Outlining as a function of my frustration

•November 3, 2007 • 1 Comment

This morning I checked in at the Emerging Women’s blog and found a nice little post: 50 Ways to Encourage a Woman Leader. Contributor Heather started a list–she had five items–and then sent it out in to the ether for us to comment on.

By the time I got there, I think I was commenter #10. I added about 4 items to the list. Tonight we have more than 30 items.  By the end of the weekend I’m sure we will have finished a nice 50-point list in collaboration.

Now, please don’t misread what I’m about to say, but I would submit that if a man had originated that post, he would have started with 50 items on his list. As I drove to my lunch meeting with the members of my masters committee, it struck me that men (in general–I’m a subscriber to the difference theory of feminism) think hierarchically. Women, on the other hand (again, in general), think more  heterarchically. We want to spread things out, put our ideas out for collaborative response, share our blog spaces, generate community.

And there is the rub. I have to create an outline for this book, and soon. I have NEVER liked or excelled at outline creation. I tend to organize in a more (yes, I’m going to say it) organic fashion. So I’m scouring the web for software that will allow me to brainstorm in the manner most suited to my very large brain and coming up a bit short. Suggestions would be great…the next step is to begin hand writing ideas on sticky notes and pasting them all over the wall. I’d prefer to keep it paperless.


Communities of power?

•October 31, 2007 • 1 Comment

I found this interesting quote in my current reading:

” The ability to create, maintain, control space (whatever we call it–virtual, nonplace, networld) links us to notions of power and necessarily to issues of authority, dominance, submission, rebellion, and cooptation, notions Etzioni established as primary criteria and concerns of community. ” (emphasis mine; Cybersociety, “Information, Internet and Community,” Jones, Steven C., 1998)

I had to find out who this Etzioni was who established that the primary criteria of community included such things as dominance, submission and power!  According to his own web site, he is the ‘guru’ of the communitarian movement. Now I need to know what that is.

The word itself was first used in the 1840s to describe people who chose to live in communal (communistic) societies. The modern ‘reworking’ of the word doesn’t really change it at all, but puts a new spin on the same old tired communist dogma by including ancient rhetorical undertones, such as claims that “values and beliefs exist in public space, in which debate takes place (Communitarianism, wikipedia.org).” It seems quite logical to me that the authors dealing with this form of community, in which we only have value (as the ancient Athenians believed) in the public forum, are all male.

Where are the spaces in which women make meaning? Yes, we are in the public forum (and rightly so), but I don’t think many of us really believe that we are creating any sort of real community in those spaces. I believe it must begin with our own, very different set of criteria for community. What does that list include?

The Architecture of Communication Spaces

•October 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Do the spaces we inhabit influence how–or even if–we communicate? This is part of what I’m going to look at in my book, moving specifically from physical architecture to the building of the internet, and then looking at how women use those spaces differently than men.

So I have an inkling that when “civilization” began, mostly marked by the construction of common spaces, that men were able to wrest some of the communal control that had long been the domain of women in many societies. Technology became (and remained) the domain of men. Why? And how did building a space such as the council chamber in the Agora in ancient Athens impact on the governance of that city (and others like it)? Did women give up their roles, agree to their oppressed roles, or simply ignore men (as many modern feminist writers claim) and go on with their own literacies and conversations and governance in spite of what the men did in their boys’ clubs?

My major professor has given me a list of articles to start on, but I’m open to other ideas, books, references and resources of any kind. If you have ideas, post them here! I’m just getting started, but I’m excited about the journey.

And one more thing

•October 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment

It looks like I’ll be writing a book for my masters program (instead of trying to fight the men of Emergent for a web site) so I will likely publish ideas, chapters and parts of chapters, outlines, etc., here. I would love any feedback I might receive.

So…I’m back!

•October 30, 2007 • 1 Comment

Wow, how crazy is the life online. I have so many passwords (see my earlier post!) I couldn’t keep track and this one just drifted away. Today I entered every combination of every password I can remember having and finally found my way back to my little spot here.

I’m working again, trying to navigate my way through the church scene. This is cool. This summer I saw a cool commercial that I originally thought might be for a tattoo parlor–it’s people telling why they have body art: because it hurts, because it’s expressive, etc. Then the word “pierced” flashes on the screen, overlaid atop a picture of a crucifix. Wow! That was cool. I started googling the church mentioned in the commercial, but couldn’t find it.

Time went by and I finally felt as though I was ready to go back to work. I let my mentor know and in a few weeks he passed along the name of a church that needed a worship leader.

The whole process went very quickly, and in a couple of weeks, I was up front leading a praise team again. On my second Saturday night (yep, we have Saturday services), the pastor had the computer guy show a “video” that turned out to be THAT COMMERCIAL! I work for the church that I tried to google this summer! Leading worship, even with its attendant challenges and struggles, brings me joy.
Whatever God has in store for us, it includes joy now. It includes contentment now. It includes fulfillment now. God’s dreams for us are not just about a future life after death but about having a real life now. Do you let Him dream those dreams for you? Are you really living?

Ode to the password

•October 29, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Ah, security,
Lifeline of online life,
Memory of a dozen phrasesnumberswordlets

And which is thine, oh blog?
Which combination opens your hallowed halls?

I struggle
Against your marble facade
Hoping for the right magic key

Four months I’ve banged my fist against that marble wall
And suddenly–
Ah, success!


•April 20, 2007 • 6 Comments

Tuesday night I went to a Taize service at a local Lutheran church, sponsored by an Episcopalian church, and with musicians from as many as six different denominations. I have been missing the experience of God. This was a wonderful reminder of why I believe.

To me, the most interesting part of the service was the first Silence. Each Silence lasted for 10 minutes–interspersed with music, readings and prayers, there was time for only two. The first one started out well, but quickly deteriorate. Americans can not be silent! We can’t be still. We can’t let go of our brains or our control or our humaness, something. Papers rustled. Musicians changed their music. Couples talked. People came and went, banging the door behind them. It became an exercise in finding ways to be anything BUT silent!

I’ve been thinking ever since of our seeming inability to simply wait on God. Barring that, doesn’t a few moments of quiet contemplation or meditation fuel the soul and calm the heart? Having practiced a 10-minute period of silence at a recent conference in which we were prepared–sit up straight, get comfortable, find a word in the reading or service upon which to meditate–I found the absolute silence of nearly 50 women to be envigorating! And perhaps having a discussion about the upcoming Silence in a Taize service defeats the purpose, but it seems that if I use these techniques in worship in the future, I will find a blend of the two.

All the same, when we reached the prayers spoken aloud, the beauty of the music, prayers, readings and, yes, even Silence, had moved me to a place I haven’t been in quite some time. I was able to pour my prayers out to God in a way I have been missing. I wept in The Presence for the first time in some months. Ah, beautiful cleansing! Beautiful worship!