Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Couple of Updates

Update 1: Email notification

Okay I am still having difficulty getting the email notification on the blog. Does anyone know how you do it? Andrew thought he knew but he doesn't?

Update 2: Andrew and I have been on some amazing travels

Andrew and I just recently returned from an amazing trip. We visited with friends in Geneva, Switzerland and Cessy, France. We also took a mini get away to this amazing little village called Annecy, France. The purpose of the trip was to continue the dialogue and conversation to living a more authentic Christ centered life, what that looks like, how we do it, how do we begin to change the perception of the conservative faith, and how do we bridge the gaps between organizations and the church. The conversations were amazing and there were times I had to ask Andrew to pinch me because there was no reason why we should even have the opportunity to speak with all of the people we had conversations. I know I am being a bit vague but for privacy purposes and upon request from those we met with I am only going to speak in general terms.


I was challenged from a much broader and global perspective while Andrew and I were in Geneva and France. There is such a desire and longing to be authentic and to see examples of people living truly authentic Christ centered lives. There was so much distrust and anger with regards to the institutionalized church with in many of the circles we spoke with. To give an example we spoke with aid groups, NGOs, health groups, and global church groups. Each of them explained how the institutionalized church had come in with good intentions but left a very negative legacy. Many of the conversations with Andrew and I were about trying to find the bridge between the broader conservative world and the world which feels betrayed and let down by their promises of greatness. A world that does not trust the "god" presented by these institutions or the people who represent these institutions.

By the end of many of our conversations I left feeling empty because I don't know if Andrew or I were able to leave a different and lasting impression. I am hoping they could see within our lives the desire to live a life that is different, a life that is centered on the teachings of Jesus, and is about love and transformation.

I am challenged everyday by people's stories desiring to know that God hears them, desiring to know that they too could possibly be a part of the Kingdom. Why with so many churches and denominations do people feel so left out and out of place? Why do so many people in the global world feel so betrayed and angered by the broader church?

We in the United States have an amazing legacy of being a nation which still (maybe loosely) holds onto a very belief/faith centered existence. We as a majority have been raised in a faith setting. Yes, there are many of us who have been hurt desperately by that faith up bringing, but we have an understanding of a Heavenly Father and we must bound together to show a different way. But what if we were raised in a place were faith and belief were so taboo and not a part of your life and discovery... Many we spoke with are searching and we need to provide them with a better example...

How do we be, as Andrew says, the lightning rod for difference, amongst what people believe Christians/ Evangelical Christians are supposed to be like. I don't know if Andrew and I changed any view points, but I hope we did...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Interesting Video from Newlife Blog

As I was reading some of the blogs attached to my own blog I came across this very interesting video with Newlife (here). If you have a moment please listen to the linked video and the interviewed professor. As someone who is new and breaking away from the oppressive baggage I have carried with my institutionalized church setting, I really appreciate the information being presented.

Information from the Newlife blog:

"Ben Witherington III, Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary, Kentucky, talks to Simon Smart from the Centre for Public Christianity about the revolutionary nature of Jesus’ treatment of women."

8 min. video:

Please let me know what your thoughts are?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quote - Information - Thoughts - Help me figure out what to do...

Interesting Quote:

Adolphe Monod (1802-1856) "The greatest influence on earth whether for good or for evil, is possessed by woman. Lets us study the history of by-gone ages, the state of barbarism and civilizations; of the east and the west; of Paganism and Christianity; of antiquity and the middle ages; of the medieval and modern times; and we shall find that there is nothing which more decidedly separates them than the condition of woman..."


Also quite a few months ago I was asked about putting an email alert on the blog. I have asked Andrew and he will be home long enough this time to show me how to do that. So hopefully, we will in the near future have this feature attached to the blog and comments so you can get updates.

Additionally, I know I owe a list of books which I am currently going through that is helping me learn about the modern women's movement, women and church, and women of the bible in general. I have picked up quite a few books and will try and compile a list for all.

Finally, this last year and a half has been very difficult for me personally. I am self diagnosing myself as depressed (thanks webmd). Although, I think admittance is probably the first step and hopefully means I am on my way to recovery. I also think if you can still laugh about the situation that is also a good sign. Okay I am hoping and my fingers are crossed. I will share where I think I am at in the next blog post or so. I want to apologize that the information I was hoping to learn and soak up seems to be coming much slower then it did in the beginning. I am working hard to learn what I don't know as it seems my knowledge base is quite shallow.


At this point in time I want to let the world know that I am trying. I see too many inequalities and too many young girls going down the same expected path. I see young men get caught in between what the church says and what the world says. I see that both women and men are struggling to find meaning, purpose, understanding, and acceptance.

I will not apologize that I am first and foremost a child of God and my Christianity defines who I am, which means that dealing with women in the Christian church is a priority and something I can not remove myself. I do believe this world needs to encourage all people to find ways to live with mutual respect. Highlighting the amazing talents, gifts, world views, perspectives, expectations, and challenges we all bring to the table. I want the history of what is a legacy to young women to change, but never at the cost of others.

Let me know what you would like to read on this blog. I will try and do my best. Let me know what I can do to get serious about this passion that is swelling up inside of me. I don't know what to do... I am at a loss... and I don't want to quit as so many have done before as I have done before...

Help me figure this thing out...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicago Tribune Article - Ladies we can't continue to ignore what young women are being taught or believe - When will this stop?

Today I read the following article in the Chicago Tribune you can follow the link here to read the story on the tribune website. Below I have posted the article in its entirety.

Later, in this week I was reading a post by Scot McKnight (here) on women in leadership within the broader evangelical church settings. The statistics were promising stating that many felt that women should be leaders, but the statistics and the reality don't match up. Then a commentator asked a question (that I am paraphrasing) which I thought summed up the reality, he/she said: The real question is not whether people believe women should be leaders, but whether they would actually be lead by a women... Interesting twist...

Anyway, I am angry upset, and feel totally helpless in what we need to do to stop this never ending cycle. Please help me, tell me what you think I can do, what you think I should do...

Here is the article:

Survey: Teen girls call themselves 'fun' online

Dawn Turner Trice

November 12, 2010

Ashley Gonzalez, 16, won't reveal her politics or social values on her Facebook page. She doesn't want to be judged by "friends" who don't know her very well. But she said she would never downplay her intellect, kindness or efforts to be a positive influence.

And she's troubled that a new national survey by the Girl Scouts Research Institute found that girls 14 to 17 years old often portray themselves in social media as "fun," "funny" or "social," rather than smart and ambitious.

"I understand they do it because they'd rather be popular and cool," said Gonzalez, a Chicago resident and longtime Girl Scout. "But it's the opposite of everything I believe in, and it breaks my heart to know a girl feels she needs to do that."

That some girls dumb themselves down in social settings, particularly those where they believe it's necessary to impress guys or fit into a clique, is nothing new. But what's different is that almost everything — think: bullying — re-created in the online social-networking world seems to be so amplified.

What's also different, researchers say, is that teens tend to view their social-media profile as a brand they're creating out of this amalgam of photos and posts. That online persona becomes part of their identity and, for better or for worse, could have an impact on how they see themselves in real life, experts say.

Maria Wynne, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, said her organization saw this firsthand over the summer while conducting focus groups separate from the institute's poll. She said they learned that although girls felt proud about building character and confidence in real life, they were shying away from such attributes in online social networking because they didn't seem cool.

In September, the organization launched the Web site "The World's Strongest Girl,", so that girls 5 to 17 could share stories, real or imagined, about acts of courage and how they overcame obstacles.

"We thought that girls needed a safe gathering place online to learn about themselves and each other in an environment that was largely anonymous," said Wynne. "Girls don't have a lot of platforms where they can envision who they might become."

Peggy Orenstein, the author of " Cinderella Ate My Daughter," due out in late January, said young people long have felt they were performing for an invisible audience, and now with social networking they really are.

"Kids get to craft their image or identity based on responding to people they don't even know, and the quickest way for a girl to get feedback is for her to be sexy, but not necessarily slutty," said Orenstein. "On one hand, girls have made such huge and obvious and wonderful strides, and yet the pressure hasn't abated to define themselves by their looks and sexiness."

The institute's poll examined 1,000 girls from around the country, many of whom were not Girl Scouts. The poll found that 41 percent of them admit that they try to make themselves appear cooler online.

Girls with low self-esteem were more likely than girls who were more self-assured to admit their online image didn't jibe with who they were in real life. Those low-self-esteem girls also more often portrayed themselves online as "sexy" or "crazy," meaning fun-loving.

According to the institute's research, 91 percent of the girls polled use Facebook regularly and 28 percent use Myspace regularly. Kimberlee Salmond, senior researcher at the institute, said the girls boast an average of 351 Facebook friends and said they make about six comments daily and post more than two personal status updates.

And while 85 percent of the girls said they have talked to their parents about safe social-networking behavior, 50 percent admit they're not as careful as they should be, putting themselves at risk.

But the poll did offer some good news: Even though girls spend a lot of time in the social-networking world, they prefer face-to-face communications.

"Ninety-two percent of girls would give up all social-networking friends to keep one best friend in real life," said Salmond. "Eighty-two percent of girls would rather go a full week without logging on to a social network than go a full week without seeing their friends in person."

When the institute mentions those stats, adults tend to breathe a sigh of relief, she said.

Gonzalez said it's important to note that online social networking isn't all bad. She said she's used it to get involved in causes important to her.

"Once you get beyond the scrutiny that's there, the fact that you're constantly being judged, you can use it for good," she said. "I try to be as honest as possible about myself at all times."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Needed Words Today

I heard this song on the radio by Natalie Grant, "Held." Below are the lyrics...

Two months too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Is appalling.

Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It's unfair.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred NUMB our sorrow.
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held

If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know, that the promise was, when everything fell we'd be held.
This is what it means to be held.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Stories are Gifts - Share" Starbucks new slogan

Okay so I know that my addiction to Starbucks is only feeding into the "man," but I can't help myself. I love their bitter burnt tasting coffee and its now become a comfort to me in the mornings. Starbucks really does make my time going into work much better... Although, when Andrew and I were talking about my addiction we were commenting that in the beginning Starbucks was attempting to be the anti-man. Interesting how things change... :)

Anyway totally off point as to what I wanted to post about, the new slogan, "Stories are Gifts - Share." As women most of us have a gift of talking and sharing, but possibly not on subjects which push us further in our understanding of women, spirituality, leadership, growth, balance, and understanding. My best friend and I sat down over dinner a week or so ago and we just enjoyed each others company. We shared a lot of laughs and light hearted stories, but we also shared many deep and emotional struggles. She asked some questions of what I was working on and some of the subjects I have posted on this blog. Although, we don't always agree we have a mutual respect for the life each other leads. We have found balance in sharing stories, gifts on life, with each other. I may never fully understand what it means to walk in her shoes and visa verse but the insight we can speak into one another's life is priceless. The Gifts we can give to one another through our experiences are both comforting and challenging.

As women we understand the deepness of a shared story and truly embrace the gift it can be within our own lives. So then I wonder, why are we not sharing these gifts of knowledge to the next generation about the strength in being women? Why have the sexist and gender biases been allowed to continue from one generation to the next? Why as a young women in 2010 almost 2011 do I still find shame in being ambitious, outspoken, and dare I say a feminist? Why has the gift which was passed to me through cultural norms, Church expectations, and Christian leadership still focused on my "second" class citizenship through the church.

Beyond the church, why is the gift which has been passed to me from females within professional circles still about understanding your place and assisting the male ego? Why is the gift about defending my "bitchiness" as it pertains to assertiveness?

Women, we share so much with one another that challenge who we are, but why are we allowing other gifts to filter through into the psyche of the following generations? I want the "daughters" of this generation and the next to be able to look in the mirror and know they were chosen and created equal and perfect. To embrace that being different does not equate to less, but to celebrated uniqueness in the qualities and characteristics we as women present.

Women it is almost 2011 and I don't want to be ashamed anymore of being female. I don't want the underlying belief systems of the church that I love to whisper about "traditional" expectations of women. If we look through history we will find that "traditional" women as we have come to understand it is really a developed cultural phenomenon which is rooted in the late 1940s, 50s, and 60s. We are plagued by this unreal expectation of what it means to be good Christian women that is not biblically rooted but rather culturally rooted. Created to attempt to heal the ego of men returning home from WWII. The suburb, the white picket fence, marriage as a savior and identity, where overtly created by marketing ploys, and male dominated industries.

It is almost 2011 and I am trying to figure out what is my responsibility to be and do something different. To have candid conversations with the women around me about who we are and what our Lord has called us to be. To know we are more then housewives, mothers, career women, we don't have to find our identity in tradition or progressiveness, but a full identity in our Lord which says we are chosen for His great purpose!

What will be our story our gift to share to this next generation for this next New Year?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sorry I have to do it and I am proud of it!!!

Today is my and Andrew's third year wedding anniversary. We were married on November 3, 2007 at 2pm in Naperville, Illinois at the chapel where we both grew up attending church, Calvary Church Naperville. Our reception was held at the Naperville Hilton.

Our story isn't anything special we did however not meet until we were 25 even though we grew up in the same adjacent towns and attended the same church. However, that being said the adjacent towns we grew up in have combined over 300,000 people and now five very large high schools. We did not attend the same high school. The church we grew up in (and forgive me I know the baggage I carry) is what would be described as a small mega church with about 5,000 people in attendance. Our paths didn't cross when we were younger, but they crossed at a perfect time.

I do believe there is perfect timing in everything you see Andrew was the Homecoming King, Mr. Waubonsie(sp), an all star baseball player, and I guess in simplest terms the popular guy. Which makes me want to puke :). I on the other hand was more of an antagonist. I purposely wanted to go in the opposite direction. I was an athlete and played high school soccer and I did have a lot of friends, but I never wanted to be a part of the "in crowd" and was always oddly put off by their conformity to one another (I know go figure). So had we met in high school I can confidently say it would not have been a match made in Heavenly bliss!

Timing no matter good or bad is perfect and there are no mistakes in God's plan even when we are in the midst of great valleys.

These three years have pushed Andrew and I to learn what it means to ultimately decide to share this life journey with someone else. To consistently think about another person and how your actions and/or decisions will affect them. To find ways to encourage each others differences and love to do things together. We have had some major highs and some incredible lows. We are still learning how to work through this thing we call life, but I am happy that WE are working through it together.

I am proud to be married to my husband because we are partners in this life. We have a mutual respect for each other and want to continue to encourage each other to grow within the talents our Lord has blessed us with individually.

He is my lover, my friend, and my partner in life. I love him very much!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Patty-fied" from BRAVO's Millionaire Matchmaker

Confession I was watching BRAVO's Millionaire Matchmaker (link) last night after Glee was over, which for the record I was really excited about Glee's Rocky Horror Picture Show episode and I was disappointed...Okay anyway there wasn't anything else on and I was in the middle of a ton of laundry loads so I put on the Millionaire Matchmaker. I was looking for something that didn't require much thought or for me to have to pay attention since I was going back and forth to the laundry room.

As I was folding my towels Patty (the actual matchmaker) came on to discuss the difference between L.A. women and New York women. Quick background Patty and her team originally were in L.A., but have since moved their efforts to New York for this new season to help the millionaires of the NYC. The comparison came down to looks and brains. According to Patty the positives for the New York women were that they all had four year degrees and careers unlike the women of L.A. whose positives were their total commitment to their looks via plastic surgery, nail appointments, waxing, working out, and fashion. Although, Patty felt it was a really good attribute for these women in the NYC to have goals and accomplishments she was really disappointed in them and in so many words felt that the women of L.A. who were focused on outward appearances were better and more feminine women. Both Patty and her colleague were disgusted by the lack of hair dye, manicured nails, and fashion that these women of the NYC were bringing to her millionaires dating club. Even though they agreed they liked the change from all fake boobs, plastic bodies, plumped up lips, and beach blond hair they were missing the fashion, skinny bodies, manicured nails, died hair, waxed bodies, and a good set of boobs. So from that I pretty much decided that they really didn't like plumped lips or pulled faces... Most of the women highlighted on the show were very attractive, but they did not look like fake barbie dolls.

At the end of her comparison she said she needed to "Patty-fy" these women of the NYC and bring back the feminine.

*If they put up the full episode I will come back and link it to this post, otherwise I have placed a link to the BRAVO web page for the show above*

Since we have discussed a bit about what is feminine I am wondering what you thought about this discussion. We had previously discussed that femininity was based on perceptions and societal norms and expectations if that is true is Patty correct with regards to what women should be today do we all need a bit of "Patty-fying" or has she confused feminine again with an over sexualized society expecting women to be sexual not feminine.

Your thoughts?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Interesting Observation/Revelation...

This weekend I attended an alumni event for the university I completed my under graduate studies. The event was specifically for women of the university. It was the first women's event organized by this university and it was taking place in Chicago. I thought "what the heck" I haven't attended any alumni events for my under graduate school so maybe this could be a start.

First I need to say these are right now only thoughts and observations. I haven't had much time to really put everything I observed into a concise reflection, but maybe this post will evolve into it as I share what I experienced.

The event had about 200 women in attendance and took place at a very swanky club in Chicago. The energy in the room was high, but for me it was a nervous energy. I had not connected with anyone from school in a really long time. Well that's not true a few of my closest and dearest friends are from my under graduate years and I still stay very close to them, but they do not reside in Chicago so I guess I could say that outside of those few people I haven't done anything in reconnecting. Plus I am terrible at walking into a room where I don't know people. My husband is the best at "working a room." He just has a knack for it, but I am not that way at all. In fact, I love to meet new people, but I look to do it in a more controlled atmosphere like sitting down and really talking. Maybe its that I am really bad at small talk and love to really engage for a much longer period of time. Plus I am really an introvert and don't feel comfortable stepping in and simply introducing myself and trying to come up with something clever to say. I do however, really enjoy leading events and speaking in front of groups...odd I know...okay I have digressed :)

Finally, after the meet and greet time, we all sat at our assigned tables. My table consisted of a wide range of women from those in their early 70s all the way down to recent grads at 22 years of age and everyone in between. It really was an incredible mix of women who all graduated from the same university. It was amazing to me as each woman began to share her story that they seemed to all relate to the same identity, obstacles, questions, and concerns for careers, graduate school, family life balance, and personal reflections. I don't know what background in religion each of these women came from so when they began to share on a more "main stream" view point that many of the "traditional" aspects which have held women back in the past still seem to be very real and present in today's young female professional I was shocked.

Although, I knew the glass ceiling and now what I have coined as the glass box existed I was shocked to find that these women were feeling the internal pull of not fully understanding what it meant to be female and the ability to find success in a society that is so male dominated. It broke my heart to hear one young graduate share that she knows she is being treated differently because she is female and that she is now looking for a new position. She shared how she has felt humiliated, hurt, and marginalized. She shared that she didn't want to do anything for fear of retaliation and she said she wanted to prove that she could handle it. We all at the table said that she needs to speak to her HR department because what is happening within her department is wrong and illegal. But as I sat and reflected I understood what she was saying. We as women sometimes take the "crap" because we think we have to prove something or show ourselves worthy or strong enough to take the insults. I understood her confusion in wanting so bad to fit into her male dominated office and to show her self worthy for the position and responsibility.

Why do we continue to try and mold ourselves to fit into a position? Maybe this is our generational women's movement fight to stop trying to blend and make ourselves fit into male management, but to create and establish female management styles...

I thought it was Evangelical Christian women who truly missed the modern day women's movement, but maybe this next generation as Turtle Woman has pointed out have missed the struggle and don't know the history behind everything that has occurred for women. Perhaps for all the victories, we as women lost the ability to encourage and pass along the desire to continue to fight for equality to my generation and the next generations to come.

I sat in a room filled with successful highly educated women from all different backgrounds and they still shared stories of not knowing who they were outside of the societal labels and expectations for "traditional" women. Maybe its time to work on women from a more personal aspect as the fight for legal rights on a broader sense have been accomplished.

I probably need to reflect some more on my observations and conversations...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Important Article - What do you think?

I found the below article as I was reading the on-line version of the Chicago Tribune today, Thursday, October 14, 2010. You can view the link (here),0,6632252.story

Study: Educating women may have saved the lives of more than 4 million kids in 2009 alone

Maria Cheng

AP Medical Writer

6:01 PM CDT, September 16, 2010

LONDON (AP) — Giving young women an education resulted in saving the lives of more than 4 million children worldwide in 2009, a new study says.

American researchers analyzed 915 censuses and surveys from 175 countries tracking education, economic growth, HIV rates and child deaths from 1970 to 2009.

By using statistical models, the researchers found that for every extra year of education women had, the death rate for children under five dropped by almost 10 percent. In 2009, they estimated that 4.2 million fewer children died because women of childbearing age in developing countries were more educated.

In 1970, women aged 18 to 44 in developing countries went to school for about two years. That rose to about seven years in 2009.

The study was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was published Friday in the British medical journal Lancet.

"Investments in education pay off (by providing) better health in the future," said Emmanuela Gakidou, an associate professor at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and the study's lead author.

Educated women tend to use health services more and often make better choices on hygiene, nutrition and parenting.

"This reminds us that in addition to having crucial interventions like immunization, we need to invest more into education," said Dr. Mickey Chopra, the health chief at UNICEF, who was not involved in the research. Chopra said more money should be invested in education but not at the expense of health programs.

Gakidou said considerable progress was made in Asia and Latin America, where women in some countries are more educated than men. But she noted a dismal situation in six countries where women typically go to school for less than a year: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Yemen.

Still, not everyone was convinced that the study's conclusions were right.

"It sounds plausible that education is related to child mortality, but finding a correlation does not prove causation," said William Easterly, a professor of economics at New York University who specializes in foreign aid.

He questioned the statistical methods used in the paper and said the authors had not adequately considered other factors that might have been responsible for the fall in child deaths.

Others said the focus should be on economic development rather than on specific health or education initiatives.

"Education is not much good if the health facilities and infrastructure don't exist," said Philip Stevens, a senior fellow at International Policy Network, a London-based think tank. "If a country is massively misgoverned, like Sierra Leone, no amount of education is going to put bread on the table for children."


Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Loss for Words or Maybe Too Many Words

I have been in a place of confusion lately which has clouded my ability to formulate any thoughts or conceive a full post. So today I will just simply accept that my heart is empty, but full. That I am in the midst of transformation and I do not know where that transformation will end. To be quite honest I don't even know where it really began. Looking back I can pin point some major events which have from my internal perspective began to shape the woman I am transforming into. It would be easy to say that my journey of infertility has been a big piece and possibly the beginning, but I have reflected on even earlier events which I now know were times which started me on this new path of transformation. But yes in many ways infertility has forced me to do some very deep reflections.

In this time of reflection I have had to ask myself what life is about with regards to success and failures? How do I measure my worth? How do I measure my accomplishments? Who am I? Where do I go from here? What does it mean to be female? What was God's purpose for females?

The beauty and extreme frustration about each of these reflections is that each question each layer offers up more questions and more discoveries. I am working on the day were I can look in the mirror and confidently say that I do not have all the answers, I am enjoying the discovery process, I hope to always enjoy learning more deeply about who I am and what God wants for me, and to love being female...

What are the issues which face females today, here are a few off the top of my confused and clouded head? (no particular order)

1. Body image
2. Sexuality
3. Marriage
4. Expectations
5. Culture norms
6. Religious norms
7. Ambition
8. Shame
9. Power Struggles
10. Leadership
11. Servant hood
12. Motherhood
13. Success
14. Failure
15. People pleaser
16. Partner

I could really keep writing more words, but I am curious what do you think we as women are facing and what do the words that I listed mean to you?

Friday, September 17, 2010

One of those days...

Do you ever have one of those days when you feel as if everything around you is crumbling and tumbling down? You feel like you can't even get up anymore because all of the debris of life is laying on top of you.

Today I have felt as if the weight of the world decided to crash right on top of me. I feel like I am in a deep dark hole and with everything so out of balance and chaotic I don't even know where to begin. I am in a hopeless period I think I am at the place where just trying to start hurts because it only leads to opening up more wounds that I have to face with all the broken pieces.

Some wonderful things have happened to a few people in my life and although I am genuinely happy for both of them there are things happening in my and Andrew's life right now that are just weighing very heavy on my soul. Please pray for the following as I can not carry these alone:

1. Infertility - It hurts more then I can even explain
2. My job - I don't know what the next steps are and I am terrified
3. Andrew - He has been under some major attacks lately and they are incredibly wearing emotionally and spiritually
4. My focus - I can't for the life of me figure out who I am and what I should be doing
5. Direction - Kind of goes with focus, but for strength to follow the path which God is calling me
6. An ability to listen - I need to hear and be patient in the spirit
7. Wise counsel - I need some people women and men who can truly speak into my life and into the situations which both Andrew and I are going through

Thank you in advance...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where is the line drawn between Provocative and Attractive attire?

I was reading today about the Ines Sainz sexual harassment investigation into how the Jets, an NFL football team, treated her at one of their practices and within their team locker room. You can read and see the Today Show interview here. As I read the story I initially felt here we go again. Lets blame the victim for being a woman in a man's role and point a finger of responsibility at her because of what she was wearing and how she carried herself during the sporting events which she covers.

Before I go any further I want to plainly and clearly state that I do not believe that a women's dress, attitude, and/or appearance gives any person the right to sexually harass or that the above gives the harasser an excuse to why they felt the need/right to sexually harass someone.

That being said within the interview on the Today Show, Ms. Sainz discussed the line between provocative and attractive attire. I understood her point that she is a beautiful woman and wants to feel beautiful maybe even sexy. Additionally, her culture celebrates and romanticise sensuality, which is why I understand that her dress is a bit more sexy then the average female sports reporter and on her TV stations website which you can browse here show her as a very sexy and beautiful reporter for their station.

Lets be honest sex sells and I don't doubt that her "sex appeal" is one of the reasons she is able to report on the many male sports and be granted exclusive interviews with male athletes...

But as she was continuing with the interview, which she is very well spoken and poised that I have no doubts of her talent, she was describing herself as wanting to simply be attractive and that her dress did not and should not be considered provocative. Again, I am not pointing the finger at the victim no one I mean no one deserves to be harassed for who they are, there appearance, clothing style etc...

But I am wondering as women where do we draw the line and say you have taken your "attractiveness" too far and now you have moved into the realm of using your sex appeal as provocative and a tool to get a head. The lines are now blurred, when is flirty okay and when does it cross the line? Trust me I understand that harassment is mainly in the eye of the beholder but if the signals being sent out are all over the place how are we supposed to define where the line is and if we have crossed it. If we as women say that it is okay for us to be provocative and sexy to get a head, but then say don't define us by that same tool are we not confusing the lines as well? Its like think of me as sexy so I can sell my brand, but don't really think about it...

As women I want to know that I can be anything that a man can be, but what if along the way we sell ourselves out as a gimmick?!?

What is provocative and what is attractive? Do we as women have a responsibility to define and distinguish? Are we being used as gimmicks in male dominated industries?

Here are two pictures from Ines' TV station website (link) which she says is simply being "attractive":

I chose this photo because it was least sexy (by my interpretation) of the photos presented of her on her TV stations website.

I chose this photo because it represented the most sexy (by my interpretation) of the photos presented of her on her TV stations website.

Ines Sainz is beautiful (and of course I myself would love to have a body like hers) but has she become a stereotype, a gimmick, has her desire to be sexy/attractive and sexualized by her station and the media hurt all the young females who desire to also become sports reporters? What do you think? How do we protect what is beautiful and sexy about being a woman without playing into the visual media world we live in? Do we as women have a responsibility? Does Ines have a responsibility?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why do we have to grow up and away from the Magic of Disney?

On Sunday, September 12, 2010, a few of my family members went to see Disney On Ice, Princess Classics. The main reason we went was for my grandma who has always loved the classic Disney Princess movies. However, sorry to call out one of my sisters, but I think we also went for her as she was enjoying every sparkly moment!

Anyway I want to say that I am glad I went because I know my mother, grandmother, and especially sister really enjoyed every thing about the presentation and simply being together as women. But as I was watching the show, which first let me say was beautiful and filled with all the theatrical pieces a Disney show would produce, I began to think and analyze what was being presented to all of the little girls in the audience with their Disney Princess costumes.

I am sad to say that as a woman some of the Magic of Disney was lost for a bit because I couldn't get past how most of the main characters, the Princesses, needed a man, or prince charming, to rescue them from their unfortunate event and after being rescued they were able to find life's greatest fulfillment, a lifetime of magical love with their prince charming. Even the Disney character Mulan, which if you know her story she was actually a strong female character who went to war in place of her father, and eventually saves the entire kingdom which was against the rules of the land for a woman. Anyway Mulan is one of my favorite Disney female characters, but in this Disney Ice show the Mulan character had the shortest scenes and within the Mulan scenes it was portrayed as if she needed the main male role in order to get through her life.

This is where I became sad...The initial sadness was well probably more anger and disgust that these characters were celebrated for their weakness, beauty, and ability to get themselves in situations which required a man to save the day, normally true loves kiss :) I thought about all the discussions which were going to take place in the many mini vans heading home with all the little girls in the back seats dressed up in their princess costumes. What would the fathers, mothers, grandmothers say to these little girls about being a strong independent woman who could have ambitions and goals? How do they talk about fairy tales in relationship to real life? How do you explain to your sons that being a "knight in shinning armor" doesn't mean that you fix everything and save the day, but really means you are to be a partner and provide security and relationship?

I don't have children so I am not sure how you approach these very real and continuous stereotypes in children's stories.

But I must admit my second bit of sadness was personal, feeling that I have lost a bit of the Magic that is Disney.

Maybe you don't have to have these conversation with your daughters and sons at the age in which these children were attending the show. Maybe you talk about the glitter, the costumes, the pretty dresses, the talented skaters, and of course Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Maybe there is nothing wrong with believing in happy endings, true loves kiss, and being saved by a handsome prince.

I love a lot of things about Disney because it represents a childhood that I adored and everything I think is good about being a child. The make believe, the imaginary worlds, the magic...

It breaks my heart to know that children grow up so much faster and learn the hard way that life is not about fairy tales... Maybe we should preserve for as long as we can the little girl in the princess dress...because she will know all too soon the inequalities of this world...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How dare you radio personality Mark Elfstrand of Moody Radio on "The Morning Ride" program

Today, Tuesday, September 7, 2010, I was driving my Aunt's van because she so kindly let my husband and I borrow it to transport some dinning room chairs. Anyway her car's radio station was tuned into Moody Radio. I didn't want to mess up her station and I knew I would forget Moody's station number so I thought I would just listen to "The Morning Ride" program with Mark Elfstrand. (side note, Mark has had Andrew on his program before and well lets just say Mark does not agree with Andrew on just about every aspect of what he does)...

Anyway I was intrigued because this morning Mark was going to be interviewing a Moody Bible Institute Professor of Theology named, Dr. Bryan Litfin, (you can read the snippet of his show today here) on the passage in Genesis which speaks about "Be fruitful and multiply." Of course with my struggle with infertility I was curious what these two men were going to speak about with regards to this verse. They began their discussion talking about how many children one should have, birth control, choosing not to have children etc. All in all the Moody Professor, Dr. Litfin, interpreted the scripture within historical and biblical context stating that not only did this verse represent having children and populating the earth, but also our responsibility to everything within the earth and helping all creatures, plant life, etc. be fruitful and multiply. Additionally, the professor from Moody Bible Institute spoke about the historical context of needing to populate the earth at that present time with the corresponding passage where God directed Moses to do the same after the great flood. The Professor went on to speak about today's context as there is no real need to populate the world, but a need to be good stewards of this planet as well. This was the argument the professor and the host, Mark, were having with regards to people choosing not to have children. Whether or not Mark was truly implying the tone indicated that he (Mark) felt that those who chose not to have children may be going against God's commandment, the professor of course was quick to indicate that if the couple had felt in their hearts with God's guidance that children are not meant for them and are finding a different way to help this world be fruitful and multiply then they are more then likely in God's presence as well.

Okay all of that background to say that Mark Elfstrand made a comment, which I want to give respect that maybe he did not mean for it to be so calloused and cold, hurtful, distasteful and with out knowledge of the struggle. In one swooping comment, that neither man decided to really discuss except for one quick and awkward response from the professor, he brought up that scripture indicates being barren is an embarrassment to that woman who can't have children. Then there was a slight pause the Moody professor said well yes in that time period and then nothing...

I will admit that I may be over sensitive, but I thought here we go again. Moody radio by its reputation is quite conservative and Mark's reputation sits directly in line with the stereotypes of this radio. He may be a very pleasant man outside of his radio show and have a bit more tact in relating to very sensitive issues, but this is why I feel Christians have such a hard time discussing this issue which makes us uncomfortable because we allow people to make blanket statements. This issue of infertility which as we all know has come much further in medical advancements understand that an ability to have a child or not have a child is complex, painful, lonely, and nothing to do with an embarrassment of not being "woman" enough.

I guess my challenge is if you are going to say something about infertility which is affecting so many women in this world (both Christian and non-Christian) then you better have a better follow up discussion rather then saying well you know the old testament called it an dare you Mark Elfstrand be so careless in the statement...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Did the Evangelical Christian Woman miss the Great Awakening? (generally speaking)

So I have a theory, and well it comes from revisiting the book, "Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan. I will admit that I have been quite lite on any of my women's history and/or gender theory knowledge so I thought it would be beneficial and important that I re-read, re-discover, and read for the first time many of the books both Christian and non-Christian on the subject.

That is what has lead me to re-discover the "Feminine Mystique." (side bar I am only a few chapters in). As I was going through the chapters and making sure that I looked at it from the perspective of today's society and understood the historical concepts of when and why it was originally written. It hit me that I felt I was some how caught in the stories and related as if they were happening in real time, but why I wondered? Why are some of these stories, the expectations, confusions, emptiness, anger, and questions ringing true to me within my own mind and within my own circle of experience? How could I be relating at least on some level to these women? Wasn't this book written almost 40 years ago and published over 30 years ago or so? Hasn't society and the women's movement come so much further, that as a young woman in 2010 I should be reviewing these stories simply as historical context determining where we have come from to give me a base of understanding? How am I deeply connecting with the roles and expectations placed on women with regards to getting married and having children. To look upon being a wife and mother as the utmost and most euphoric experience I could desire as a good Christian Godly Woman.

That's it...Is it possible that Evangelical Christian Women never went through the great Awakening in discovering how much more their value as a woman really is outside of the titles of just wife and mother?

Sure we say that we encourage young woman to go forth and be who and what they want to be, but truly the under tones the belief system when you get beyond the ones on the surface tell a much different story. One of which I as a woman in order to be a good Christian Woman must fight the desires of the world and understand the true tradition as to what I was created for and that was to be a wife and mother. Being too strong meant that I was fighting against what I was called to be and that I was embracing too much of what those worldly women wanted for me to be.

Is it possible that the reason I for one don't totally understand everything that has occurred with regards to the women's movement is because the under tones and belief systems of what I was raised within have yet to fully embrace the essence of being fully female created in God's image as well to accomplish anything and everything that our Lord and Savior has asked of her (me) no matter what that role may be?

Could this be why so many young Christian women including myself have had to fight with feeling guilty about our talents, dreams, accomplishments, and ambitions. Feeling ashamed of our bodies and our sexuality because as women we are supposed to hold our selves pure and be stronger for men to not tempt them with impurity. But after getting married as a wife we are supposed to understand how to fully please our partners?!? Why did so many question my desire to attend the university I attended and study in the area I chose...too many whispers were about how my area of study would not be complimentary to my "someday" husband and that too much ambition makes her proud and of course we all know how pride is such a shameful characteristic, but why were my ambitions considered prideful... They were goals and desires I had set for myself and felt utilized the talents the Lord has blessed me with...but I did still feel guilty after hearing so many other men and women tell me that I was not fulfilling the appropriate role as a Christian woman...

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with me? Have any of your experienced something like this? Did we as Christian Woman miss the movement? Do we need an awakening of our own and a movement too?

So many of the great movers and shakers of the women's movement were strong Christian women... How then did we in this present time get stuck still in the 50s and 60s?

One theory I have and I alluded to it above is that I believe when the second and third wave occurred of the women's movement Christian women were being told don't go that way or down that path, don't follow those feminist they are worldly we (Christians) must stand separate, hold onto your traditional values... but were they really traditional or something created in the 50s and made to be traditional...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Interesting Post on Scott McKnights Page

Elders: For Men Only? (you can read the Scott post here)
August 23, 2010

From CBEs wonderful Arise newsletter...Do you hear the arguement that only males can be elders? Where does the bible say an elder must be a male? Margaret Mowczko sketches a response to these questions

Margaret Mowczko, a singer-song writer, for many years, lives in Austrailia. She writes about biblical eqaulity in marriage and in ministry for her website, Newlife

Some people think that the moral qualifications for church leaders recorded in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 were written only about men and apply only to men. They believe that the implication in these passages is that only men can be church leaders. Yet in the better, older Greek manuscripts, these passages are completely free from masculine pronouns; and in all Greek manuscripts there is no use of the word "man" or "men" whatsoever.

All of the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 can be readily applied to both men and women equally. The one seeming exception is where it says that a church leader should be, literally, a one woman man. This is usually translated into English as "the husband of one wife."

The phrase, a one woman man, is however an idiom, and there are dangers in applying it too literally. Because it is an idiomatic expression, many people have had difficulty explaining and applying its meaning in the context of contemporary Western church culture; a culture that is vastly different from first century church culture.

If taken literally, the one woman man requirement would rule out unmarried, widowed and divorced men and women from being church leaders; yet Paul says that being single and celibate enables people to serve God better (1 Cor. 7:32-35). The real intent of this expression is marital faithfulness in the church leader who is already married.

All of the qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, including the ability to lead one's household, are in fact equally applicable to both genders. According to Paul, it is not only men who can lead their households. Paul advised the younger widows in the Ephesian church to remarry, have children and "keep house" (1 Tim. 5:14). Interestingly, the word Paul uses for "keeping house" here is oikodespotein, which literally means "to be the master of a household." The King James accurately translates 1 Timothy 5:14 as: "I [Paul] desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, and give no occasion to the adversary for insulting."

Undoubtedly most church leaders in early church times were male, and yet it is never stated in the New Testament that a church leader must be a man. The New Living Translation (NLT), (which gives the impression of being gender inclusive because it frequently translates adelphoi into "brothers and sisters") has taken the bold step of inserting the statement, "so an elder must be a man" into 1 Timothy 3:2. This statement simply does not appear anywhere in any Greek manuscript of the New Testament. The translators of the NLT have inserted this statement to put across their biased opinion that a church leader must be a man. They have tried to pass off their opinion as being "the Word of God." Had Paul wanted to say "an elder must be a man" he would have done so.

The opening sentence of 1 Timothy chapter 3 literally says, "If someone aspires to overseeship, he/she desires a noble task." There is absolutely no gender preference suggested here whatsoever.

What are your thoughts?

Interesting Scott McKnight Posting (links are within the post below)

Women Preachers a Story often Neglected (Scott McKnight post here)

Monday August 30, 2010

Categories: Women and Ministry

Telling the truth of the Church's Story means telling the whole story. In the Church's Story are the stories of women who did mighty things. But these stories are not being told. What can we do to include these stories in our church's story?

The following is from Arise and is written by Priscilla Pope-Levison...

From Arise, the weekly e-newsletter from Christians for Biblical Equality.

Priscilla Pope-Levison is Professor of Theology and Assistant Director of Women's Studies, Seattle Pacific University, affiliate faculty in Women Studies, University of Washington, and a United Methodist clergywoman.

* * * * *
The momentous contribution of women evangelists to American life, past and present, is only now emerging from dusty archives shelves, where their sermons, diaries, papers, and autobiographies were boxed away. These women have been notably absent from the history of American evangelism, which conventionally moves in a single-gender trajectory: Jonathan Edwards--Charles Finney--Dwight Moody--Billy Sunday--Billy Graham. A decade ago, when preparing for an introductory lecture on American evangelism, I was inundated by resources on these men. With my simple question--were there any women?--the first stirrings toward a nearly forgotten history began to transpire. To summarize briefly the enormous impact of women evangelists, we will consider four arenas: institutions, social outreach, political impact, and audience numbers.

Institutions: they provided for the education and nurture of converts as well as future generations by founding denominations, educational institutions from grade school to university, and a host of churches from New York to California.

Social outreach: they often incorporated humanitarianism along with evangelism. Sojourner Truth solicited aid for freed slaves living in squalid camps in the nation's capital city. Phoebe Palmer began Five Points Mission, one of America's first urban mission centers, in a New York City slum. Within two months after Aimee Semple McPherson's Angelus Temple Free Dining Hall opened in 1931, its workers had already fed more than 80,000 hungry people, and the Angelus Temple Commissary, opened in 1927, was crucial to the survival of many in Los Angeles during the Depression. In terms of race relations, women evangelists wielded influence by holding integrated meetings, like Jarena Lee, whose audiences in the 1820's included "white and colored," "slaves and the holders," and "Indians." This practice continued into the twentieth century with Aimee Semple McPherson's and Kathryn Kuhlman's integrated services.

Political impact: they influenced the nation's leaders as well as the populace. Harriet Livermore preached in Congress several times between 1827 and 1843 about the predicament of Native Americans. Sojourner Truth generated a petition and presented it to President Ulysses S. Grant requesting that a colony for freed slaves be established in the western United States. Jennie Fowler Willing's speech on women and temperance in 1874 prompted many who heard it to consider forming a national temperance organization. Through her periodical, Woman's Chains, Alma White supported the platform of the National Woman's Party, including the Equal Rights Amendment.

Audience numbers: They preached to audiences often numbering in the thousands. During her 1889 Oakland revival, Maria Woodworth-Etter repeatedly packed to capacity her 8000-seat tent. Aimee Semple McPherson's church in Los Angeles had a 5300-seat auditorium, which filled up three times for Sunday services. Uldine Utley preached in Madison Square Garden to a crowd of 14,000. Numbers are impossible to gauge for Kathryn Kuhlman's radio program, "Heart-to-Heart," which was regularly broadcast for over 40 years, or her long-running CBS television program.

Turn the pulpit loose: Two centuries of American Woman Evangelists, by Priscilla Pope-Levison, uncovers this nearly forgotten history, as does this website

Who are some of the other women we should know about within history and today?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Honor of Women's Eqaulity Day - August 26th

I am not sure exactly what words to use or reflections to speak on. I must admit that when I began writing my feelings and thoughts about women it was really a challenge from another woman to explain my thoughts (thank you Rachel). However, as a young woman trying to find a voice and discovery fully who her identity is in Christ and in this world I am humbled by those women that came before me.

So today I say thank you. If the voices of women in the past did not rise up and their fight for equality did not take place I would not have been able to play sports in school, attend what ever university I wanted, vote, make decisions over my marriage, my body, my health, have a career, be promoted, climb the corporate ladder, get a masters degree, dream about being anything, own property...own my life and my liberty to pursue happiness...

Thank you

Monday, August 23, 2010

Personal reflection and topic switch...My heart still aches

So I haven't shared in a while about my infertility journey. Since the last failed attempt which depleted all of our insurance money we have done nothing in regards to medical treatments. I should have gone in to get some more medication because I again did not get my period naturally because of the PCOS, but have chosen to wait it out a bit longer to see if eventually my body will kick itself back into normal flow (pun intended)

So yesterday I went to purchase a baby gift for a friend who just had a baby. I had one moment way back when I first began infertility treatments where I did seriously want to punch every pregnant woman in the face, but since that time I have put my emotions in check and do not see red when a pregnant woman walks by. Although, on a side note does it seem like when you are hurting about something or wanting something you see it everywhere. Andrew and I went to the movie the other weekend and I think literally not exaggerating I counted 15 pregnant women. They were probably all going to see the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" but still... can a lady grieve with out seeing what she can't have come on...

Anyway back to my story...I was over joyed for my friend because she too struggled with infertility and IVF was successful for her. Her pregnancy was really difficult (later I found out the delivery was difficult too). Nothing about having babies is easy and it truly is a wonderful miracle. So I purchased the gift a little outfit, blanket, and stuffed toy. Looked around at all the other cute, practical, and ridiculous things I could purchase. I paid for the items and as I left this overwhelming feeling of loss, defeat, and emptiness came billowing over me. I got to my car and had to just sit there and allow myself to sob and feel every bit of this very painful and emotional moment.

I have been trying to stay away from the "why" questions with God and have been trying to ask the hows, whats, whens, and even whos...but in this moment of total brokenness I began to ask the whys again and then added some will I evers too.

After the really good cry and some heated discussions with God I wiped my tears took a very deep breath and put together the gift for my friend in the really cute coordinating bag I had purchased to place all the little baby items in.

Infertility truly is a very difficult journey. I think I went into the entire process with very high expectations maybe a bit unrealistic, but I thought I was justified in what I had hoped and thought. Every person I personally knew had been successful in their infertility treatments whether that was IUI or IVF or any other combination of a lot of things. I don't think I even really thought that it wouldn't work. Its been a very tough road receiving call after call telling me sorry you did not get the results we were hoping for. Having the doctor call me countless times to tell me we don't have any real explanation for you as to why this is not working.

I wake up each day and each day is different. Does having children or not having children define a person? What if you want them and you can't how do you explain that to not so nice (even if well intentioned) people? Why is it every time I see someone I haven't seen in a while their first question is always do you have any children and when I say no there is this disappointment on their faces? They don't know my story or what I have been through, and even in the same breath what if I didn't want to have children and this was the choice that my partner and I have made. Am I really less with out children? No women we are not less, I may feel empty and hurt because I do want children, but I am not less...

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Shout Out to My Hubby

All sorry I have to take a moment to do a shout out to my hubby, Andrew. He was recently interviewed for a segment on CBN. I know I know we were nervous too, but as we talked we discussed that this is what bridge building is all about building from both sides a piece at a time. Anyway there were in Chicago a few weeks back and taped for about 3 and half hours for the 5 minute clip (okay a little over 5 minutes).

You can see the clip here on the CBN website and read the commentary as well.

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Am I confused what do I mean when I say Christian and Feminist? (perhaps unconventional at both)

Initially this blog was to be a personal diary for a woman (myself) to journey about the struggles of infertility, life, marriage, work, and ministry. On a personal note I never kept journals and was looking for a way to express myself. I have always struggled with the patriarchal world of the faith I was raised in and never understood the reasoning behind women not being pastors or leaders in the church (on the record I still don't know why this exists). I was asked to attend and speak at a women's conference where I was initially asked to share on marriage and ministry, but that topic did not fit who I was or what I felt God had challenged me to speak and share about at this conference with the other women. I looked deep inside at my past and listened to those around me and felt (as I have shared in previous posts) God say look at this next generation of young women what is your legacy to them? What are you leaving behind for them to use and make better? What is the next chapter for women, especially in the broader Christian world?

So I began to write about my thoughts, feelings, and theories on being a Christian Feminist. Before I go on let me make it very clear neither of these words are bad and we all have to be okay with that :) I realized though I never established who I was when referring to myself as a Christian Feminist. The differing opinions shared on this blog have really challenged me to make it clear where I sit as of right now. I am open to change and open to learning and discovering new ideas. I have always tried to be a sponge soak up as much as I can and squeeze out what I don't agree with, but be willing to learn from everything that I encounter. This is not a forever statement it is just my statement for this moment at 30 years old. I am straight, white, and married, I do not have any children (yet), and desire to be a mother, I am a professional, am highly educated, and yes have benefited greatly from the women who have come before me, my social class, and the color of my skin. I love males and adore my husband, my equal and partner in life. I love the male, gay and straight men in my life. I love the women, straight and lesbian in my life. I love those who believe in my same faith and those that do not. My world is colorful and filled with many people. My Christian Feminist voice is encompassed with every person I have a relationship with today and in the future.

Christian to me is a belief system. It is my personal walk with Jesus Christ and the center of my life and who I am. I do believe the bible is the inherent word of God. I believe the Holy Spirit is with us always. I believe in the trinity God-Jesus-Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus died on the cross and rose again and that by accepting Him into my life I am a child of His. I may not fit exactly into any religion although I was raised Assembly of God and you could say I bend towards Evangelicals, but the most important aspect in my life is my relationship with my Savior, Jesus.

Feminist to me is the fight for equality with the sexes. It is the desire to move women forward to be recognized for their talents, their achievements, their leadership skills, and the choices they should have the freedom to make with regards to their given profession, love life, marriage, partnerships, etc. It is the fight to see qualified women hold positions in all aspects of industry, for profit and not-for-profit. To be leaders in church, community, organizations, government, and corporations. To lead nations, to be a part of the legal systems, to be mothers, and raise children, to actively pursue and be a part of cultural shifts. To be a voice for women in areas that do not have voices to empower women and young girls in developing nations which seek empowerment but to be respectful of culture, tradition, and sovereignty. To show that women are all unique and bring something very special to any table we find ourselves. To encourage education, success, diversity in career choices, love, and stay at home moms. To mentor other women and have women groups which meet and encourage each other. To fight the porn industry which creates such an unfair expectation on women and young girls. To fight against sexual harassment, and in appropriate male hierarchies. To find balance and equality in the work force...

Feminist to me is also understanding the delicate balance between men and women. It is understanding that not only do I have an obligation to empower, mentor, and challenge young women to dream big, fight for their equality, and know they can be who ever they want to be, but to also be a voice to young men to challenge them to do the same, but to see women as their equal. To voice an example that we each both men and women bring very unique skills to any environment that we find ourselves in. To challenge each other in this world to appreciate and accept that each of us are significant in our own rights and each of us can shift culture in moments at a time.

We are not there yet, I see it all around me the inadequacies between men and women, especially in the church, but I can not only be a voice to women when it will take changing men as well. If I have son I will want for him to grow up and be just as successful, confident, and powerful as if I had a daughter. But for young men literature, mentors, and heroes are being taken away. Look at the men these young men today are supposedly seeing as examples especially in religious sectors. We as women wonder why they are so confused when they grow up. Their mentors and leaders have not changed their views on women. We have to be equally as vocal to men as to women.

I do not live in a world where I can only surround myself with women and go only to teachings given by women. I do not want to read only literature written by women. I am an equal to men, I will fight for that to happen hopefully one day, but I will also look for balance and celebrate that God made men as well with a purpose to also be strong leaders in their own right.

So I guess I am unconventional in all aspects of being a Christian Feminist...

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Keeping Up With The Girls" A Guest Post on Chicago Tribune website

The below article caught my attention. I have pasted some of the more interesting portions or the article below, but you can read the full article (here).

August 13, 2010 Chicago Tribune on-line by Meghan Daum

Are girls growing up too fast? And will the trend toward precocious sexual development be the final nail in the coffin of male domination?...

...Or so it may seem to an ordinary 8-year-old boy, who may view these girls not only in the way boys traditionally have — as bossy, slightly alien carriers of cooties — but as something even more terrifying: women. Or at least women-in-the-making.

In case you didn't know, the culture has found itself in the throes of a terrible scourge: the "masculinity crisis." Perhaps first identified a decade ago in Susan Faludi's book, "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man," and since then reinforced by writers such as David Brooks and Christina Hoff Sommers (who identified a sub-scourge she calls the war on boys), this "crisis" stems largely from changes brought on by the global economy. In the post-Industrial Age, traditionally male skills like operating heavy machinery have been all but usurped by traditionally female skills like communicating; hence, more men have lost jobs in the current recession. In a recent Atlantic magazine article called "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin noted that women now earn 60 percent of all bachelor's and master's degrees. There's even evidence, Rosin wrote, that U.S. couples seeking sex selection for their children show a preference for girls.

Will that change when would-be parents realize they might be contending with an unwieldy mix of hormones before their princess has grown out of "My Little Pony"? Probably not. It's probably also a stretch to draw too close a connection between premature sexual development in girls and what some people (generally using Judd Apatow movies as Exhibit A) maintain is an epidemic of arrested development in boys and men. After all, girls have always matured faster than boys, and until very recently, males were able to catch up quite nicely.

But as we go about the essential business of dealing with this situation for girls, and how to stop it, perhaps it's worth extending some sympathy toward boys. In a world in which it's already so easy to feel diminished by the achievements of girls, this widening gulf in physical maturity just might have the effect of kicking them while they're down.
Alvy Singer would sympathize.
Los Angeles Times

Meghan Daum is an essayist and novelist in Los Angeles.

I think there a few aspects being discussed within Ms. Daum's article. I appreciate her discussion of looking at this research on the sexual and physical development of girls and not only how it may affect young girls but also their male peers. Let me first say to my Lesbian sisters this post is important to me because I do believe as woman we need to understand not only each other, and to quote Turtle Woman, the incredible sisterhood we need to continue to build, but also the way in which we teach and include our male peers.

First, the very obvious is what affect will early development have on our young girls. I told Andrew once that when/if we have children I want for them to live in their "child imaginary" worlds for as long as we can protect that time in their lives. My father didn't exactly have the most ideal childhood and because of that felt that it was vital that we (his children) were able to discover everything there was about being kids. He loved, and still does, everything Disney because with it came the magic of being children.

I feel as a society we have asked our children to grow up and be independent. To fit into adult life and take on the complexity of our grown up baggage sooner then children are ready. We have stopped encouraging what it means to be children, to dream, imagine, believe, pretend, and day dream. With all of that said if our young girls are now developing earlier and being thrust into our over sexualized world sooner then they are ready to handle with all of the confusion and maturity that must accompany sex in general, then I ask what are we to do as a society and especially as women? I do not have children and I do not know the appropriate times to have certain discussions, but what I can say from my own experiences is that we need to open the discussion but in the same place I believe as a society we also need to allow children to be children. Young girls will eventually be women sooner then later and will have to face everything that comes with being a woman. How do we talk about her body, expectations, and imagination because according to the article she is only 7 or 8?

Secondly for young men, as women I do believe we must begin to lead by example, teach, challenge, and speak to young men on what it means to be a partner in this life with other women and with each other. We in our fight for equality can not take away what it means to be men and the importance of who God intended for men to be. There needs to be an understanding and encouragement on our parts to uplift this next generation of men to be just as strong as we are asking our your women to also be. Perhaps we have a great opportunity to understand the variances between men and women and truly begin to shape how they work within balance to one another.

Perhaps feminism is not only the fight for equality for women, but eventually a fight for balance as well. A fight to celebrate in what makes us different and how each gender is as significant to this world as the other whether that is within corporations, home, communities, and/or church.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Simple Words to Live By

Today in the car I tuned into the local Christian radio station. I have felt lately that my world is crumbling a bit and things right now seem a bit hopeless. As many of you who have read my blog know that we have been quite unsuccessful in our attempts at having children and have gone through extensive infertility treatments. Lately, I have been feeling very empty, defeated, hurt, confused, and angry. Even though I know and feel God is with me always I am still questioning why and waiting for the time when I look back and realize the reason for this very painful journey. So today I heard this song by an artist name Lincoln Brewster call "By the Power of Your Name" and I felt in my spirit that the words in the chorus were the simple truths that I needed to be living through no matter where I find myself. This is my challenge for my life:

And I will live

To carry on compassion

To love a world that's broken

To be Your hands and feet

I will give

With the life that I've been given

And go beyond religion

To see your world be changed

By the power of Your name

I don't know what tomorrow will bring or where my life journey is going to take me. I have ideas and I have dreams, but in all things I do I want to live and see this world transformed and changed by the Power of my Lord and Savior...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wow - I really am not good at blogging :)

I know I owe some posts about questions and comments from previous blogs. I must apologize as I have them almost ready to go. Not to make any excuses but I have had some major personal items happen in my life and well I pretty much dropped everything and decided it would be best to leave it all behind and not think about anything.

So that is what I have done for the past few days. I took a much needed long (well very long) weekend off and spent time with family and friends. I went to the beach soaked up as much sun as possible for a northern girl - on a side note I feel like I have so much tan potential I just don't ever seem to get it :( it could be because I so far have spent a total of 8 days in the sun. This summer has been incredibly busy.

okay back to the post...Anyway I will answer all the questions and comments because I think they need to be talked about and discussed. Especially amongst this next generation. Turtle Woman I want to send a big thank you for reminding many of us in my generation of the ground work that has been laid by so many who came before us. We read and hear stories, but sometimes we forget to feel and experience. Thank you for challenging us to feel and experience. I have really been inspired to make sure I fully embrace all that I am trying to do as a young women looking for her Christian Feminist voice!

On a totally new issue (sorry this post is jumpy). One of the big personal issues I am facing is a forced new career. My company which I have enjoyed in many ways being a part of is facing the same effects as so many others in this economy. Although, I have not been laid off yet or asked to leave yet the writing is on the walls and I really need to figure out a new career path. If any of you are in the Chicago land area and know of some openings or have any ideas I am all ears. I stated in an earlier post that I am doing some soul searching and really want to find a position that is making significant changes in this world. I am still doing my soul searching and seem to be coming up empty. I think I am more confused about this decision then I was when I was asked to choose a major in my undergraduate studies. Any advice and/or opportunities is greatly appreciated.

I promise I will clear my mind and be back to my regular posting soon! Thanks for hanging in there with me!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Women Are Sex Objects..." thanks for the wisdom Hugh Hefner (insert sarcastic tone while reading)

Snip from a Hugh Hefner interview to the Daily News (August 1, 2010):

On people who say he objectifies women:

"The notion that Playboy turns women into sex objects is ridiculous. Women are sex objects. If women weren't sex objects, there wouldn't be another generation. It's the attraction between the sexes that makes the world go 'round. That's why women wear lipstick and short skirts."
I think where Hugh Hefner gets his statement very wrong, because he and his entire empire does objectify women, is that women are sexual beings. We were made that way the same as men and yes because we are sexual beings then "another generation" may occur if there is a mutual agreement between adults to have children.
Being a sexual person and a sex object I believe are two totally separate entities all together. Yes, I believe we as women should celebrate that we can be beautiful on the outside and even sexy, but we really truly need to understand what makes us so much more beautiful on the inside. I don't mean to be patronizing in this statement with the old "oh its on the inside that counts," although, I do believe that statement is very true, what I am primarily speaking about is the amazing variables that are women. Beauty should be defined with every spectrum that makes us as women so unique. I am thankful that God made women with all of our characteristics both physical and emotional. I also want to make it very clear that even though our emotions and physical aspects are different that does not make us less, or as Hugh has put it sex objects, but equal.
Different should not define one group as less or stronger. And no I am not naive to understand that "different" has always been the excuse to make one group less then another. It is the easiest way that we as humans can define and group one another. Since we however, now have this deeper knowledge of understanding that we divide based on differences, then why can we not challenge ourselves, society, and this world to shift and celebrate difference and not use them as measurements.  
Again, we have another bigger then life figure who is cherished by main stream media and males because of his rouge behavior and idolized worldly life telling us as women what we are and the "title" that we should adhere to as "sex objects." In his one statement he has made women not as equals but as objects to desire, admire, consume, own, keep, object is something you possess not something you feel is your equal, your partner, your confidant, your friend, and/or your lover. Yes, as stated above we are sexual beings but we are not sexual objects...
Sadly the second portion of his statement with regards to lipstick and short skirts, may have some truth to it. I am guilty today of putting on my make up making sure my hair looks nice and I chose to wear a cute green dress. All of these things made me feel better about the way I looked and felt today. Are all of these pieces human (maybe even culturally) made, yes, are the a bit shallow, yes definitely, but am I carrying myself with dignity and confidence? Yes, I am. Is my outfit over sexualized and my hair in its pony tail to flirty? Perhaps, but that would be in the eye of the beholder and we need to continue to challenge men to not listen to the Hugh Hefner's but to see women as equal contributors to this world.
What is our Legacy Women?

“But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”- 1 Samuel 16:7

Friday, July 30, 2010

What is Feminine?

*Quick note: I will be doing a few blogs on some questions within comments from previous posts . I just want to take time to really think about them before I respond. So in the mean time...*

I was curious how would you define feminine?

I looked it up in the Webster's dictionary and this is what it said: Feminine: 1. Of the female sex also: characteristic of, or, appropriate or peculiar to women 2. Of, relating to, or constituting the gender that includes most words or grammatical forms referring to females – femininity:  Feminine (n): a noun, pronoun, adjective or inflectional form or class of the feminine gender also: the feminine gender

Feminine in my understanding is truly defined by cultural norms, expectations, religious traditions, media definitions, and historical views.

So I pose this question what is the definition of Feminine in the year 2010? I have my ideas, but am curious as to what you think...(be careful not what you want it to be defined as, but what it really looks like in today's society - I have a feeling these are very different definitions and distinctions)