Well, it's been a couple of interesting days in blogland. On a personal level, I had lunch the other day with a wonderful person I was meeting for the first time. She is the fiance of a very good friend of mine and I was thrilled to have the chance to get to know her a little. I was also so thrilled to see the bond between my friend and her. I am looking forward to getting to know her better in the future. One of the highlights was when I discovered that she knew some of my favourite bloggers from around the New York area. It made blogland seem that much smaller.
Feminism seems the issue de jour over the last couple of days. I am not going to make any comments on the particular postings that started all the turmoil ( added after the original posting - except a rant at the end of this posting - I just couldn't keep quiet it seems) but I do see some things that cause me to stop and think.
I am a feminist. I accept that title with pride. I used to qualify it but I do so no more. I cringe each time a read a post which claims that feminists are harmful to society or a post that claims that feminists are against women who decide to stay at home to work raising their families. I chose to stay at home and raise my family until my youngest was in grade 2. I don't feel any lack in doing that. I believe it is what God called me to do. So, to claim, that I as a feminist do not support such a thing is laughable. I have a daughter who is a feminist - her desire for her life - to stay at home looking after the two children she hopes to have. I don't have a problem with that at all.
My mother wanted her daughters to have both a career and a family. For many years, one of her daughters had a career and one of her daughters had a family (although I guess I could say that my career was looking after my family). At first I felt that I was not living up to my own expectations - that I should be getting my degree and working outside my home. I finally came to peace with the way my life was (and God zapped me by calling me to the ordained ministry). With that peace, I realized that my mother had gotten what she wished for just not in the way she wanted. I also realized that it was interesting that both my sister and I realized that each of our life choices involved full time work and just how hard it would be for someone to have both a career and a family life. It's not easy to balance. I sincerely believe that God was with me through all of this, giving me the chance to be the mother I needed to be but when my family was ready, calling me into my vocation/career. Now I try to balance both as do many other women.
Where I want to go with this is to debunk the fact that a woman cannot be a feminist and support stay at home moms at the same time. It is not an either/or position. I am getting hot under the collar with the people assume, based on the words of a few, that this is something inherent to feminism.
Next rant is about the idea that feminism has harmed society. I don't even know where to start. Frustration doesn't even begin to describe what I feel when I see this old line trotted out. Harmed society - ha. Is there no understanding of how "society" has harmed women throughout the centuries. I think one of the lines I read recently was about women's ordination. It went something along the lines that the writer believed that men and women were created equal but that did not give women the inherent right to be ordained. Damn right it doesn't. It also doesn't give men the inherent right to be ordained. God calls those that God wishes to serve in this manner. None of us has the inherent right. It is God's choice and God's call. What right do we as human beings have to dispute God's call. Do people not see the harm they do in disputing women's called to ordained ministry. How can you say that we are equal and then suggest that there is something in being a woman that means you cannot participate equally if called.
The so called harm occurs in the natural adjustment to what is right with the way we are created. The so called harm occurs when we cannot open our eyes and ears to what God is trying to say to us about who and what we are - when we continue to be hidebound by many years of tradition, which is based on erroneous understandings of what it means to be human and what it means to male/female. I read how the early church fathers understood males and females and I cringe. My experience doesn't back that up at all. The Bible doesn't back that up either as far as I can see. We are suppose to weep for those who can't accept us (women) as we struggle to understand ourselves and our capabilities - as we discover there is more to us than we have been taught throughout the centuries (mainly by men but also by women). And I do weep and pray for them in their blindness and in their pain. But stopping my push toward full acceptance does not make things right. The harm that is being done is a product of what is happening as we adjust to the changes our heightened understanding brings. It is not something I would wish for but it is a part of the process as we learn to let go of misconceptions that have been fostered through our history.
It is not a world of either/or. That is a human construct. There is so much more out there. There are endless possiblities. We limit ourselves with either/or thinking. We limit what God can do with our either/or thinking. We limit our relationships with our either/or thinking. We label people as certain things and then claim that because they are that label, they must also be this and this and this. We can't see that people can be more than one set of things that there are blurring of lines or even bits and pieces taken from each of the categories we are so rigid about. We are much more than just where we stand on issues or how we do liturgy or whatever it is that we use to define ourselves. Indeed definitions result from our need for security and stability rather than reality. And those definitions are very harmful. They also can block us from forming some wonderful relationships and taking advantage of learning opportunities.
And one more rant over what is happening in various parts of blogland. A blogger made a mistake which caused harm to another blogger. The mistake was corrected when it was pointed out. Unfortunately, someone got hold of the original blog and would not let it go. The harm was perpetuated. A sincere apology was offered by the first blogger to the person who was hurt. Still there are many in blogland who will not let go. Who gave these people the right to judge and condemn. Who gave these people the right to continue the original harm being done. Those people who are not able to let go, who are calling out for blood are not following the Christ that I have come to know and love. This is not the behaviour of the Christ that hung on the cross (out of love for all of sinners) and asked, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." Those people are not following the example of the Jesus I know who when people repented of their sins, responded - go and sin no more. He did not demand that they give their blood until there was nothing left to give. For God's sake, people (and I do mean that literally) give it up. Let go and leave it to God to judge and forgive. Leave it where it truly belongs. Are you willing to go on condemning while knowing the grevious sins that you have committed over the years and for which you have asked and received forgiveness. You say the Lord's prayer every day. Do the words - forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us - mean nothing to you. Quit trying to demonize those who make you uncomfortable and please start listening to what they are really saying rather than what you want them to say so that you can categorize them in a way that makes you comfortable rather than as a child loved and forgiven by God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.