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Beardcast for 2.16.18 Preface to the UM Social Principles

Beardcast for 2.16.18 Preface to the UM Social Principles

This week on the Beardcast we spend some time talking about the Preface of the United Methodist Social Principles for our Lenten practice.

You can listen to the audio version of the Beardcast here

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Blogging

Make Someone Smile Every Day

Zach asked that I, as a bearded non-theologian, Google “What is God calling me to do” and react to the 15,800,000 search results.  I am afraid, dear readers, Zach didn’t know what he was getting into asking me to do this.

At first look, 15,800,000 search results seem overwhelming until you compare it to the population of the USA at 325,244,591 people (5% of the population) and even less when compared to the world’s population of 7,600,000,000 people (.2% of the population).   When evaluated as percentages of populations, those search results don’t seem as overwhelming to me.  It is undeniable that people are searching for answers and direction in their life, but what does this mean?  What do we do?  I will be honest with you: I don’t know.

I am admittedly not a religious person and I don’t know I would consider myself a spiritual person.  I am not someone that has motivational quotes hanging around my house or office nor do I have any sayings that I live by.  I do have two thoughts that have stayed with me a long time that I will share that I think help answer the question “What is God calling me to”.  Hopefully, it will resonate with a reader or two.  If not, I blame Zach.

When I watched the movie The Book of Eli I had no clue what it was about.  I knew that Denzel Washington was in it and I generally enjoy his acting.  The entire movie I was trying to figure out what book could possibly be so important that he went to the lengths he did to protect it and deliver it to its destination.  Of course, at the end of the movie we learn it was the Bible, but that is not what stuck with me.  After the book had been delivered, Solara told Eli she never thought he’d give up the book because it was too important to him.  He replied that it was, but he got so caught up in protecting it he forgot to live by what he learned from it.  Solara asked him what that was and it’s his reply to this question that I think answers the question at hand:

 

 To Do More for Other Than You do for Yourself

 

I read an article several years ago about the importance of paying compliments to people when you like something about them, what they did, etc.  While the article covered a lot of ground, my take away from the article was a piece about always complimenting someone, especially a child, when you like the shirt they are wearing.  The author’s point, in short, was everyone gets dressed with purpose each day so an affirmation of their style choices will bring a smile to their face.  After reading that, I aimed to tell at least one person each day that I liked something they were wearing.  My only rule for myself was I had to mean it when I said it.  Not surprisingly, the author was correct.  I don’t believe I have paid a compliment to one person on their shirt, hat, shoes, tattoo, whatever and they didn’t smile when I did so.  Smiles tend to be like yawns in that they are contagious.  They would smile, I would smile and maybe someone around us joins in on the conversation and smiles as well.  Plainly, it feels good to make someone smile.  This one doesn’t wrap up as nicely as the Book of Eli quote, so we will call it:

 

Make Someone Smile Every Day

 

I don’t profess to be much more than a bearded non-theologian, but if I were to offer an answer to life’s biggest question, It would be that your happiness can be found in the service and happiness of others.  This is something instilled in me from a young age by my parents and I continue to find it to be truer every day.


23798220_1894676887529031_1721846366_oThomas Wilson somehow managed to find a woman (Susan) to marry him and have two children (Stockton and Marley) with him. In his spare time, he binge-watches shows on Netflix and swears he will catch up on his backlog of audible books. He recently received the news that he may be a bearded theologian, after all. Thomas holds records in the Youth Baseball League -Coach Pitch, for the number of perfect games thrown in a season (8) and the number of batters hit by pitch (9) in a single game.

Categories
Blogging

It’s Time #MeToo

#MeToo is popping up all over social media in response to sexual harassment/assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The news cannot stop talking about the women who have come forward, his alleged behavior, the women who were paid to keep their mouths shut, and the consequences he is now facing.

They all sound shocked that this happened…shocked that so many women would be quiet for such a long time…shocked that such a successful man could possibly do these things.

Before Weinstein, the press was preoccupied with Taylor Swift’s groping trial. Again, there was shock – a DJ grabbed Swift’s backside during a photo shoot. You can clearly see this in the photo and a jury agreed that Swift was NOT, in fact, responsible for the DJ’s shattered career.

Before Swift, we saw photos of the women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. We even saw an artistic image with an empty chair sitting next to women who had been brave enough to come forward; that chair reminded us of all the other women who might have been assaulted, but whose silence made them invisible. How many were there? Will we ever know?

What did we see and hear from the media? Shock. Absolute shock. A beloved American icon was facing abhorrent accusations and for some reason, we found it very difficult to separate our admiration for the lovable, Cliff Huxtable, while grasping the overwhelming possibility that Cosby might not be quite as respectable.

Before Cosby, there was #YesAllWomen. Women flocked to Twitter and used this hashtag to express how they had been sexually assaulted, harassed, and degraded. More than 1 million tweets went out within the first four days of the hashtag’s existence…1 million tweets showcasing misogyny at its finest.

You know what we heard from the media? Shock. It was shocking! It was ridiculously shocking that so many women would have these experiences and would talk about them on Twitter. It was also distressing, so much so that another hashtag developed. #NotAllMen (Obviously, their shock caused them to miss the point entirely.)

Here is the problem. This isn’t shocking news. Women have been talking about these issues for years, generations even.

Women shouldn’t have to feel compelled to keep talking about it so others will believe this is a real issue. Women shouldn’t need to feel compelled to share deeply personal and tragic stories of sexual assault and harassment on social media – telling their stories so society can finally realize the massiveness of this problem. We have already told these stories

Women do not owe it to society to continually prove this is real.

The shock needs to end. It is dismissive to women across the world. It reinforces the idea that our experiences are not believable and questions the possibility that men, especially talented or powerful men, could perpetrate such despicable actions. We can allow men to be innocent until proven guilty, without perpetuating the nonsensical charade of shock. Doing so will not make us anymore complacent about misogyny than we already are.

If women are only ever allowed to tell their heart-wrenching stories of harassment and assault, while society listens with attentive shock, we will never start addressing misogyny. Things that truly shock us are unexpected. They are anomalies. We are stunned by them in the moment and then we continue with our lives. This isn’t an unexpected anomaly. Sexual harassment and assault are real problems that can be solved when we choose to hold people accountable for their actions.

It is time to stop the shock. It is time to stop expecting women to tell these stories over and over again as if they were revelations. It is time to get to the part of the story where we fix the problem. That is called the climax and resolution people, the very best part of the story. Do women get to experience that part of the story? Trust me, women are ready to be at that point in the narrative. We are exhausted from living and retelling the ugly first parts as if society at large is just now hearing them for the first time…


leiawilliams

My name is Leia, which should tell you that my dad’s favorite movie is Star Wars and I have some very unfortunate nicknames. I studied International Relations in undergrad and couldn’t find a job to save my life, so I changed my plans and studied communications in graduate school. I served The United Methodist Church for 7 years in fundraising, discipleship, and communications. Currently, I am working as a consultant, but in November I will return to my work with The United Methodist Church.