It’s been a long season of revelation in our culture, one where everywhere you turn someone is being outed for behaving badly. Even within a matter of days, this post will be old news. And since I write most of my posts/articles over the course of months, this post is already dated. But sadly, new revelations are always coming to the surface about sin, abuse of power, and women being hurt. So in many ways, talking about how women are treated in our culture is an evergreen topic—from the Bible until today.
The Galatian Christians were tempted to go back to bondage. They wanted the comforts of the law, not the nuances of grace. They wanted the structure that the law afforded them, not the freedom that grace afforded them. Grace took away their own ability to do anything to save themselves. What they missed is that the law did the very same thing.
Every year, as Mother’s Day rolls around, we are met with a number of posts ranging from honoring mothers to exhorting mothers to manage their expectations of the day. There are posts that acknowledge that the day is hard for many women. There are posts that work to be inclusive. I’ve even written a number of these types of posts over the years.
Mother’s Day can be a tricky one for Christians. On the one hand, we want to honor the blessing of motherhood, both as mothers and as children of mothers. Every person was brought into the world by a mother, so we all have some stake in this day. But it also can be an incredibly painful day for many women, so for the Christian, the call to “weep with those who weep” rings truer than ever.
My twin boys started kindergarten this year, which has been an adjustment for our entire family. But in the months leading up to their first day, I spent a lot of time reading and researching educational options in my city (as well as the options from a biblical/theological perspective). I was helped by thoughts from all sides in the discussion about how we educate our children. But in nearly every article I read, or message/interview I listened to, one thing was absent (or at least not talked about much).
You’ve probably heard the statistics about single women in our culture. There are now more women on some college campuses than men. In some cities there are more single women than married women. Women outpace men academically and often times professionally. In many churches, the single women outnumber the men. For all of our emphasis on marriage being a good and important institution, singleness is the reality for many people.
Men who behave badly are all over the news these days. In fact, it’s been so much a part of our national conversation for the last year that I’ve had this post (most of it, anyway) written since we found out that we were having another boy—raising the Reissig boy total to four. I’ve been mulling over these thoughts for the better part of a year and finally got around to editing them. Unfortunately the national conversation about men doing bad things hasn’t changed one bit. It’s only gotten worse, which has only increased my desire to process what it means to raise four sons in a world where men behave badly.
A few weeks ago my sons were watching the popular children’s show, Doc McStuffins on television. I’m a big fan of Doc McStuffins. I like the diversity the show brings to the table. I like that the main character is a girl and a doctor. I like that she is African-American and portrayed in a positive light. I like that she is kind and helps people. It even holds my attention when my kids are watching it.
I wish I could say I always pay close attention to what they are watching. True confession: I don’t. While we don’t let them watch things that we haven’t vetted, I don’t filter every piece of content once we have approved it.
I learned my lesson.
I’m usually pretty behind on the news, though this week I’ve been paying attention to the A Day Without a Woman strike set to happen today. The organizers of the strike are calling on women to either refrain from shopping, wear red, or stay home from paid or unpaid work. While they acknowledge this is not a possibility for many women (and say that they strike for those women, too), it strikes (no pun intended) me as a fairly privileged event—and therefore not for all women.
When was the last time you went to your doctor? How about your OBGYN? Did you wonder how this specialty of medicine came into existence? I hadn’t given it much thought until I listened to a program on NPR a few weeks ago about the father of modern gynecology—J. Marion Sims.
But I don’t want to talk about him, at least not directly. February is Black History Month (and March is Women's History Month), so I want to talk about the women who made his discoveries possible. The women he practiced on. The women he studied. And more importantly, I want to talk about the women he exploited to find cures to ailments many of us no longer are at risk of facing.