Adoring God in Labor by K Kriesel

The day before the 2019 Nevertheless She Preached conference at First Baptist Church of Austin, TX my own Catholic church’s young adult ministry hosted Eucharistic Adoration. Although I’ve enjoyed Adoration dozens of times, several factors made this evening different. I was preparing for cervical surgery for one. My Hebrew Bible class at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary was grappling with Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, and the voiceless Dinah. The call to write the history of 20th century Catholic women theologians had been at my ear all day. The catalyst was when two men at the Adoration began leading a song about God the Father.

Maybe it was just the incense but I swear I saw something. An image of the baby crowning from the womb, God gasping in labor, as the Eucharist wore the gold of the monstrance as a crown before the tabernacle. God was pushing the Body of Christ into creation while I prayed for my own sick body. God was crying out with the voices of these thousands of unheard women. We were all there. I snuck out my phone and took a picture, determined to put the scene to paper.

Continue reading “Adoring God in Labor by K Kriesel”

Working and Working Out: “Health,” Obesity, and Labor by Stefanie Goyette

What I think we must consider in analyzing any form of “health” that is encouraged, and even enforced, is that such encouragement comes back in the end to the ability to work, to be “productive,” and, in turn, to spend the money that one earns. 

What is “health”? What does it mean to be “healthy”? Physical well-being and energy? Mental and emotional balance? A sense of general control over one’s body and self? I had originally meant to speak of the frequent reduction in our culture of “health” to appearance: sexual attractiveness, muscle tone, body size, etc., but Lesley Kinzel has already given an analysis of this paradigm, twice, in fact. Go read her articles, then come back here and we’ll talk about some other stuff.

Attractiveness as a measure of “health,” which we will consider as being already established as a cultural fact, effectively defines health neither as a personal sense of well-being nor as a set of conditions agreed upon in consultation with a physician. Rather, aesthetic criteria render health a metric that lets other people judge – and judge others on – a level of “health.” This judgment affects women disproportionately and, being external, reduces the value of female subjective experience and the power of subjectivity in the individual. Yet this externalization by no means ends with quotidian social interaction, but also extends to the medical establishment and the regulation of bodies in terms of the normal and the pathological – no great revelation here (Foucault already said it) – and these measures are already part of the intrinsic layout and values of the culture to which a given medical establishment belongs. Continue reading “Working and Working Out: “Health,” Obesity, and Labor by Stefanie Goyette”

Appealing to Values and Interests in Consumer Choices by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

“What the report also makes clear is that sweatshop labor is highly gendered. Between 71-85%…are women, the majority of whom are also under the age of 35.”

I was recently drawn into a facebook discussion about the ethics and efficacy of refusing to eat at Chick-Fil-A on account of its president’s public “we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation” opposition to same-sex marriage as well as the chain’s financial support of socially conservative groups.

I noted that consumers who boycott businesses generally do so because they believe that (1) continuing to patronize a place would be at odds with their core values, or that (2) their actions will “make a difference” by exerting financial pressure on the company to amend their ways. These two reasons could be related, though they often are not. People can act in accordance with their conscience without believing that they have accordingly instigated social change (n.b., just think of the earlier 2004 decision by the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. to selectively divest from certain companies in Israel), just as companies can be compelled to alter their policies by other means than by their clientele taking their business elsewhere.

Continue reading “Appealing to Values and Interests in Consumer Choices by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”

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