I’m always amazed at how things come together rather serendipitously. And indeed that is what happened today.
Last night, I was talking to the Contrarian about some of the blogs I had been reading the last couple of days. The gist of things was that a lot of women who I have come to respect most highly are freely and openly exposing their inner beings quite deliberately to their readers. And this includes the good, the bad and the ugly. I am awed at the honesty of these women, more than I can express.
As a blogger who from time to time continues a rambling discourse on my life, I have often been faced with the question of how far to delve? How much to expose? And while I have always been factually truthful, no doubt I have left out a painful incident here or there, considering some things just too dear for human dissemination.
What I have learned is that there is something different going on here. Historically, the warning has always been issued that care must be taken on the internet. People are isolated, insulated and able to project just about any image they wish. Certainly this was true on my first forays into the internet jungle of interpersonal discussion.
There used to be, and no doubt still is a service called MIRC. It was an Internet relay chat system. With a simple download of the software and a connection through a server, one could enter a “room” and converse real time with people from around the world. Most rooms were topically oriented. While I certainly met a number of very authentic people, (I met personally a good half dozen men via this instrument), from time to time we were all duped by those masquerading as somebody or something else.
The classic examples were married men and women romancing on the Internet pretending to be single. I know of one man, whom I talked to many times on the phone, who went to meet his “girlfriend” only to find a husband answering the door. She was shocked that he was devastated, she thought it all in good fun. He was thinking about marriage. This happened a lot, in those days, and perhaps it still does.
Yet blogging seems more akin to a private diary that people allow others to read, a most interesting and odd thing I believe. At first of course, one feels a huge anonymity, for there are few “readers” and all are strangers. As time goes on, I guess one becomes friends with some, and then trusts them with the details of one’s life.
Because it is real, and we do not question the truthfulness, these brave women do a tremendous service. They show all of us how very human and ordinary we all are. We all suffer the same inner anxieties of not being good enough. We share our stories, our pain and our doubts and we are uplifted by the sisterhood, as it were.
This is not to say that men are not invited to this fest. It is just that men find this process more difficult. Women, it seems are wired to be open in this fashion I believe, while men are wary of being too open. Exposing one’s inner demons, fears, and desires can and does put you at risk. Loving risks rejection, and being an open book also invites it or worse, being used for someone else’s personal needs.
Anyway, I had thought about this last night, but didn’t see a real blog emerging from my thoughts. Until, of course, I saw this article on my first feed of the day. And it simply got me so angry. To make a long story short, should you not wish to read the link, the Southern Baptist Convention saw fit to remove from its Christian bookstores a copy of a publication called Gospel Today. The reason? Because the cover featured a picture of four women pastors in a celebration of women. What is wrong with that? Oh nothing other, than the fact that the literalistic SBC believes that women have no place in ministry, according to the bible. In this case, according to Timothy, which was written by God knows who, and was either an attempt to explain Paul’s thinking or an attempt to speak against Paul’s teaching, women are to keep silent, and NOT minister. [1Tim. 2:12]
What is strikingly funny or sad about this entire thing is that these same wingnut-right-wing-head-in-the-sand idiots are the sure supporters of both John McCain and Sarah Palin. Sarah you see upholds the paternalism they so cherish. She, and other women like Phyllis Schlafly and Dr. Laura amazingly can tell women to be good little dears and do traditional things all the while they make a living in the man’s world they so extol as being the haven of men only.
Of course, in this they are not alone, the SBC I mean. Much as I hate to admit it, the Roman Catholic Church stands in agreement with the Baptists. So do some unfortunate Episcopalians as well. I recall but a few months ago, being bored at Catholic Answers with the traditional forums I was usually in and wandering to the “non-Catholic” forum.
I saw the usual belittling topic: “When will Episcopalians realize their “error” and return to Rome?” Since I had begun at the point my investigation of the Anglican faith, I decided to take a look. What did I find but the usual nasty posts that talked about how “the RCC was started by Jesus, and the Episcopal church was started by a king,” but I found a picture, similar to the one posted above. The poster made fun of Bishop Schori, and claimed that nobody could take TEC seriously given a silly looking picture like this. Women had no business in ministry, and this was clear. TEC could not be taken seriously either until it rid itself of such nonsense. I haven’t been back to CA since, finding its attempt at “ecumenism” simply revolting.
Now I know, that millions of Catholics don’t agree with such a backward and archaic view. Yet, a significant minority do, and they fall in lockstep with other Christians who also have taken this limited view of women’s rights and value.
It just all came to a head for me. Here, I know many women, women who are active in business and in various professions. Many I know, and am coming to know, are ministers, writing and giving sermons that are breathtaking in their depth and capture of the essence of Jesus’ message. And so many of these same women are reaching out to other women with their stories, speaking their truth, uttering their faith and politics and social conscience.
They are unabashed in their fervor and their passion. They stick their chin out and offer it to the public. They expose the heart of themselves and invite comment. They are unafraid. They are inspirational. They are role models. They are young and old, and in between. They are overweight, skinny, pretty or not, they are fashion conscience and not, they are married, single, gay and straight. They are all of us, and we are all of them. We are women.
We are smart, and creative, spiritual, maternal, strong, aggressive, passive, fearful, brave, extroverts and introverts, we are just like those with the slightly different chromosomal arrangement. We are, as men are, victims of our genes and our environments. We are as good and as lousy at every task as men are. We are idiots and geniuses. We are. We are.
And we deserve better than the SBC and the RCC and the TEC and all those other institutions that belittle and limit us. We deserve better than all those men and yes, sometimes other women who have been brainwashed into claiming that women are equal “but different” which is nothing but a guise for sexism.
I was so angry when I saw the post at Essential Estrogen. Women are not some plaything to be used. Yet Palin has no idea it seems how she is used by men to pursue an agenda that has nothing to do with her. Nor do others who bow and grovel as “good” wives and homemakers waiting for the “decision maker” to arrive home from work.
I am, I am, I am. You will accept me on an equal footing, by God, before I die. You will, even if you have to cringe and bite your tongue. You will see me in my glory as a full participant in life. I will not give in, or give up. We will rise, and we will rise again and again, as long as it takes until you see and stop this foolishness. Don’t quote me Timothy. Read Jesus for a change.
To my sisters in blogging, those of you who have shared so much in the last days and weeks, and who continue to lay bare your lives in honest examination, I thank you and I commit myself to the struggle, renewed and refreshed.