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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Conflicted and Troubled

Let me begin by saying this is where I am personally at the moment within dynamics of our wider culture. I speak for myself and have no way of knowing another's experiences.  I have no answers, mostly questions that lead to even more questions, but am trying to be vulnerable enough to ask.  

I'm deeply conflicted and troubled. 

On the one hand it is about time that women in our world are telling stories, too long in the shadows, of abuse, harassment, indignity, and oppression at the hands of men in their lives. Men are being held accountable for centuries of unacceptable behavior that has been accepted and tolerated.  Men are being forced to examine and re-examine our relationships and interactions with women at home, work, and the wider community. In light of such scrutiny, we are discovering that words and deeds that we once thought innocent, or even playful, and socially acceptable are actually harmful and destructive. Men need to be held accountable. 

What troubles me is how do we find our way through centuries of oppression, pain, and inequality experienced by women that can't even be imagined by most men? How do men begin to relate to women with equity and true respect and shed age old mantles of dominance?  How do we find our way through the quagmire of accusation, denial, and humiliation in which we find ourselves. How do we find paths that allow women the freedom to continue to speak out without fear and shame? How can men own up to our actions and not victim blame and rationalize?

We desperately need to find paths of confrontation and listening that allow full expression of fear, anger, and loss, as well as reparation, restitution, repentance, forgiveness - and yes, punishment when necessary. 

Human experience tells us conflict and trouble are necessary in order to find new ways of living together with equality, dignity, respect, integrity and love. 

We are living in such times. May we have the courage, humility, grace, and compassion to find our way. 


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