Friday, October 20, 2017

"Don't turn your back now I'm talking to you"

As I mention quite frequently, traditionally (and for many of us contemporaneously) Friday is a day of penance for Christians. Morning Prayer for Friday, regardless of which week of psalter (Weeks I-IV), begins with Psalm 51, known as the Miserere. The Psalm begins-

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offense.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin

I don't really have anything to add about Harvey Weinstein. I really don't want to weigh on the many inconsequential dramas that rage these days. I do want to say a word about the #MeToo campaign in light of today being a day of penance. As James Simpson wrote in his article "Men: Women Spoke Up. How Will We Respond?"- "As a man, I am responsible for this. At worst, I have actively engaged in this behavior, and at best I have stood passively by as I watched it happen." I have stood by or remained silent when I should've stood up and stepped in. To my shame, I have objectified and demeaned women.

Sadly, hostility towards women seems as prevalent now as it's ever been, at least since I've been socially aware. Our Lord Jesus Christ was revolutionary in how he related to women and how he included them.

I find something that priest and theologian Addison Hodges Hart noted very disheartening:
What I have found curious is how many self-identifying "conservative" (and even "Christian") men have reacted negatively to the #MeToo testimonies. Now that popular culture is reacting against our pornified, licentious, and abusive society, shouldn't there be some gratification on their part in knowing that the pendulum is swinging in another, possibly better direction? But there is, in too many instances, a knee-jerk reaction to anything perceived as "liberal" or -- and here's the real deal -- in opposition to hyper-masculine phoniness and "male privilege" (a phrase that rankles males who have apparently never quite achieved genuine adult manhood)
I have seen that this week first-hand. It bothers me and I have not let it go unchallenged. The response we need, my brothers in Christ, is not more sentimental pseudo-chivalrous nonsense, which itself is rather sexist. Let's face it, how can we offer to protect women when men are who they need protection against? As Catholic writer Rebecca Bratten-Weiss put it: it's like a mafia protection racket. Sounds about right to me.

If you're serious, start by reading this: "Men, you want to treat women better? Here's a list to start with."

Our Friday traditio is Patti Smith singing "Pissing in a River." It isn't particularly related to the theme of this post. But Patti is such a great artist. She is so comfortable in her own skin.

As Addision further noted: "There's nothing wrong with admitting complicity and practicing repentance." Since this week, the Twenty-eight in Ordinary Time, we are in Week IV, our reading for Evening Prayer was Romans 8:1-2: "There is no condemnation now for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the spirit, the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, had freed you from the law of sin and death."

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