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Monday, March 28, 2011

Real women of the world...learn to spell.

A few weeks ago, in the midst of the news of political crisis in Egypt and Libya and the earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan, President Obama informed the world that what we really needed to do was pay a little more attention to Women's History Month. 

Beyond thinking him politically tone deaf for choosing that moment to discuss something as trivial as Women's History Month while the world goes to hell around us, I didn't dwell on it much. I have classes to attend, and a husband and children who occasionally demand my attention and my time. 

But then last week at school (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) I happened past a bulletin board in the hallway near one of my classes. It read "Celebrate Womyn's Herstory Month!" I nearly cried. Ladies, who else is offended by this?

First, I would like to make the point that no amount of Political Correctness is worth spelling THAT BAD. "Womyn?" Really?
Second, the word "history" is not the rumored misogynistic "study of man" at all, but comes from the Greek "istoria," which means "to learn by investigation."
And third, it makes women's rights activists look as desperate as they are - do they really believe that the only way to make a visible impact on this world as a woman is to change words around until they get noticed?

But what really bothers me is what will eventually get me crucified by NOW (the National Organization for Women). They support these alternate spellings and such because they believe that women have been oppressed by men since the beginning of time, and that they finally have the chance to step out into the spotlight and be the unique women that they are. Not that I disagree that women are unique - I believe that we are absolutely unique, and that what we have to offer the world can never be offered by men. But I also believe that our true worth and beauty is most visible when it is held up alongside men rather than when it is bullied forth in an attempt to subvert our "oppressors." When women push themselves to the forefront to drown out all of the evil men, they all become the same. After all, how can you glorify the uniqueness of women if there is no male counterpart with which to compare? 

We are our most effective, most beautiful, as partners, not as bullies. 

And for Heaven's sake, let's not let our spelling suffer for the sake of a little recognition.

Where is the line between outreach and worship?

Several conversations over the past week have all ended up in the same concept: should Christians, and the church as a whole, strive to meet people halfway for the sake of outreach and conversion? The answer, I think, is no. 

This is not to say that the church should not engage in outreach, only that it should not confuse outreach and worship. In worship, the function of the church is to bring like-minded believers together. Outreach is an attempt to reach the people with what they need in order to bring them into the fold. If the line between outreach and worship is blurred, the things that originally brought those like-minded believers together - such as the traditional liturgy and closed communion - begin to be compromised. And though you may be reaching more people and bringing them in to your church, you are bringing them into a watered-down fold that has compromised its core principles. In effect, you can be losing your church even as you grow it.

So I ask myself what Martin Luther himself would say. And I find it difficult to believe that he would support the compromise of the worship service or of the sacrament for the sake of conversion(s). Why? Because conversion is the work of God, not man. If a man is going to be brought to Christ, but only if we are willing to change the way we worship, then how real can his conversion be?