Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spiritual Self-Esteem

I working on some material for a women's luncheon. The topic is "spiritual self-esteem" which is sort of an interesting topic. It seems to merge a couple the "Christian" side of me and the "western" side of me, but I wonder what role self-esteem plays in the Asian context.

As I've been wandering around in various gender/culture/faith circles discussing issues raised by the book, I've had a growing conviction that its important to have men engaging on this issue. Our book often gets quickly relegated to the area of "women's ministry". I'm glad that its there, but Kathy raised the question, "When will people look at the issue of gender as a church health issue?"

One of our recent discussions "Navigating gender sub-cultures in your congregation" moved the gender discussion into a safer zone for both. I've felt more freedom talking about the subject of gender in academic settings. However, I'm still not sure how do you talk about gender dynamics in a church setting that doesn't marginalize or make people defensive.


elderj said...

It is a challenging question: how can we talk about such a fundamentally human issue without pain and defensiveness?

Kathy said...

I'm not sure that we can talk about this and other issues without pain, but I'm certain that if we allow the fear of exposing or sharing that pain to stop us from having the conversations we fall so very short. As for the defensiveness - I'll be the first to confess I struggle with a deep desire to engage in dialogue but often fall behind my wall of defensiveness.

Dan said...

Great question. This is a late response but I didn't know your blog existed until this week. I'm not sure either, but it seems that the path is one conversation at a time, with a lot of grace and listening interspersed.

I so appreciate the issues your book raises.

Nikki said...

I feel a bit concerned b/c most of the issues I've found have meant making a special effort for men to feel safe in the gender discussion. (I purposely title my gender workshops/seminars towards men.) In some ways, it feels like it's puts a double pressure on the marginalized group to both bring up pain as well as host the pain-inflictor. But I see a similar parallel in race discussions.

The times where there hasn't been a special effort to make the dominant group feel "safe" and a more balanced discussion arises is when the dominant group has invited the "other" voice to speak.

I wonder if it's just threatening when its a person who's not in power that is bringing up an issue.
If that's the case, I do think we need strong partnership on both sides of issues to create spaces to dialogue.