Breastfeeding As Worship (Megan Tietz at A Deeper Story)
This post is technically from last week, but the comments are so fantastic that I needed to pass it on. Pay particular attention to Luke's line by line mansplaining of one commenter's attempt to put the onus of not only men's sexual temptations, but also ending sex trafficking (seriously) on breastfeeding mamas.
Part of the initial comment: Culturally, the symbol of breast has come to mean sex-only. Thank the pornography industry for that. I deal with symbolism in my work all the time and often think of culture creation. The way to change the idea of a symbol (a word, image, etc.) is not to use that symbol publicly but rather to cut off the supply of the bad usage in order to provide room for a new context of the new one. [T]he best way you ladies could change the symbolism of the breast in this culture is not to breastfeed in public but rather to support initiatives to irradiate [sic] sex-trafficking and find ways to quench [sic] the demand for pornography.
Part of the great response: Offering condescension and patriarchal orthodoxy and calling it graceful is, at best, disingenuous. And please, let’s not act like suggesting we subjugate and restrict women’s activities because of men’s inability to control themselves is a new idea...These men’s addictions are not the responsibility of mothers and their babies. If men struggle with pornography, I can think of about 864 other steps that could be taken to help them with that addiction besides restricting where mothers can feed their babies. Here’s a thought experiment: if foot-fetish pornography enjoyed an explosion in popularity, so much so that men’s sexualization of the foot was as ubiquitous as the sexualization of the breast, would we demand women wear socks and close-toed shoes at all times as well?
So You Say You Don't Hate Gay People: Part IV (Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism)
If sexual ethics are not grounded first in whether or not sexual activity is consensual, then any following beliefs or teachings are misguided at best and traumatic at worst. In Libby Anne's post, she explains how many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians put certain kinds of sexual activity in boxes -- either "good" or "sinful" based on God's commandments. For instance, sex in marriage is good, but all sex of any kind outside of marriage is bad. That lumps together not only homosexuality, but also rape and incest and pedophilia -- what should never be grouped together in one box.
Conservatives divide sexual acts into “wrong” or “okay” based on what God thinks of them, and progressives divide sexual acts into “wrong” and “okay” based on whether or not they are consensual. Thus when a conservative hears someone saying that gay sex is okay, they’re seeing that person dip into the box labeled “What God forbids,” and thus they wonder how, if you can dip into that box for one thing, that’s any different from taking something else out of that same box, like pedophilia or bestiality. But for the progressive, pedophilia and bestiality aren’t in the same box as gay sex. So when the conservative asks how someone can accept gay sex but still condemn pedophilia or bestiality, the progressive says, “What? Where in the world is that question coming from?”
My comment: I think the difficulty with progressive Christianity is that it isn’t as black and white as conservative Christianity and therefore adds more nuance to each position. For instance, many progressives would further divide the “consensual” box by whether God allows the act or not. They may put “marital sex” in a subcategory of “okay” but polyamory in a subcategory of “not okay.” But I do agree overall that progressive Christianity thinks about it in terms of consent vs. non-consent, and then whether or not it is okay based on their faith convictions.
sacrificing privilege on the altar of grace (Suzannah Paul)
There is a growing trend, or rather more vocal trend, within the Body of Christ to grant grace (pardon? privilege? favor?) to perpetrators of abuse and violence over and at the expense of survivors of this abuse and violence. As a feminist and a Christian, this is deeply concerning to me. Suzannah's fervent, raw offering for another way mirrors what Bonhoeffer describes as refraining from cheap grace, the "preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."
Here's the harm: the way in which Christians talk about grace often preferences the powerful, privileges the sinner, and expects the sinned-against to get over it, already...These conversation killers look less like grace than legalism, dictating to hurting and marginalized people the "proper" way to react to a pain that we ourselves have not tried to understand...Healing begins with us, in repentance and listening. In carrying one another’s burdens and laying down power and privilege on the altar of grace.
My comment:For far too long in the church, we have associated diving into the darkness of others' pain and suffering with "being outside of the Light," when really we're called to BE light in that darkness...I firmly believe that [as the church] we need to be practicing a costly, compassionate grace: We must refrain from siding with the abusers at the expense of survivors. Until survivors can use their voice, then we cannot learn this lesson of what it really means to be the Light of Christ in the darkness.
Opening (Brenna aka Chicago Mama)
Brenna and I recently have become Twitter friends and realized that we actually go to the same church! In this post, Brenna shares her heart about opening up to community and on trusting in a God who does not hold anything good back from us (Ps. 84:11). It definitely was God's timing -- kairos -- yesterday because I meditated on the very same verse and shared it yesterday.
I crave community. I want to build relationships and learn to be the friend that I have been looking for since my best friend moved to Florida (she’s still a traitor for leaving me J). But I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been burned. Been burned bad. And because of that, I back off quickly if I see warning signs. I don’t need a red flag to get me running….a hint of pink and I’m packing up. I think at some point we all have that devastating betrayal…and once that hits it changes everything. Forgiveness is one thing. Opening yourself up to the chance for it to happen again is quite another.
What have you been reading this week or writing on your blog? What do you think of the above posts?