Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The New Feminism

I've been facilitating a class at my Church for the last four weeks and today, we reached the halfway point.  We are studying John Paul II's Letter to Women.  I usually write a "recap" for my own processing, for those who missed, and those who want to revisit a boiled down version of what we covered.  I have repeatedly thought about sharing those recaps with you, but today I'm actually doing it.  Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section, if I didn't include enough information for you to get something out of it... 

Today we discussed the progress of the women's liberation movement and what is left for us to do. We were affirmed in our activity of promoting feminity and womanhood, but not at the sake of it, or of our male counterparts. We are reminded that we have the same dignity and value as men, but that does not mean we are the same.  We aren't.  As Gabrield Kuby writes in Gender Mainstreaming - The Secret Revolution, if we say that there are no essential or innate differences between men and women, we are repressing and ignoring the results of brain research, medicine, psychology, and sociology, which prove the different identities of men and women in their brain structure, hormonal balance, psychological structure, and social behavior.  

As women, we are called to do "some things better than they've ever been done before" and to know which things "don't need doing at all". We are asked to consider which things in our lives build up women, men, and the Kingdom of God, and which aren't? We are elevating these issues in our consciousness, so we may form convictions and take action accordingly.

It is easy to feel like the movement toward radical feminisim and "gender ideology" is bigger than we are. However, we must remember that "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and what I should do and can do, I will do."  It seems that the world's voice is very loud and doesn't mind getting in your face. We are called to speak the truth in love, where we are. We are called to be woman (with the beauty, dignity, and room for the other that she contains) where we are. We do not need to be invited to the Beijing Conference or start a women's rally in the Brazos valley (unless, of course, you feel called...). We will never know the influence that we have on the lives of those around us, and of those around them, and so on. It is so by God's design.
Elizabeth Leseur writes in her diary, "Through suffering and in silence I want to pray, love, and act. It is best for God alone to dispose of what we offer Him; if we knew the result of our efforts, if the mysterious influence worked by our sacrifice and prayer were revealed to us, pride, always near, would have its way."
Secondly, we discussed the "undoing of gender" and the deconstruction of society that necessarily follows. We must remain compassionate toward those whose instincts or learned behaviors are not what is acceptable to the Church. We must follow Pope John Paul II's example, and "answer" with love when talking to those who do not hold our views. When challenged, we must ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us words, especially when we want to lash out or retreat in silence. The "fluidity" of gender and the "rights" that follow are creeping into our schools and leaving parents feeling helpless and overwhelmed. We must remember that "God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control." (2Timothy 1:7)  We are called to embrace the "Theology of the Body" and transmit these important truths to our children and those entrusted to us.
When we began this class, we embarked on this "effective and intelligent campaign for the promotion of women", the new feminism. I'm proud to be with you and praise God that He has given us the Holy Spirit and the tools we need to continue sailing confidently.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for opportunities to gather with other women and to grow in faith.  Thank you for giving us everything we need to get ourselves, our children, and those we love to Heaven.  Thank you for giving us a spirit of power and love and self-control.  When we see things going contrary to Your will, on an ever-increasing scale, please infuse us with an ever-greater confidence and trust in You.  Thank you for loving us enough to create and redeem us.  Amen.

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