I became an Anglican eight years ago and have seen marvellous shifts in my life and outlook as a result of having faith. My daughter was 4 years old then and enjoyed the introduction to Sunday School and being part of the children’s procession which followed the serving clergy out at the end of each service. It has been an absolute pleasure to have watched her faith grow over the last 8 years and to listen to her defending her faith against other young people who call her a ‘geek’ for going to church.
I originally come from a part of the world where Christians are persecuted for their faith and I never cease to feel deeply grateful for the freedom I have in Britain to worship freely and to have my daughter openly proclaim her faith. The privilleges we have must make us all the more acutely aware of the persecutions that others suffer. I specifically refer to the bombings in Nigeria that took place yesterady (25/12/11). Children were caught up in it and at the time of writing this I am unable to find out whether any died. The thought of those children waking up early in eager anticipation of Christmas day stretching ahead of them and then being subjected to such horror is heart wrenching.
Globalisation was meant to, apart from other things, spread the message of tolerance and international acceptance of each other. This includes religious tolerance. If anything, extremists who fear the spread of a Western style of democracy are holding fast to their beliefs by inflicting terror as a weapon to do so. China is clamping down on Churches. The value of sharing is never purely based on economics or the monetary system. If that were to be so then international cooperation need not extend beyond trade agreements and tariffs. Now, that would be foolish wouldn’t it?
Please pray for the tolerance of Christianity in 2012.
What would have happened if it had been 3 wise women instead of 3 wise men? The women would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stables, cooked a casserole and brought peace on earth.
Merry Christmas to Feminist Women Everywhere.
The following is an extract from a book written in 1698 by Sir George Wheeler who was educated at Oxford University and became an author. The rules of conduct set out below come from his book titled:
‘The Protestant Monastery: Or, Christian Oeconomicks. Containing Directions for the Religious Conduct of a Family’.
Men should have power over their wives
Good wives should be patient, loving, sweet, kind and obedient
Men should look after their wives
Men should never hit their wives
Men should take advice from their wives
Men are stronger and wiser than women
Men should respect their wives
Wives should obey their husbands
Have contemporary marriages moved away from this model for a happy marriage? Your immediate instinct would be to say ‘yes’, I suspect, but do consider the rise in domestic violence, the recent spate of family killings by men and the favourable way policy makers view marriage with a sub-text of keeping traditional roles going.
This blog post has been inspired by an article in the Sunday Times of 20 November by Dominic Lawson titled ‘Only a Gunman Brings Respect to the Disabled’. This title is a reference to Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who was shot earlier this year. I read the article with double interest because Dominic Lawson knows what he is talking about as he has a son with Down’s Syndrome.
Gabrielle Gifford was shot through the head and was not expected to die but she has pulled through. Diane Sawyer, the very well known host at ABC, interviewed Gabrielle about her ordeal. It was the reaction by the public and the media to the interview that shows the alarming two-tier prejudice that exists against people born disabled.
Gabrielle is seen as a winner, someone who is being heroic in struggling to overcome her disability. People in everyday life who become disabled either through an accident or illness are often seen as brave too in coping with the change in their lives. But, nobody says the same of those who were born with a disability.
The two-tier prejudice comes from the fact that this group has to deal with a prejudicial concept of them being disabled and unable; and an expectation from them to do far more than they can physically or mentally possibly do.
Hate crime is on the rise. There are things we don’t all witness like the disabled people who are insulted on public transport for being in the way or not moving fast enough when entering or exiting. Then there are the public spectacles of celebrities, Ricky Gervais, who used the word ‘mong’ to describle people with Down’s Syndrome.
When the blogger, Nicola Clark, criticised Ricky Gervais for this she received a barrage of insults instead of support. What sort of society do we have where people think that the use of offensive language, especially to describe those who are vulnerable, is a sign of humour? Nicola Clark was asked to ‘chill out’ and to leave free speech alone. I thought our forefathers fought the ideals of free speech on the understanding that it was to be used to increase the wellbeing of all.
Dominic Lawson said: ‘…hope that the public can now extend their engagement with Gabrielle Gifford into an appreciation of the humanity of those who have been born disabled’.
The image of Mary Wollstonecraft was today beamed onto the Houses of Parliament in London to publicise efforts to erect a statute to her memory. I was thrilled that a feminist had been given the honour of having her memory showcased on one of our most popular British landmarks.
That makes Mary officially a part of our British History, thereby a recognition that feminism has been woven into our fabric of the past. It lends more meaning to the feminist term ‘her story’.
I pay homage to Mary because her view of mothers being important because they educate children is a tenet that is central to my mothering. Mothers have so much that they can teach and pass on to their children but society disempowers mothers by marginalising the work of mothering. That which does not produce a profit is disregarded.