Thank you everyone for joining in the conversation today and wanting to join in. I had not anticipated such a quick and keen engagement with my first writing but am so thankful for all your voices. And an unexpected blessing of technology is that I am hearing from such a wonderfully diverse and rich number of voices, voices that might not necessarily find themselves around a table naturally. Maybe technology is not so bad after all.
Yes to the impact of culture and media and advertising has had on our understanding of being feminine and what it means to be a woman and for me a daughter of God and how pressures from both inside and outside the church from different corners makes that harder. I cannot say that culture outside the church is the only culprit in making this such a tangled confusing and at times hurtful journey.
In fact for me I think that it has been the cultural/advertising voices that have spoken loudest to me in regard to fashion, make up, shopping, the outer coat so to speak. While the differing voices within the church have in the past created more tension in my identity in regard my role and place.
I don’t want to rule out the place of clothes and make up can have for some with regard their sense of femininity. I remember my own journey with clothes and body image and discovering clothes that acknowledged my body, a body that for many years had failed to be, do what I longed to be able to do and so I hid it. And in doing so behind dark clothes sizes too big for me I also hid a part of my femininity. Not intentionally but over time it happened and I had to once more get to know myself in all my fullness as I bought clothes with colour, clothes my size. Now I love finding a new item of clothing in our fabulous charity shop or at Nomads but it is not what I set out to do every Saturday.
We have all had our own walks and different times of wounding and hurt, the same event impacting different people to greater or lesser degree and wounds that only we along have known. They impact us and if left untended can shape us in ways that are not healthy, though we may not realise that until many years down the road. My concern though in recent months in church circles is the moving aside of God’s word to that which feels like the clothes and make up, the outer coat, without any depth, structure. Invitations to journeys of self exploration, ‘with the Holy Spirit’ but not rooted and surrounded in God’s word which is where we find life, freedom and truth.
At the moment I feel we are letting each other down when we do not embrace ourselves and each other fully as the people we and they are in the light of God’s word, carrying the image of God, made as man and woman to reflect His glory.
Yes we need to tend to wounds and hurts with more than a bandaid, we need to extend healing and life but for those of us in the church is there a better way? I think Jesus’ approach so often was to name an action, extend forgiveness where needed and move on in fullness of life. I think of the woman at the well, Mary Magdelene, I think of the woman accused of adultery. We are broken people but Jesus does not keep us there. Let’s not be afraid to name our brokenness but then remember who we are and how Jesus sees us and life in that freedom. Maybe then I won’t need to hold in tension my adventurous warrior spirit with the way I perceive feminine to mean.
Further thoughts and may this conversation go on. Keep sharing.