God in the Storm

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This is a reflection I offered for “Storm Sunday,” from the Season of Creation, on Job 28:20-27, 1 Corinthians 1:21-31, and Luke 8:22-25.

For the past 4 weeks of this series on creation we have spoken of many beautiful and awe-inspiring aspects of the natural world—flowers, animals, woods, water—and today’s topic, storms, is no different.  Storms—rainstorms, thunderstorms, snowstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes: these all have a certain beauty to them and can often be awe-inspiring, but their beauty often stands at our expense.  They threaten us—our homes, Continue reading

Coping with Emotionally Difficult Material

Last week I was reading through a book on the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war and the enduring effects this has on women’s psyches and I came across a piece of paper the last person who had checked out the book was using as a bookmark.  It was a tear-off from one of those calendars that has one sheet for every day of the year.  This particular calendar, called “Life’s Little Instruction Calendar,” advised its owner: “Don’t miss an opportunity to watch an artisan craft handblown glass.”  This kind of imperative sounded misplaced to me, especially when encountered in the context of extreme violence and suffering.  Who cares about artisan glass??  People’s bodies are being ripped apart!!! Continue reading

Stop talking like a girl

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After reading this excellent post on The Professor is In, I thought to myself that I wished someone had told me earlier in my graduate career to stop commenting in class like a girl.  When “girls” ask a question in class, they preface their inquiry with a qualification like, “This may be a basic question but…” or “I’m not really sure, but it seems to me…” or “Maybe everyone one else got this, but…”

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Sexual violence and the church: talking to teens

Before Christmas I was asked to talk to some teens in my church about sexual violence.  It was a part of a larger series on sexuality and ethics.  Our conversation (intentionally) centered around healthy, non-violent sexual practices, not on how to deal with having experienced sexual abuse.

With that caveat in mind, I am really impressed with how the whole thing was handled.  Instead of repeating over and over again, “Don’t have sex until you are married,” those running the educational time gave the teens a robust guide for sexually appropriate behavior by explaining that sexual intimacy is only one form of relational intimacy—emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, and spiritual intimacy are others.  In healthy (and ethical) relationships, sexual intimacy should never outpace these other forms of intimacy.  When and if it does, you run the risk of objectifying the other person (and just generally getting into a situation that the relationship can’t handle).  And, of course, the teens were told explicitly that oral and anal sex involves a very high level of sexual intimacy on par with (if not higher) than genital-genital or manual-genital sexual activity.

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Halloween Costuming: Some Feminist Basics

I just received a catalog in the mail of Halloween costumes.  It is one of those things that I think they put in everyone’s mail boxes in the neighborhood this time of year.  It advertises at least 500 different cheap, made in China costumes.  Any costume advertised for a woman or girl over the age of 12 is a “sexy” costume, apart from a select few such as the “ketchup” costume (which is designed to make you look like a bottle of ketchup.. for real) and the Olive Oyl costume (although they also make a “sexy Olive Oyl” version as well with a shorter skirt).  I guess they thought the Olive Oyl character didn’t already seem vulnerable enough. Continue reading