Category: Gender and Sexuality

A Crisis of Faith: In support of Kay Ellen

Sexualized violence doesn’t only hurt those directly victimized. It ripples out and causes all manner of harm to the families, loved ones, colleagues, and broader communities of both victim-survivors and perpetrators. While Our Stories Untold prioritizes survivors’ voices, those who are secondarily impacted need to be heard too so that we get a full picture of the problem and understand its reach. Not a survivor herself, in this piece Annamary Kennell tells of the crisis Duane Yoder’s abusive behavior has wrought on her life. With the kind of vulnerability that is stronger than steel, she speaks from her own experience, in support of Kay Ellen’s. *Further documentation regarding credible accusations against Duane Yoder can be found on SNAP Mennonite’s MAP List. – Hilary J. Scarsella   After hearing Lauren Shifflet’s & Kay Ellen’s stories, I felt compelled to write the following article. Lauren and Kay have been victims of betrayal from their churches and church families. They trusted their ministers and church elders to protect them and help them grow spiritually. They could not have known that just the opposite would happen to them.[…] The post A Crisis of Faith: In support of Kay Ellen appeared first on Our Stories Untold.

White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Blogging Through Pt. 3

Feminist theology is a very broad term ranging a variety of theological traditions. This makes sense, given the nature of Christian theology, which is far from homogeneous. Without giving a detailed analysis of each tradition, which Grant does provide a brief overview, let’s look at the general goals and themes within Christian Feminist theology as … Continue reading "White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Blogging Through Pt. 3"

White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Blogging Through Pt. 1

I lived with my mother throughout childhood (not that my father wasn’t present – he most certainly was!). Most of my close friends have been women. I am, according to American culture, probably about as feminine as masculine. Despite all of this, I am still a lower middle class white male.  Continue reading "White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Blogging Through Pt. 1"

Femininity (Part 3)

I blame the paint.
Cleaning has never been my strength. Growing up, I quickly learned that if I waited long enough the mess would annoy my sister so that she’d eventually go on a cleaning rampage, and I wouldn’t have to bother. Yet, I always pictured myself as one of “those women” when I grew up. You know, the women whose houses are always perfect; their decorations are tasteful; their cupboards are always full of snacks and their doors are always open. Then, I became an adult and moved to my first apartment. When I made my apartment choice, I cried (which my brothers would say really isn’t that surprising since I cry about everything), Out of my two main options, I'd chosen the shabby option. Although it was the logical choice (location, lawn care, cost, etc…), I had already imagined myself decorating and having friends over in the nicer, bigger house. The very night I moved into my apartment, I found out that despite my landlord’s no pet rule, crickets came with it (Thankfully, most of them left when I moved in). The first couple weeks I scrubbed and scrubbed the kitchen floor before eventually realizing that the scratches would make it look forever dirty. I have an unopenable cabinet door, water damage under every sink, bare walls since I can’t nail pictures up when and where I want, and then there is the paint. The paint.
Cleaning has never been my strength. Growing up, I quickly learned that if I waited long enough the mess would annoy my sister so that she’d eventually go on a cleaning rampage, and I wouldn’t have to bother.
Yet, I always pictured myself as one of “those women” when I grew up. You know, the women whose houses are always perfect; their decorations are tasteful; their cupboards are always full of snacks and their doors are always open.
Then, I became an adult and moved to my first apartment. When I made my apartment choice, I cried (which my brothers would say really isn’t that surprising since I cry about everything), Out of my two main options, I'd chosen the shabby option. Although it was the logical choice (location, lawn care, cost, etc…), I had already imagined myself decorating and having friends over in the nicer, bigger house.
The very night I moved into my apartment, I found out that despite my landlord’s no pet rule, crickets came with it (Thankfully, most of them left when I moved in). The first couple weeks I scrubbed and scrubbed the kitchen floor before eventually realizing that the scratches would make it look forever dirty. I have an unopenable cabinet door, water damage under every sink, bare walls since I can’t nail pictures up when and where I want, and then there is the paint.
The paint.
Cheap paint that displays every grease splatter, every furniture bump, and every sticky tack mark (limited nailing, remember!).
I hosted some --but the flops stood out in my mind more than the successes. The time I served freezer burnt buns with sloppy joes. The family of five crowded around my tiny kitchen table, and then the kids who were bored afterwards. The time my guests noticed the plants growing in my rotting window sills (no, there are no window boxes), and I realized that I had never washed my windows since moving in (not that I washed them after that realization).
I melted a mouse trap on my stove and couldn’t get the remains off which was embarrassing because 1) I had mice. 2) I had mice in the kitchen. 3) I used the inhumane glue traps. 4) I was stupid enough to leave a trap on my stove and then turn it on.
Gradually, it became easier to visit others (something us singles often can get by with) instead of inviting others over. I compared myself to my friends (many of whom had been housekeeping for a lot longer than I had) and gave up. I cleaned less because, well, why clean when the first thing everyone is going to notice is the atrocious cheaply painted, scuff-marked and grease-splattered walls?
It’s a domino effect. The cheaply painted walls led to unclean windows which led to dusty corners which led to….well, I won't share all my dirty secrets.
A statement I read several years ago has nagged at the back of my mind ever since. Margaret Clarkson, a single teacher, wrote the following: “Having a home has given me greater credibility….I have had to face the same situations that householders everywhere must face---appliances that break down, carpenter ants in the basement, a broken water main causing the front lawn to sink, a roof that leaks, gutters to be repaired or renewed, a house that must be painted” (66).
She also wrote, “Although for the Christian single, chastity must supersede any sexual activity, the enjoyment of sexuality, in ourselves and in others, is God’s rich gift to us all….I enjoy being a woman….I enjoy doing the things that women do….I find great pleasure in caring for my home and garden, in handwork, sewing and other feminine pursuits...I have innumerable ways of expressing my own sexuality and enjoying that of others” (86).
While reading her book So You’re Single!, I realized that I had been waiting to host, waiting to decorate and waiting to express my femininity in certain ways until I married or until I got a nicer place --which obviously might never happen.
I enjoy a clean home. I enjoy hosting. And I enjoy decorating.
So why wait?
And so I started. One summer,  I painted a waterfall hanging for my living room. The next summer, I painted furniture. The following summer, I bought pillows and a rug.  And you know what I discovered?
When I paint a wall hanging, then I dust the bookshelves which leads to inviting a friend over. It’s the domino effect again.
Perhaps, I’ll eventually figure out this whole homemaking thing.
Work Cited:
Clarkson, Margaret. So You’re Single! Wheaton: Harold Shaw, 1978. Print.
Creating Blogpost Series:

Sexual Abuse in Black Adolescence and Childhood

This is the third post in OSU’s fall blog series on sexualized violence and race. Today’s post is offered by Kishundra D. King. She is both a crisis counselor who works with Black women and children survivors of abuse and a researcher who studies the same topic with respect to psychology and religion. Kishundra is someone who has a lot to offer growing understandings of the way that race and systemic racism exacerbate the harm of sexualized violence. If you would like to look back on the other posts in this series, you can read my post here, and Regina Shands Stoltzfus’s excellent contribution here. As always, if you have a story or perspective or question on the topic that you would like to share, leave a comment for Kishundra or send OSU a message. — Hilary ***   “When I was four, my dad touched my private areas and kissed me like a grownup…I couldn’t tell anyone. It would ruin my family.” – an eight year old Black girl   Stories like this are not uncommon.
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