Women in the Church

The dust has settled and things have definitely calmed down, but to get the cogs turning again, have a read at this: Bristol University Christian Union bars women from teaching.

It breaks my heart so much that there is support for people who don’t believe that women should speak, while those who do are entirely side-lined and made to feel as if their beliefs are unimportant. The more conservative members of the Church (this view has not only been visible within this CU but also within the Church of England when they voted against women bishops) may feel that God is being good and loving towards them but what about the women who are fighting for equality, women of Christ who are fighting for equality, who are being ignored and made to feel that because of their reproductive organs that they aren’t strong enough to hold a position of leadership or to teach within the Body of Christ?

I know, you’ll fight back and say that it’s not Biblical for women to be in positions of leadership, but you’re forgetting that society during Biblical times was entirely different. If a widow’s only son died then she would be left destitute, unable to gain any sort of income or the legal right to marry she would end up on the streets. And I know, you don’t think I can just disregard certain parts of the Bible, but God didn’t let society progress, He didn’t let us fight for the vote or equal pay, for nothing. This isn’t denying the Bible, it’s denying oppression. Millions of women in countries across the world have never had the right to speak, to gain an education, to be seen AND heard, so if women in the UK do we shouldn’t pretend like that isn’t important.

The Bible is not a book of rules, it is a testimony of God’s love and grace, and I don’t think that He wants us to take it and use it to make half of the world feel like they’re not enough because of their body. I don’t at all think that Jesus, in today’s society, would have told women not to speak or take up positions of leadership because we have such great opportunities now, it would be ungrateful not to take advantage of them.

Women have the ability to be just as strong as men and I don’t think it’s fair to side line them and call it Biblical, I think this is the world’s way of breaking the Body of Christ apart.

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The disease of the 20-something: Obsessive Comparison Disorder (OCD)

University was the best four years of my life (so far), and in my final month I kept thinking things along the lines of, “Yes, the world is my oyster, I can do whatever I want now with no education to worry about!”

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The life of a twenty-something in the first year after university isn’t all roses.

I know, there’s plenty of people that I graduated with who are loving life, in brilliant jobs and completely sorted, but it’s not like that for everyone. To start this off I should probably say that a few nights ago my Mum told me, “The year I was twenty-two was the toughest year of my life.”

Wow. Thanks, Mum.
(She wasn’t trying to drag me down, don’t worry, just letting me know that I’m not alone.)

I spend a lot of time on Facebook these days, something most of my friends will probably have noticed, and I spend a lot of time comparing myself to my friends who are travelling, or in good jobs, or who’ve recently gotten married or engaged, and I end up angry and upset with God, because I feel like I’ve been handed a pretty raw deal. It’s the same as I scroll through my Spotify library, finding all the music that was the soundtrack to my university years, and even moreso as I flick through my photos from the past four years, of amazing times with my friends and of travelling in America during my summers.

Nothing really compares.

Paul Angone wrote a blog about this whole comparison issue that a lot of twenty-somethings have; he likes to call it OCD: Obsessive Comparison Disorder. Humans do this a lot, but twenty-somethings do it more than anyone, especially those of us who aren’t making tonnes of money and getting married as soon as we graduate. It’s easy to compare ourselves with other people, other times in our lives, and think that the grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s far harder, and far more important, to look at our own lives and figure out where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.

We find ourselves trying to figure out how the people we want to be like have gained success and wonder if we could do it too, even if that success isn’t necessarily the kind of success we really want. Sometime the only thing that the lives of others would bring us is temporary happiness, like when I find myself wondering if I should take up booze and partying again to get a bit more excitement in my life. That’s when I know I need to take a step back and realise that the life I’ve chosen and the life I want are going to take more than an evening to figure out, and that if I really want to get any where then I need to be in this for the long haul.

Life after university is hard for a lot of people, but knowing that we’re not alone should at least help us to feel a little bit better. There’s something better out there, we just need to figure out what that is.

We Are Not Worthless (a poem and a story)

I am so tired of the society that I grew up in and that I am very much still living within making me feel as if I am not good enough because I don’t reflect the world’s view of beauty. I am tired of women feeling like they need to cover themselves in make-up, men thinking that they need to spend more time working out at the gym rather than working on their hearts and REALLY and TRULY believing that this is the only way to live life. Regardless of our sex we all know what it’s like to feel pressure to be more “attractive”, more appealing on the outside, to use our body to make people think that we’re worth something.

I am 22 years old and I still spend my time and my money and my effort trying to look better, trying to fit in with what society says is acceptable but inside I am SCREAMING at the knowledge of what this is doing to me, of what this does to every woman and man that I know.

We know that the images before our eyes, the ones we want to be like, aren’t real, they’re fixed and changed and made “better” so that they’re pleasing to our eyes and they make us think that that is attractive. We forget about good hearts and good minds and good words and we make people think that colours that don’t co-ordinate and messy hair will make them less important.

Everything within me is yelling out, trying to tell the people around me that it’s not their muscles or their facial hair, or their bra size or their wardrobe that makes them better. You might get more compliments but I pray for the day when you no longer validate yourself on that any more, and the day when I can stop validating myself on this too.

I wish I didn’t think, “When I’m in a relationship I’ll feel better,” because that isn’t how it works; having someone tell me I’m attractive won’t change what I see.

The pornification of society has left us believing that we must look a certain way, we must act a certain way, we must know things, we must be able to do things, we must be experienced, we must be able to tick this box, and that one, and we must always do everything that is asked of us BUT IT ISN’T LIKE THAT! Our hearts come first.

Truth and reality is not built on the belief that we can dress well, it’s not built on how we look, and it’s not built on anything other than open hearts and minds. There is more to everyone than how they look and when we don’t believe that about someone it’s only because the world has made us and them think that they’re worthless.

I just don’t get how the media keeps pushing this on us, how we all know that the stick thin models and buff men we see plastered across our TV screens and magazine covers have a negative affect but yet they still keep advertising them as if to say, “This is normal” when it’s anything but. What are they trying to do to us? Are they trying to kill us? Because they are; they’re killing us slowly, from the outside in.

I am tired of this world, I am tired of the pressure and pain it inflicts on us. We are better than this… We are not worthless.

All this over a flag?

Wow, Northern Ireland. Wow.
I think it’s time someone told the nation to “calm their bap“, and “haul on“.
(For those of you not ‘in the know’, that’s some Northern Irish slang for “calm down” and “hold on”.)

Things have got a little crazy as of late and I have a few words to say on the matter.

Photo provided by bbc.co.uk.

I’m not sure if the news has left Northern Ireland so, for those of you who don’t know, here’s a break down of the problems:

  1. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (I figure someone is bound to read this who doesn’t know that already).
  2. There’s a lot of people who think it shouldn’t be, and a lot who feel very strongly about the fact that it is (I suggest you type ‘The Troubles’ into Wikipedia to understand this a bit better).
  3. Last week Belfast City Council voted that the Union Flag (that big blue, red, and white one) should no longer be flown at City Hall 365 days a year, but rather on 17 specially designated days.
  4. This angered quite a few people who really like the whole union thing.
  5. The Alliance Party, who are basically a very middle-ground kind of party, are the ones who were mostly in support of the change to only flying the flag on 17 days of the year.
  6. Since the public got hold of this information there have loyalist (those loyal to the union) protests all across the country, the first one at Belfast City Hall on Monday night, where people tried to break down the doors during a council meeting, injuring police officers and members of the press.
  7. Now, members of the Alliance party have been threatened out of their homes, with certain MPs receiving death threats, and constituency offices in Belfast and Carrickfergus have been set on fire.

The saddest part is that I’m not surprised by these attacks. It’s pretty easy to anger a lot of people in Northern Ireland when it comes to politics, but this doesn’t mean that I support this. Oh, dear goodness, I think this behaviour is atrocious.

You’d think that after The Troubles people would have learnt their lesson, that violence isn’t the answer. But the problem here is tradition, people believing that violence IS the only way, when all it does is make this country look like a bunch of savages. There’s still people who believe that Northern Ireland is a war zone. The sad thing is that everyone’s always going to have an opinion, and that a lot of those people want to stay in the dark ages. Fair enough, you like the union, I like the economy that we have because of the union, but that doesn’t mean I’m about to go out and protest because the union flag isn’t being flown on Belfast City Hall 365 days a year.

A lot of people blame the divide in Northern Ireland on religion, when it is 100% down to politics. The people protesting don’t call themselves Protestants and Catholics because they love Jesus, they call themselves that because it’s how they were brought up, and because that’s the side that the political party they support is on. But, then again, religion is nothing to do with having a relationship with God. Religion is strict, with lots of rules and orders to follow, a relationship with God is having  a best friend who makes you want to be a better person because He loves you so much and that love makes you want to love others. So I guess it is religion, but a lot of people mistake the two for one another.

I wish I could believe that Northern Ireland would be different one day, that eventually situations like this will barely get any attention, and I know that God can change this country, but I’m not sure if I’ll see it in my life time.