Archive for October 2018

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There has been a lot of news about the #metoo movement in the past few years.  Women coming forward, speaking out, revealing sexual assault and harassment they have gone through.  Perhaps it is the way my brain works.  Perhaps it is because I could join the ranks of #metoo.  I am not sure, but when I hear stories about revealed sexual assault, my mind goes to all the victims of – let us go ahead and name it – the crimes.

The mother, the father, the brother or sister who saw, who knew. And never said anything.  The teacher, the coach who saw.  Maybe they were even confessed to.  And they did not say anything.  The co-workers who noticed the bruises and changes in behavior and didn’t ask.  The family members who saw what was happening but didn’t say anything because — that is the way it happened in their family.  It happened to them, and now it was happening to another generation, and no one ever said anything about it.

What about those people?  What are they going through, hearing all this recent talk about standing together, speaking up, not being silent, calling out?  What kind of guilt, anger, loathing they might be feeling?  And what do they do with those feelings?  Who helps them?

What about the men?  The men who were boys once.  Teenagers.  Now they are grown men.  Do they feel guilt?  Do they feel bad about what they did?  Do they even remember?  Do they care about lives forever changed?  Lives forever scared because of what they did?  Who helps them?  Who do they go to for support, for help?

I know someone who I am quite sure had a sexual assault when she was in her 20’s.  I saw the changes in her.  I asked her about it.  She denied it.  She denies anything happened to this day.  Do these news stories dredge it all up for her?  I know someone I worked with who came to work every day in long sleeves and/or turtle necks.  She finally told us a little bit about how her husband treated her.  We listened and were supportive.  We let her know we were there for her.  She finally left him and lived with my friend for a few months.  That was 30 years ago.  What does she think when she hears these stories?  Does she wonder if things would have been different if she had spoken up and reported her husband?

I have my own sexual assault stories.  Over the years, God slowly healed me.  It would take too long to explain how that happened. I am not sure why God chose to heal me so slowly instead of all at once.  But I am healed.  I have forgiven them.  It happened a long time ago.  It is past and gone. Forgiven.  Not forgotten, but it is behind me and I am looking ahead.  So what do I think when I hear these stories?  What do I think when I read the articles about someone finally speaking out about something that had happened 20 years previously?

I grieve with them that it ever happened.  I accept that their healing process, their way of dealing with what happened, is not the same as me.  I accept that though I am healed and I have put what happened behind me — not everyone has had the same experience.  Not everyone can say that.  And for some, it is part of their healing, part of their process to put it behind them, to finally speak up and say something.  Even many years later.

Though, I still can’t help thinking of everyone else who also were/are affected by what happened.  What kind of #metoo movement can there be for them?

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Posted October 30, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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MODESTY   Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I asked a question of a Christian Facebook group.  I must not have phrased myself very well, as I got lots of judgmental and curt answers back.  It was pretty hurtful to me, but the question remains in my mind.

In the church I attend, it happens that the Pastor’s oldest daughter leads worship every Sunday.  She also does other things around the church, and from my observation (and listening to worship) she does a fine job.  She is a lovely (inside and out) woman of God who seeks after Him and is using her gifts for Him.  She has graduated college and is an integral part of our church.

The … what do you call it?  Issue?  Problem?  Question?  I don’t know what to call it so I will choose issue since that comes first alphabetically.  The issue is she wears very tight pants on the platform.  Pants that hug her body so closely you can see everything.

Now before you jump in and judge me and call me an old bitty, please understand that I have shopped with and bought clothes for young ladies.  Being a lady myself, I have seen the clothing available in stores and I see the ads on TV and other places.  I know, I fully understand, how hard it is to find modest clothing for young women.  Even ladies as young as grade school.  It is hard for me to find modest clothing, being a plus-sized middle-aged woman.

I am not criticizing her.  I am not shaking my finger at her saying “Shame!”  I am not looking down my nose at her saying, “She wouldn’t be wearing that if she were MY daughter!”  Remember – she leads worship.  So she is up on the platform every Sunday, both services, front and center.  She is elevated (physically, because the platform is higher than the chairs), and naturally we all look at her while she and the other folks sing songs and play instruments.  So it is not as if I can avert my eyes.  I am not staring at her, nor am I oogling her.

For me, it boils down to this:  Being the worship leader means she has to be above reproach.  She has to be an example.  There can’t be a hint of impropriety.  Yes, I used that word.  Almost, she has to be a paragon.  Yes, this puts a lot of pressure on her.  It is unfair, really, that so much pressure should be put on her, but that is the way it is for people in leadership roles.  They lead.  By example, my modeling.  And I don’t think it is just my middle-aged brain that thinks by wearing tight clothing on the platform she is stumbling in her duties of showing modesty and being above reproach as a leader.

She is a young lady just out of college.  No doubt with student debt to clear.  She works at the church so she is not making a lot of money.  She is living in our church subsidized housing.  I doubt she has a lot of money to spend on clothing.  She very likely is wearing the only clothing she has available to wear.

I don’t have money myself to buy her clothes, even if I thought that was appropriate for me to do.  My original question to my Facebook group was “What would you do?”  Among the many “mind your own business!” and “she’s not hurting anyone!” I got not one single concrete answer as to what others would do.

So, here is the other thing that bothers me about all this.  The answers I received from the under 40 Facebook members of that group pretty much followed the theme of “She’s not hurting anyone!  If it doesn’t hurt anyone, there is nothing wrong with it!  She should wear what she wants!”  And, it surprised me.  It surprised me because: who are you to judge whether it is hurting someone?  How are you to know if it is hurting someone?  How are you to know if someone in the congregation is struggling with lust?  With sexual sin?  Who are you to know if there is someone in the congregation that looks at that lovely young lady in her tight pants and stops thinking about worship and starts thinking about unsavory things?  Yes, it is true that it is unfair to judge or lust after a woman simply by what she wears.  However, whether it is fair or not, it is reality.  It happens.  And we are foolish if we do not take heed and remember that.  We are foolish, I believe, if we say, “I can wear what I want!  If it bothers you then that is your problem, not mine!”

In the New Testament, Paul writes a whole chapter about not causing others to stumble.  Read 1 Corinthians 8.  And if you are a leader, standing up where everyone can see you Sunday after Sunday, I believe you should be even more careful about leading anyone possibly astray or possibly causing them to stumble in their walk.  For me, that is the bottom line.

That is what I think, and how I feel.  I have thought about this for a year, and I still have no solution.  I believe God has made it clear that I am not to say anything.  So, I continue to pray about it.  But I fear there is a whole generation of women who firmly believe they can wear anything, do anything, and not think about any consequences or how it might affect others.

Posted October 2, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

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