Saturday, May 27, 2017
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ViewPoint Blog

ViewPoint is a blog in which different writers express their personal perspectives on various topics of current interest. It’s a blog of many voices. ViewPoint is a forum for discussion. The Latin word forum referred to the ancient Roman public square, where people assembled to address matters of significance. That's what we want ViewPoint to be.

UNCSW61

Report from the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61)

It was empowering to connect with women and men from around the world who are doing vital work for women’s economic empowerment inextricably linked to our overall empowerment.
Photo by Diana Ensign

Women’s History Month: Honoring the Sacred Feminine

For all who came before and all who follow in our footsteps, we will honor the feminine, eternal, life-giving force of this Universe. And then, women will join together, once again, in the sacred circle dance that is our power and our divine source.
Pro Muslim Immigrant Sign

McKenzie Brown’s Reflection on Protest— How We Prevail

I don’t want to have to protest again. I don’t want to be in a position where I must exercise my civic responsibility to stand and defend other human beings from a political leadership who would oppress them. That said, as an individual who has inherited the freedoms and privileges of American citizenship, it is a responsibility I cannot choose to ignore right now.
"Soft eminations from womans mouth abstract" by rolffimages

Ending the Silence about Sexual Assault

Today, as in the biblical narratives, instead of focusing on the details of the rape and the sufferings of the women who were victimized, we focus on the accomplishments of the powerful men who caused their suffering. We may even support them without thinking about it.
"Drawn quotes and a frame" image by Maxim Pavlov

Free Speech—Using it for Healing, Not for Hurting

Each one of us can begin to cool the heated debate and polarization in this country. We can begin by a rigorous moral inventory of our own bigotry, biases, and fear so that we can first heal ourselves. We can practice right speech by using the guidelines of the Buddha mentioned earlier (Is our speech truthful? Necessary? Kind?), even with those who use hateful, caustic speech. We can post the “good news” on social media with inspiring music, stories, and prayers. We can develop the courage and the willingness to listen to those with whom we disagree.
Blonde with a Key - Photo by Olly

A Dumb Blonde, a Woman Driver, and a Preacher Walk into a Bar

Research from Western Carolina University shows that dumb blonde and women driving jokes are more than innocent fun and games. Psychologists have proven exposure to sexist humor like that “gentle tease” about women drivers leads to tolerance of hostile behavior toward and acceptance of discrimination of women.
Human Hnads by Sergey Nivens

What We Can Learn from Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini

Allowing Saeed a public forum in which to further denigrate Naghmeh, Christianity Today also denigrates every woman who has heard an overuse of the word 'I' as they were being beaten, and shames every victim who takes the blame on themselves when it’s not theirs to take. The consequences of this piece reach further than one victim.
Mother Nature Illustration by Arborelza

Toward an Inclusive Incarnation: Easter and Male Divinity

Don’t question what it means that a man saved us from sin; don’t question what it means that it was a man who died for humanity; and don’t question why it is a man who promises to raise us all in the same way.
Image by Abundzu

Disconnected Generations:  #NotHereForTheBoys

Clinton, Steinem, and Albright have devoted their lives to public causes and progress for women, and the thought that none of them may live to see—or in Clinton’s instance, be—the first female president when we are so close to the dream must be a hard pill to swallow.
"human in a fetal, crouching pose" image by success

Want to Reduce Abortion? Fund Planned Parenthood

This issue is too important for vitriol. Planned Parenthood does perform abortions. But it also provides birth control and counseling to a population at high risk for unwanted pregnancy. If we really care about reduction of abortion, we should be encouraging Planned Parenthood to increase its efforts to reach groups of women at high risk for unintended pregnancy. And we must fund the birth control effort.

CBE and EEWC: Sisters after All

Though the biblical basis for women’s equality has been accepted in many churches in the US, there are still denominations that teach gender hierarchy and oppose women pastors, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and the Roman Catholic Church.
Rebecca Dix

The “Dirty F-Word” and Its Consequences in My Life

That empowerment of choice allowed me to let go of the resentment I had towards what are traditionally considered domestic tasks or “women’s work,” to support women’s engagement in them when it was their choice, not a role imposed on them, and to seek to learn to love those who did not act in love towards me—even those who refused to accept the “dirty f- word.”
Angry Businesswoman by Sergey Nivens

Transformative Anger

Therefore I urge us to remember that if we are willing to expand our notion of anger, if we allow ourselves (and others) to truly and deeply grieve anger, then we see potential for a transformation from fury to passion. We will see an urge for bringing about change that never runs tired. We will see hope for a hurting people.
"Stop" Photo by kmiragaya

Shades of Gray: Toward Real-Life Christian Sexual Ethics

From a Christian perspective, sexual ethics can be extremely difficult to discuss in any kind of nuanced manner, particularly in the Catholic setting with which I am most familiar, because the Church’s sexual teachings are so rigid and narrow. They offer no shades of gray to accommodate the many and varied situations that real life presents. Church teachings are seen as obsolete, irrelevant to the 21st century, and seldom factor in to sexual decision-making by people of any age. Thus movies and other media messages readily fill the void.
Woman behind a curtain

Domestic Violence Allegations in the Faith-Based Community: How Shall We Respond?

Thus, I too suggest we commit ourselves to hearing all voices, even if it makes our hearts ache. Let’s not protect the ones in power simply because they are our friends and we cannot imagine such things. Let’s be willing to believe people who claim they were violated. Let’s listen to their stories.
Life of a Woman Video Screenshot

Pontifical Council for Culture: Women’s (In)equality and Difference

The ridiculous assumption is that the entire culture of female identity can be explored in four days and a few tweets. It strikes me that the church may be operating under the misconception that there is only one female cultural experience, and not a myriad of individual women’s experiences across innumerable cultures.
Opening Book

How Marcus Borg Taught Me to Read the Bible

I no longer need to avoid looking at its flaws as I do with my image in the mirrors in my home. The Bible’s pages reveal whispers of the Spirit, glimpses of vistas where justice reigns, and winding valleys where our ancestors never seemed to find their way out of the muck.

“With his Stripes”— The Messiah Resonates in 2014

Whipping, pulling out hair, and spitting brought to mind the “enhanced” techniques authorized by Attorney General John Ashcroft on July 24, 2002, and the waterboarding he approved two days later. (What was I doing that summer? For sure, I was not keeping track of my government’s use of torture.)

Pray For Those Who Murder You

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” he says. When he himself was the target, he added, “Forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23: 34). Who heard these radical words and copied them down? Who later collected and preserved them? By the grace of God, we can find testimony today for this minority position against revenge in the words and acts of Jesus, Terence, Gandhi, Daryl Davis, and others. By binding our hearts to Jesus and his words, we can counter our intuitive responses and lift up even our enemies to the Creator’s loving care.

El Dia de los Muertos

In Mexico the Day of the Dead is widely celebrated, but this year it is overshadowed by the disappearance on Sept. 26 of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, 120 miles south of Mexico City, and by the deaths of many others who have been bystanders in Mexico’s war on drugs.

In Search of Life-Giving Christian Symbols

For many years I have also believed that a symbol other than the cross should be at the center of Christianity. The emphasis on the cross leads to the glorification of violence and death rather than the love and abundant life that Jesus taught.

Girl Scout Barbie? Are you KIDDING me?

Our culture's obsession with beauty, sexiness and youth doesn't need reinforcement by the Girl Scouts. If anything, scouts should be standard bearers of a counter-culture. That it's great to try to be healthy, study hard, play hard and give back to your community.

It’s Time for Transnational Feminism

Today there’s a term: transnational feminism. As Alena Amato Ruggerio reminded us in her keynote speech at the 2012 EEWC-CFT gathering, once you have a word for a feeling or a problem, you have means to tackle it. The issue becomes widely recognized.

Becoming Feminist: Conceiving and Creating

My joy for the little butterfly was also the joy of breaking out of my own chrysalis. In the ashes of my loss, I found a crown of beauty, my own voice, which had enormous value all by itself. My body hadn’t birthed a baby this time, but it had conceived something else: the belief that I am valuable and that my voice should be heard, loud and clear.

World Vision: Treating Gay Christians with “Dignity and Respect”?

On the first day, a “Christian” organization whose goal is to help others said I was good enough to serve alongside their other employees. On the second day, millions of other Christians felt it necessary to forcefully proclaim, yet again, that they consider me "less than" and unworthy. On the third day, World Vision buckled under pressure...

On Christian Femininity and Bragging Rights

But if our greatest treasure is our spiritual gifts, then men and women together should lift up the riches offered by the women of the church. We should open wide the doors to this storehouse of wealth. It means being a little less quick to slap down a compliment with, “Oh, isn’t God great? God did it. I didn’t do it. It wasn’t me.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor And The Health Care Mandate

I have no problem with devout Catholics following the teachings of the Church. But when I am required to live by those teachings, even if I do not agree with them, I am annoyed. The choice of an individual to use contraception (or not) is an intensely personal choice. To be denied that right because of the religious beliefs of the owner is unfair.

Why Doesn’t Church Work Anymore?

I do not reject the digital church. In digital church I see healing happening. I see a flattening of hierarchies that were made up in the first place and have been profoundly destructive. I see people telling the truth. And I see other people listening.

Reflections from South Africa Upon Nelson Mandela’s Death

Archbishop Tutu put it well, calling Mandela “a terrorist turned into an icon of reconciliation.” Mandela turned to weapons at a time when there seemed to be no other recourse, but he also spent his years in prison learning Afrikaans, the language of the oppressor, as a tool for peace-making.

Are Women Broads? The Power of Words

"I believe and have taught my daughters that language matters. How we talk about ourselves, as well as how we describe others is important. The words and adjectives we use can carry a different message, depending on what we choose. Words can motivate or destroy.

More Than One Way to Do Money God’s Way?

I don’t disagree with Evans: I’m well aware that my picture of financial peace does indeed come straight out of middle class American privilege. Nor am I interrogating here the systemic injustices that condemn people living in at the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum to generations of poverty.

Sex-Positive Marital Fidelity and the Feminine Face of God

Where the problem is objectification of the female, restoration comes in knowing the divinity of the female. Where the problem is profanity and commodification of our sexual selves, restoration comes in knowing sex as a sacred union: a mystical union between two expressions of God's presence in the world.

An Epiphany

The Ruler’s life has been irrevocably changed as a result of absorbing Christ’s world view, and his epiphany results as he sees for the first time his position in his own world. The pathology of that position is now clear to him: he sees the poor and their condition, and he sees in their watchfulness that they are Christ’s emissaries to him.

Rachel Held Evans and The Nines

Strong female leaders of faith are making great, great strides. At this point, we need more male leaders to act in concert with our efforts. Perhaps after so few women accepted Rhoades’ invitation, he should have done as some have suggested—cancelled this year’s event and said, “we can’t go forward without a stronger, more representative line up.”

To Revere the Image of God in Every Person

It is my prayer that all of us will eventually learn to recognize and revere the image of God in every person of every conceivable gender identity, along with the many other diversities of appearance, belief systems, preferences, and whatsoever differences may occur to us.

Rapists’ Parental Rights

The vast majority of Christians will experience a lifetime of preaching and religious education without once hearing that rape is a grave sin to be avoided or repented--or that God weeps with survivors, fights for their protection and healing rather than shaming them into justice-free forgiveness, and calls all Christians to as well.

Submission, Subjection, and Subversion in Household Codes

"... the overarching message of Jesus throughout the New Testament is a call for those in power to give it up or lay it aside for the sake of the powerless or for the greater good of the community. The theme of “little ones” being greatest in God’s kin-dom saturates the Synoptic Gospels. Jesus flees popularity, risks his life to defy rigid structures that oppress “little ones,” and finally endures the shame of crucifixion as a rebel against Roman domination."

Mutual Submission in This Time and in This Place

But something changed a few decades later that made the early church start to rein in the mutual submission and egalitarianism of its Savior and the teachings of its foremost apostle. What was it? The simple answer is that Jesus did not return.

Child-Free Again. Sort of.

Hello Church. I’m looking at you. Let’s stop assuming that all women want to help with children’s programs. Invite men AND women to participate. I have helped out here and there over the years, but I chose support roles that did not require my spending time with small children when I was home with my own all week.
Shawna Atteberry

God Places the Solitary in Families: Childfree Doesn’t Mean Childless

For me family is a much broader and expansive concept than the nuclear family. Jesus said that anyone who obeyed God was his mother, brothers, and sisters. I see no reason to limit my family to those I am biologically related to, and I think part of our responsibilities as Christians is to cast a much larger definition of what a family is.

Is There a Litmus Test for Christian Feminists? Should There Be?

Else we come to a place where feminism demands autonomy in all things, so that when I want to blow cigarette smoke in a random child’s face, that’s my choice; and when I want to make poor dietary choices, thereby making myself sick and putting extra burdens on the health care system, that's my choice...

What Does Family Therapy Have to Do with the XL Pipeline, Climate Change, and...

The question facing all of us is whether the unbridled dependence on oil and gas that marks our North American economies and lifestyles, or the creation-care vision articulated by environmental and Aboriginal groups, will determine our future.

God is Not a Guy, and Neither Am I!

"Just when I thought we’d about eliminated the so-called 'generic' use of 'man' because it really is exclusive, up pops 'you guys' almost everywhere. Women and girls seem to use 'you guys' as much as men and boys do. So why do females think they’re included in 'you guys'?"

Personal Tragedy Meets National Tragedy: The Boston Explosions

"Will we respond with anger, casting about for someone to blame, someone to hurt with our words or actions? Or will we make the difficult decision to respond only with love, searching for ways to connect with each other as a people and support those affected, perhaps even directing our attention to creating a world of peace and equality where violence is never considered necessary to achieve an end?"

Why We Need Immigration Reform: A Christian Feminist Perspective

"Perhaps that’s the worst part of being a modern-day Samaritan in southern Arizona: you may never know if the persons you have hugged and tried to help are living or dead. Laws prevent you from taking a shivering immigrant to shelter: actions like those of the kind traveler in Jesus’ story are currently illegal in the US. You can provide food, water, blankets, jackets, shoes—but for transportation you could be punished with 15 years in prison."

A Christian Feminist Speaks Out on the Drone War in Pakistan

"The notorious instability of many Middle Eastern countries means a seemingly innocuous walk to a market, across the street, through a park might be disrupted by a suicide bombing. A decade-long U.S. military presence has done little to provide safety for women and children in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. "

Forgiveness and Boundaries

by Marg Herder "If I can learn to forgive— if I can learn to say, “I will no longer carry this suffering in my hands. Today I will set it down”— I will then free myself from anger and pain and make the space to move into understanding and compassion. Likewise, when I make and enforce effective and appropriate boundaries, I am making it more likely that peace and love will flow freely in and through my life, and thus out into the world."

Popular ViewPoint Posts

Domestic Violence Allegations in the Faith-Based Community: How Shall We Respond?

Thus, I too suggest we commit ourselves to hearing all voices, even if it makes our hearts ache. Let’s not protect the ones in power simply because they are our friends and we cannot imagine such things. Let’s be willing to believe people who claim they were violated. Let’s listen to their stories.