Sarah Bessey and Christian Chauvinism

Sarah Bessey and Relevant Magazine recently teamed up on Twitter for a social/spiritual experiment: to find out how prejudiced the church is regarding women in leadership. Sarah’s Twitter feed blew up, as you might imagine.

Yes, there were some people who slung some hateful rants against men and hateful rants against women’s rights. We knew that was going to happen. What surprised me was the large number of comments in the middle. The real comments, hurtful comments that keep women from exerting influence and venturing into destiny. Women shared an endless list of foolish and/or bigoted statements from their own experiences–revealing statements about what other people think a woman’s place in the church should be.

Many of Sarah’s tweets came from her book Jesus Feminist, which I read and loved. Sarah shares a list of ill-timed, uninformed, and downright chauvinistic statements that she has received over the years as a woman who could preach and lead in the church. I’ve heard some of the same ones myself. (Yes, even little ol’ me. I imagine it’s a thousand times worse for a minority woman!)

Yet I have often excused people’s heartless comments as merely old-fashioned. Occasionally offensive. Yet they rippled through my psych and whispered lies that perhaps I shouldn’t be so ambitious. Perhaps I wasn’t called to do this thing. Perhaps I should work harder at being quiet and demure. Doesn’t a real servant serve in the background? Doesn’t she do all those tasks no one wants to do? A good Christian girl lets other people stumble through speaking and writing and vision-casting while I just try learning to keep silent.

Apparently, I am not the only one. This problem is wide-spread and so widely-felt, so I don’t have to feel put-down anymore. The problem is not me. I’m not usurping anyone. The problem is prejudice–arrogance, really. And insecurity. (Pride takes so many forms.)

Go click on the Twitter feed and see for yourself. Here’s a taste: Continue reading

21 Parenting books you can trust

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, I find myself pulling out parenting books and flipping through the pages.

Whoops, stopped doing that.

Yes, that’s my problem.

Crap, I do that all the time.

Oh, no wonder he’s acting like that.

I’m speaking to our church on Mother’s Day, so I’m longing to find nuggets of encouragement–golden truths that send everyone out exhilarated and appreciative for their priceless role as mothers. But as I look back through those parenting books I know I can trust, I am overwhelmed with my own inabilities. I can’t speak about this! I can’t even do it.

I wonder if this ever changes? I really should be a professional parent by now.

So in an attempt to stave my own paranoia and to be as helpful as I can to all you mothers who I suspect are as self-deprecating as I am in regards to parenting, here is a selection of great books you can read that will actually help you. Not all parenting books are equal. Continue reading

7 tips for a good workspace

After my oldest son’s sophomore year in college, I stole his bedroom.

I asked him first, but it was more of a “I want to make your bedroom into my study. Is that okay?” kind of question. He didn’t care. He was having so much fun at college, we literally had to make him come home to visit. And then he worked at a camp all summer after his sophomore year. And he would be spending second semester during his junior year in London. I knew he wouldn’t miss it.

So yeah. I didn’t feel bad about it. I work from home, and I needed more space. I was teaching and writing from the kitchen table, and my stuff was everywhere. And I have trouble focusing when the house isn’t in order, which is frequently the case in the kitchen/living area. In the kitchen, food is also too available, the T.V. is tempting, and I’m usually doing laundry there (yep, no laundry room, so it’s also the laundry area).

I decided I needed a room with less distractions.  I was writing a few manuscripts and had no quiet space to do it (and working in my bedroom makes me sleepy!). Having my own study was the natural and logical solution to all of these pressing issues. Technically, my son’s room wasn’t even his real room because he grew up in a different room. (I made him switch rooms with his little brother when he left for college. But that’s another story.)

I live in a house of men, so for years I have tempered my girly-decorating juices to match my environment. Apparently, decorating desires die hard, because I still long to make that girly room. Just one. Please. Continue reading