Monday, December 17, 2012

After Pants

I wasn't surprised to be the only woman in my ward in pants on Sunday.  I did see a bit of purple, and that was nice.  No one said anything unkind to me, and I think I felt like I got stared at more than I actually did.

The biggest thing I learned from this is that no matter what anyone else actually thinks of you, it's your perception of what others think that affects you the most.  I gained a greater understanding of what it feels like to not "fit in".  I hope that I can take that knowledge and use it to be more compassionate to others who, for whatever reason, feel like they don't fit in.

I was also thinking about the parable of the good samaritan.
Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"
He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind, [Deuteronomy 6:5]; and your neighbour as yourself [Leviticus 19:18]."
He said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live."
 But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbour?"
 Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he travelled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, 'Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.' Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbour to him who fell among the robbers?"
He said, "He who showed mercy on him."
Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do." 
This past week, we've seen women (and men) who are in pain, hurting.  Some over things they don't understand.  Some because they've been treated badly by those who should love and support them.  Some over deeply rooted cultural issues.

The overwhelming response I saw, to this expression of pain was statements of, "well, I've never been treated as less than", or "my husband treats me like a queen".  I'm saddened that instead of trying to understand, and to offer help regardless of differing perspectives, I saw a lot of turning away, of passing on the other side.

What a missed opportunity to listen and comfort, and show mercy on a soul who was in pain.

On the other side, I saw many women find their courage.  Women who stood up for something they believed in, even though it was scary.  I also saw conversations happening that will lead to greater understanding down the road.  I saw sisters find others who understand their pain, friendships formed. My heart is happy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Last week some women on facebook got together and decided they were going to start a "wear pants to church day", this sunday.  I'm late to the party, posting about it, seeing as it's been all around the news and there are more blog posts talking about it than I can count.

I know that I have friends and family who are perplexed by the whole thing.  They've never felt treated less than at church, and don't get why some women want to be like men.

First, I want to say that I love each of you, and I don't care if you disagree with me over this one.  I'm used to loving people who disagree with me on various issues.  I do hope that you can consider a few points here.

  1. These women are not trying to make women be like men.  I personally wear pants 6-days a week and have not yet actually turned into a man.  Pants don't make the man.  Pants are an item of clothing that come in many different styles.  Some casual, some dressy, some more masculine in design, and some very feminine.  
  2. Some women do actually feel very real pain, and do actually feel like they are not treated equally at church.  (Some have had real-life horrible experiences with unrighteous dominion.)  Just because that is not your personal experience doesn't invalidate other people's experience.  (Likewise, their experience doesn't invalidate your own, so there is no need to feel defensive.  Nothing is under attack.)
  3. When people are hurting, it is unkind for us to respond by calling them names (silly, stupid, ridiculous, dumb feminist b****- just a small sampling of things I've seen this week), or telling them that they shouldn't feel the way they do.  That doesn't fix anything.  What they need is for someone to say, "I don't understand why you feel the way you do, but I'm sorry you are hurting. How can I help?"
  4. No one is showing up at church to disturb the meeting, or protest anything.  Most people who are wearing pants or purple to church are doing so to say, "here I am, in support of my sisters or brothers who are hurting, and maybe I hurt to, so I'm going to mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and hopefully someone will see that I could use someone to mourn with me, and to comfort me too."