Category Archives: Excuse for not blogging properly this week

Kindness is subversive

This week has been overly busy with some progress on the job front, my son’s 21st and a couple of celebrations of International Women’s Day. My one “study day” was spent mainly networking rather than writing which o an introvert like me would have seemed like a nightmare if I had planned for just how busy and social I would be this week. But it was fine (partly because the only people I had to mix with were ones I genuinely like). So I haven’t written a reflection on the next part of the mass, though I have thought a lot about the next one of those I will write (hopefully in the coming week).

I have also thought a lot about pink-collared work and about glass ceilings, especially the self-righteous kind of glass ceiling the patriarchal churches all have one way or another. I have thought about how I have a huge university debt but am paid like I just need to buy the odd pretty frock, not as though I am the one and only “bread winner” (so there has been less to go with the overpriced gluten-free bread this week). I’ve thought about the hard physical, mental and emotional labour that gets dismissed as the ultimately feminine “caring” for the youngest, oldest and most vulnerable members of society. For me caring almost becomes a dirty word, when it becomes a label trivialising hard work as just part of my nature. In this way it is steeped in the reek of exploitation.

I want to not care, I want to be tough and shiny and competitive- the minute I walk through the door into a room full of toddlers whose faces light up to see me and who ask “where are your special books to read to me” or demand a cuddle I know that as hard as I work my emotions are tangled with these exceptional people and that we do all “care” for each other after all. This knowledge is highlighted the minute one of my colleagues notices I have not had my ten-minute break or asks to swap places with me as I have been out in the sun too long, or takes over a boring cleaning task so I can do an activity with the children. Their treatment of me reminds me to watch out for who needs back-up or breathing space or just a kind word. A storm is coming so the boss sends home anyone who can be spared in the order of who has to travel on public transport longest. She says it “doesn’t count” as leaving early because she is genuinely concerned for their safety. Those who have to stay longer as parents are having trouble getting there on time. Noone complains, noone is charged for the time.

Because this is the fact of being human, like it or not we do care. There is something there that can’t be quantified and given a price tag and I feel sick with worry about that in a world where increasingly people are treated as disposable rubbish. Noone “cares” about the carers. You are supposed to be a “lifter” or an “entrepreneur”. Leaners and those leaned on have less and less value to the ones who like to stack the odds in their own favour.

But at uni this week, at a collective supervision meeting one of the students outlined her plans for her thesis. I swallowed my envy at how articulate and with-it she is and how many steps ahead of me after a shorter time and listened because I could tell she was going to be interesting. And she started with a provocative statement: “Care is subversive, kindness is activism”. She went on to talk about the neoliberal vision for the university (for the world), about the fearfulness of people to speak out and though she did not quote Freire the “banking model” of education was behind what she was criticising.

It’s a bleak view when you look at the patterns of power in the world but she has chosen to focus on activists and what makes a person one, and she seems to believe from the beginning that caring and kindness have a lot to do with it and are the loose cannon on the deck of the organised and self-interested capitalist world. It’s a romantic sort of a thought, a “love conquers all” sort of a gauntlet to throw down but I guess if I am to have any faith in God whatsoever then that is the right sort of grounding for it, and for hope.

So happy International women’s day to the carers and the sharers, the kind ones and the unselfish ones. To the ones who wipe the face of sorrow and the ones who bind wounds or teach little hearts to sing. To the unsung heroines, the weary and under-appreciated subversives, to the older women who encourage the younger women and the sisters who are stronger together.Our caring will conquer economic rationalism, our kindness is laced with a growl of righteous anger for our children. Every meal we cook, every word we write, every selfie we are laughed at for taking. We will care for ourselves, each other and the world. Our values belong to ourselves and we will not let fear and self-interest find a permanent home in our hearts.

Motherhood

Dear readers,

I love and appreciate that you exist and that it appears like some of you check weekly for updates. I had every intention of writing a post but my eldest son moved back in. I will write about that when I am less tired (but late)

God called me to preach AND be a mother. Not one OR the other but both. Sometimes I have to drop everything though and just help my son get settled in and then just feel overwhelmed yet warm in my heart.

I am so (materially) impoverished at the moment there is no symbolic way to “kill the fatted calf” so all I had was the answer to his apology (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????) for moving back in.

All I could say was “I want you to be here. I am happy you are here. Now I know where you are and that you are ok. I am proud of you.”

I am overwhelmed and tired. I am worried about the details.

But I am happy…

Apology, sick-leave or maybe a holiday

To the few but valued readers I may have,

I have decided to follow through on some awkwardly bossy things I said to God in my teacher-voice this morning and focus on my career and thesis pretty much exclusively for the next indefinite time period that will be something between two weeks and the rest of the year. If I am struck by crazy inspiration I may still post but at the moment blogging is hard work and when I spoke sternly to God about not getting enough support with my life (ie career and thesis) this morning then I unexpectedly bumped into a lecturer who told me to be more focussed (and she is right).

I made a commitment to do this weekly and I did my best but this is unpaid work and I need to focus on some other things so I can thrive again (the last four months have been very difficult and i have leaned too heavily on other people).

So there is no blog this week. If you are praying people pray for me to get a wonderful thesis inspiration. Clearly if this happens I will get the help I need from lecturers and I am more than willing to work hard at this. Also pray for me to get actual teaching work (paid as a teacher- which sounds greedy but I don;t think being poor necessarily makes me a better person anyway).

If you have a look at this week’s readings (I did before I decided this) they are again very heavy on the patriarchy and the kyriearchy. How many weeks in a row is that? So maybe don’t pray for me, pray for the church. It needs an intervention pretty badly!

love, prayers and blessings

Stef

Sabbatical

Here are the readings for the coming week.

I of little faith must job-search this week (around continuing to work one more week in my present position) and because doing my blog reflection is a hundred times more fun then if I allow myself to keep it as a responsibility I will spend hours here and then end up with no job.

If/when I am assured of 30 hours of reasonably paid work (or fewer hours of well paid work) for the coming week then I will with joy come and write my blog. I hope that my blog pleases or amuses God but I know that not paying my bills and not feeding my child wouldn’t.

Anyone who reads this keep me in your prayers and I will get back to ranting ASAP.

Apology for taking a week off

She seems to be making strange demands of me and rekindling activist hopes I thought were dead and buried.

I have to prioritise following this up over against my blog. I dont think I have enough regular readers to really inconvenience anyone but if you need to reflect on something this week- here is an old thing that has caused me a lot of reflection since I was 8 years old and again recently

And yes I do love child-sopranos as they remind me of my son a few years ago

Apology

Sorry. I am just too burdened with an essay (and still having to work and stuff) to get a proper blog post written (it would take me 1-2 hours minimum and much mental energy)

Here is a song I find helpful for my spirituality: The Word of God according to Florence and the Machine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCWnVznnWcs about hope and redemption, repentance, change, leaving negative ways of being behind all that stuff

and another: The Word of God according to Alice Deejay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvalLXZ8Vuo about the need for presence. I use it as a need for presence of God need for spirituality, but it is also a need for people, for community. I always associate this song with a death-cry by the rejected Christ on the cross.

Both songs are possibly best experienced without their videos, but suit yourselves.

I realize this is not a great post and I will return to my usual transmission (maybe aim for two next week but I am not making promises) ASAP