Category Archives: women’s issues

Mixed Messages

What are you, a Jezebel?
Why paint her?

Is she a human female?
Why shouldn’t she look like one?

Why would you buy that?
White is only for baptisms and funerals.

Why not buy it? It’s beautiful.
We could just add a scarf.

I’m going to pack us all up
If she doesn’t immediately obey me.

She is doing what you asked;
She’s helping me. Did you change your mind?

She’s an apostate going to hell,
And that hair looks like hell.

That’s not your call; that belongs to Jesus.
It’s just hair. Will you grow up?

She sits alone–
Outside the fray–
Watching, listening–
Knowing she brings the storm.

Reason wrestles illogic
As genders go round and round.
The world and faith intertwine,
Leaving her too tightly wound.

It’s all about the surface
And how heart reaches surface.
Does surface reflect the heart?
Feelings hide behind the wall.

The voices silenced still rage on.
Her own voice aborted in the din.
From beyond the grave they still shout
While nothing she responds can come out.


Cold Resonation

Author’s Note: There are hard places I’ve been that I never speak of, and yet something in them pushes through my waking moments at certain times of the year. I was blessed to get out; this is in memory of those who didn’t and don’t.

Fractured mosaic shards
Swirl in a kaleidoscope–
Year after year,
Fuzzy then clear,
Far and then near.
A flash of light around their heads,
The sound of a hammer cock from his hand–
No bang…
Yet year after year
The boom resonates.
A weary soul
Fell wilted and lifeless
Waiting for the right kiss.
The body presented
Week upon week
Spent and used,
Finally blowing away on a summer breeze.
The ghosts in the eyes
Of old acquaintances
Haunt my dreams
And stalk my waking memory.
Forgiven by His Grace,
But still a dead woman wandering
In my heart,
Yet I still live and move and breathe.
May the shards never become knives.
May I never again cause kith and kin fear of my death
And pain of my separation.

Have I broken the 10th commandment with regard to male members?

It’s one of those days. I’m cranky, irritable, and not fond of anything. I don’t like men, and I’m not fond of women with a penchant for melodrama, narcissism, egocentrism, or gossip.

I don’t think it’s that I have penis envy either. Merriam-Webster online defines penis envy:

the supposed coveting of the penis by a young human female which is held in Freudian psychoanalytic theory to lead to feelings of inferiority and defensive or compensatory behavior

I see five main criteria

  • Coveting
  • Young human female
  • Inferiority
  • Defensive
  • Compensatory

First, I’m not young enough to be in the category of young human female. After all, I have two marriages and two c-sections under my belt. And on a day without coffee, I might not be human. ūüėČ
Criteria Met = NO

I don’t feel inferior. Although, there have been many attempts at making me see myself as inferior, and sometimes I have fallen victim to inferiority feelings. ¬†I do not in general for the majority of the time feel inferior.
Criteria Met = NO

Am I defensive? Hell, yeah! I come from a long line of strong women on both sides of my family. I’m not going to take a lot of garbage, and I’m not going to let my family take garbage. So maybe I do meet this criteria.
Criteria Met = Yes

Compensatory behavior is hard to see as a real criteria. The job of any strong woman is to identify obstacles and when they cannot be destroyed to find ways around them. So, while I might not be able to move an entire tree by sawing the trunk¬†and dragging it like a man, I can chop away branch by branch. It might take longer, but the job is still done. It’s not really compensation; it’s creative problem solving.
Criteria Met = NO

Let’s move to the coveting of the male member. Covet is defined as “to wish for eagerly” or “to have an inordinate or wrongful desire.” I do not want one of those monstrosities attached to my body. Early in life, it tells on you when your thoughts are impure by standing at attention. Later in life, it refuses to rise to the occasion and then dribbles all over your clothes, making more work for you (or your partner — or so I’m told).
Criteria Met = NO

So, with only 1 in 5 criteria achieved, at a 20%, I do not meet the 80% necessary for a successful completion of any test anywhere.

So what is my problem? My problem is that I’ve let my attitude be colored by misogynists and the women they’ve trashed. When you disrespect a woman, you take away something from her–whether it’s the respect of her community, the respect of her children, or the respect she has for herself. The disrespect does not have¬†a trickle down effect; it’s more likely to have the effect of a¬†boulder in a pond creating a concentric lahar.


I cannot change others. I can only change myself–my thoughts, words, and actions. Think I need to go back to my own advice in the last few lines at the end of¬†Repent, Rinse, Repeat

An Old Pattern with the LORD’s Justice Applied

Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. (Joshua 17:2-4)

I’m a firm believer that literature, as a form of art, contains patterns for life that get repeated time and time again. The Bible for most Christians is at very least a well-loved and highly-regarded form of literature.

Feminists often argue that the Bible is misogynistic, shackling, and demeaning. I would disagree–I would argue instead that the way the Bible is interpreted and applied can be misogynistic, shackling, and demeaning depending on who’s in power.

That said, there is a story in the Old Testament that argues for the love of a Father for both genders.

Zelophehad was an Old Testament man about the time of the Exodus. He is mentioned in the following passages:

  • Numbers 27:1-11
  • Numbers 36
  • Joshua 17:3-6
  • Numbers 26:33 (just a passing mention for the desert equivalent of a census, not pertinent to this post)
  • 1 Chronicles 7:15b (just another passing mention for the desert equivalent of a census, again not pertinent to this post)

Numbers 27:1 begins the tale of Zelophehad. We don’t know much about him, other than he died in the desert as a result of his own disobedience and he did not take part in any rebellious acts. He had no sons. In those days, this was a tragedy, but it wasn’t the worst tragedy since he did have children in the form of¬†five daughters.

It is interesting that only three daughters have feminine names: Mahlah (Hebrew form of Arabic for powerful, narrow, tender), Milkah (queen), and Tirzah (delight). The other two have masculine names–Noah (rest, peace, comfort) and Hoglah (his festival or dance).

With no information on the father, we don’t know much. It is most interesting that two of the daughters have masculine names. It makes me wonder if after several¬†daughters he so devoutly wished for a son that he started giving masculine names as a deep petition, a verbal expression of a strong desire to express his masculinity through masculine offspring.

At any rate, with no sons, he would have no property. Without property, his memory would be forgotten. It would be like he never existed. His daughters had other plans. They argued that they should receive their father’s portion of the inheritance. It was a risky and courageous move–women had well-defined roles and stepping outside those roles could result in community censure or even death.

Moses did not know what to do. So he went to the LORD with their request. In a move most feminists don’t seem to know exists in the Bible, the LORD stated their request was right (and just, although He didn’t say that). Further, in verses 8-11 He gave Moses the exact words to use to present the ruling to the people, who more than likely weren’t pleased to have a little less land to share.

Numbers 36 shows just how land hungry the Israelites really were. They challenged the LORD’s ruling, arguing that their tribe would lose land to the other tribes if the daughters ever married (verses 1-4).

Moses starts to give¬†the LORD’s ruling in verse 5 with the end in verse 9. I can almost see Moses shaking his head and the LORD sighing deeply in between 4 and 5, but I digress. The LORD says that the daughters have to marry within their tribe if they marry. He also extends the ruling to cover any daughter who inherits from her father. Verses 10-12 indicate that the daughters of¬†Zelophehad obeyed the LORD.

I suspect Joshua 17:1-6 happened between Numbers 36:1-9 and Numbers 36:10-12. In Joshua 17:1-2 the land for the tribe of Manasseh is being subdivided. In Joshua 17:3, we see poor sonless¬†Zelophehad’s five daughters still without their land after the death of Moses. They proceed to petition Joshua, Eleazar the chief priest, and other leaders in verse 4 for the land the LORD had commanded Moses to be given them. Joshua consented.

It almost seems like an effort to prevent women from their due. But again, the LORD intervenes through Joshua to give the women what is legally and rightfully theirs. Admittedly, it was in their father’s name, but given the perversity of the Israelites, the LORD probably knew that had it been given to a woman in the name of a woman, the Israelites His people would have bolted; they just weren’t ready for the kind of equality we have today.

Makes me wonder: how many other stories of true equality are buried deep in unexpected places in the Bible?


An Open Letter to Jessica Valenti

Author’s Note:¬†I interrupt my regularly scheduled blog drivel to share something that has hit me hard. I saw this article come across my feed today, stating that Jessica Valenti was leaving social media. It is about how some women are being targeted and forced out of social media because some people don’t like their views. I know I’ve written about this from a different perspective in Death of Blogger, so let’s flip this truth diamond and look at this from a different angle yet again.

Dear Jessica,

I know I’m not a personal friend. My blog probably would never be followed by you. More than likely, we’d disagree on too many issues to number and discuss in this life time. And I’ve not yet read or heard your work, so¬†I’ll have to do some due diligence later. :’)

I am so sorry you are going through this. I cannot begin to describe how you must feel, how precious your baby is to you, how hard leaving social media must be.

I can describe the fear and dread I often feel. I know in a way it’s cowardice for me, as I write under a pen name late at night after I’ve tucked my three angels with hidden disabilities into bed at night.

But I chose to write under a pen name so I could at least get my ideas out. I’ve studied history; tyrants often choose to take out those who are different, those who write and think, and those who would be the defenders long before they attack the rest of their “enemies.”

And growing up in a small town, I’ve seen how sometimes those whose gifts are different can be belittled, bullied, and emotionally destroyed by the majority who don’t have those gifts or ideas. Sometimes, they even tease children for what parents or relatives have done. Yes, not all places are like that, but some are. And in those places, not all people are like that.

I also learned that you have to assess the situation. Is this a bully you can kick between the legs and get some street credit? Is this a bully that you can hide from for a while so he or she forgets you and then you come back in a different part of the area? Is this a bully that you need to run and never come back to?

I think social media is our new small town. Trolls are just the new bullies. And we bloggers, podcasters, and whatever term is in vogue are the freaks, geeks, and outcasts they tear down to make themselves feel bigger, better, smarter, and taller. And sometimes, they will be so small they’ll have to target poor, defenseless children to feel better.

None of these realizations made me feel any better. I’m sure they won’t make you feel better either. Unfortunately, you cannot hide forever and you cannot hate an entire place for the actions of a few.

What can we do? I do applaud a temporary halt from social media. Completely disconnect everything, pack up your precious little girl, and go someplace off grid. Rest, relax, and revel in what I’m sure are some precious and precocious antics your daughter engages in. Yes, it will be hard at first, as none of us is used to the deafening silence that comes in the absence of electronics.

But don’t stay away forever. Come back with protections for your daughter that make you feel she is safe but leave you empowered to voice what you believe. I may not accept what you believe, but if I want the freedom to express my beliefs within reason and courtesy with respect, I need to give those who have other views the same freedom.

When things get bad again (and they will), I’m not going to say to suck it up, because the stress of sucking it up can be physically and emotionally damaging. I’m going to argue that we need to work together to shield one another, to circle the wagons, and to lift and encourage each other. And sometimes, we need to carry the deeply wounded off the field to a hero’s welcome and let them stay away.

I don’t know your religious background, so I don’t know if this will help. I intend to pray for you and your little girl as often as I see your name in writing, not that I would change your heart or views (not that it isn’t possible) but that you would both be protected and you would have the strength you need in that moment to speak the truth that is necessary.



Please Explain…

Author’s Note: This is going to be one of those controversial adult topic posts. I’m struggling and confused.

I understand, just barely, the whole transgendered thing. You feel in your mind and spirit that you identify with the opposite gender of the body you have. That’s hard.

But what I don’t understand is why those who are transgendered with male bodies and female minds and spirits have to push on the whole restroom thing. These individuals are not physically female so why should they get to use the female restroom.

Personally, if they are so wound up in the feminine mind and soul, why can they not understand that some women have been so horribly treated by those who are totally male that the presence of anything physically male in the restroom with them could trigger flashbacks or other negative reactions?

And why can the government not just make a simple rule: go with your biology? If you’re physically male, use the male restroom. If you’re physically female, use the female restroom.

Why are women once again expected to yield privacy and safety and comfort to physical males, regardless of gender identity of mind and spirit?

And how would men feel if the most unseemly, hard-featured women started squatting on their urinals during “that” time of the month? The women may be transgendered, or they may be feminazis claiming to be transgendered in an effort to teach an object lesson through extreme performance art.

And yet, I’m now running into the question of what do you do if someone has been abused and molested by someone of the same physical gender?

Maybe, instead of fighting over idealogies, businesses could consider redesigning restrooms. Instead of rows and rows of stalls, businesses could create individual, private restrooms with locking doors. Keep them clean (translate sanitized and disinfected), and keep them unisex. We’d have fewer numbers and we might have to wait more; however, privacy and safety would be uncompromised.

But who knows? I don’t. I’m just a simple country girl. I can use an outhouse. ūüôā

Dear Will…

Author’s Note: As usual, I’m changing names to protect innocent and guilty alike. I’ve renamed the man who was a very good friend to me after the son of a professional I greatly respect. This thank you is nearly 25 years overdue. And his eyes were electric blue…

Dear Will,

It’s been over two decades since we’ve seen each other. I always loved the way we could talk multiple periods of history in 15 minutes while the bio and geo majors watched in awe. And it’s been 25 years since that night, the one I no longer talk about. I was too trusting and naive, I’d said no twice, and I spiralled out of control.

I’d tried several people to talk to about that night. Because the man-child who couldn’t take no was a respected leader in the student religious community and my yearmate, no one wanted to believe me, no one wanted to talk about it, and I was supposed to forgive and pretend it had never happened.

You had to be in a hard position, being in a group that he was in. You were to see him like a brother, to defend and protect him and all that entails. And yet, somehow, you found time and room to hear me out.

I’m not sure everything is clear in my mind. And I might have things out of order — stress does that to me.

I remember we took a long walk the following fall. It was starting to frost, but the frost was melted for that time of day. The farmer’s field had dead corn stalks, and the river made gentle flowing water sounds. I don’t remember the exact words I used, but you listened. You believed me. You helped me connect to some resources the next town over.

I believe I was silent on the way back, and pretty much shut everyone out after that. And I made some wild, wild choices. But I don’t think I talked about why I shut down, or why I gave in and tried to make everything look good for the three years he lived the proverbial two doors down.

The professional who listened to me showed me the exact text of the law. At that time, there was little difference between rape and sexual assault except Tab P in Slot V and fluid samples. In my case, because my clothes were still on, I had no legal recourse.

That was so hard. But you did listen, you stayed kind, and as far as I know you never shared anything I shared.

Thanks for listening and validating and believing. You helped me get the information I needed to let go, to not take the poison of anger and unforgiveness into myself and expect it to end the life of the man-child. The seeds you planted did not help right away, but eventually the fruit did grow.

I think your wisdom and concern have shown me the folly of some efforts to focus on forcing perpetrators to be found 20 or 30 years after the fact. So much more could be done to heal victims if we listened, believed, and gave them the proper tools to process what happened to them. Revenge never results in true justice.

I hope we do meet again. So much good has come to me in all this time, and I’d love to share it in person instead of here on my blog.

Agape and phileo,