Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I am SOOOO not a feminist!

A friend posted this meme on her facebook, and I wrote the following reply.  I decided not to post it, because it's not right for me to hijack her page. Instead, I thought I'd post it here.  

Don't believe everything you read online.  There's more to the story than what this meme says.  

The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, and signed into law by Kennedy; there should be no need for a new one – just the need to enforce laws that are already in place.  It's been widely reported that Obama pays his female staffers less; Wendy Davis paid her female staffers less from 2009-2013. This is a people-problem – NOT a party line problem – and the law needs to be enforced on Capitol Hill, as well as in the general population.  

As for the pay-gap, when you compare job-to-job, women are usually very close to men's pay, if not equal-to (and frequently paid more) for the same work.  However, if you're comparing the pay of waitstaff (predominately women) with oil workers (predominately men), there will be a HUGE gap in gender-vs.-pay.    

I was hired to do the same work as another woman in my office, but she is paid quite a bit more than I am.  She's only been in the job about 3 years longer than I have, but I can't make the same amount, even though I had similar (not identical) experience.  Yea – it’s unfair, because I work more hours than she does, and manage a program that's twice the size of hers – but there is nothing I can do about it now.  I accepted this job, at the pay I got, so I can't do much other than a) find a better-paying job, or b) fight to try and get a raise.  OH – did I mention she's a minority? – maybe I should file a lawsuit because I have been discriminated against because I'm white....  That would be absurd!  Did I also mention that EVERY person in the hiring process – my boss, her boss, her boss's boss, and the HR veeps – were ALL FEMALE (no men were involved in the deal I was offered).  My point is that, YES, women should be paid equally; yet, while equal pay for equal jobs looks good on paper, there are often other reasons for the differences.  I failed to do research regarding what average pay is for my job – that’s now MY problem.  If you don't like your "underpaid" job, maybe it's time to find a new one...

I challenge you to get your info regarding what Republicans and/or conservatives want/believe/philosophize from sites that are not left-leaning – and for the opposite to hold true, as well.  You might be surprised to learn that they are not as evil as most liberals like to believe.  Study history, and see who made what policies, who freed slaves, who passed laws to provide better pay for minorities, etc. Study farm-bill history. Get your information from time-honored sources, and not places like the Huffington Post or the major news outlets – all of which have obvious political spin.  I try to look at both points of view through the eyes of their own particular party – if I only believe what conservatives/Republicans post about liberals/progressives/Democrats, I would never even SPEAK to one, let alone call him/her my "friend."  

It's time to put the partisan negative talk to bed, and get educated about the truth.  I'm tired of being told, or hearing that, I'm stupid, lazy, evil, healthcare-hating, woman-hating (Hellllloooooo – I AM a woman!), poor-hating, minority-hating, etc., because I am conservative. To the contrary, I am educated, intelligent, ridiculously compassionate, and dream of solving world hunger problems; I also oppose entitlements (for those able to work, but milking the system), the ACA/Obamacare (they should've fixed Medicare/caid, rather than pushing us toward the single-payer system that they want), and am staunchly against what appears to be a socialist agenda.  I oppose amnesty for the masses of illegal immigrants, but fully support those who seek immigration through legal means (and I support fixing the system so that it isn't so difficult to immigrate legally!)

I work for a non-profit, which falls under "entitlements," and I see how our elderly are treated by our government.  How many people do you know on food stamps?  I know families of 4 or 5, who get $700-$1000/month for food stamps, plus who knows how much welfare – and are perfectly able-bodied to find work, but have stopped looking (they’ve told me they’re good with what the government gives them, so why bother?).  My senior volunteers, who want to work but are at an age that it’s getting very difficult to find a job, get an average of $800/month is Social Security, and an average of $16 (yes – SIXTEEN dollars) a month in food stamps.  Their food stamps were cut from an average of $125/month to $16!  That's WRONG.  

So sure, we can sit around and whine that we aren't paid equally because we're female; I, however, think we need to focus on the bigger issues that are going on around us and stop being mean to each other.  Stop pointing fingers. Stop blaming conservatives, Congress (there are 3 branches of government, people!) and George W. Bush.  Wake up, people – we are actively giving up our freedoms to an out-of-control government that shames us for being exceptional.  As I’ve said in previous posts, for hundreds of years, people have risked life and limb to get to America. Why?  Because we ARE EXCEPTIONAL.  Don’t you think it’s time that we start acting like it?

Other interesting articles on this subject, and related...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sweet? I think NOT.

“I must really have people snowed.” 

That was my thought yesterday when I was joking with someone about being a trouble-maker.  She said to me, “There’s no way you’re a trouble-maker; you’re too sweet.” 

“I’m too sweet?” I wondered to myself.  “Since when?”

I’ve never thought of myself as sweet.  I’m friendly.  I’m mostly well-behaved.  I’m polite.  I try to be respectful and kind.  I hold doors open for people, offer to help with projects at work, and generally try to be cheerful.  I have empathy and compassion.  But, “sweet”?

I often think of 1Peter 3:3-5a: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.  I’ve never been accused of being “gentle and quiet,” so this singular passage has been one of the proverbial thorns in my side.  It’s also how I viewed the description of “sweet.”  Uh -- NOT me. I’m big. I’m loud.  I’m talkative.  I blurt.  I often feel like a bull in a china shop – I have been known to trample, no matter how “accidentally”—people’s feelings.  Without exception, I leave gatherings and wonder “what stupid thing did I say now?”  My insecurity knows no bounds.  I’m not a meek, mouse-like creature, though – I am big, loud, and have a big personality!

This morning I was listening to Fernando Ortega sing a fairly old song that I don’t hear as often as I would like to.  “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”.  It’s a beautiful thought-put-to-music about how God loves us so deeply, he gave his only Son, and made me, “a wretch, his treasure.”  The lyrics speak of how God turned away from Jesus on the cross, and of the pain that Jesus must of felt.  But what stopped me in my tracks (figuratively speaking, since I was driving!) was this line:

Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders!
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.

Did you see it?  Did you see what stopped my heart?  No, not that the Man was upon the cross, bearing my sin – that’s something that I think about, and pray about, every day.  No, the next line: “Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.” 

Me? My mocking voice?  Ummm…

I have studied the cross in depth.  As an extremely empathetic person, I have spent countless hours thinking about the weight of my sin that He bore for me.  I have prayed countless prayers of gratitude, thankful that I no longer have to bear that weight.  And yes, I have even thought about how MY sin is what put him there.  I beat him.  I mocked him.  I pounded the nails in.  But it’s not something I camp on often. 

It’s easy for me to remember that He died for “us.” Collective.  Humanity.  Everyone.  But, do how often do I stop and make it personal?  Every Sunday I sing about how God loves me, how Jesus died for ME, so I suppose I think of that in a more personal way on a fairly regular basis. 
But MY mocking voice?

I want to believe that I was in his small band of supporters – that I was among those who cried at His feet, and who gently removed His broken and battered body from the cross.   I held him reverently, cleaning off the blood and wrapping Him in cloth and herbs, and giving Him a proper burial.  I was Mary, who sat outside His tomb, weeping.  I was she who discovered Him missing, whom He appeared to first.

Maybe I am.  Maybe I would have been.

But I was also the mocker.  I stood among the rest of the angry cowards, and shouted at Him.  I laughed at His followers who cried for Him.  I betrayed Him like Judas.  I denied Him like Peter.  I riled up the crowd like the Pharisees.  I pounded in the nails.  I pierced His body with the sword.  I was hate-filled, or scared, or na├»ve – whatever I was, I was LOST.


But because of this greatest act of Love – because of the deep, deep love my Father in Heaven has for me – I have the most important things in this world:  Forgiveness.  Redemption.  HOPE.

How deep the Father's love for us -- how vast, beyond all measure! -- that He should give His only Son and make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss!  The Father turns His face away as wounds, which mar the chosen One, bring many sons to glory.

Behold, the Man upon a cross -- my sin upon His shoulders!  Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished.  His dying breath has brought me life; I know that it is finished!

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom; but I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection!

Why should I gain from His reward?  I cannot give an answer.  But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom!
©1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music 
Words and Music by Stuart Townend

If you were to ask me, at this very moment, the reason for my faith – THIS would be my reason.  


God, the Father, gave His only pure and faultless and perfect Son so that I, a wretched mocker, can be His treasure. 

No matter how unworthy you feel – how wretched, mean, how LOST – you have Someone who loves you.  He already sacrificed for you, and gave you the most incredible gift – you just have to humble yourself and accept it.  I know how hard that is to do – I drug my feet about ever setting foot in a church in college, because I knew what a rotten person I was, and thought, “There’s NO WAY God will ever want ME.” 

I’ll write again about God’s love for us, and my thoughts about why Christians get such a bad rap, and what I think I need to do to help change it.

In the meantime, think about the words of Paul:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:6-10, NIV)

Hang in there, friends – YOU ARE LOVED.