16 August 2010

Gender and Faith

I just had a thought that intrigued me immensely. I have been reflecting quite a bit lately on my journey with God since childhood, and the faith I've found: a faith that liberates me, a faith that restores me, a faith that promises me wholeness, love, and acceptance. However, a few months ago, a fellow woman at my church requested that the female members of our church write out a little vignette on what it has meant to be a woman in our life experience--particularly in the context of our faith.

Now, I also believe that my "womanness" embodied in the gender that God assigned me to plays a central part in my understanding of myself, which includes the faith in which I wish to fully embody me. My journey through understanding how my gender interacts with my life in Christ, mostly with the Church (which historically has not been necessarily very hospitable to women). Until I received the above request from my friend, I haven't been compelled to reflect on what it means for me, as a woman, to believe in God and live out that belief in the ways of Jesus the Christ. Not only as a member of the body of Christ, but simply as a person who has chosen the life of faith.

I understand that there are a vast array of perspectives when it comes to both faith and gender, but I can only operate from my little enclave of experience and therefore bias--which is there are true genders, that are not entirely socially contrived, which affect our experiences in life and our senses of self. Therefore, I really wonder: how do our experiences as men, women, and everything in between, affect our perspective of faith in God--or our choice to not believe?

I am well aware of the typical gender stereotypes that exist surrounding the interaction of both men and woman in the Church, which I would actually like to circumvent, if possible (though I know it is near to impossible to divorce God and Christ in God from the Church in which He is embodied on earth). Like I said, I am more interested in our experiences as individuals who believe. Individuals who experience those quiet moments when we find ourselves knowing Someone whom we know we are incapable of ever fully knowing--those moments that solidify our reasonings behind the illogical and rather crazy leap into the abyss that we've chosen to make. Those moments when we are know and are known.

When we stand before, sit with, lie down next to, run along with, walk towards, play with, delight in, be delighted in, love, or rejoice in God, how do we understand ourselves in the context of being gendered bodies and gendered people? How have our experiences as men, women, and anyone in between, affected our faith in God?

09 August 2010


#87.1 - YEASAYER - No need to worry / Redcave
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I will say that this video is one of my favorite things. Not one of my favorite performances, not one of my favorite songs (though those are both true), but one of my favorite nouns in life. It's one of those things that that transcends beyond the typical nature of it's own genre of subjects and topics to become something greater than it's intention. We all have at least one of those things: that poem that struck a chord in you that never really stopped ringing, that novel or essay which instigated a profound paradigm shift, or that speech given by someone you've never met, but who's words have affected you in a way that only those most intimate to you do. I wouldn't say that this recording of Yeasayer--though a favorite, I have to say--literally CHANGED MY LIFE; maybe I could say it helps me out by operating as a little illuminator to the way I see the world. (But Red Cave pretty much does make me tear up almost every time I hear it).

I think what is so wonderful about this video is that it records such a beautiful moment that is so precarious and fleeting: the decision of the band to sing that particular song for the video project on the subway, surprising both their fellow passengers and recording crew alike. The clear community of the band operating in perfect harmony becoming integrated into the temporary community gathered on the subway ride. The other passengers--who probably don't know what they are singing, as the video is filmed in Paris--joining along in rhythm and lyrics by quickly acquiring language. Everyone in that moment on that ride experienced something special that can never be recreated, which probably makes it all the more beautiful.

I would guess that the real reason I enjoy this video so much is because it reminds me of those moments when you raise your head up, look around, and realizing you are in the middle of something incredible. Call it the Kingdom of God realized on earth, call it the movement of the Spirit, call it simply a thing pointing to something greater than itself. Call it whatever you will, really; the words we use to describe these moments don't really matter, because it's not the words that move us but the vision we see before us of either the potentiality within or the trueness of something beyond. Whatever it is, it's something we look to and look for, and it's absolutely lovely.

I'm not sure how Yeasayer or the Take Away Shows crew would feel about this reflection, but I don't really care. All I know is that this simple, unpretentious and unassuming piece of art makes me a little happier to be alive. Or, at least, reminded of how "bless-ed" I am. :)

Enjoy enjoy enjoy. :)