Pearls & Vodka

What are you doing for the world today?

Having just blogged on Friday night about my role in the feminist movement, I hesitated to write this entry today. Not because I don’t believe in what I’m about to write, but because I don’t want to confuse the reader and make them think that this blog is some girl-power, feminist movement space.

It’s really not.

This blog’s intent is really to be a place of commentary on the world around us.

I recently finished reading a book by Sister Joan Chittister called, “Heart of Flesh: Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men.” I realize at the title alone some of you are wanting to check-out on reading this, but please don’t. Sit, stay awhile. Read with an open mind and an open heart.

I’ve mentioned Sister Joan before on here, and I feel that I should explain, I am not of the Catholic faith. I did attend Catholic school for two years, but I grew up a Southern Baptist, and now I am a Presbyterian. I say all that to say, this blog aims to encompass everyone, not just one faith, or one gender of humanity.

“We have made money our god and called it the good life. We have trained our children to go for jobs that bring the quickest corporate advancements at the highest financial levels. We have taught them careerism but not ministry and wonder why ministers are going out of fashion.” [1]

Raising children is not for the faint of heart.

My husband and I are only 21.5 months into this position, and it is exhausting some days, and not just because they wake up in the middle of the night when dust moves in their room. Parenting is exhausting because we live in a scary world, and we are constantly focused on protecting them but not coddling them, leading them but not directing them, loving them but not crippling them. We wonder a lot what our son will be when he grows up. For some strange reason if you ask him what he wants to be today he will tell you a “baseball player for Clemson.” And while I do have a special place in my heart for Clemson University, our son, in theory, should know nothing of any universities outside of Arkansas and Auburn. He talks about firetrucks daily and will be a fireman for Halloween in a few weeks. He loves airplanes and boats; perhaps he will follow in his Grandpa Franklin’s footsteps and join the military. But the truth is, we have no idea what he will be when he grows up.

Our main focus is to make sure he is well taken care of, though not spoiled, educated, though well-rounded, healthy and kind.

But what are showing him is our god?

My husband and I are both Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. We believe in the Bible. We believe in the Holy Trinity. We believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell. And we believe that salvation by Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life with God the Father. But aside from our spiritual beliefs, what are we showing our son that we are worshipping? Is it money? Is it things? Is it cars? Is it big houses? Is it exotic trips? Is it just the idea of “more is better?”

“We talk religion in a world that worships the bread but does not distribute it, that practices ritual rather than righteousness, that confesses but does not repent.” [1]

We take our kids to church every Sunday, and sometimes in between, and while I think that is amazing and I’m grateful for my upbringing that was similar, I just wonder if we are teaching our kids to be the “bread of life” to a hungry world? Not simply teaching them to check off their attendance sheets at the local church-house but actually be the church to a lost world in need. It’s one thing to know what you are doing is wrong, but that’s simply not enough, we have to live lives that are better than they were yesterday. Not just for ourselves, but for the little eyes watching us, and the world around us who is seeking answers.

“An authentic spirituality does not cater to culture; it calls culture to accountability.” [1]

In America, we celebrate the separation of church and state. And I agree, they should be separate. But in a world gone mad, the Church…big C and little c, have got to stand up and call our leaders to action. We must hold those who campaign on moral issues accountable. And those who show no regard for morality must be called on the carpet. We can’t idly sit by and let elected officials determine the course of our morality as a nation. Those changes have to start in our homes, in our local communities, our states and then our nation.

“We fear coddling the poor with food stamps while we call tax breaks for the rich business incentives. We make human community the responsibility of government institutions while homelessness, hunger, and drugs seep from the centers of our cities like poison from open sores for which we do not seek either the cause or the cure.” [1]

I’ve said this before on this blog, but the churches in our community must stand up. We have got to stop being so dependent as a nation on the legislators in Washington D.C. to care for those in need amongst us. We have to be the hands and feet of Jesus; we have to help those around us and love one another. We have to stop putting band-aids on societal problems and expecting the blood to stop shedding. These wounds in our nation are not surface level; they are imbedded in our very being.

“We tolerate war and massacre, mayhem and holocaust to right the wrongs that men say need righting.” [1]

There is a time and place for military action. I support everything about our military. I’m the daughter of a veteran, and I love my country deeply. I bleed red, white and blue. But the day we stop seeing other options on the table to help right the wrongs in our world is the day we stop being the country we were founded to be. We were founded on the theology that we were as Reagan said, “the shining city on the hill.” We escaped tyranny to live in freedom; we didn’t escape tyranny to police the rest of the world.

Chittister’s book is not just about the role of women in society today, it is about the effects of sexism on both men and women, and she breaks down how spirituality can make you healthier and happier. It is most definitely a book I recommend for anyone to read. But be prepared to be challenged.

The truth of the matter is no matter what spiritual practice you adhere to, we all need something more to live for and something bigger to believe in.

If you want to hear more from this amazing woman, check out her episode on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, here.


Photo by Karl Fredrickson