Friday, April 27, 2007

How Far is Too Far?

How far is too far? Richard Gere recently found out after publicly kissing an unsuspecting Shilpa Shetty . There is a warrant out for both of their arrests. Why arrest Shilpa Shetty? Indian lawmakers believe she was too compliant towards his advances.

I often feel influenced by a culture of compliance. What are we to do when confronted with a conversation that we deem inappropriate? Has this happened to you lately? I find it happens to me all the time and I wonder, am I too sensitive? Am I too prudish? Am I too .... what?

Too often I find myself making excuses for ill-fitting behavior. Usually it's an inappropriate comment about women and I'm trying not to grow weary of saying, "What do you mean by that," and, "I would rather you not say that." Lately I don't feel as if my policing is doing any good. Usually the offender chuckles and says, "Awww, lighten up."

I'm not feeling very light. In 2005 women were paid an average of $0.77 to every dollar earned by men. The 2005 The State of Women in Baptist Life reports that the percentage of women pastoring churches affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was 5.5%.

I'm thankful for the men and women working to increase women's wages and women in pastoral ministry. How can we speed up the process? How do we encourage appropriate behavior while maintaining friendships and job opportunities?

Maybe we need an "evangelical" hollaback similar to the hollabacknyc blog. We could snap pictures of the offender with our phones or digital cameras and post them along with the inappropriate quote heard.

In the meantime, let's agree not to laugh at things we don't think are funny and should Richard Gere ever grope us uninvited, we should make sure he knows how far is too far.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

who's to blame?

If you have ever owned a computer, perhaps you can relate to my recent experience.
Our laptop crashed over a month and a half ago and I am stii;yep, without a computer!
After sending it off to the Dell plant, we went weeks without hearing a word, except that "it was delayed for reasons they were unsure of at the time".
I immediately called Dell to give them a piece of my excellerated frustration and dissapointment in the company.
After having waited on hold for a good 20 minutes, I was put through to a what sounded like a young woman from India.
Within the first five minutes of our conversation we were having difficulty understanding one another due to language and pronunciation. And, she really had no idea of the status of my computer, she was simply reading the prescripted replies on paper in front of her.
As my frustration grew I suddenly realized the unethical reality that I was encountering.
Who was this woman? Maybe she was a young mother, who in order to pay bills, leaves her small children each night to tend to angry costumers; mostly from the US. Perhaps she was a promising young girl who had graduated from high school with hopes to become a doctor, but she was manipulated into starting this new job "that will make a few honest dollars"...way below minimun wage and without benefits. My frustration turned into sympathy for this woman who was upset as I that she could not help me.
Who's to blame? As I hung up the phone, I wanted to call the Dell exec, probably swinging his 5 iron out on the country club greens. I wanted to call him, probably a white man, and tell HIM of my angst and disgust at the dirty lengths he'll go to make a buck.
That's what I wanted to do.
So, I sit here finishing this blog from my husband's tiny Blackberry wishing I had a computer and wishing for humane treatment for all around our world today.
Anybody listening?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

wonder twin power

What if I told you that your future is very bright and that eventually it will find you? Possibly it already has. What if I told you to be patient and that after many deep breaths the rainbow will come?

Your power is amazing.

Did you ever watch the Wonder Twins? When united they could do anything. Children of God are like the Wonder Twins.

Let's unite and do amazing things together.

What are you doing June 28 - 29?


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Maybe it is the energy surrounding this week's tragedy, maybe it's the plethora of inappropriate comments on television and radio, or maybe it's the Holy Spirit . . . whatever it is I feel the need to speak. How long will women allow the media to determine the standard by which we judge ourselves?

I alluded to this issue yesterday when mentioning the phenomenon of middle and high school girls buying magazines like Cosmopolitan. I'm not a prude. Yes I am. Regardless, can young women really see themselves in Cosmopolitan? When flipping through the pages are there any women depicted who look like people you know and love? From what I understand, the women in the magazines don't even look like themselves. Yet we subconsciously or consciously begin to hold ourselves to corporate America's standard of beauty.

If we have the luxury of buying items beyond the necessities of life, who is in charge of our purchases? We are in charge of our purchases and yet we allow others to tell us what is beautiful. Does looking at unrealistic and unattainable images cause depression and eating disorders? Will magazines ever be held responsible for the death of young women as a result of eating disorders? Tobacco companies probably never thought they could be held responsible for someone's death.

Recently I was watching tv with a friend when a Victoria's Secret commercial aired. In this commercial there was a woman dancing around a stage in her underwear. You've seen them. She had on high heels and her hair was flowing wildly behind her. I remarked to my friend that it's really sad that some will watch that commercial and think, "I need to buy things from Victoria's Secret because I want to look like that. " I don't have a problem with women wanting to be sexy. The problem is that they think to be sexy they have to wear underwear from Victoria's Secret and look like the models they see.

The problem is I've spoken with my dollars. I wear their underwear. It's often the easiest solution to my underwear needs. I know where the store is. They always have my size and its hard to beat the five for $25 special. But many times making a difference means making a thoughtful choice. Many times making a difference means making a change and it can be an inconvenience.

We've started to learn that what we spend our money on can encourage or discourage failing rain forests, slave labor in the developing world, and the acquisition of blood diamonds. It can be hard to know what to do. We are overwhelmed with just enough information to scare us. We need tangible plans of action that empower us as individuals to change the way we make purchases.

For today, don't look at the magazine Cosmopolitan or Marie Claire or Us Weekly or you fill in the blank. Today, don't buy underwear from Victoria's Secret. We don't look like those created images. We don't buy $500 pairs of shoes. It really isn't a big deal that the star of the hottest sitcom had lunch in an outdoor cafe in LA. We, along with the women in the magazines, are women created in the very image of God and are powerful beyond measure. You are beautiful.

Natalie McIntyre, please comment regarding websites with information on fair trade organizations.
Somebody please submit a fun quiz for the Acteens because some said that is why the read Cosmo. They love the quizzes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I was going to write more about my time with Virginia Acteens a few weeks ago. I wanted to ask readers what they thought about my discovery that 15 year olds are reading Cosmo. That question seems frivolous on a day like today.

I wonder if any of the Acteens I met have brothers or sisters at Virginia Tech. Many of them wore Tech sweatshirts and talked of going to college there one day.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who mourn today.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Welcome back Sparkfly friends. Like Suzanah said, it's been too long since we last shared together! I have truly missed our encouragement for one another. It's like water to my soul.
We have been busy with various projects and life happenings. In 2 weeks, Suzanah and I will meet in Atlanta to begin our one week southeast interview tour for our latest project. We'll report more on that later!
As I watch the rain fizzle out from my NY apartment, I am reminded to remain expectant. The sun will hopefully show itself soon, and remind us of God's faithfulness. What are you expectant of in your life right now? May we learn and share together, believing and knowing God's goodness for our lives. I am expectant today; are you? L


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On the Road

There are too many important things going on in the world for us not to be posting. My, my, my. Where have we been? We've been to New York, D.C., Prague, and Vienna. We've unpacked box after box of books, sent a computer in to be repaired only to find that it never was, written articles for journals, dreamed humongous dreams, and longed for jobs at the UN.

Where are we know? Still dreaming and currently shaking our heads at the inappropriate conversations taking place on t.v., radio, and in movies. This week has reminded me of the power of the collective voice. It is time to speak out and be loud about issues that matter.

Two weeks ago I was the missionary speaker at a youth girls event in Virginia. I love Acteens! They are funny and smart and full of life. They have so much to offer our world. I look forward to working with these powerful young women in the near future for they are going places.

While there I shared with them stories about women around the world. We watched the short film on the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. Many asked for the link to the film. Here is a list of resources, including the film, that were discussed during the weekend:
A Walk to Beautiful (film shown on Sunday morning)
Freeset Bags
Kiva, Loans That Change Lives
The Protection Project (anti-trafficking resources)
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

And for all of you high school juniors and seniors looking for colleges, browse the website of the Christian Women's Leadership Center at Samford University in Birmingham, AL.

We would love an update on all of you. We've missed your greatness.

PS The photo is of the back of my car filled with birthing kits collected by Virginia Acteens. Way to go group!