by Karen Longenecker, Diocese of San Diego
The last blog I wrote about was rather obscure. I talked about the body and how one day equality will be an erotic experience. I don't know yet if I totally know what that means but in true divine style, the next day brought more clarity to me. Andrea has already wrote about the speaker who was the president of Union Theological Seminary and I wish to continue a bit in that train of thought.
After my thoughts about equality physically exisiting in our bodies, not as some abstract concept we lobby for that exists outside of us, I wanted my body to have a place in this conference. The speech by Selene Jones made that possible. In short, her message was that feminism has to go as far as to reach into empowering the basic motions we move through each and every day with our bodies. She talked about our labor, the labor of women in the global neoliberal market network, the labor of women in the hidden and more profitable exploitive markets of sex trade, drug trade and other black market commodities, the labor of women in regional and community trading and the labor of women as they move through the home and the earth. I finally felt like this movement, and myself, and myself inside of this movement had meaning. I had both my roots and my wings. The image of the empowerment of the body reaching up from the earth and down from the overarching global markets that not only oppress and demand so much of us, but that whether we like it or not control even our body, our sex and our intimacy. She brought meaning into where I understand it best, and she took it out of me into where it is needed most.
There are other things, many things, that have inspired me this week. I heard a man talk about sex trafficking and how laws in the US need to change to criminalize those that demand the supply, not criminialize those that provide the supply. More simply put, don't criminalize the victims but criminalize those that create the system in which they are exploited, destroyed and stripped of their dignity. I was entirely too emotional to stay for the entire presentation and I had to leave. This week has made me realize how much I try to run from things that are painful to me so that I can continue to appear strong, and the appearance probably only matters most to me and not others.
This week made me realize that I still have energy and passion for the work I am dedicated to doing - graduate school has made me feel like an apathetic academic. This week makes me feel like a passionate woman who can utilize academia for the benefit others.
This week made me regain my faith in men. I've heard amazing things from the very few men that are here and the way in which they see the women's issue in the world.
This week made me remember how much I love and thrive on diversity, advocacy and a sense of a spritual home. I remembered for the first time in a long time that without the sense of a spiritual home, my work feels empty. I remembered what it feels like to see a divine force work in and among those of us trying to be faithful.
I think I have regained my faith.