Sunday, 19 August 2012

Women behaving badly

In Christian history, women have often been portrayed in a bad light. I'm so grateful to those women and men who have re-told the stories, and drawn our attention to so many women who have been passed over or misrepresented.

But there are some women who were just bad - and there's not much from their stories which can be redeemed. I recently decided to avoid preaching on the 'John the Baptist's head on a platter' story. But was interested to read an excellent reflection on Herodias and Salome, on the Big Bible Project website (also an excellent place to go for bible resources).

Gold medals for women-not-to-be-followed.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Mentoring, mentoring

Mentoring is clearly flavour of the month across the pond as well as in UK.

CPAS is promoting mentoring, and running training courses for and within dioceses. And mentoring is one of the themes of the latest bulletin from Gifted for Leadership.

Gifted for Leadership is a regular email for women leaders from the company that produces Christianity Today. The article introduces mentoring, and there are a whole host of ways of understanding and defining what mentoring is, how to mentor, and how to make the most of being mentored. But for a starting point it may be worth checking out.

There are also two articles on the CPAS women in leadership site. Click here and scroll down to find and download them.

Being a mentor is a great way to help and encourage others in leadership. Being mentored is a privilege - someone to walk beside you, and both challenge and encourage.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

What women want

I recently watched the film Made in Dagenham. It was a good reminder of how far women have come since the 1960s.

Was it only then that women had equal pay - or began to have equal pay? We'v come a way since then, but still far to go!

And while women still find life very unequal, the Church is too often on the side of inequality, in the mistaken belief that it's God-given. The idea that God made men and women for different 'roles' in life.

The organisation Theos is organising a conferernce on 22nd May: 'What women want'. We've had a book of that title, a film even - though hardly enlightening! This looks like a serious attempt to help the Church engage in issues of concern to women. So worth getting involved?

From the publicity:

'It has been said women make up half the world’s population, yet do two thirds of the world’s work, earn one tenth of the world’s income and own less than one per cent of the world’s property. Has the time come for the Church to step forward and take action on issues such as gender equality and women’s rights to challenge the power of men? Join us as we debate, consider and discuss the issues surrounding women’s empowerment in both the UK and throughout the world.'

For more details, click here:

Monday, 20 February 2012

Strengthened to Serve

I was intrigued and perturbed by the reading on 5th February from Mark chapter 1.

It was one of those 'in passing' moments, where one thinks, 'Wait a minute!' Simon Peter's mother in law was healed by Jesus, and then got up to serve him and his friends.

I'm not sure I've ever heard a sermon on this episode, but I was delighted to see a recent post from Nancy Wallace, via the Big Bible project. You can read the rest here:

And as so often, when we read about women in the New Testament, there is more than meets the eye!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Iron Lady

For years Margaret Thatcher has been held up as a model of a certain kind of woman leader.

One which most women don't want to emulate. She has singlehandedly given rise to a stereotype of woman leader: the 'Iron Maiden' - see Stead and Elliott, 2009.

Yet the film released last week seems to have confounded her critics.

Meryl Streep is an astonishing Thatcher, convincing in both hairstyle and voice. What sounded like a bizarre way of structuring a film, around a person's mental decline, has turned out to make sense.

Like many other women I have long pondered whether Mrs Thatcher did women many favours when she became Prime Minister. She seemed so unlike most women. Yet this film has made me rethink. It reminds us she did not have much choice in that era but to behave like a man. And perhaps behind the persona there was more of a real person than most of us realised.

There is a good review of the film on the Sophia Network website, and resources available from Damaris. It will be interesting to see what discussion it generates about women leaders.

The Iron Maiden stereotype seems to reinforce the idea that 'real' women can't be leaders. Femininity is inherently not suited to leadership.

But a human 'Iron Lady' might force us to think differently.