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Photo by Jiyeon Park on Unsplash

Journalist Ann Curry appeared on a news program to promote her new project, which focuses on feel-good stories of people re-connecting with those who have had a positive impact on their lives.

But first the anchors wanted her to talk about a dark day from her past. They kept asking her about being let go from NBC’s Today Show. It was reported that Matt Lauer, now accused of sexual impropriety, had had Curry fired.

Even though she was clearly uncomfortable, Curry spoke in generalities about her experience, hoping to get back to her current project. It occurred to me. Isn’t this also the creation of a hostile environment? If she keeps stating she wants to look forward and not talk about a painful event and that boundary isn’t being respected, isn’t this a form of abuse as well?

And I wondered if #MeToo is not just about men in power, sexually harassing or abusing women. It’s also women, in a conversation, not hearing another woman saying, This is something that makes me uncomfortable. I’d prefer not to talk about it.

There’s an orthodoxy forming that could become just as exclusive as the boys’ club has been. I noticed that the women who started Time’s Up didn’t include the earliest voices of #MeToo, such as Rose McGowan, who was vocal in her criticism of Meryl Streep.

There’s a danger that a genuine groundswell may become another party that only a few are invited to attend.

I’d like to propose another hashtag: #YourTime, which is to say, tell your story in your time. When you’re ready to speak, we’ll all listen. If you don’t feel like talking, or even offering an opinion on these issues, that’s your prerogative, as well.

Advocacy is a lot like faith. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all.

I recently saw a bit from a late night talk show: An interviewer asked children why it was that women make less money than men for doing the same work. The boys’ answers were varied, but often supportive of women (especially their moms), but the girls — almost every one — went negative. Women were dumb or lazy. They hadn’t been taught things that men had been taught. They didn’t take their work seriously. They liked to shop too much.

Couple that with this figure: 91% of women don’t like their bodies and want to change them. What is wrong with us? Why don’t girls and women think themselves capable, beautiful or strong? Why are we convinced — apparently from an early age — that we are failures?

It is not Godly, this lack of self-esteem. We all start off the same way, as happy, little embryos. More male fetuses than female fail to make it to birth. More male infants die within the first year than do female babies. Women live longer, have higher tolerances to pain than men do. And yet we spend our lives thinking, by and large, that we are not good enough.

Why? Tradition? Culture? Law? All of these? Yes, and the Bible doesn’t help much either, written as it was for men by men, with its dearth of female heroines. It is the male bloodline that counts in the Bible. And yet, the most important figure in all of biblical literature — Jesus Christ — has a human mother…and no human father. Joseph, while mentioned, doesn’t have much dialogue in the New Testament. Neither does Mary, but at least she has some. And not one line of it is, “Do I look fat in this?”

Remember, too, that Mary is the only non-divine human being to be born without sin.

Remember, too, the women who remain at the foot of the cross. Only one man, in all of the gospels (his own) does the same.

Remember, too, that Jesus was often seen “in the company of women.” This, in a time when women were basically chattel. It is akin to being seen in the company of cows. But Jesus does it, time and again. He speaks to non-Jewish women, divorced women, prostitutes — acts so radical for their time, they make equal pay for equal work seem elementary.

Any faith practice that puts women down or places them as mere secondaries to men should be reexamined, as I hope Pope Francis will reexamine the Catholic Church, providing more opportunities for women to lead and be heard.

God created all of us. God stands with all of us. God loves us equally. Isn’t it time we did too?

I had a post all ready to go — in my mind, anyway. And then I found out that a local woman had been murdered. I knew her, sort of. She owned a Wichita restaurant that served the world’s best soup. When “regulars” came in, she was always ready with a smile and a hug. She was a bright, glowing presence in town and on Facebook, where we were “friends.” We may never have had more than a brief conversation, but she stood on the side of underdogs, and I admired her for that. Just recently, she’d posted a memorial to a doctor who’d been murdered some years earlier, lauding him for his work on behalf of women. And then the same stupid, senseless thing happens to her.

She called her place “Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.” The story goes that when a homeless man mistook the restaurant for an actual soup kitchen, she served him anyway, and gladly. I can believe this story.

Like most women who are murdered, she was killed by a man she knew, though whether they were romantically involved is still unresolved. No one should have to worry about being annihilated at the hands of another, let alone by someone they care about. That this happens so often — to women, in particular — fills me with grief and chagrin. Love, whether romantic or platonic, should never bring death. I know (as much as I truly know anything) that that is not what God intended.

Why do humans kill the ones they love? It seems to be a trait indigenous only to us. You don’t, for instance, see birds killing their mates, the bearers of their offspring. At least not regularly, you don’t. So what is it about human beings that turns our greatest emotion into our worst impulse? Is it jealousy, a need to be loved more than we are loved? Is it misunderstanding? A lack of communication?

I don’t know. I find the whole thing senseless. No matter how many times God tells us Thou shall not kill, we continue to throw God’s words back in God’s face. Surely, “God’s greatest creation” (as I’ve heard humans described, though I am dubious about the veracity of the statement) can do better.

We cannot hope to stop killing those we hate if we can’t stop killing those we love. My prayers go out into the dark world today: God help us.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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