Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why I am a "feminist"...because Grace is too

I have wrestled with God.  God is irremovable. He's not deconstructable   You can run away, but He's not leaving.

There’s something interesting in the God of Genesis.  God, breaths things into being.  When God speaks things exist.  His speech =fact.  Our reality of language is fundamentally flawed to this principle.  We think we speak things into existence.  We think that a parent who says “clean your room” (good) child then cleans his room, speaks something into existence.  But a parent’s voice does not make the room clean.  You called asking for the obedience but not the being. 

You may call a thing something that it isn't, but that changes nothing of what it is. 

You can say the sky is purple, but it does not change because you speak, it cannot change colors.  Even if you were to reinvent the labels of the colors to our own language where in yourspeak purple =blue, it would not change the color of the sky.  You can speak your mind into agreement, but not your existence to change.  There is no time in between for God.  His will can be perfect truly.  His reaction to our failure can be so perfect that it is indistinguishable to His first option.  He can have perfection.
We demand out constraints of 'carrying out' principle to God.  Foolish enough to think that we must believe something into existence because it is not without our agreement.  God spoke into void and there was light. He did not open his eyes. He did not name what was into words that we can explain as light. 

There was nothing, and then there was. 
(The Opening of the Bible- Scene One.)

For some this is something we can ‘get’, but it does not end.  God keeps speaking.  This book is about a redefined existence, not a redefined dictionary, or a redefined perspective.  A reality spoken.  It is the unity of causality and cause.

And so He makes male and female.
Human and equal. 
Beautiful. Good.
We were made 'very good.'
And then, we effed it up...
And then, we get this curse...

Unto the woman he said,"I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you."

What a strange curse.  So so so taken for granted as immovable fate.  That we, must obey as the good-children. That (gladly) we must punish the woman as man finds himself punished in his work, we find ourselves so endowed to bring God's word into being.  Because while He spoke us into being surely He cannot bring this curse about. 

And this is the causality of sin.  That we are both the curse and the cursed locked in a spiral downward, into entropy we inflict just as we are afflicted.

Isn't this the definition of sin, to rejoice in another's sorrow, to laugh while another mourns, to weep while others rejoice, to take pleasure in the punishment of another? Is that not the definition!

The opposite of sin is not obedience but love

To walk with God in the garden, or hide from him in the bushes. 

To rejoice in the unity and love of man and woman and God, or demand distance.

Patriarchy is the distance of God and sin made manifest.  The disbelief in God at His word, leads to disbelief of His words.  His curses are made manifest by His speech and then broken in the grace speech of Christ's life.

The sin is the picture of a woman longing for her husband and cursed to be ruled over.  To live a servant in distance, longing for a lover. It is the festering of sin in the world not just to women.

"It’s about justice for the college student facing expulsion from her school for ever so bravely speaking up about being raped by a fellow student.

It’s about justice for the young woman in Delhi who was brutally raped and murdered last December on her way home from a movie.

It’s about justice for the women who are paid only 77 cents on average for every dollar her male colleagues do for the same exact work.

It’s about justice for those who identify outside of traditional gender norms and orientations to be who they are without fear of bullying, harassment, abuse, or even murder.

It’s about justice for the one-third of servicewomen who have courageously and heroically defended our country, only to be sexually assaulted and harassed by their fellow comrades.

It’s about justice for the men, women, and children who are bought and sold in brick kilns and brothels and farms every day.

It’s about justice for the young men and women stepping out from abusive church communities and seeking true freedom in Christ."
--Danielle (blog: fromtwotoone.com)

It is the reconciliation of Christ and His bride as we are brides to man. That thousands of years lived and died longing and sorrow, thousands of years in brokenhearted distance, from billions of voiceless, the property and enslaved, would come to an end—and could only come to an end as God speaks and we respond to speak,

Christ in me, the hope of glory

To carry out a curse upon another, is to drink the cup ourselves, it is to join with the sin and brokenness of a human short fall and deny the cup of grace, of blood spilled out for us.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Simplicity and Slavery

If you have been on the internetthe last five years, you've at least heard about the enormous forced labor and sex trade taking place just about everywhere.  Primarily the debate has been pragmatic, with activists fighting for safe, paid labor for factory workers, and rescue of kidnapped and coursed workers.  If you have lived under a rock, this link: http://www.fromtwotoone.com/2013/07/consumerism.html.

In the mist of this discussion is a tone of defeatism I haven't been able to shake.  We would like to, and often do, feel that slavery is an offence to our society, it is the antithesis of democracy; the concept that you are born into a fate of injustice is something we like to chalk up to Stalin and Hitler.  Yet within the happily idealized side of our patriotism is sense of the "necessary evil" of slavery. Even within the activism against slave labor, I cannot escape the tone that regretfully admits that people will always want in excess and cheapness.  That we are dependent on slavery is held in tension to the admittance of our gluttonous appetites.  You will notice several contradictions within this frame of thinking, but I believe, like me you've probably heard several of them.

To even look at slavery from a free person's perspective is a privilege.  When we equate the gross over purchase of slave-made goods we first assume that 'we' (royally speaking) have over purchased.  What this over looks are the millions around the world buying slave-goods with no other option.  The palm oil industry, for instance, is a staple import from Indonesia to China.  This is slavery begetting slavery.  This is misery.  The lives of thousands in grotesque and dangerous conditions making a good to send to others in equally wretched conditions.  The absurdity, and hopelessness of the cycle is beyond what we've ever experienced as literate people reading and writing from the internet. 

And then there is us.

 You. Yes, you dear reader, the stuff you got at Dollar Tree, and Wal-Mart, and tomatoes you bought at Safeway.  Are we able to escape the contribution to slavery that we do make? The irony is simple, we are quick to admit our excess, and our frivolousness in expensive purchases, but we are slow to spend more on things we can get cheaper.

Part of this has to do with the privilege we assume everyone in America has.  The ridiculous belief that we're all able to look at our purchases with critical glances and well informed understandings of global trade and sigh blissfully at our petty quandary that causes the pain and suffering of millions.  You are not all of America, or the grand sum of the western world if you know about modern day slavery, you are privileged with the ability to recognize choice.

To me this also speaks to a deeper problem, the way we feel about trade and market and our desires.  We have attached prestige to the purchases we make.  Today's activism against slavery has worked with this bent, attaching values of "responsible," and "socially aware" to the consumption of fair-trade goods.  But a fair-trade sweater you could have gone without is an excess to the groceries and household items you bought like any other day.  We have responsible excess, and perhaps that's a start.  But rather than using allotted "excess money" for what is unnecessary we should rather advocate for simplicity.  To buy our daily bread well.  This might mean the lack of excessive pleasures, and that should be okay.

Out of this is the well-spring of real, ethical business.  When the privileged who are able demand their necessities, not their indulgences, to come from ethical labor is a chance for change.  We as Americans consume staples that are the same throughout the world.  Here we have a chance to place our vote in ways that would sway a global market.  Our demand for ethical soap, food staples, and household goods, is a vote for worldwide producers.  Here is the use of privilege to advocate with our choice.

So today I resolve to buy a little less chocolate, because Real chocolate is not a .99 cent Hersey's bar.  But more so, I'll use the less than convenient house hold cleaning powder (bet your grandma knows what this is) because its made in a country with labor laws, with rags from an old t-shirt, because they're reusable enough to spend money on local vegetables not paper towels.  Real Goods, demand, Real Change.  Real Goods, don't need to be made convenient to a western world with more leisure than any other time in history.  Our privilege is Real, our choices are Real, the things we buy should be too.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In Which I Talk of Theory and Justice

This month I feel like my brain was stuck an "Intersectionality 101 dishwasher" and run on the "pots and pans setting."  It's a bit like looking into the matrix, or for those for us enlightened enough to have watched every episode of Battle Star Galactica, its a bit like becoming a hybrid and seeing the patterns of the universe.

Feminism, and it causes, seem to run in two circles, and unfortunately mix indiscriminately.  The first is the major emphasis on justice and shedding light on injustice.  I think that it's safe to say, if you're a mildly involved Christian you can can get behind 99% of this.  Justice is a fundamental of Christianity, well accepted.  I mean, if you want to pick a fight with any Christian, or between two Christians simply accuse one of their being apathetic to justice.  It's something of a heartbeat of Christian culture.  I remember feeling shocked meeting non-Christians in school who didn't know about the Ugandan genocides or the child soldiers of the Congo.  I remember a time when the Church also had the corner on sex-trafficking awareness.  Missionaries and food drives are a normal facet of Christianity, or at least it should be.  I realized working at subway I had developed a way to talk to people who were homeless from my experiences in soup kitchens that my coworkers hadn't.  It was a cultural experience.  To bring things back, the intersectionality of Justice sees more than the particular need or situation of a person but the multifaceted causes and correlations to that problem.  That homelessness is not just a person lacking a house, but about job skill, stigma, social prejudiced, race, and the ethics our culture has about work.

Second, here's where it gets tricky, feminism has a fundamentally theoretical aspect.  Becuase theory exists in the golrious vacume of thought.  It's a bit like one of those sciency glove tanks for viruses.  In theory (lol, theoreticly) you add and subtract certian values to creat an outcome you like.  It's problem solving and experimenting.  Theory in feminism is a bit of a homemade social algebra.  Personally, I think it's rather fun.  Intersectionalism in theory looks at the many components of a situation, it's the reinvisioning that gives acctivisim a direction.  Activism in tern lends invaluable data points to this calculation, the real expereinces of people and the facts about their lives.

The trouble with theory and Justice, is that often theory runs down hill...  Terms of Theory get put into practice of Justice and then put out of place.  As one of my professors so clearly described, "once you begin using a self-identified label you don't get to have total control over how others will use it."  Once again, there is something more at play in the dichotomy between Theoretical Feminism and Justice, language is a tool no one has control over.  It is a communal exchange, it exists to express, but that expression is not entirely for the sake of the speaker.  Were language only for the person expressing themselves through speech, we might all speak only to our diaries and private blogs.  Language is an exchange, and there is no way to guarantee the receiver of our expression will receive the message we hope to, nor behave the way we want them to.

It's a fundamental of language and expression, and yet so far removed from the way we view both Theory and Justice.  In Justice activism has prided its self in surprisingly conservative fundamentals.  "Be seen," "be heard," a demand for acceptance, is often more than "live and let live," but a demand to be given privilege within the mainframe of another person's thoughts.  Looking at it from a theoretical lens, and with the premise of language, I have just described this seems quite audacious.  But it's not far from our expectations of activism.

 Living in what could be called the "awareness age" rather than the Information Age, 'awareness' has taken on a different meaning.  To be 'aware' assumes some level of understanding but far too often campaigns have focused on bold, blunt, physical perception.  The demand to see the LGBTQ community visibly, but lacking any verbal understanding for what physically stands before many protesters.  Again we see it with the concept of Privilege and the Theory behind it that is far more complex than anyone is willing to admit.  Privilege is now something to be seen and not understood, a half awareness that weakens the terms and concepts into labels used to discredit the experiences of one group over another.  We have created a sort of pulp-gender-theory, mixing our capitalist American value system with privilege we have a point system for how credible someone's perception is. +2 points for minority, -5 for having a penis +4 for being a woman -6 for being cisgender...  This isn't privilege, this is down right anti-human rights.  A long history stretching hundreds of years simply to prove to political theorists that people have some inalienable equality and should be treated the same.  Privilege was never meant to appose this, if anything, Justice is fueled by this singular belief.  Privilege is a tool of critique towards human equality, not a diagnostic system of less favorable people.  As such we have more to say then "White Privilege!" to cases like Zimmerman, there's so much more going on than one man, and so many messages being expressed, but in the light of so many messages is one man, and that's the difference.  As activists we should never strive to form a world where the messages of the crowds overwhelm the life of the one.  Because while "the Zimmerman case" means so many things, "Zimmerman" means one man.  To fight for the equality of minorities the individual must never be forgotten.

and that was a post about correlation, that turning into intersectionality, and ended in popmedia...sorry