I Will Let These Women Answer For Themselves

Margaret Thatcher

Hilary Rodham Clinton

Jael – Biblical personality

Rachel – Biblical personality

Deborah – Biblical personality

Ruth – Biblical personality

Priscilla – Biblical personality

Lydia – Biblical personalit

Miraim – Biblical personality

Madeline Albright

Mary the mother of Jesus

Mary Magdeline

Jane Addams

Susan B. Anthony

Marie Antoinette

Saint Joan of Arc

Aspasia of Miletus

Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Jane Austen

Ella Baker

Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike

Clara Barton

Florence Bascom

Simone de Beauvoir

Aphra Behn

Ruth Fulton Benedict

Shirley Temple Black

Elizabeth Blackwell

Bonnie Kathleen Blair

Rosa Bonheur

Louise Arner Boyd

Pearl S. Buck

Marie Anne de Cupis de Camargo

Rachel Carson

Catherine the Great

St. Catheri

Cleopatra

Juana Ines de la Cruz

Marie Curie

Agnes George de Mille

Emily Dickinson

Amelia Earhart

Marian Wright Edelman

Eleanor of Aquitane

Beatrix Jones Farrand

Edith Flanigen

Anne Frank

Rosalind Elsie Franklin

Betty Ford

Nancy Reagan

Betty Naomi Friedan

Elizabeth Gurney Fry

Margaret Fuller

Indira Gandhi

Sarah and Angelina Grimke

Caroline Lucretia Hersche

Judith E. Heumann

Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin

Ariel Hollinshead

Mary Phelps Jacob

Helen Keller

Billie Jean King

Aleksandra Mikhaylovna Kollontai

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Susette La Flesche Tibbles

Ruth Graham

Anne Graham Lotz

Maya Lin

Juliette Gordon Low

Anne Sullivan Macy

Wilma Mankiller

Barbara McClintock

Catherine Boothe

Catherine de Medici

Lise Meitner

Rigoberta Menchu Tum

Maria Montessori

Mother Theresa_

Baroness Murasaki

Shikibu

Florence Nightingale

Georgia O’Keeffe

Vijaya Lakshimi

Pankhurst

Rosa Parks

Eva Peron

Christine de Pizan

Pocahontas

Queen Anne

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Isabella

Queen Victoria

Jeannette Rankin

Sally Ride

Alexandra Romanov

Eleanor Roosevelt

Sakajawea

Margaret Sanger

Sappho

Rose Schneiderman

Lucy Stone

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Russell Strong

Bertha von Suttner

Emma Tenayuca

Valentina Vladimirovna Nikolayeva Tereshko

Alexandrine Pieternella Francoise Tinne

Sojourner Truth

Harriet Tubman

Tz’u HsiYoshiko Uchida

Phyllis Wheatley

Mary Wollstonecraft

Rosalyn Sussman Yalow

Rachel Held Evans

Sarah Bessey

Ann Morr – my mother

Gladys Elliott – my Grandmother

Doris Morr – my Grandmother

Beth Moore

Judge Barbara Lynn

Chief Judge Edith Jones

Justice Ginsberg

Kathy Escobar

Pam Hogeweide

Mariah Smiley – Teen founder of Drops of Love

Laurie Watson

;

This is a list of women who currently hold CEO positions at companies that rank on the most recently published Fortune1000 lists (the Fortune 2012 list). Women currently hold 3.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 3.9 percent of Fortune1000 CEO positions.

Fortune 1500 (18 CEOs)

Fortune 501-1000 (21 CEOs)


And millions and millions more whose hard work, dedication, LOVE and passion change the world EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Sir, you should be ashamed.

Why Do Christians Curse the Silence?

Today is Good Friday. The day we set aside to remember the brutal slaying of the lover of our souls. The day our sin was heaped upon him and darkness covered the earth and then it happened.

Love won. The veil was torn in half that kept us out of the presence of God. Death and sin were defeated and forgiveness was purchased for everyone for all time. Grace won. Mercy won. Love won.

So how can it be then that this morning I am hearing about how Christian groups like Concerned Women for America, American Family Association, Citizens for Community Values, Faith 2 Action, Liberty Counsel, Focus on the Family and Save California are standing up and speaking out against The Day of Silence? How did we come to this? How did Christians become known by what they’re against instead of “by their love.” I am sad. I am disappointed. I am sorry.

The Day of Silence is April 20th and according to GLSEN:

The National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.

Given that according to bullyingstatistics.org, 9 out of 10 LBGT teens report being bullied at school and these students are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers, how can this be a bad thing and how in the name of all that is holy can anyone who claims to be a Christian be against it? In my humble opinion, the Christians should be the first people participating even if their theology says homosexuality is sinful. We are sent to bring reconciliation, to set the captives free, to love without an unless. We should be known for our love not our judgement, hypocrisy and homophobia. Sadly we are not. According to Barna, the vast majority of non-Christian people age 16-29 — 91% — said Christianity had an anti-gay image, followed by 87% who said it was judgmental and 85% who said it was hypocritical. And we wonder why young people are leaving the church.

What is perhaps the most disheartening thing is all the misinformation and fear mongering going on. According to Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute

What the Day of Silence does is ask kids to refuse to speak during instructional time in class, that they have no legal right to do and no school has to accommodate that, and so that’s what we’re doing is asking parents to call their school, ask if students are allowed to refuse to speak in instructional time, and if they are, to keep their kids home in protest about the disruption of instructional time for a political purpose.

This is FALSE. On the GLSEN site it unequivocally states:

While you DO have a right to participate in the Day of Silence between classes and before and after school, you may NOT have the right to stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests for you to speak. According to Lambda Legal, “Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students’ right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause.” However, this right to free speech doesn’t extend to classroom time. “If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student generally doesn’t have a constitutional right to refuse to answer.” We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class.

Sadly, this type of thing isn’t limited to Miss Higgins. These groups would have you believe that The Day of Silence as well as other anti-bullying rules and laws that specifically mention homosexuality are really not about protecting these kids from bullying but are more about a political agenda. They say that they are “of course” against bullying for any reason. I honestly think they believe that. Part of the problem here is that anti-gay bullying and homophobia will not end without education; without people recognizing that we are after all, all the same. And for the Christians specifically, that we are all image bearers of God, even homosexuals. It seems to me that they are afraid if their kids realize that these are people just like them, they might somehow become gay when they would have otherwise been heterosexual. If you look at the science this just isn’t so. What is so is that these are people who hurt and love and dream; people who have contributed to society in many positive ways; inventors and scientists, writers and philosophers, doctors and attorneys, politicians and professors, brick layers and bus drivers – just like the rest of us.

Not that long ago in our history the same type of eduction was needed during the civil rights movement. Today we take time out to recognize the great achievements of black Americans, women, Hispanics, Asian Americans and other formerly overlooked people. Why? Because as a society we recognize that we fear what we do not understand. Education removes fear; Fear that prevents us from loving our neighbor. Honestly, I am not sure what it is that these brothers and sisters are so afraid of; You cannot “catch” homosexuality.

Christian Groups in opposition to the Day of Silence have proposed a few options.

  1. Truancy – Stay home and remove yourself from even being a part of the conversation.
  2. Day of Dialogue (formerly Day of Truth sponsored by Focus on the Family) – This event takes place 2 days before the Day of Silence and is meant to be a day where “excellent opportunity for students to respectfully present a different viewpoint than the Day of Silence”
  3. Day of the Golden Rule (This one I like) – Solution proposed by Warren Throckmorton and Michael Frey, I co-founded a bullying prevention initiative called the Golden Rule Pledge. We promote the application of the Golden Rule by evangelical youth as a means of preventing school bullying. They don’t stay away. They stay close. They say, even if I disagree with you I will love you. I will make sure school is a safe place for you. The Pledge states:

    This is what I’m doing:

    I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated.

    Will you join me in this pledge?

    “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31).

So please, please on this Good Friday, let us not curse the silence. If you are a person like me, a Christian who believes that homosexuals should be allowed to marry and that people can be both practicing homosexuals and Christians, then, please, wholeheartedly participate in Day of Silence. But, if you are a person who disagrees with the objectives The Day of Silence, I implore you, don’t keep your children away. Don’t encourage fear or spread falsehoods. Encourage them to love their neighbor and participate in The Golden Rule Pledge. Everyone deserves to be safe at school. No one deserves to be bullied. They don’t want to make your child gay. They just want to be free to live their lives without persecution especially from the one group on earth who is supposed to be “known by their love.”

 

Additional Reading:

Anti-Bullying Laws Challenged By Christian Groups As Threats To Religious Freedom

Must Be Spring, Day of Silence Derangement Syndrome is Breaking Out

Gay and Lesbian Teens Bullied More than Heterosexuals

Study: Youth see Christians as judgmental, anti-gay     

The Land of Hope, Dreams and Misfit Toys.


Lately my husband and I have been feeling overwhelmed and frankly a little burnt out. We believe very much in what we are doing at Novitas and know that there are people out there like us (even down here, or maybe especially down here in the heart of the Bible belt). People who desperately want church to be different. The question is, how do we find each other? That is a question we just don’t know the answer to. The good news, I suppose, is that several of us have managed to find one another on “The Island of Misfit Toys” as we affectionately call ourselves.

Several weeks ago, Kathy Escobar wrote a post entitled, Plant New Trees. I wrote a response piece that you can find here. I like to think that Novitas is the kind of “tree” she was talking about when she said,

plant new trees. 

trees that have the roots of equality from the very beginning.

trees that gain nourishment from a free-er gospel and soil that is enriched with freedom and hope instead of fear and absolute certainty.

trees that have men and women and rich and poor and educated and uneducated and black and white and gay and straight all tangled up together from the beginning.

trees that are tended to gently and naturally instead of pumped with unnatural growth agents & pesticides that try to advance the progression of development to “catch up faster” to other churches that will always have the advantage of time and power on their side.

trees that get their strength from the beatitudes not the latest and greatest how-to-grow books and conferences.

trees that are well-watered by people who are tired of talk and are ready for action.

trees that over time will flourish and bring shade and fruit and all kinds of other goodness for generations to come in the communities & cultures where they are planted.

a diverse ecosystem of trees that more accurately reflect the fullness of God’s image.


What we look like:

  • There is no paid pastoral staff. Every one has a regular job. We plan to keep it that way. We pay our rent and then give the rest away. No one gets paid except Linda, our fantastic nursery worker and the people who babysit at our life groups.
  • We don’t own a building and we don’t plan to.
  • We don’t do programs and we don’t plan to.
  • We don’t feel like we need to control where people give their money. We ask that people give as they are moved to help us keep going and to help the people of our community, but we set them free to give to their neighbors and their friends who have needs as well as ministries and non profits that move them.
  • We don’t feel like we need to control people’s time. We gather Sunday mornings and in life groups once a week. We release people to give their time to organizations that need volunteers and to live their lives which is a sacred endeavor.
  • We do life together. Our youth comes to the main gathering and adult life group. We do not have gender specific groups or ministries.
  • To borrow from John Wimber, everyone gets to play. We believe that a person’s gifts make room for them. So we let people use the gifts God gave them and make every effort to help them develop those gifts.
  • We have a very flat leadership model. Our directional team consists currently of 4 men and 4 women and we make decisions together.
  • We believe in equality. Our speaking team is currently 2 women and 1 man (our amazing friend Eric just moved to FL or there would be 2 men). We believe that there is no function in the church reserved for males only. (check out CBE and the Willow Creek statement on men and women in ministry).
  • We welcome and value everyone; men and women, rich and poor, democrat and republican, gay and straight. (Our friends at RISE church have graciously allowed us to use this video from their AND campaign).
  • We have no problem with people asking hard questions and wrestling with their faith. We embrace discussion and debate.
  • We believe that God and science are like peanut butter and jelly; They belong together.
  • We affirm that all beauty is God’s beauty and all truth is God’s truth.
  • We reject the notion of sacred and secular and embrace the idea that all of life is a sacred pursuit. The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
  • We affirm that humanity is beautiful and part of God’s design. We all bear his image and will be fully human for eternity in a new heavens and a new earth where everything will finally be right.

We like to say that we are a movement of people dedicated to loving God and caring for people, all people.
Bottom line, Kent and I love our Novitas family. We keep going because of them. We give all we are because of them. They are worth it. You are worth it.

Truth? I wish we had more people. Because we all need to know…

  • God came for us. He did not stay away, he came near. Not to condemn us, but to save us.
  • We are loved with no unless.
  • Our sins are forgiven. All of them.
  • There are people who want to know you, to be your family. There is a place where you don’t have to pretend anymore.

I love the new Bruce Springsteen album Wrecking Ball, especially the song Land of Hope and Dreams. It says in part,

Well this train
Carries saints and sinners
This train
Carries losers and winners
This train
Carries whores and gamblers
This train
Carries lost souls
This train
Dreams will not be thwarted
This train
Faith will be rewarded
This train
Hear the steel wheels singing
This train
Bells of freedom ringing

If we are who God made us, Novitas will look like that; The Land of Hope, Dreams and Misfit Toys.

God and Homosexuality: Part 5 – Romans 1

Hey everyone! Sorry I didn’t get this out yesterday but it is a big passage and I wanted to make sure I spent enough time on it. Blessings my lovlies. Enjoy.

Today we will be discussing the passage from Romans 1. This passage has traditionally been the one that people point to as being the strongest argument against homosexuality. It is also the one that people point out, has direct application to today because it is located in Romans and written to the first century believers in Rome. While I agree that this text is the passage which most directly addresses homosexual behaviors I believe that Paul is very specific here as to who and what he is talking about. Let’s look at the scripture.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.  (Romans 1:21-32 ESV)

In their book, The Children are Free, Jeff Miner and John Connoley write the following:

…Paul, in his classically trained style, thoroughly explains the factual assumptions and rationale behind his condemnation of the behavior described here. This makes it easy for us to answer our question: Does this passage apply to inherently same-gender-attracted people who are living in loving, committed relationships?

If we follow the passage, step-by-step, we find Paul is moving through a logical progression. He is talking about people who:

  1. Refused to acknowledge and glorify God. (v. 21)
  2. Began worshiping idols (images of created things, rather than the Creator). (v. 23)
  3. Were more interested in earthly pursuits than spiritual pursuits. (v. 25)
  4. Gave up their natural, i.e., innate, passion for the opposite sex in an unbounded search for pleasure. (v. 26-27)
  5. Lived lives full of covetousness, malice, envy, strife, slander, disrespect for parents, pride, and hatred of God. (v. 29-32)

The model of homosexual behavior Paul was addressing here is explicitly associated with idol worship (probably temple prostitution, and with people who, in an unbridled search for pleasure (or because of religious rituals associated with their idolatry), broke away from their natural sexual orientation, participating in promiscuous sex with anyone available.

There are, no doubt, modern people who engage in homosexual sex for reasons similar to those identified in Romans 1. If someone began with a clear heterosexual orientation, but rejected God and began experimenting with gay sex simply as a way of experiencing a new set of pleasures, then this passage may apply to that person. But this is not the experience of the vast majority of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.

Miner and Conolley go on to point out that the people being discussed in this passage, because of whatever specific actions they have taken (much of Christendom would say because of their idolatry and homosexual activity), “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

I know and have known many homosexual people in my lifetime and this describes almost none of them. As a matter of fact there are many homosexual people who have grown up in the church, who love God and wanted nothing more than to follow Jesus and to love their neighbors who were met with evil, malice, strife, gossip, slander and several other things listed here simply for saying they were attracted to members of the same gender. How does that add up? On the web site gaychristian.net Justin Lee says in his essay:

Notice that Paul talks about homosexuality in connection with the fertility rites (look for the “therefore” in v. 24 and “because of this” in v. 26), and not in the list of sins at the end of the passage.

Rome was known at the time to be a society full of idol worship. Sex acts were almost always a part of the temple worship of these false gods. This section is clearly written in that context. Even in Roman society as a whole sex was thought of in a way that would be totally foreign to us today.

Wikipedia notes regarding the attitudes regarding sex in the Roman world,

No moral censure was directed at the adult male who enjoyed sex acts with either women or males of inferior status, as long as his behaviors revealed no weaknesses or excesses, nor infringed on the rights and prerogatives of his male peers. While perceived effeminacy was denounced, especially in political rhetoric, sex in moderation with male prostitutes or slaves was not regarded as improper or vitiating to masculinity, if the male citizen took the active and not the receptive role.

We should also discuss the “due penalty for their error” clause. Many Christians teach that the “error” is homosexuality and that the “due penalty” is sexually transmitted disease or AIDS. This really just doesn’t make sense on its face. Heterosexuals get sexually transmitted diseases and lesbians have the lowest risk of contracting AIDS. It seems obvious to me this is talking about something else. In What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak, he states,

…what is translated as “in their own persons” reads differently in Greek. A better translation would be “among themselves.” The reference is not to individuals and their persons but to the Gentiles as a whole, to their culture.

Moreover, the word “penalty” offers a loaded translation; it carries a negative connotation which is not in the Greek. The Greek word simply means “recompense, “desserts,” or ” payment,” which could be positive, negative or neutral.

Given what we already understand about the first chapter of Romans, a very easy explanation of verse 27 arises. The error Paul refers to is not homosexuality but Gentile idolatry. Idolatry is his concern throughout the whole of that chapter: they knew God but did not worship God. And the recompense that comes to the Gentiles for not worshiping God is the uncleanness that is a regular part of their culture.

The other thing I love that no one talks about is what immediately follows this section in Romans 2 (please also remember that Chapter breaks and headings were added to help people find their way around scripture and have no authority). Let’s look at Romans 2 where Paul makes sure that the Roman believers know who is the righteous Judge.

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  (Romans 2:1-4)

So, right after Paul discusses idol worship, having no other Gods, turning against God and who he made you (for some people this means homosexual) and living lives full of covetousness, malice, envy, strife, slander, disrespect for parents, pride, and hatred of God, he turns around and says, “Hey, don’t be too quick to judge though, because you have done the same things!” Hmm.

In the book Jesus, The Bible and Homosexuality, Jack Rogers, points out several errors people make when interpreting this passage.

(1) they lose sight of the fact that this passage is primarily about idolatry, (2) they overlook Paul’s point that we are all sinners, (3) they miss the cultural subtext, and (4) they apply Paul’s condemnation of immoral sexual activity to faithful gay and lesbian Christians who are not idolaters, who love God, and who seek to live in thankful obedience to God.

You can read more at:

gaychristian.net
Would Jesus Discriminate?
Gentle Shepherd MCC
Amazon Book list

Let’s Talk (with our kids) About Sex

The joke goes like this… A father says to his son, “I would like to talk to you about sex.” To which the son says, “Sure Dad, what do you want to know?”  Recent research suggests that kids know and have experienced much more at a younger age than most parents realize.

Yesterday U.S. News and world report published an article detailing the findings of a new survey of 7th graders. The study was co-sponsored by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Futures Without Violence. Researchers polled 1,430 students,half boys and half girls of every ethnicity, in five cities and the results are appalling.

The survey defined teen dating violence as any form of physical, sexual or emotional violence occurring within the context of dating. Psychological violence includes controlling behaviors, such as not allowing a girlfriend or boyfriend to do things with other people. Electronic violence covers bullying and name-calling online or via texts, and physical violence includes pushing, grabbing or kicking one’s partner.

Asked about these and other behaviors in the previous six months:

  • Thirty-seven percent said that they had seen boys or girls being physically abusive towards their dating partner. About one-quarter had a male or female friend who was physically violent to a partner, and more than 20 percent had a friend whose partner was physically violent to him or her.
  • Forty-nine percent said they had been sexually harassed, either physically or verbally, by being touched inappropriately or joked about.
  • Seven percent strongly agreed that it was okay for a boy to hit his girlfriend under certain circumstances, such as “a girl who makes her boyfriend jealous on purpose.” Interestingly, 50 percent strongly agreed that it was OK for a girl to hit her boyfriend in the same situation.
  • Sixty-three percent agreed with what the pollsters considered a “harmful stereotype” about gender, such as “girls are always trying to get boys to do what they want” or “With boyfriends and girlfriends, boys should be smarter than girls.”

WHAT? I am not even sure where to start. First let me remind you, these are 11-14 year olds, who are “dating”.  It is shocking.

Another study done in 2008 yielded these results:

Dating relationships begin much earlier than adults realize.

  • 47% of tweens and 37% of 11 and 12-year olds say they’ve been in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.
  • 72% say dating relationships begin by age 14.

Nearly one-third of tweens and parents say sexual activity is a part of tween dating relationships.
Specifically, the percentage of tweens and parents identified below acknowledge the following acts as part of a dating relationship:

  • Touching and feeling up – 37% of tweens and 31% of parents
  • Oral sex – 27% of tweens and 26% of parents
  • Sexual intercourse – 28% of tweens and 26% of parents

Tweens in relationships report sexual activity among their peer group.

  • 47% know a friend or someone their age who has touched and felt up a partner.
  • 31% know a friend or peer who has had oral sex.
  • 33% know a friend or peer who has had sexual intercourse.

Parents continue to believe ‘it’s not my child.’
Of the parents who say that sex is part of a tween relationship:

  • 59% know that their child has kissed a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • 17% know their child has made out with a partner.
  • Only 7% say their child has gone further than kissing or making out.

Parents think they know what’s up, but many don’t have any idea.

  • More than three times as many tweens (20%) as parents (6%) admit that parents know little or nothing about the tweens’ dating relationships.
  • Twice as many tweens report having “hooked up” with a partner (17%) as parents reported of their own 11-14 year old child (8%).
  • Parents are largely unaware of the reality of tween dating abuse.
  • Only 12% of parents (compared with 23% of tweens) know someone their son’s/daughter’s age who has had a boyfriend/girlfriend threaten to spread rumors about them if he/she didn’t do what the other person wanted.
  • One in four parents (24% – compared with 40% of all tweens) know someone their son’s/daughter’s age who has been called names or put down by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Only 22% of parents (compared with 36% of all tweens) know someone their son’s/daughter’s age who has been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc.) by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Abuse via tech-devices is much more prevalent than most parents realize.
  • Nearly twice as many tweens as parents know someone between the ages of 11-14 who has been checked up on by calling their cell phone more than 10 times per day (15% parents vs. 28% tweens) or texting them more than 20 times per day (13% parents vs. 24% tweens).

Look to your right and to your left at the next PTA meeting. At least one of the three of you is in serious denial. CNN recently reported that 10% of tweens have “sexted”. Other sources give thesse statistics on pornography use among tweens and teens:

  • Average age of first pornography exposure with boys is age 10-13
  • Average age of first pornography exposure for girls is age 11-14
  • Average age of first Internet porn exposure is 11 years old
  • 90% of 8- to 16-year-olds have viewed porn online
  • 80% of 15- to 17-year-olds have been victims of multiple hard-core porn exposure

Also,

  • By the time your child is 15… 25% of girls and 30% of boys have had sex
  • By the end of 9th grade…21% of them have slept with four or more partners
  • 50% of 17 year olds have had sex
  • 80% of teens have sex by age 19
  • 55% of teens ages 13-19 have engaged in oral sex

And if you are a Christian (as I am) and you think this protects or inoculates your child in some way, think again. According to a prior issue of World Magazine, a bi-weekly publication that reports the news from a conservative evangelical Protestant worldview,

Statistically, evangelical teens tend to have sex first at a younger age, 16.3, compared to liberal Protestants, who tend to lose their virginity at 16.7. And young evangelicals are far more likely to have had three or more sexual partners (13.7 percent) than non-evangelicals (8.9 percent).

And in 2003 Northern Kentucky University study showed,

61% of students who signed sexual-abstinence commitment cards broke their pledges. Of the remaining 39% who kept their pledges, 55% said they’d had oral sex, and did not consider oral sex to be sex. A roughly equivalent percentage of self-identified evangelical college students said they do not consider anal intercourse to be sex.

All I can say is parents and adults in general need to wake up and smell the coffee. This is part of the reason why Kent and I have always taken the approach of talking to our kids early and often (in an age appropriate fashion) about sex, pornography and abuse. When my son first heard the song Centerfold by the J Giles Band, we talked about pornography. When my daughter asks what Miranda Lambert‘s Gunpowder and Lead means, we talk to them about abuse. When she wants to know “why that woman is crying” and I have to explain acid attacks and honor killings. When they ask about babies, we tell them (wait for it…) the truth. SOMEONE or SOME WEB SITE will teach your child about sex. I want my kids to hear the truth from me. FIRST. I don’t want to just be damage control after the fact.

My 9 year old daughter and 10 year old son already know:

  • The mechanics of sex and where babies “come from”
  • That sex is a beautiful thing that they should want to do with the person they marry. (I never tell them it is dirty or awful or something they should not want to do. Mainly because those are lies and I try NEVER to lie to my kids)
  • What abuse is and that it is NEVER okay
  • What pornography is and why it is harmful
  • That women are equal. I have also taught my daughter never to play dumb to get a boy to like her.
  • How to protect themselves from online predators

Next on our family agenda is to talk to them about masturbation and oral sex. I know some of you parents out there are cringing at the idea of talking to your kids about these topics, but you MUST do it. If you don’t there are people lined up waiting to do it for you.  The time to do it is BEFORE they are chin deep in hormones. BEFORE they have heard about it from anyone else. Our kids know that we tell them the truth about whatever topic we are discussing. They know now and always that they can come to us for the straight skinny. When some kid tries to talk my daughter into something she doesn’t want to do, she will have the information and the tools and the support to stand up for herself. My son does not have to wonder if something his friends tell him about sex is right, because he already knows. Please, Please, do not wait! Start talking to your kids today. It is not as scary as you think. We have to stop lying to ourselves that our kids aren’t the ones. They are. If your child is over 11 it is likely that they already know more than you think.

If you are a teen or tween who is a victim of dating abuse there is help available. Go to a parent, teacher or other adult you trust. You can also go to loveisrespect.org for help and advice. This is also an excellent resource for parents, teens and anyone else who wants to get educated or get involved.

(and yes, I do know the video is from Planned Parenthood, it is a good video)

Popularity Contest

So today I thought I would catch you up to what has been happening in the world of Word of a Woman thanks to you all.
Recently, WordPress has started keeping track of the countries where you all live. I am shocked and amazed at how my words have traveled all around the world thanks to those of you who have re-posted and shared my blog with your friends. Thank you.

To date the blog has been viewed 5,428 times.
Since Feb 25th, when WordPress started keeping track, the blog has been viewed in 36 countries including, the US, Canada, the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, UAE, Philippines, India, France, Germany, Venezuela, Uganda, Belgium, South Africa, Slovakia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Indonesia, Taiwan, new Zealand, Jersey, Iraq, Puerto Rico, Norway, Brazil, Croatia, Republic of Korea, Portugal, Jamaica, Turkey, Russian Federation, Spain, Italy and Jordan. I am humbled. Welcome everyone!

So far there have been 231 comments. I would love to see this number go up! I would love to hear your thoughts on the blog. I would love for your voice to be heard. We can all learn from one another.

Feel free to share Word of a Woman on your facebook account or reblog any of my posts, please just remember to link back to wordofawoman.com if you reblog.

Without further ado, I would like to share what you all have enjoyed the most…

Your top 10 favorite posts have been:

1. Pray Away the Gay

2. Dear John Piper, Would You Like a Ride on my Toboggan?

3. Raped Too Much

4. Homosexuality & God: Part 1

5. Girls can’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t want to do that. -or- Rick Santorum & the DISD are out of touch.

6. Sledding Down the Slippery Slope.

7. Why Word of a Woman?

8. What If God Was One of Us?

9. I don’t like the word slut and you can’t make me use it.

10. Jesus Loves Cosmo Girls.

The top 10 posts that you have liked well enough to share are:

1. Pray Away the Gay?

2. Why Word of a Woman?

3. What If God Was One of Us?

4. I am a Log Cabin Christian

5. Dear John Piper, Would You Like a Ride on my Toboggan?

6. I don’t like the word slut and you can’t make me use it.

7. Raped Too Much?

8. How to Get the Right Guy to Like You? Really???

9. Some are More Equal than Others

10. The True Magic Kingdom

Here are some of my favs that didn’t make your lists:

Sledding Down the Slippery Slope.

We Are Not Alone

Invitation to Dance.

I’m Celebrating Arbor Day Early This Year.

Also, any of my poetry

I would also like to ask you for your help…

Please take a minute to read, Let me Help You with Your Luggage or Coming Out of the Church Closet.

If you know anyone who would be willing to share their story, or if you would like to share your story, please forward this post on to them.

Thank you my lovlies for being here with me in this life. I am overwhelmed by each of you.

a Better way to read the Bible?

I am out of town this week and am reblogging some favorite stuff from recent weeks while I spend time with my family at the happiest place on earth! See you on the other side.

 

Today’s installment comes to you from Bo Sanders and was originally posted on 3/9/12.

 

A better way to read (read) Admittedly, this is not how I learned to read the Bible. In fact, I’m not sure that I learned to read the Bible at all. I just read it. I read it like you would read anything else. I just read it and took it at it’s word. It was there in black and white.

However, there were some things about the Bible that made it different than everything else I read: it didn’t have a single author (or even a stated author for many of it’s ‘books’), it was written thousands of years earlier, and it was not written in English – it was translated.

None of that is a problem necessarily. I still got the main point of the book (I think) and was able to pick up on most of its important themes (at least they were important to me). In fact, the more general my reading and the more generic my intent, the better that way of reading works.

The problem comes when you want to either make bigger and broader claims bases on Scripture or the more narrow and specific you want to get.

For instance, if you want to make a big claim about how the universe works or the fate of every human soul throughout history, you end up doing something with the text that it may be unsustainable under further review. If you want to get specific and say that this word in the original text says ____ and therefore women can not ______ , or ministers must ______ … using the text that way may become an issue.

I put forward an idea in my previous post that gives us permission to update, revisit, and re-engage the texts of scripture based on two things:

  1. we do not have a pre-modern mind and therefore have a very different relationship to story, text, idea, and experience than people of the pre-modern world.
  2. we live in a world that is so different, has changed so much, has gone through such radical and traumatic experiences that we would be blind not to acknowledge and account for it.

In my clearest language: I am advocating for a more sophisticated way of reading the Bible and to move away from a simple reading. Like I said at the beginning, I was not taught to read the Bible, I just read it – or so I thought. I had to get rid of the illusion that I was ONLY reading. It is a simply awakening and only requires one thing to get started! You must admit that you are translating when you read. You are not simply reading , you are doing something else – even if it subconsciously  or unknowingly. There is a hermeneutic (way of reading) that is being employed by all of us and we have to come to terms with the idea that our way of reading is not (and can not be) the same way of reading as the ancients did.

Here are four advantages to awakening to the presence of interpretation:

  • We can read the creation stories in Genesis and call God ‘creator’ without discounting or disregarding contemporary science (and especially emergence theory).
  • We can take the story of Jonah or Job and recognize that they are more like movie scripts or plays than they are newspaper reports and not get bogged down in the details.
  • We can believe that the incarnate Jesus calmed a storm (the miraculous) without making the leap that God sent Hurricane Irene or directs tornadoes.
  • We can see that the Book of Revelation is a political commentary (prophetic imagination) about the first century C.E.  and not an exacting prediction about the end of the world.

I believe this to be a better way to read the Bible. It is both more authentic to the text and has more integrity in the world that has developed since the text was written. We are not limited to only the physics and metaphysics of antiquity but we also are not abandoning the whole project and going out on our own. We are providing continuity with the historic trajectory and honoring the tradition.

You can call this a ‘new kind of christianity‘ if you want, or something else, but it is a way a being in the world that honors Christ and engages the world as it actually is. It allows us to believe in miracles without being superstitiously ‘super’natural.  It lets us listen to the wisdom of the ancients without being stuck to their ‘three-tiered’ universe. It provides a dynamic engagement between the classic themes and the world we find ourselves in.