Saturday, November 30, 2013

Single and can be tough, very tough

Hello my dear reader.

Single and Christian? You don't need me to tell you that sometimes it can be tough, very tough...

Justin Lee correctly points out that being "single in a relationship-obsessed culture can be a challenge" and "one of the most frustrating places to be when you’re single is church—especially in American Protestant churches":

See, American Protestant churches are great at supporting families. If you want to know how to be a better, more godly husband, wife, parent, or child, we’ve got you covered. We’ve got books. We’ve got classes. We’ve got sermons. We’ve got small groups. Here, have a special edition Bible.
But too often, we don’t seem to know what to do with single people other than somehow shove them into that frame.
It’s not that churches don’t know they have single people. The trouble is, many churches think about singleness only as a young person’s issue. And what do single teenagers need? Lots of advice on controlling their sex drives until marriage, apparently. But single adults need a lot more than that.
Single adults aren’t just coping with singleness for a few more years; some of us are facing the possibility of a lifetime alone. We want to know how to deal with our need for companionship. We wrestle with loneliness and depression. We crave a community of people who won’t be too busy for us because of kids and family obligations. We worry about what will happen to us in illness, old age, or dementia without a spouse and children to care for us. And yes, we have questions about appropriately handling our sexual desires as Christians, but for most of us, that’s far from the toughest thing about being single.
I would like to hear from you regarding this issue, and if you are a lay leader or priest/pastor I would also like to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

About "You Don't Speak for Me: Instructions for would-be-allies", are we listening?

"What do you need?"

During one of my favorite classes at seminary we have discussed a model called Decent Care. (Note: I will dedicate a separate post to discussing this concept) The first question that must be asked under the Decent Care model is this one: what do you need?

As I have been discussing with people the blog post You Dont Speak for Me: Instructions for Would-be-Allies by Dianne E. Anderson from her Faith and Feminism blog, some of my friends are conflicted. (Go ahead and read it and then come back here)

Even if some of us say that they would have written this article with a different tone and/or using different words, I fully agree with what is in my opinion, the biggest lesson: we first have to listen.

If you look at the first line of the article it is "Listen up", and the last line is "Are you listening?" Listen/Listening appears over 15 times, along with this:

Come in close and cry as we cry. Allow our hurt, our pain, our continued, daily oppression to sink into your soul. It will never be a part of you like it is a part of us, but you cannot empathize if you do not listen. Our anger will make you uncomfortable. You will want to shout that you are “not like that,” but that is not what we need to hear – we don’t need to hear how our experience affects you. We need to you to simply listen and be with us.

If you plan to be an ally (or like me you already consider yourself an ally) I agree with the writer:
"We need to you to simply listen and be with us."

It appears that most of the disagreement in our discussion with my friends is centered on what to do AFTER we listen. But still we all agreed, we have to listen. My friends, I believe that after listening, and before we suggest anything we must ask: what do you need?

Once we listen to the answer, then we can continue and we must be ready to do what is needed even if that doesn't match our expectations. If we are asked to give up the mic, then we give it up. In the meantime, we educate ourselves and try to educate others. And when the moment comes to take the mic ourselves, then we shall do it with passion, compassion, and love. What do you think?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A new direction

Hello my dear reader.

I hope you are well. Allow me to apologize since (as you already noticed) I have not been writing much this year. My life has changed a lot, specially the second half of the year with so many new and exciting things in the personal, professional, and spiritual aspects of my path. As a first year/full-time seminarian, my writing energies have been going to the usual work of papers, essays, sermons, response to weekly readings, revisions, etc.

But I find myself with new energy (not sure where it is coming from but I will take it) to write something every week. You may also notice a new direction with my writing. I hope you like it.

Until the next week!