Sunday, March 24, 2013

Learning humility

It's 1 a.m. and here I am, writing a blog. I should laugh at myself for being here instead of sleeping.

Alas, I have chosen to write my few words so that I can remember them later. Hopefully, I actually do.

I've been thinking long and hard about humility and pride lately. Moreorless, I am a terribly selfish and prideful person. And I'm beginning to realize it each and every day I live my life.

And I wonder what it means to truly live in humility, because I kind of hate how it feels to be living like this.

You see, I spend so much time complaining. And yes, there are a lot of very stressful things going on right now. My life is so jam-packed that I am literally getting sick from the stress. I have never-ending assignments that boggle my mind so much that I don't even think about them to avoid having a mental break-down. And I have no job this summer, even though that means I will not graduate from school next year if I don't have one. I feel increasingly distant from my friends, and I wonder whether my family worries about the fact I barely call them except to cry or complain about the state of my stress.

And yet, in all of this, there is still so much to be happy for. I am in a master program. I am meeting cool people all of the time. I have food. I have a warm bed. I do, in fact, have friends, and am making more. I have everything I need. Actually, I have more than I need, and I should be sharing it. I have a beautiful family, and I mean beautiful in soul and in heart, I have a church family that is loving and forgiving and kind, I have people around me who care about me for who I am, not what I've done. And that's pretty awesome.

And I think this is my lesson in humility. Because when I focus on the problems in my life, then I forget about all the really wonderful things that are also going on. It's so easy to think constantly about ME, about my own problems, and get so overwhelmed that we then forget to pour into the people around us. And if I'm not doing that, if I'm not consciously dying to myself everyday, then I'm not living for Jesus anymore. I'm just living for me.

And that's not good enough.

There really is nothing worth living for apart from Christ and the blessing to share the love and truth of His kingdom with the world. Everything I've done, everything I might one day do, they're all trash. They're all meaningless - I'm not going to care about them at the end of my life. I'll care about my friends, about my family, about whether I loved people enough, about the effort I put into my friendships, about the care I gave the vulnerable, the depressed, the stressed, the broken-hearted.

So here I am.

Admitting to you that I am a screwed up, recovering sinner - as Shane Claiborne says - and I am making the journey alongside the Church to meet Jesus. And I will try my hardest to love you. I will try to forget my momentary troubles and press on towards the goal of what calls me heavenward. And I will remember that I am not alone in my struggles, and share the load.

Well... I'm working on it.

The first test of a truly great man is his humility. By humility I don't mean doubt of his powers or hesitation in speaking his opinion, but merely an understanding of the relationship of what he can say and what he can do. - John Ruskin

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Feminist Relationships

"I'm sure more than one woman has met a male feminist who seems a little too preoccupied with our safety, a little too willing to jump in and rescue us, a little too into the narrative of the vulnerable woman and the man who's here to show her he's not like those "other guys." Gross. Women need men who want to work as our equals and helpmates, not our protectors and guardians." - Tracy Moore, "What do we want from male feminists?," 28 Feb. 2013. Jezebel.

- I love this quote, and think it's something both male and women need to learn. -

Women - you don't need prince charming to save you, you don't need a man to open the door for you, you don't need a man to work to provide for you. You are a capable, beautiful, and empowered individual, who can live to her fullness in Christ and in Him alone.

Men - stop patronizing us. We are not weak, we are not victims, we are not little or stupid. We are not the same, but that differences do not imply inequality. We are strong in who we are, and you need to respect us as your equals and partners, not your little girls or protectors. We love you guys too - you are beautiful creations of God, but let us spread our wings and be fully who we are as women of Christ too. Some of that means not stepping in to save the day, and empowering us to work out our own problems.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The ground is even at the foot of the cross

N. T. Wright said, "the ground is even at the foot of the cross."

I'd like to believe this is true. That I can stand before Jesus and be fully known and fully loved and fully capable of being used by him for the church. But I often feel as if someone is digging holes beneath my feet, because they don't like the fact I was born a woman.

It's kind of hard for me to understand. You see, I can't really change that I have ovaries and my breasts are larger than a man's. I can't change the fact that I have more estrogen than someone else. And in fact, I don't really want to change those things - they make me unique. They are part of who I am as a woman, and I'm not ashamed of them. I'm proud of them, really.

But the church seems to keep telling me that these things make me less valued by God than a man. That I am not capable of teaching men. Sure, you can quote me this verse or that verse. I know them all, and I still don't buy the argument. Instead, I ask myself whether we are trying to duplicate what the New Testament says down to the letter or whether we read it according to the spirit of the passage, asking God for the wisdom to apply the principal of the message to our context today.

So here's my run down for you:
- Genesis:
  • Eve wasn't present when God gave the command to not eat of the tree, making her more susceptible because of an indirect command
  • Creation order doesn't indicate primacy or importance - in fact, the word for "helper" used for Eve is the same word applied to God later in the Psalms as a saviour or rescuer
  • It was part of the Fall that men rule over women -> it's part of the curse, and it is wrong. It's not something we should champion, but rather, something we should try to overcome.
-Galations 3:28:
 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • Again, there should be unity in the church, not hierarchy. We are all one in Christ, and in him, we are a new creation. "The old has gone, the new has come." Part of this new kingdom is recognizing our equality before Christ.
-Romans 16:
  • Junia - the apostle. This is a woman. And she is an apostle. Look it up. Or hear this talk by N.T. Wright.
- 1 Timothy 2:11-15:
  • learning in quietness and full submission is good teaching for anyone who is just learning and hearing the Torah - women hadn't had the opportunity to hear instruction before
  • Jesus welcome women into his circle of disciples - he wants them to learn directly, unlike before. A generation of women  must learn before they can claim authority - Paul's telling them he WANTS them to learn.
  • Be patient and gracious until you learn. Remember what happened to Adam and Eve, who had indirect experience of God's word. This is still what was happening at that point.  
And there is the first part of my argument on why the ground is even at the foot of the cross. See N. T. Wright on Women's Service in the Church as well for further reading.