The #MeToo movement has reached ubiquity: We all know what it means when a woman (or man) posts these words to social media. Ruth gave a powerful breakdown of the situation. In fact, she changed the way I thought about my own history. I believed I could never forgive the men who have harassed or assaulted me over the years. But then a funny thing happened — I made a list.

I listed all the times I could remember someone making me feel unsafe, or someone physically or verbally assaulting me. Over the days, the list grew. It is now quite substantial. But in making the list, the power these people had over me dropped to zero.

Maybe it’s seeing their names, or the lack of them — some names I never knew, some I’ve forgotten, like “Warehouse Creep” and “King of Bear Country.” Just faceless, nameless ghosts. Not even worth remembering. In other cases, it was a matter of perspective. I can look back now on the man who kept calling me “Kiddo” and rubbing my thigh on a car ride home from the first (and last) time I babysat his 6-year-old son, who spent the entire night talking about big breasted women — as if such a thing could mean anything to a child that young — and think, “How little he must have had in his life!” It’s almost sad.

Ruth is dead right: These people aren’t brimming with machismo and confidence. They are insecure. A real man doesn’t need to harass women to get attention. How frightened they must be! How alone! I found myself praying for them: That they find ways to get the attention they want through other means; that they can learn to feel important not by subjugating others but by doing positive things.

But most of all, I pray for a world where no girl or woman has to make a list like mine. Because although making it was cathartic, it’s not a task I would wish on anyone. Because no woman should have to have a list. Because it shouldn’t happen to begin with. Because being sad and pathetic is no excuse.

Forgiveness is divine. But wouldn’t it be nicer if there were nothing to forgive?

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Wow.  That’s a little ironic.  This is the image that was next up in the rotation after Miss Ruth’s post yesterday on standing up against sexual harassment.

I know that in every situation, a person cannot stand up for herself.  She may be in a situation that is truly life threatening.  She may be so badly damaged that any threat at all wipes her out.

But that’s why we have each other.  We are here to witness for each other.  To say, “I don’t think so.  This needs to stop.  Now.  Here.  Immediately.”  When you speak for one woman or man, who is the subject of harassment, you speak for all of us.  Even yourself.

And each time you speak up, it becomes easier to do the next time.

Who knows, maybe one day it won’t be necessary. Until then, God has given us each other.  Together, we can stand up for ourselves and for each other.  Each in our own unique way.

–SueBE

 

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Mark 8:36 NIV

There have been a lot of scoundrels in the news lately. I’ve seen a lot of people say this: “It’s a sickness.” But that’s not true.

People who use power to demean are not addicts. They live in fear and hate themselves. The world is very big, so they put on the trappings of power so they don’t appear so small.

While it is certainly a pathology, it’s not a condition that can’t be controlled.

When a young (at the time) actor inappropriately touched a VJ on MTV as a way of saying “hello,” what he was really doing was trying to gain leverage. He seemed to be unsure of himself and felt a pressure to be larger-than-life, so he did something to discombobulate her.

Emma Thompson described the scandal surrounding a predatory Hollywood producer as a manifestation of “extreme masculinity,” but I would suggest that the opposite is true.

I think such men don’t feel strong and powerful at all. They more likely feel utterly bereft. On paper, they’ve got everything that should lead to fulfillment, confidence, and peace. But somehow, they still feel as insignificant as they did before they achieved “success.”

I don’t know if there’s a “rehab” for this kind of situation. Some would say the answer is church. Getting right with God. That would be true, of course, but it wouldn’t be genuine for such an individual to find faith if it’s forced.

Going forward, maybe it’ll be easier for victims and bystanders to speak at the moment of impact. To say, This isn’t right. Cut it out. Speaking truth to power isn’t easy, but if we all stood up together, it could make a world of difference.

Listening to God is step #1.  Once you discern what he would have you do, you really have to do it.  No really.

This is as much a note to myself as to anyone else.  Hear his voice and then look for a way to begin.  Then do it.  You really do have to do it.

–SueBE

 

God never promises that it is going to be easy.  Today in Sunday School, we began our discussion of Gideon.  Gideon was one of the people who God chose as a judge.  Except for Deborah, judges weren’t judges in the sense that we use the word.  They didn’t sit in judgement.  They were leaders, warriors.

But Gideon was a timid man.  He lived at a time when the Israelites hid in caves.  They had to sneak out to harvest their crops and thresh grain.  If those occupying their lands saw them preparing grain, they would swoop in and take it.

Gideon was hiding what he was doing, threshing grain in a wine-press.  He was not a bold man.  He asked for sign after sign, unsure that he was hearing God’s message correctly.  Gideon had a lot to overcome.

What is God calling you to become?  It probably isn’t something easy.  If it is, you would have done it already.   There are almost surely obstacles in your path.

Still, you hear God calling.  Look up.  Look around.  What are you being called to do?

–SueBE

 

 

Our pastor has been doing a really interesting sermon series on the living waters of God.  Living waters is a term I learned only last year.  Living water is river water, creek water, ocean water, lake water.  It is water as found in the natural world.  It changes its landscape.  It sustains life.  It shapes the world.

Our church has recently made the decision to end several long time activities.  We simply don’t have the young muscle power needed to put on a rummage sale that fills the fellowship hall.  We used to.  And we did for over 20 years.  But the neighborhood just doesn’t come out like they used to for these events.

Through this sermon series Pastor Sean is encouraging us to find what it is Christ would have us do instead. We are being called to be his people in a troubled world.  And we have to figure out where that is.  And the funny thing about being Christ’s people is that he will tell us.  We simply have to listen.  If we do, we will find ourselves creating a new opportunity to come together, to serve him, and to help others.

Change.  We can create it because we are children of the Creator God.  We simply need to listen and follow Him.

–SueBE

We just don’t see a lot of it here but I’m always surprised when a venture beyond the prayer home that Lori, Ruth and I have invited y’all into.  People out there in the e-world are surprisingly nasty to each other.  Somehow, they seem to think that the freedom of speech means that they have the freedom to beat others down.

Not that we have all the answers.  Sometimes, as Lori blogged yesterday, there is just too much. Too much suffering.  Too much anger.  Too much damage.  Too much to take in.

Shockingly, that’s when so many people at other places online are at their worst.  When they should be holding one another up, they are slapping one another down.

This is just my own convoluted way of saying – Thank You.  Thank you for being the prayerful, praising, powerful people you are.  People who may not have all the answer but who turn to He who does.

Thank you for sharing in this space with us and for allowing others to freely do so as well.   Thank you.

–SueBE

 

Wildfires in California, mass shootings, disease, distress, acts of God…the last few weeks have pushed us all to the very brink. It is almost shocking that we can still be shocked. And yet.

When I am upset, the words pile up in my head in messy heaps, struggle like fish vying to surface. My brain bubbles and freezes, too knotted up to make sense of things. Sometimes, when life has you all but beat, there is nothing you can do but pray.

Where is the sense in senseless?
How do you mean for us to parse
a life sentence that confounds us?
Where noun is chaos and verb can
never be undone? What then?
Now is the time for old words,
rich in thous and thees.
When nothing comes
but humble prayer,
the rest, at last,
is silence.

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