Your Sacred Noes – A RevGalBlogPals Devotional

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

edf

“But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command conveyed by the eunuchs. At this the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him.” – Esther 1:12

In Esther 1, King Ahasuerus asks for his wife Vashti to dance for him and his friends. His request for her to be willingly objectified is met with a resounding “no” resulting in Vashti’s banishment.

Would Vashti have repeated her “no” if she knew the consequence?  

Noes are complicated but not meant to be fluid.  They are a part of our everyday negotiating in each of our relationships.

To read the remainder of the article, please go to the RevGalBlogPals Weekly E-Reader.

 

Advertisements

A Prayer for Anxiety – RevGalBlogPals

Tags

, , , , , ,

Please visit the RevGalBlogPals link below for the Tuesday Prayer on anxiety and panic disorders.

God who created the expanding universe and designed each atom which dances in our world- let’s talk about anxiety for a minute. Why is it that my mind churns night and day wondering and worrying? Why is my heart racing, and why do I feel overwhelming nausea? Why do I feel like I can’t move […]

via Tuesday Prayer — RevGalBlogPals

#MeToo, #TimesUp, Aziz Ansari, and Gray Areas

Tags

, , , , , ,

downloadI read an account in which a woman with the pseudonym “Grace” details a night of intimacy with actor Aziz Ansari on the website Babe.  The account is one in which the woman agrees to go to his home after a short date.  As the night progresses she indicates her discomfort with his actions, feeling pressured to engage in acts.

Granted, it’s not rape.  It’s not exactly sexual assault.  But there’s something not exactly healthy about the experience anyway.  (Part of the account notes that he “wouldn’t let her move away from him.”)

Reading the article has the potential to give woman that disgusting feeling in their guts – a familiar feeling because of the common experience of many women.

And then The Atlantic releases an article to challenge the integrity of the women coming forward to hold him accountable by a woman-from-another-generation who essentially victim-blames Grace.

We’ve entered the gray area part of the #MeToo discussion that cannot completely be isolated from the #MeToo movement.  The resistance of men to be self-aware of their behavior and aware of the verbal and non-verbal reactions of women is still a part of the consent conversation.

Reading the account in the Babe article made me uncomfortable – maybe because it’s not the most healthiest of experiences.  Maybe because I’ve heard stories like this from others.  These are stories that make your skin crawl, and the emotions that we’ve heard in this article are quite common.

When The Atlantic article was posted online, men AND women responded by slamming this woman for her account, engaging in the disgusting behavior of “slut-shaming” and “victim-blaming”.  They are now questioning why she engaged like she did and why she didn’t leave his apartment.

If a woman has limited self-esteem, feels intimidated by her date, or really believes that things will turn around with the date, she may decide to stay.  A feminist man can’t really be this way, can he?  Could questions like this have been swirling around in Grace’s head?

And even more than any of these reasons – if the man is charismatic and is focused solely on his on sense of his own pleasure and feeling a heightened sense of (unhealthy) power by this experience, then he may be ignoring any verbal or non-verbal indications that she does not want this physical attention.  Men often forget that they have an easier opportunity to misuse their power in sexual situations.  In turn, women will forget that they have agency in the moment.

For this event, Aziz Ansari should not be fired or jailed.  I still believe Ansari wants what’s best for women in his conscious mind.  But he needs to be aware of his behavior and the reactions of the women with whom he is intimate.  If he is going to wear a #TimesUp pin he must be willing to engage the ways in which he’s fallen short.  All men need to evaluate their behavior as they become intimate with women, and all men need to be a part of this conversation.  And this is why The Atlantic article is incorrect in their assumption that these allegations and the resulting conversations are “very, very dangerous.”*

If two people are physically intimate with one another – no matter if emotional and spiritual intimacy is present – the two need to connect somehow in the present moment to see how the other person may be withdrawing or how they may be hesitant.  The space must be safe for all involved.

Finally, this conversation must take place alongside the #MeToo and #TimesUp conversations.  It’s not a distraction from it.  It’s not the movement going too far.  And it’s not proof that the movement is a “witch hunt.”  When women face violation and loss of agency in their intimate experiences, it’s more than a bad date.  This may not exactly be rape or assault, but without a doubt a violation of trust.

 

*NOTE: One piece of The Atlantic article which I believe is worth commending is the way it questions the awareness of white women making accusations on brown-skinned men.  Are we as rapid in responding when white males do the same?  There are many times white males have acted in this way and the conversation goes very quiet by white women.  We need to do better making sure white men are held equally if not more accountable and that they hear our concerns regarding this intimacy gray space.  No matter what, we cannot stop talking about any story, and we must listen to experiences of our sisters of all races, socioeconomic levels, religions, and sexual orientations – especially women of color.

*****

Would you like to know more about the Time’s Up initiative.  Please go to https://www.timesupnow.com/

A Prayer for Hawaii and Shaking False Alarms

Tags

, , , , , , ,

IMG_6315

God of the eerily quiet mornings-

We pray for our siblings in Hawaii as they wrestle with the moments that opened their day. From the emergency message that burst from their phones to receiving the corrected message, we know that some may be dealing with trauma from 38 dreadful minutes.

These False alarms still shake spirits and scar one’s faith in humanity, God. It feels cruel that they these exist and that our friends were required to face such mistakes.

So, if post traumatic stress is pulsating through their souls, we ask that you comfort your people. May the Spirit’s peace serenity bubble within them. May their calls to loved ones today be conversations filled with laugh ter and sentiments of care.

God, many of us remember times when nuclear war seemed imminent, and we ask that you guide our world to a place in which we can all live in peace. May we never abide in a Cold War World again, and may the frigidness of our leaders thaw and allow new life to bloom.

Amen.

On the Last Day of Christmas

Tags

, , , , , , ,

IMG_6230On the last day of Christmas, there were no drummers drumming or pipers piping. There weren’t glittery lights and shiny paper.

No gifts remained to be unwrapped. No large feast with twelve close relatives.

Instead, on the last day of Christmas, there was a hospital room with a soul slowly slipping away. A haunting rendition of O Come All Ye Faithful piped through the television speakers as a code blue was called overhead.

The last day of Christmas was filled with a stale silence. The quiet room was stirred awake by the running of nurses down the hall to resuscitate a life.

A birth was forgotten as death remained in the waiting room.

On the last day of Christmas, true love wasn’t about extravagant presents but about decades-long soulmates singing the final verse of their song together.

And as the tune came to a close, the lone partridge scurried away.

The Year I Became Old

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_6212

I became old in 2017.

Now, I fully do not think that I am “old.” But some turning point happened during the year – of course due to life events.

First and foremost, my dad died. I’m sure I would attain a sense of aging based on that event alone. But because of failed cell phone connections at 5:30am and my mom not receiving emergency calls, I was the one who had to make split-second decisions on my dad’s care when he went into cardiac arrest.

“Intubate him. Do what you can. Anything.” These were pretty much my words when I answered that phone early on that September morning.

When you are forced to make life and death decisions for your parents, you release the remnants of any previous relationship you have with them.  You’ve “adulted” in the fullest sense of the word.

Secondly, last year was the time period when I transformed from simply becoming aware of my upcoming menopause to experiencing the pangs of its birth. With periods becoming irregular – heavy or nonexistent – I noticed the small to large ways my body was changing.

Hello extra ten pounds! Was that a hot flash? I didn’t realize my anxiety would return…

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.” – – 1 Corinthians 13:11.

Maybe it’s one event or two that happen within a short time of one another. Something shifts in our mind, and we no longer see the trajectory of life in the same way.

Now is the time to accomplish what I feel called to do.

Now is the time to take the dreams lodged in my mind and bring them to reality.

Being a 44 year old in 2017 beginning the journey to menopause and losing a parent was transformative in ways that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And, yet, most of us have to face these types of changes.

And this is when we shed our old ways and prioritize the elements in our lives so that on our deathbeds there will be minimal to no regrets.

I head into 2018 with words like “resilience” and “survive” on my mind. After a year like 2017, I no longer see this endless time ahead of me. This new year must reflect my new mindset as I care for myself in new ways, love in deeper way, and carpe diem like I haven’t before.

 

A Prayer for All of the Buddy the Elves

Tags

, , , , , , ,

elf

Elf © Warner Home Video.

God of the expanding Christmas season-
Where trees and songs and lights are always in our peripheral view if not directly in front of us-
We recognize all of the people who have a “Buddy the Elf” life. 

They don’t fit in one world or another.  They are outcasts in every context they inhabit-  Some in towns too small and others in cities too large and where neighbors have too little holiday spirit.  They may be in the process of coming acquainted with their new surroundings.

Identity crises have claimed their Buddy-like souls right now.  They begin to question who they are.  Their past makes no sense and their future paths are a mystery.

And even when questions are looming over their heads and hovering from behind, their heart blazes with excitement that is rarely experienced.

They have every reason to be sad or cynical.  Yet optimism is their default setting.

And so we pray our Buddy is loved just as they are.  May our Buddy continue to live with one foot in the real world and another in their glistening utopia.  May our Buddy realize their true gifts of carriers of the Christmas Spirit.

And may their joy infect all of us who may be feeling a bit irritable or discontent in the midst of this season.

Amen.

Advent Candle Lighting Prayer for Peace

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

advent 2

One: Uneasiness stems from the unrest in our world.  News echoes from our TVs and phones alerting us of turmoil around the globe. From what happens in our communities, schools, and world, it’s often tough to find harmony.

Words between neighbors reflect a dismal connection with fellow children of God.  Bullies in schools, workplaces, and other institutions cloud our once happy souls.

Yet even as we stand in the midst of commotion and even when anxiety stirs within our hearts, God is with us. The buzzing of hatred will not be the final noises we hear as God’s song of serenity will rise above the clamor.

Today we light the candle of peace to remember that harmony will abide.  The turmoil of the outside world and the unrest in our souls will convert to peace that goes beyond all understanding.  The light of peace and hope will transform our world to holy tranquility.

And you will be with us in the peaks and valleys of our journeys, God of Placidness.

Amen.

A Prayer to Stop Second-Guessing

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

IMG_5738

God who created us with minds, hearts and souls:

Our brain hiccups again and again when remembering a decision we’ve made or thing we’ve said. And the lingering memory of our permanent etchings on the past will not let our minds rest.

And we cannot have a do-over for moments gone by. We cannot recall an opinion given or remove our deeds from the history of the world.

What we said may have been just fine. Our work may have been stellar. Our decisions may have been the best possible choice. But that sinister whisper that comes from a spot of self-doubt continues to spin within us.

Remove that toxic questioning from our beings. Help us to embrace our humanity and remember that even those of us with healthy intentions get caught up in the tangled vines of this earth. Give us the confidence that all that has been said is for the good of the world and, if it wasn’t, that your grace and mercy will smooth over the great mistakes of our mouths and minds.

Amen.

 

Advent Candle Lighting Prayer for Hope

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

SONY DSC

One: All around us are signs of endings, of limitations, and even of death.
Grief and sadness grasp our souls like never before
And many of us stumble around wondering “What’s next?”

…If there will be a next.

Our path is void of light
Yet while we abide in the shadows
God is with us.
And as we gaze towards the pre-dawn sky-
Towards the birth of a newborn baby, the promised land, and a return from exile-
We see the initial flicker of hope.

Today we light the first advent candle to remember that light will appear in our shadows.  This light will illuminate our way through the wilderness, and we will find renewal on our journeys.  Hope is no longer an illusion but a faint glow of what waits for us.

Amen.