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By Nancy Bacon
Reverend 

The advent of woke women

From the Pastor's Desk

 

Advent is a season of waiting, on high alert. Scripture tells us to "Keep Awake" and be ready. We are to be diligent to welcome a savior coming. However, we can't appreciate the savior if we can't see what in our lives needs saving or transforming.

This past year, some people have been awoken to things they didn't know were a problem. Some were startled to see Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville and racism on bold display. Others have been aroused by a steady stream of gun violence in our country. Each of us may be waking up to things we haven't fully been aware of before, but suddenly can no longer deny. Recently, many brave women have been sounding the alarm about the very common problem of sexual harassment and assault. Each woman's voice helps to save others.

I think and hope that families are starting to have more open discussions about things that have been going on undetected in full view. I asked my daughters if they thought any woman makes it through life without some male touching them inappropriately without consent or perhaps far more inappropriate behavior. They knew exactly what I was talking about as they have already had their own personal experiences. We women learn how to navigate awkward situations early to the best of our ability.

My first experiences happened to me at a church. I was a young girl and all of the girls at my church would avoid being close to one particular large boy who had mental disabilities and great curiosity about female bodies. We all told our parents that he would hurt us, but in those days, nothing was done. We were told to "hush." Adults were embarrassed by our speaking about such things in a church. This was a weekly event until one day the large boy violently raped one of us and he was sent away.

Not all incidents of sexual assault or harassment are this dramatic and protections have improved over my lifetime. Churches now have "safe church" standards, but we have all witnessed victims, women and many men, who have spoken up about grievous incidents they endured in places that should have been safe sanctuaries during their youth.

Sexual harassment and assault can happen anywhere. Recently it has been claimed against celebrities, politicians, and employers. Churches are no exception. Virtually anywhere, but especially when someone has power to wield, some will do anything, whatever they please. I am heartened that brave men have come forward as witnesses within churches and that brave women are coming forward today in many settings.

Once awoken, it is hard to slip back into denial. It's as though a birth is happening and you can't put the baby back in the womb. It is hard to hear the unpleasant, painful stories, but the loud collective pangs of indecency may bring forth a new day of better treatment towards those who wield less power. Let us welcome that day and that form of a baby!

We can't afford to hush. We shouldn't stop the birthing process. We also need to open our eyes to how patriarchal religion contributes to women remaining in vulnerable positions with less power, as their rightful place. If you are interested, join us in discussing the book, "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine," written by Sue Monk Kidd. We will meet at Big Papa's restaurant on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. for a book discussion. This Advent, let us make a wide open path to receive new awareness being painfully brought forth in our world.

Blessings,

Pastor Nancy

About Tehachapi Congregational Church:

No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here!

The Tehachapi Congregational Church is an open and welcoming community of faith that believes that each person, created in the image of God, holds a piece of the truth. Therefore we respect each person's unique spiritual journey. We invite you to experience the difference that religious freedom in a caring community can make in that journey.

We are located at 100 East E St., in Tehachapi. Worship and Sunday School are at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. Please join us for coffee and fellowship at our Friendship Hall after worship (approximately 11:30 a.m.).

All are welcome.

 
 

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