Andrew Suderman teaches theology, peace and mission at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He also serves as secretary of Mennonite World Conference’s Peace Commission. Andrew […]
Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Church, Goshen, Indiana.
1. Text messages for women’s safety: Back when I lived in the city, I would occasionally encounter men who would aggressively pursue me for my phone number. This experience is obviously not limited to cities. Many women find themselves in situations where they cannot assert boundaries and be safe, or they find asserting themselves to be difficult. The Mary Sue has you covered. They’ve set up a rejection hotline for women and others to hand out when they feel unsafe. The message the pursuant will receive looks like this:
For those that call this number, the text message will come in the form of a voice recording. If this would be helpful for you, I suggest keeping this number handy.
2. Angry Women: While on the subject of issues pertaining to women, I found myself appreciating the article “All the Angry Ladies” in The Atlantic by Megan Garber. Garber describes the history of the “angry woman” in politics, pop culture, and business. She cites Maxine Waters, Roxanne Gay, Uma Thurman, and Shirley Chisholm as women who have actively rejected the trope of the “cool girl, ” that is, a woman who is calm even under the most extreme of circumstances. The “angry woman” is starting to take center stage in public discourse. If this is something you’ve been paying attention to, read the full article.
3. Creativity as spiritual practice: A constant throughout my life has been connecting my love of writing to my love of God. Therefore, I often find myself using writing as a spiritual practice. Many times, my journaling takes on the form of conversations with God. I encourage you to pay attention to your creative side this week and see if you can turn your creativity into a spiritual practice. Maybe that means that before bed you write down where you felt God’s presence and possibly God’s absence in your day. Maybe you take your problems to pen and paper and lay it in God’s hands. Maybe you spend some time working using your hands to work with wood, paint, or yarn. Even if you don’t consider yourself creative, I encourage you to stretch yourself. You may just find a new way to connect with the Holy.
4. Autumn: I never cease to be amazed at the diversity of “Autumn” across the United States and Canada. Some places have already seen freezing temperatures and snowfall. Down in Texas there is plenty of sun and 80 degree days. Here in Northern Indiana, leaves are changing, the air is chilly, and people have taken to warm sweaters and hot drinks. I have always known God’s creation to be beautiful, and I take in this vivid display of color as a gift our Creator gives us to be enjoyed. It also reminds me that dying, endings, and changes are a part of life, and can be as precious as they are discomforting. As you experience this season in your own neck of the woods, what might God be calling you to notice?
5. Gun violence in America: Another week, another mass shooting. This uniquely American problem has people divided as to how to respond, or not respond. As people of God’s peace, I believe we are called to be active peacemakers in our world. Instead of updating your Facebook status to “Thoughts and prayers for Texas,” pay attention to ways you can make peace in your corner of the world. Call your representatives and advocate for better, more comprehensive gun controls laws. Support non-profits that work for community mental health. If you’re a gun owner, teach young people about gun safety and responsibility. It may seem like throwing a cup of water on a dumpster fire of a problem, but I believe that overwhelming issues can start to be resolved by small, meaningful actions taken by groups of concerned citizens.
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