I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

25 October 2012

The girl effect, part 10

Image from The Girl Effect

The Girl Effect - Challenging "You've made your bed now lie in it" every day in every way.

Before I get moving on with today's post, I want to suggest watching these videos to prepare you for the stark realities that I will begin presenting today. The first  video is from, and the second is from 

One of the things I find I keep butting up against while looking into "Women's Issues" (inequality, inability to care for family, unequal pay for equal work, etc), is that if you criticize those who make the rules and laws, or the churchmen who keep women down and discuss them in unwieldy, ungodly terms - you find out quickly that you will, also become a byword  and referred to in very ugly terms.

If you ever question whether or not we live in a patriarchal, misogynistic society - simply speak against injustice and find out for yourself who rules over you.

I'd like to also bring this quote from Barbara Ehrenreich forward to contemplate:

To cite an old, and far from naive, feminist saying: “If you think equality is the goal, your standards are too low.” It is not enough to be equal to men, when the men are acting like beasts. It is not enough to assimilate. We need to create a world worth assimilating into.
Barbara Ehrenreich, What Abu Ghraib Taught Me, Alternet, May 20, 2004
This is so very true. Equality is NOT the goal. It is NOT enough to "assimilate". We need a world where men and women, children are valued and treated as valued members of society. We need animals to be treated justly, and for buildings to be repaired or taken down for new projects to help society... not abandoned buildings that are a danger.
I see it as a whole world healing effect - specifically as a Biblical standard not only to be seen and utilized in Christianity, but in Messianic Judaism and also Judaism. Within Judaism and Messianic Judaism, this idea and ideal is known as 'Tikkun Olam' ( תיקון עולם).  Tikkun olam is included in the Aleinu, a Jewish prayer that is traditionally recited three times daily.  Y'shua sums it up nicely with the following from Matthew 22:

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.[f] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
The Prophet Micah put it this way in chapter six of his book:

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.
This reminds me of what Ghandi said, "I love your Christ, but I dislike your Christianity." 

He went on then to say: "First, I would suggest that all of you Christians live more like Jesus Christ. Second, I would suggest that you practice your Christianity without adulterating it. The anomalous situation is that most of us would be equally shocked to see Christianity doubted or put into practice. Third, I would suggest that you put more emphasis on love, for love is the soul and center of Christianity. Fourth, I would suggest that you study the non-Christian religions more sympathetically in order to find the good that is in them, so that you might have a more sympathetic approach to the people."
- E. Stanley Jones's, The Christ of the Indian Road 

At the risk of sounding syncratic or something along those lines, I will go ahead and say that Ghandi was very right in his confrontation of Christianity. We are often NOT living like Y'shua. We are often NOT practicing what is unadulterated. We are often NOT loving. We are often NOT caring or sympathetic to other people's sectarian or non-Christian beliefs.

To reach the world, which is supposed to be our ministry while on this earth serving G-d; we have to be love. We have to live like Y'shua. We have to practice unadulterated faith, and we need to be caring and sympathetic to everyone we meet. It is alright to be angry where anger is due, sad where sadness is due, or happy with someone even if we disagree with their lifestyle choices.

43 You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[r] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies![s] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 4If you are kind only to your friends,[t] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
-Matthew 5

 Issues of social justice used to be something that was a heavily dominated area by the Church and Synagogue. Now, we find that it is mostly an issue spearheaded by the Synagogue and the Government, or NGOs. We don't often find so many Christian organisations or Churches pushing for major social issues, especially those that are to better issues faced by women - whether single, married, divorced, widowed, childless or quiverfull.  Sure, there's meals that come during times of illness or after birth, and sometimes there are women's cleaning parties, and in some areas (thankfully!) women's listening parties - but rarely do we see churches pushing for "equal pay for equal work", or childcare for working mothers on a long-term scale (not just creches/daycare or after school activities), Domestic Violence assistance or true mental health/emotional health counseling. 

We're finding these things more often outside of the realm of the houses of G-d, and that the church is by far very ill equipped to handle these issues. More often than not, because those who are equipped to handle it, are seen as heretics or that their help is unwanted by the church because it is based on "secularism", "junk science", "worldliness" - or something other "-ness" or "-ic"..

Church, it's time we rise up and do right. Women and children are at the forefront of the justice that the Bible calls us to take care of! It doesn't matter if they're widows, fatherless, married or unmarried, foreign or native born - we are called to take care of "the least of these". For an idea of how we can change things, this is a wonderful post to check out: What Can One Church Do?

Why then, are we seeing NGOs and GOs pushing for this, and the church speaking out against some of these programs?

Why then, is there not an outcry by not only churchmen, but church members when we hear news like this:

A woman working full time earns on average almost 22 percent less than a man, compared with a EU wide average gap of 16 percent., German gender gap 'widens despite talk'
 Or how about this article about the lack of male childcare workers?
Phillips is a rare find in Germany, where less than three percent of the country's 360,000 crèche, nursery school and kindergarten teachers are male. It varies according to region - in larger cities like Hamburg and Bremen, more than eight percent of childcare workers are men, while in rural areas in Germany's conservative south there are virtually, A rare breed - the male kindergarten teacher

Do we truly see our roles so rigidly, that men are unfit to give childcare?  Are women so incompetent that there is such a large pay gap in first world that even trickle down to the second and third world? Why is this concept mostly non existent in the fourth world? 

In the United states, the pay gap is 19%, and in Canada it is 28%. The values in 2010 for Mexico had the gap at 33.5%. This is even with anti-discrimination laws, placement agencies, and equal education.

If you have the time, Global Issues has some very insightful information available. USAID has a wonderful book available for free in PDF format entitled "Women and World Development" that is also worth a read. If you haven't already, please pick up "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide", and "Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women". If you haven't already read "The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam's Rib Is No Longer Willing to Be the Church's Backbone?", or "Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church"- pick up a copy post haste!!!
I'm not promoting these books because I am paid to. I am promoting them because I care very deeply about what happens to women and children around the world on a daily basis, and what the church is doing to keep these efforts down, in an effort to "save face" or "squash feminism".  Is it truly Feminism when it is a Biblical value?

  One more video for you before I let you go.  If this doesn't at least make you think, or challenge you to make changes... I don't know what will.  In a world where half of the sky is blocked off, where half of the church has no say, where half of society doesn't have all things available to them that the other half does - it is not a safe world for my children or yours. We must make changes. It is our job to do this.

As Ghandi said: You must be the change you want to see in the world.

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