on my blog.  Along with that, we’ve had several unexpected things happen, including sending my faithful Nissan Altima to the Great Body Shop in the Sky.  I’m now the proud owner of an SUV.  I never thought I would say that–it really does make me feel like such a suburban mom.  Anyway, I may not have been writing much, but I’ve definitely been reading.  This week’s list is a bit short, due to my own limited time, but here are some of the things I really liked this week.

1. Penal Substitution

Anyone who’s been reading my stuff for a while probably knows (or has at least guessed) that I’m no fan of the penal substitution view of salvation.  This Naked Pastor cartoon nearly made me snort my coffee out my nose.

2. Too many to list separately

Registered Runaway is my go-to blogger when I feel like I’m just done being harsh and frustrated.  I have a pretty forceful personality, and that’s not going to change, but the gentle people in this world are a good balance and keep me from toppling over the edge into cyclical rage.  I couldn’t pick just one of his posts this week, so I’m just linking the blog and you can read them all.

3. Well, all righty then.

Simon Chan wrote this.  It made me wish I’d had time this week to write something scathing and witty in response, but buying a new car broke my sarcasm function.  Fortunately, there are other good writers on the Internet.  Check out these excellent responses: Women Are People, Too: A Conservative Baptist Take On Inclusive Language and Why We Call God Father: a response to Simon Chan.

4. Today’s short story

I just posted this on my fiction blog.  Haven’t put anything up there in a long time, so it feels good to add a new story.

I’m not sure how the next week will go.  I’m volunteering every morning at a summer camp, so it will be sporadic.  I’ll do my best to keep up, though.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Notable News: Week of July 27-August 2, 2013

Better late than never, right?  Blogging’s been hit or miss this summer, as sometimes happens when both kids and my husband are on school vacation.  Today, we kept ourselves busy by sending my car to the shop (possibly for the last time; we’ll see) and hanging out at the children’s museum.  Anyway, here I am to bring you my favorite posts from the week.

1. Being used

If you haven’t seen this piece on being “used by God,” you may not have been on the Internet this week.  It’s been passed around by just about everyone.  I’m sharing it here in case you missed it.

2. Being used (part 2)

Here’s a cartoon by the always-wonderful David Hayward in response.  I particularly like this quote (and also the non-use of gendered pronouns for God):

Pushing that to its logical limits, the glory of God is God, and when we are our truest selves, fully alive, this is God in all God’s glory. There is now no separation. There is perfect oneness. There is perfect unity.

3. Being abused

This is a wonderful post over at Deeper Story by Susannah Paul.  We are failing to listen to those who have been deeply wounded and spiritually abused by churches.  I wish I had just a penny for the number of times someone has said they are reluctant to return to church because of the pain and some well-meaning person has said, “You just need to find the right church.”  A small part of me curls up and dies every single time.  We can do better.

4. Being owned

If you haven’t been following Sarah Moon’s You Are Not Your Own series, you should go do that right now.  I mean it.  Stop reading this post and just go do it.  If you just want to read the most recent one, that’s cool, because it’s an excellent one about unmarried women and “ownership.”  I am thankful my parents never took this approach with me.

5. Being a dancer

A friend sent me the link to this post about boys and dancing.  As the mom of a boy who dances, I always appreciate hearing from other parents who are proud of their kids and don’t limit them based on gender expectations.  What does make me sad is that nearly all of the ones about boys and breaking stereotypes are by women.  If anyone wants to comment here and link to posts by dads of boys who do things society considers “feminine,” that would be welcome.

6. Being an adoptee/adoptive parent

A fresh perspective on the “But people want your unborn baby!” from a mom with two adopted daughters.

7. Being body confident

Like many women, I’ve had a lifelong struggle to love my body exactly as it is.  I’m doing my best not to pass those feelings on to my own daughter.  Body-shaming must end.  (I could write a whole post on this, but I also think health-shaming and exercise-shaming and food-shaming need to end.)  Here are some wise words about how we can break the cycle.

8. Being a douchebag

My online friend and fellow writer Tim Gallen has some great advice for those looking to increase their douchebaggery.  My favorite line involves a sexually frustrated large mammal.  This is a guest post for Kim Ulmanis, who is honest and funny and just plain good; you should check out the rest of her blog while you’re over there.

9. Being a douchebag (part 2)

And speaking of douches, why am I not surprised that Hugo Schwyzer is at it again?  Why is this guy continually given a platform?  I think Dianna Anderson answers that question to an extent in her fantastic take-down of the culture that encourages people like Schwyzer to behave the way they do.

10. Being a writer

There’s so much advice out there on how to be a “proper” writer.  Honestly, it’s easier to explain how to do it wrong than to do it right, as evidenced in this very funny piece by Chuck Wendig.  How many of these are you doing?

11. Being a woman

Several of my friends posted this hilarious ad.  I shared it on Facebook, but it definitely deserves a second round.  If only that kid had been available when I hit puberty.

12. Being a geek

I love this video of Wil Wheaton delivering a message for a convention attendee’s newborn daughter.  I admit to having had a teensy (okay, huge) crush on him when I was in 8th grade.  Although I no longer sigh like a teenage girl when I see him, I do keep finding new reasons to think he’s just plain awesome.

13. Being a geek (part 2)

That video above is particularly important, because far too many girls grow up into women who have to defend our geekiness.  I’m glad I’m raising a boy who thinks that girls who know their video games are the most fun and a girl who knows it’s okay to be completely absorbed in your chosen geekdom.  Watch this video for more totally awesome geeks who just happen to be girls and women.  Also, Wil Wheaton.

14. Being from Rochester

My own city gets some love at HuffPo with an article on our fantastic street art.  I’ve never been more proud of my wonderful city!

That’s it for this week.  I should be around a bit more in the coming weeks (I hope).  If nothing else, check in on Monday for the first post on Fifty Shades Darker.  I would say you don’t want to miss it, but this is Fifty Shades we’re talking about.

Have a great weekend!

Notable News: Week of June 8-14, 2013

Happy Friday! Here at our house, this is the last Friday of the school year (for the kids, anyway).  They’re done as of next Wednesday.  I’m glad, because I need a vacation.  The nice thing about the school calendar is that just when I’m starting to feel burned out, we get another break.  I’m going to be making the most of mine, that’s for sure.

Here are the cool (and not-so-cool) things I read this week:

1. The “question” of consent

Dianna Anderson has a fantastic post on dignity and not treating people as questions to be answered.  She rightly points out the inherent problem of calling consent a question and where the Church must tread lightly in regard to ideas open to debate.  Ironically, the same day I read this post, I read another one in which the writer cheerily talks about wanting to interact with “the gay community” in order to demonstrate how loving she is–all while simultaneously referring to “the gay lifestyle” as being outside God’s perfect design.  Guess that writer didn’t read Dianna’s post first.

2. The “question” of breadwinning wives

I highly recommend you make time to read all of Danielle’s response to Mary Kassian’s post on breadwinning wives.  I particularly liked the second part, My Marriage Is Not a Form of Prostitution.  In parallel, I’ve seen couples treat marriage this way outside of the career/financial angle–a lot of people seem to think that it’s an acceptable transaction to trade sex for goods and services.  I’m not convinced that’s a healthy view of marriage.

3. Questions for N. T. Wright

If you’re a fan of Wright’s work, you may be interested in his responses to readers’ questions on Rachel Held Evans’ blog.

4. The “question” of women teaching

This is a great read from Laura Ziesel about the illogical view of women as “more easily deceived.”  I have long held that not only can we not determine exactly when a boy is too old to be taught by a woman (many churches arbitrarily use 18), we also have the stupid view that a 70-year-old life-long woman of faith cannot teach a young, inexperienced barely adult male of 18 or 21.  Now there’s another one–that women, being weaker and more easily deceived, should probably not be teaching children, either.  What a load of manure; thanks, Laura, for pointing that out.

5. Questions for a couple coping with chronic illness

This is an interesting interview with a couple in which the wife has endometriosis.  I appreciate the wisdom in recommending that the Church develop healthier ways to talk about sex and relationships, especially given the fact that it’s never one-size-fits-all.

6. The “question” of PDA

Yeah, I admit I’m one of those people who prefers that couples not stick their tongues down each others’ throats in public or grope each other under their clothes on the beach.  But a little kissin’? Heck no, that doesn’t bother me.  It makes me just want to scream whenever I see someone on social media write,

I’m not homophobic, but I really don’t need to see two guys kissing.

I get it that some people don’t like PDA, but until everyone starts pointing it out when they see a het couple doing it, then those people really need to keep that thought to themselves.  Anyway, go read this article about couples who were asked to leave for PDA and then try to tell me it’s not homophobia.

7. Love isn’t a question

My fellow writer Aaron Smith has written a beautiful guest post over on Registered Runaway’s blog.  He says it all; I have nothing to add.

8. A question of point of view

Novelist Adrian Smith explains using second person.  I do it all the freakin’ time, on this blog and in casual speech, but I’ve never written a story in second person.  When done well, it’s good; when done poorly, it’s awful.  See if you can make it work. (See what I did there?)

9. The “question” of modesty

Oh, dear Lord, here we go again.  We women don’t know what we “do” to men.  Apparently, they have to repeat the internal mantra, “Don’t think about boobs don’t think about boobs don’t think about boobs dammit I’m thinking about boobs.”  This just seriously creeps me out, because I don’t think I know any men who really have these issues, but a few who do have managed to convince a whole generation of young men that they do, too.  So gross.

10. A question for Cheerio-despising racists

At the end of this spoof of the Cheerios ad with the biracial couple, the question is: “What? Now this is a problem?”  Go watch it and share the funny with your friends.

11. A story with a question

I’m not entirely sure what happens after the end of my story for Fiction Friday.  I’ll let you decide.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Notable News: Week of June 1-7, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad it’s Friday.  My kids have one last recital tomorrow, and after that, we’re done with performance season.  It’s always a lot of fun, but it’s tiring!

Here are a few of my favorite posts this week.

1. Femininity

I appreciated Megan Gahan’s Reclaiming Femininity because I, too, have struggled with accepting the frillier parts of womanhood.  I suppose all I would add is that being feminine isn’t about rejecting or embracing lace and ruffles and high heels.  It’s about the freedom to choose without shame.

2. Sexism

Sarah Moon continues her series “You Are Not Your Own” with this post about gender roles and dehumanization.  The photos she’s used to illustrate animalization and objectification are strikingly horrible.  Lately, I’ve started seeing some things creeping into my various social media timelines in which men are dehumanized in similar ways.  The answer to the objectification of women is not to do it to men, it’s to stop doing it.

3. Masturbation

Rachel Held Evans gathered 7 different perspectives on the subject and shared them on her blog.  I highly recommend reading it, and if you’re feeling strong, read the comments as well.  Unfortunately, there is still a lot of shame both in the act and in discussing it, so even if I don’t entirely agree with some of what’s been said (and generally think that “Christian” perspectives lack the necessary knowledge of basic human biology), I’m glad people are talking.

4. Writing

Feeling creative?  Like to write?  My fellow writers/bloggers Tamara Woods and Michelle Liew are running the Creative Buzz Hop.  Go check out the prompt and write something, then link up with them.  You’ve still got nearly a week for the current prompt, so get writing!

5. Dialects

These maps of regional dialects in the U. S. are interesting.  I don’t know whether it’s because of bias in the questions or because of my specific location or because my parents weren’t natives to the city in which I grew up, but quite a lot of these were wrong for me.  You can check it out and see if it fits for you.

6. Headdesk

A friend introduced me to this Tumblr account.  She sent me this one a few days ago and it made me laugh out loud.  It may have made me snort, though I won’t confirm that.  I also really, really like this one.

7. Cartoons

Two really good ones this week from Naked Pastor: Rob Bell’s bullshit and emotionally invested preconceived stereotype of women.  Boy, can I relate to the last one.  The one and only person I’ve ever blocked from my blog and my Twitter feed (other than bots, of course) certainly had quite a lot of it.

8. Slut-shaming

Here we go again.  I’m not really interested in the lives of celebrities, but this article made me furious.  It’s not so much about morals as it is about how people who otherwise don’t care who gets into bed with whom think it’s okay to go off on Kate Winslet for having children with the men she’s married.  It’s framed in such a bizarre way that we would not see if it were a man and his successive wives.  It’s also something done to non-celebs all the time, particularly non-white women.  Back when I was a school nurse, we had a student who was the middle child of ten.  He mother was not married at the time the girl was at my school, but she had a very young baby–which meant she was open to the ridicule of the staff.  I remember saying at the time that we didn’t know her life or her circumstances and we needed to shut up (and thankfully, my principal and the girl’s classroom teacher backed me on that).  Even then I knew that the attitude was both misogynistic and racist, though I didn’t have quite the words back then to describe what bothered me.  Anyway, we need to shut up about Kate Winslet, since we don’t actually know her whole story or her life and it’s not any of our business regardless.

9. Superheroes

I love these wonderful drawings of favorite women superheroes wearing more practical–and less skimpy–clothes.  Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure at first about the drawing of the men in skimpy costumes because (as I said above) I don’t think the answer is to objectify men.  But I think that’s the point of the drawing–that it’s equally bad when we make it all about paring down the costume so we can see ripply muscles and, er, other endowments, as well as underscoring the impracticality of saving the world in a bathing suit.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Notable News: Week of May 25-31, 2013

It’s a gorgeous, hot, sunny day here where I am. Today, my 9-year-old takes part in his first big competition.  He’s going with his jazz band to a school about an hour away where they will compete against middle and high schoolers (his is the only elementary band, so they’re in the middle school category).  Best of luck, kiddo!

While I pass the hours until my daughter and I drive out to watch him, I’m rounding up some of my favorite links for the week.

1. When modesty policing happens

Modesty culture: the gift that keeps giving.  Or, in this case, that keeps pitting us against one another as we struggle to define terms and create safer space for women.  I will admit to going into my reading of this piece on Rage Against the Minivan knowing that many of the writers I respect disliked it.  I was surprised to find that I actually agreed with quite a lot of it, but there were niggling doubts in my mind.  The responses to it confirmed that it wasn’t my imagination.  Several people have expressed their concerns far better than I could.  Here’s a list of the best ones:

2. When “ask Rachel Held Evans” happens

For those who haven’t been following her, she has a regular “Ask a…” series.  This time, she’s left it open for us to ask her.  Go take a look and post your questions.

3. When kindness happens

I haven’t been following the story, but apparently others have.  Over on Hännah’s blog she’s been tracking the story of her friend’s escape from a controlling, abusive, fundamentalist environment.  She had requested donations to help Jennifer, and the response was overwhelming.  I hope you have a few minutes to read the original posts and the update.  It’s pretty inspiring.

4. When affirmation happens

I happen to attend a welcoming/affirming church.  Sometimes, that’s what’s needed.  I challenge you to make it through this post from Registered Runaway without feeling moved.

5. When fatherhood happens

This is a fantastic post about why it’s a terrible idea to label women the “natural nurturers.”  When our son was born, I remember one of the women at the church we attended telling me that she hated when people referred to dads as “babysitting” their children.  Although I would not have thought to use that phrase myself, I had never given it much consideration.  After nearly 10 years of parenting together, I can confirm the truth in that.  My husband is, in fact, much more naturally nurturing than I am.  And he most definitely does not “babysit” our kids–he parents them.

6. When “things that should never be combined” happens

You get something like this.  (Warning: Contains Christianese and reference to Christian porn.  Not explicit, but read it after any minors are in bed.  Also, I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s not real.)

7. When fiction happens

If you haven’t been reading the series “On the Night Bus” over at Rubies and Duels, go do so right now.

You can also read my own latest fiction, The Smokin’ Hot Wives Club.

That’s it for this week.  I hope you all have a great weekend.  I’m going to spend mine watching my kids perform in their first recital at this dance studio.  I’ll be back on Monday with my usual Fifty Shades post.  Catch you all later!

Notable News: Week of May 18-24, 2013

Why, hello there, Friday!  I don’t know what the weather is like where you all are, but here it’s rainy and cold.  Here’s hoping for some improvement in the conditions so I can enjoy the long weekend.

Lots of stuff going on this week.  Here’s a look at a few:

1. Oklahoma

I am incredibly sorry for all the devastating loss this week.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Perhaps the same cannot be said for others, unfortunately.  Apparently, I mostly know decent, kindhearted folks, because I hadn’t been aware that anyone had implied that the people of Oklahoma don’t deserve our help.  Kristin Rawls writes eloquently about the flaw in such thinking.  I’d like to see us move past tired political and religious debates every time there’s a tragedy.  That bad things will happen is a given; that people can respond with love and care is apparently not.  Let’s change that.

2. John Piper

No one should be surprised that John Piper said something insensitive in the wake of the tornado.  Whether or not he was trying to, he hurt people with his unthinking tweets.  I’m hesitant to ascribe motive, but I also know that it was flat-out wrong.  Rachel Held Evans has a great response to the theology of deserved punishment.

3. The Pope

The Pope made some statements this week that have some people thrilled and others cautious.  Did he really suggest something that sounded like universalism?  Maybe not.  Either way, I think it’s good that he made such statements.  I would add, however, that my non-Christian friends hardly need the Pope’s permission (nor mine, for that matter) to continue believing as they do.  The debate is really only relevant if one believes in a literal Hell anyway.

The above three things lead me to . . .

4. Hell

Dianna Anderson sums up nicely what’s wrong with using tragedy as a warped wake-up call to repentance and salvation.

I’m familiar with the idea that all our interactions with people must have an agenda.  I learned early on in my Christian faith that it was a top priority to tell everyone how to be saved.  Saved, of course, had a very narrow definition–that of saying a magic-words-type prayer to “receive” Jesus into our hearts, at which time we were assured of not going to Hell.  I’d been a Christian for a year when someone came at me with that prayer, and I was left convinced that since I’d never said it, I wasn’t actually saved at all.  Naturally, I didn’t want to go to Hell, so I said it.  For many years after that, I felt guilty that I couldn’t produce that same result in my peers.  So as a college student, I volunteered to lead middle school kids.  Nothing says “Jesus loves you” like taking kids to camp, wearing them down for three days, and slamming them with the doctrine of Hell, right?  Yeah.

5. Defense of Piper

You can read it here.  Just let it sink in for a moment.

6. Oppression

I love this piece by Marika Rose, a PhD student at Durham, about our need to recognize our own oppression and listen to those who point it out to us.  Instead of having hurt feelings, we could all try learning about what we’re doing wrong.

7. Premarital stress sex

All the effort to remove the stigma of non-virginity and stop obsessing over what unmarried people do with their privates is paying off.  This article from The Atlantic is a good summary of the dialogue that’s been going on for some time in Christian spheres.  It’s time to break this wide open so that we can have a real conversation about sex that doesn’t rely on tired purity narratives and rules-based theology.

8. Womanhood

Sarah Bessey has the right words to explain what makes me feel awkward every time I’m in a Christian bookstore.  For years I lived with the sense that I hadn’t arrived yet at “real” womanhood.  And if I wasn’t the right kind of woman, what did that make me?  I love this line from the post:

I believe that in the Kingdom of God, true womanhood and true manhood is not so different from true personhood.


9. Gaslighting

I absolutely won’t post my own bloggy drama from this week.  If you follow me, you’ve read it, and I don’t care to rehash.  What was interesting to me was that I had some private communications with four or five people (who I won’t name, out of respect) in which all of them used some variant on “gaslighting for God.”  This morning, I noticed that one of the people I follow on Twitter had referenced this post by Sarah Moon on the very subject of gaslighting.  The experience she describes in the post about criticizing a popular Christian leader echoes my own quite nicely, and I appreciate this:

They are good at stepping on your feet and then making you apologize for asking them to move.

10. Boy Scouts

For heaven’s sake, Boy Scouts. Make up your damn minds.  Either you’re ok with gay people or you’re not; let’s not have this wishy-washy crapola passing as “progress.”  I really ought to write a whole post about this, but let me sum up.  Allowing gay youth to be scouts but not gay adults to be leaders:

  1. reinforces the lie that gay men are pedophiles or dangerous in some other way (by recruiting? not sure)
  2. tells gay youth that they will not be welcome once they are adults
  3. implies that being gay is a phase and that if youth sufficiently outgrow it, they’re still welcome

May I also remind everyone that this is not a step of progress.  BSA considers this an end point–some kind of compromise.  I guess the good news is that they’ve managed to piss off just about everyone with this decision, so perhaps there’s a chance to rethink things.  Good grief, it must be the Apocalypse; Tony Perkins and I both agree that something is a bad idea.

11. Anonymous

You should really check out the posts in The Anonymous Project over at Jennifer Luitwieler’s blog.  There’s some really good stuff going on.

12. Humor

This post is actually about the unfortunate choices we make when writing, but I loved the story about Chris Morris’ eight-year-old, and I hope you do too.

I think that about does it.  I’m taking Monday off to hang with my family and go to the orthodontist (yay! home stretch on my braces!), so I’ll see you all on Tuesday.  Have a great weekend!


Notable News: Week of May 4-10, 2013

It’s been quite a week.  Here are some of the highlights of what I’ve been reading.

1. Charles Ramsey is a hero

The interview with Mr. Ramsey after the rescue was compelling.  He comes across as a man of great compassion.  I heard several people saying they thought “hero” was too strong a word, since “all” he did was call 911.  But I like how this article in the New Yorker puts it:

But one phrase in particular, from the interview, is worth dwelling on: “I figured it was a domestic-violence dispute.” In many times and places, a line like that has been offered as an excuse for walking away, not for helping a woman break down your neighbor’s door. How many women have died as a result? They didn’t yesterday.

So, yes, Mr. Ramsey is a hero, and those hostages are free as a result.

2. And speaking of victims

This is a fascinating article on the fixation with crimes against white women and girls.  Many years ago, a local girl was kidnapped and murdered by her neighbor.  When she went missing, it was huge news.  Everyone was in on it, and people were glued to the television.  I remember my mother saying that she felt terrible for the girl and her family, but she was disappointed that yet again, a white girl’s plight was more important than all the missing non-white children.  Things haven’t changed much in the intervening years.

3. Are Christians a persecuted minority?

The short answer is, “NO.”  If you’d like a longer explanation, though, you can read one here by Myisha Cherry.  I’m going to throw my own two cents in on this one.  I don’t appreciate being lumped (by other Christians) into the category of “maligned.”  I do not now, nor have I ever, felt as though I could not express my faith or my views–except as an LGBTQ ally in a conservative church.  Even when I held those conservative views I didn’t feel persecuted.  No one–not even my LGBTQ friends–ever told me to keep my mouth shut (though maybe they should have).  On the other hand, I was asked to silence myself among conservatives.  How much worse is it for those who cannot live authentic lives because of the disapproving words and actions of the church.

4. I have rage

In the last few weeks, I’ve had several online and in-person conversations with people about publishing and marketing and the biases there.  Despite all that, apparently some men seem to think there’s nothing “for them” to read.  Because the shelves at Barnes & Noble are not stocked with all kinds of action/adventure/spy novels or memoirs of football players and pro wrestlers, of course.  There is nothing available that men would like, right?  And of course, there are absolutely no men writing fantasy or science fiction, in case one likes those sorts of books.  Most of the classics weren’t written by men with men as the main characters.  But, you know, publishing is alienating half the population.

5. On finding our way again

Kassie Rutherford is a phenomenal writer.  There is something compelling about her words; she has a knack for venturing deep into emotional territory in a safe way.  This incredible post is about how beautiful our stories are, even if we’re the only ones who know them.

6. Sometimes, we’re all just tired

Andi Cumbo sums it up nicely in this post.  Maybe, in the midst of all our weariness, we, too, can find sustenance in the things around us.

7. Guest post

I had the privilege of writing a guest post for Dianna Anderson this week for her series “Account and Countenance.”  You can read it here.

That’s it for this week.  Have a great weekend, and come back Monday.  I will have my usual 50 Shades post plus a big announcement.  See you then!


Notable News: Week of April 20-26, 2013

Woohoo! It’s Friday!  Today, the sun is shining and there’s hardly a cloud in the sky (miraculous, where I live).  I hope your day is shaping up to be fantastic.  For us, it’s the start of a 3-day weekend for the kids–no school on Monday due to scoring the state tests.

Here are some of my favorite posts for the week.  Go get a cup of coffee (or tea or whatever) and have a look.

1. Something that made me want to punch things

If there is any doubt that there is a link between conservative teachings on modesty/purity and the idea that rape is an acceptable punishment for “sin,” this should blow that away.  I get it about free speech and all, but this crosses a line.  It doesn’t matter that he’s not naming specific individuals; he’s making a lot of people feel unsafe.

2. Something that made me cringe

I admit it, I like most versions of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”  I’d really like to read the book that was just released about the song.  But I absolutely can’t stand the idea of “Christianizing” the song.  I’m pretty much not a fan of Christianizing any song–that falls into the squicky category of “Jesus is my boyfriend” material.  But taking a song that already  has more spiritual depth and changing the words so they’re overtly Jesus-y?  Yeesh.

3. Something that made me feel inspired

I’ve grown to dislike the phrase “a voice for the voiceless.”  About a year ago, I met a missionary who gave a talk to some teens about valuing the dignity of all people.  He said that while we may not think it’s much when a person lives in a hut with a dirt floor, to that person, it’s home–and they likely don’t feel the same way about it that we do from the outside.  He made it clear that it’s not our job to speak in the place of others about what we think they should want or need.  This fantastic post from Kathy Escobar is a great reminder of what advocacy should be.

4. Something that made me cheer like a fangirl

I love Jennifer Knapp’s lovely and unique voice.  I was enchanted from the first time I heard her sing “A Little More.”  So imagine my delight when I saw that she was featured this week on Rachel Held Evans’ “Ask…” series and the floor was opened for questions.  I can’t wait to read her responses!

5. Something that made me hopeful

Oh, Nevada.  You know we love you for your legal prostitution and your Sin City and your 24-hour Elvis chapels.  Now perhaps we can love you for marriage equality, too.  (Even if it is 3 years away.)

6. Something that made me laugh

I used to have a desk calendar of Jack Handey sayings.  I think it was a Christmas gift from a college friend.  This little game made me laugh out loud.  Can you tell who said it?

7. Something that made me pump my fist in solidarity

Three somethings, actually, with a fourth to follow.  Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion surrounding men, women, and differences.  The general idea seems to be that men are generic and women are specific–in other words, things written by or about men are about broad topics, while things written by or about women are only for other women.  I find this interesting, especially since as a blogger, I don’t see much difference in my readership–I have a fairly even split of men and women.  Andi Cumbo (who is delightful; you should really be reading her blog) has written this week on the subject:

There’s more to come on this topic.  I missed the blog round-up this week, but I think I will put in my two cents next week.

8. Something that made me proud

Let’s just say I’m acquainted with the blogger who posted these: Hilarious Lambs 2.0 and The Last Hilarious Lambs.  The lambs make me smile every time.

9. Something that made me satisfied

I finally finished my series about the Royal Family of Hell (for now; perhaps there are future misadventures in store).  I hope you enjoy the ending.

Have a great weekend!