My Friend Lutestring: The Power of Being Heard...

My online friend Lutestring recently wrote a post about her experiences and struggles as a woman in the Evangelical church.  It's painful, but so important, for us to pay attention to stories like hers.  Too often, female testimony remains contextualized (and confined) by masculine narratives about faith, society and culture.  Even well-intentioned men (like me) will inevitably struggle to comprehend and assimilate the testimonies of women.  It's so crucial that we allow ourselves to be corrected by female voices, rather than push to fit alternate narratives into our own paradigms.  This is a spiritual exercise, and I'm so glad to have friends like Lutestring to keep the dialogue going.

At her blog she wrote:
When men recognize what has happened to women in their lives, more will listen to and advocate for women. When men listen to and advocate for women, that is a healing work I cannot overstate the beauty and power of. And though nothing will stop us women who want to heal in our journey for healing, we still feel that the picture is not complete until some of our brothers come to stand by us. Just as nothing could stop the African-American people for advocating for their rights no matter how hateful white people continued to be, and nothing could stop them being happy and courageous then. It isn't contingent on whether someone else understands you or not, just on whether you are determined to honor yourself. Yet as Martin Luther King said, things will not be fully well until whites and blacks considered themselves bound in brotherhood and love to each other...

This doesn't mean that I can't still be grateful for what I learned from the Church. That doesn't mean I don't still own the good things as well. Because I do own them. That doesn't mean I'm not grateful for how the Church has shaped me in good ways. Because it did shape me in good ways as well as bad ways. But I need to leave behind this destructive, false way of thinking that if I name the bad, then I am being ungrateful for the good.Because that is simply not true, and if I allow myself to think that way or be pressured into thinking that way, well then, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And then, in that self-fulfilling prophecy, remembering anything good automatically must imply a negation or denial of the bad. This is a very destructive way to look at life, and it is at odds with the nature of true healing.  There was good and there was bad. The good was awesome and I'm grateful for it, the bad was terrible and I'm angry about it and grieving for it.  And this is some of (not all of) the reason I am an unabashed feminist. I believe that our race will not be spiritually whole and well until (among many other things) men and women have learned to love each other upon an equal footing, and named and grieved the wrongs which have been. 

Click here for the full post.

Lute, thank you so much for sharing, and for your kind words!

1 comment:

Lutestring said...

Thanks for this, Peter. Now let's continue with listening to people's stories. You've shown me that it really does change things. :D

Love the "radical notion" quote btw.

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