Be Bold For Change

This past Wednesday March 8, 2017 was our annual International Women’s Day. It is a global day recognised by the United Nations that celebrates the cultural, economic, political and social achievements of women.  But the day is also very important to bring awareness that we still need to do better to bring about gender parity.

New York City march. Image Source Paul Thompson of Getty Images

Tracing the history we go back to 1908 when 15,000 women having grown weary of the inequalities marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter hours.  The following year the 1st National Women’s Day was observed in the United States.  Over the next few decades other countries would give recognition to their women.  It was not until 1975 that International Women’s Day was celebrated for the very 1st time.

Image Source…Jay Lee on Flickr

Although not perfect by any means, women in the western world have made great strides for equity in the workplace.  On the “homefront” it all depends on the household, and different sources vary, but on average women spend twice the hours on household chores which adds meaning to the quote “A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done”.  Improvement is still needed in regards to domestic duties and who does what.  BBC even has a web link called “Chore Wars” to find out who does more around the household, you or your partner.

Occasionally as a lay pastor I have heard words along the line that the Christian church is anti female.  But when I look at the broad picture of countries like Canada that have had a lot of Christian influence and compare them with countries without Christian influence I am learning that nothing has influenced the statue and value of women in our world than Biblical Christianity.

“UNICEF”, which is an acronym for  “United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund” is an agency that continues to monitor and come to the aid of children and women worldwide.  In some countries domestic violence is the norm, such as one country where 90% of women feel it is acceptable for their husbands to hit them.

Image Source  Rueters

From the Thompson Reuters Foundation using 6 different criteria 213 international gender experts ranked Afghanistan, Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia as the 5 most dangerous countries for women in the world.

 

 

 

All 5 above images from Thompson Rueters (RUETERS)

Jesus himself set the bar high when he himself gave status, dignity and respect with all the women he encountered and the teachings throughout the New Testament magnifies this even more.  This just is not found in the common Greco-Roman culture of the time Jesus walked the earth. From the website Ancient Greece it mentions that “The social classes applied to men only as women all took their social and legal status from their husband or male partner.  Women in ancient Greece were not permitted to take part in public life”.

And in ancient Rome from the article “Women in Roman Society” it mentions “Women in Roman society were not given much power.  Women were in charge of raising children and keeping house.  Since there was no birth control in Roman times, women were often pregnant.  Men would leave the house in the morning for work until noon, and then spend the afternoon relaxing at the baths or public entertainment event.  When a man returned home, he expected his house to be in order”.

Not in English, but you can still see how the ancient Rome social hierarchy works.
Image source.

It was in this type of social structure that Jesus lived to break down prejudices and inequalities. Jesus was BOLD FOR CHANGE. He ignored the prejudices and the prevailing view that women were inferior beings.  In John 4 Jesus spoke to a Samaritan women in public.  This may not be unusual in today’s Western cultures, but in the culture of the day this was a radical departure from the norm.  He treated her with dignity and respect.  Jesus was friends with Mary and Martha and many followers who were women.  This is not unusual today, but extremely unusual in the day.  And as we approach Easter, the 1st people who were at the empty tomb were women followers.  And Jesus instructs the women to tell the disciples that he was alive, which was huge.  In a culture where a women’s testimony was worth very little, Jesus elevated the value of women beyond anything the world has seen.

So cool that women were the 1st of Jesus’s followers to find the empty tomb after the resurrection and the 1st to see the risen Jesus Image Source

I am glad we celebrate International Women’s Day which recognises the cultural, economic, political and social achievements of women.  And I am thankful for the country I live in and the freedoms and equalities we enjoy here.  More rights and privileges than any other time in history.  I am thankful for the Christian influence we enjoy here.  A trip to an Arab or third world nation where there is no or little Christian influence will tell you how little freedom women in those countries enjoy.  Let us do our part to bring awareness and let us BE BOLD FOR CHANGE.

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23 thoughts on “Be Bold For Change

  1. Reblogged this on theoldfellowgoesrunning and commented:

    As some of you may be aware I write for 2 blogs, my running blog and a blog for the church I am lay pastor for. For the most part I keep my 2 blogs separate.
    For this one post I would like expand to the broader audience of my main blog, and as we are just coming off of International Women’s Day to bring an awareness of the plight of women worldwide who do not enjoy the rights and privileges we enjoy in the Western world.

    Thank you for taking the time to read. 🙂

    ~Carl~

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I had no idea this blog existed. The USA has many laws on the books regarding Women’s Rights and Equality but those laws are rarely enforced. I see the double standard at my workplace where sexual harassment runs rampant. The younger women are usually forced to leave the job. Bullying is out of control.

    Even other women get in on the act so I can’t blame men all the time. As for me I requested and received a transfer last year. I knew I had to leave when one of my co-workers told me what he wanted to do to me sexually in front of another co-worker. Reporting does No good. Human Resources is not on the side of the victim and neither is management nor the Union. So rather than constantly try to avoid this guy and risk my safety when an opening came up in the other building I took the opportunity and ran.

    Another factor is the stereotype of Black women being seen as loose or available. Can’t tell you how many times white males have approached me on the job thinking I’m either a drug dealer or a sex worker all because I’m a Black Woman. Probably most of these guys are Christians. I’m a museum security officer wearing a uniform that covers me from neck to feet. I consider myself a professional. I’m a college graduate and a U.S. Army Veteran but in the USA I will never be seen as equal or in most cases as even human. So for me it’s not only sexism but a liberal does of racism.

    Sadly America now has a leader who promotes sexism, racism, discrimination and hate yet he is considered a Christian and voted in by Evangelicals. Christianity killed off most of the Native American tribes and brought Africans to America as slaves and currently endorses the bigoted behavior minorities continue to experience in the USA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deborah…thank you. You have poured a huge part of your heart and soul into this comment. Thank you for reading and for taking a big part of your valuable time to share.

      As you shared I tried to imagine myself walking in your shoes as a colored woman. It is heart wrenching what you have had to face daily as you go into work and face the sexism and racism. As you mentioned about the Women’s Rights and Equity Laws, they are only of value if they are enforced.

      The atrocities against the Native Indian tribes both in Canada and America as well as the dehumanizing treatment of the people who were brought over as slaves from West Africa is a huge black mark against Christianity.

      We live in a fallen world Deborah, and I try to raise awareness of the injustices that go on, both through the sermons in church I am lay pastor and in my writings. I work a full time job outside of the church to put food on the table. Life can get very exhausting, but God does give strength. We forget that we are all equal, created very special in the image of God.

      Mankind can so often disappoint (and even deeply hurt), but Jesus will never fail you. I admire you for your faith. I admire you for the strength that you have within you. I know that comes from God.

      Once again, I really appreciate you sharing.

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Carl, I’m glad you took the time to read and really listen. I am devoted to Jesus and Christianity but not the Euro-Centric Christianity that condemns other races, cultures and religions. I just wish that Christianity were more open-minded to other races, traditions and cultures. That would help close the gap and build a bridge regarding race relations. There is a saying that in America 11:00 am Sunday is the most segregated time in the USA because the division of race is still alive and well in the church at least in America. Still when I gave my heart and soul to a Jewish carpenter I shall not turn back. I treat my Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist friends and neighbors with the same Love hopefully even more so than the church because let’s face it as Christians we are the only Bible others see. And the disgraceful way the church conducts itself is not conducive other religions who have an interest in Christianity but are probably afraid to step into a church for fear of condemnation. Let’s hope America turns around before it is too late.

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is powerful stuff Deborah. If we as Christians really followed Jesus’s teaching and loved our neighbours (no matter what race, tradition, culture or religion) as our self it would be earth shattering. His life was a perfect example.. There was no divisions whatsoever, they were all irrelevant.

        My friend, it is 2:35 am , and I have to be up for 6 for work. I really appreciate this conversation. You have been an encouragement, and I want to thank you.

        God bless! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would struggle to follow anything that has so many black marks against it to be fair Carl as indeed I did. A system set up ostensibly in the name of Christ that seemed to have systematically and repeatedly failed all the people he is known for (boldly as you say) hanging out with, including foreigners, women, the poor, Jews, Palestinians, children….

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    • Thank you Angie for taking the time to read and share. I appreciate your thoughts. I struggle with this as well….a lot. And I guess it is why I ended up sharing this, hoping the awareness will make a little bit of change.

      Hope everything is well my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Inspiration doesn’t cut it for me anymore. It is exhausting, especially in cultures that are still largely patriarchal and regressive and hypocritical to the point of suffocation. I am mildly more privileged than many women in India – which is something I am supposed to be thankful for and not complain about the more “trivial” inequality and lack of safety I face. Since when was equality relative and not absolute? It gets tiring to fight, and argue and disrupt relationships just for your right to your space and time, to be on your guard every time you step out and second-guess every stranger who looks your way.

    And in the end, people laugh at you for being a feminist. These statistics just add another degree to the frustration building up and we have no idea WHAT we can do about it.

    I did not intend to rant… but well. I don’t have anything else to say anymore. Except that I am tired. And so are many women around me who are throwing in the towel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Prajakta, I really, really appreciate so much for you sharing your heart. I saw your comment in the wee hours of last night, and I did not know how to respond. All throughout my work day your words have been haunting me. My heart goes out to you. I could sense the weight that you are carrying on your shoulders.

      On occasion a gang rape and killing in India will make international headlines, and I am immediately wondering about yourself and your safety. It really must get exhausting to be on guard all the time. I cannot even imagine what it must be like.

      For me I did not see it as a rant Prajakta. I could feel it as a cry out from your tender heart, a cry that echo’s out from the millions of women who are suffocating just like yourself who want change. Who don’t want to be treated as a lower class object anymore but want to be treated as an equal with dignity and respect.

      I care for you and have so much respect for you .Prajakta. I can pray. I can write awareness posts such as this. Is there anything we can do from the Western world to try and bring about change? To have a wave of reform sweep across your nation?

      Thank you again for sharing so openly! It meant a lot to me.

      ~Carl~

      Like

      • Thank you for your understanding and compassion, Carl.. People like you often give the assurance that perhaps, there is hope still. I realize we need to help ourselves first of all, and tackle it from within – but every once in a while, it feels good when someone else steps in and takes it off your shoulders. As long as we are talking about it, it will not be forgotten.

        Thank you again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are most welcome Prajakta, it is the very least I could do. The injustices against fellow human beings around the world many times leave me with a “heaviness” and wondering what can I do?

        Really hope things will improve!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is awesome! We are so blessed as women to be able to vote, work, and live in equality in America. It hurts my heart to read the statistics you pointed out within your article. I pray that we can continue to open our borders to those who are seeking a better way of life not only for themselves but for their families.

    I celebrate every woman for all the beauty, uniqueness and individuality that God created us to be.

    Thanks for sharing!

    God Bless!
    ~Mel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Melissa for taking the time to read and share. It really is heartbreaking of what some women have to face and endure.

      Here in Canada there is opportunity to bring over some refugee families, particularly from Syria. In order to do so they need sponsorship from individuals and/or groups. Churches are the ones who are being the most proactive in this, which is exciting. The larger churches will do 1 or more sponsorships on their own, but in most instances several smaller churches will combine resources to bring a family over. It is so cool to have several churches working together for a cause such as this.

      Love your last sentence in your comment. It is a celebration of how God our creator made us.

      Blessings in return! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very thoughtful post. I’m feeling Prajakta’s tiredness, the moronic-ness of it all beggars belief but hey ho, there’s always glimmers of hope, after all you’re a guy and you put together this fine piece.

    Like

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