Firstly, I’d like to say a few things about me.
I keep a blog. This much is obvious.
I am a Christian. The fact that I use this term to explain my belief and chosen lifestyle instead of merely as a label, is also fairly clear to readers of this blog.
I live in the United Kingdom.
I am married to a church minister.
My husband is a minister in a UK Baptist church. I, too, have found my theological ‘home’ in the Baptist way of looking at things.
I have a degree in theology, and this is a continuing interest. I have always longed to think and explore faith, life and meaning more deeply. (This is part of the purpose of this blog, in case you hadn’t guessed.)
I am hopelessly forgetful, so in order to remember all the things I learn I have to keep thinking about them. My life needs regular littering with reminders.
I am a writer.
I struggle with Chronic Fatigue/ M.E., which impacts my way of life.
I have a variety of hobbies and interests, most of which fit loosely under the topics of expressing my creativity and exploring/enjoying the natural world. Most, not all.
Is this the sum of my parts? By no means. This tells you nothing about what I’m like to talk to, my mannerisms, my views on specific subjects. There is much, much more to me.
And amid all this, I am also a woman.
I’ve already stated in my previous entry that gender isn’t something I’m particularly concerned with when reading blogs. If I’m honest, any disparity hadn’t really occurred to me. I think that we all have certain issues which act as triggers for thought and feeling. I have not had any particularly painful discriminatory experiences as a woman, so I’m probably less personally sensitive to it. (Although I still remember the shock and hurt of reading what some of the ‘Church Fathers’ have to say about women!) What I am sensitive to is being pigeon-holed and labelled.
Why? It’s probably partially the health thing. I used to hate being known for being the one who was ‘ill’. I’ve carried that sensitivity through with me. That, I admit. So it will colour the way I look at things. I think if this post had another title, it would be ‘Know Yourself’ – but more than that, knowing that what is not an issue for you is an issue for others, respecting that and listening to them in order to understand their point of view.
So when we talk about something that constitutes one of my parts – be it health concerns, or indeed womanhood, I am quickly wary of labels. The fact is, I don’t want to make a big thing of it. Making a big thing of it, for me, involves a kind of isolation. You take the ‘thing’, the ‘label’ and suddenly the whole broad sweep of things gets lost. I’m going to have to say it, although I hate cliches (interesting) – you can’t see the wood for the trees.
For me, singling out women implies that they are an issue. A problem. Not simply one part of this weird and wonderful thing called humanity. A humanity that together reflects the likeness of God. And a faith that says we are all one in Christ Jesus. (Remember – this is my perception, my explanation of what I struggle with. I’m claiming nothing else.)
So why, I hear you ask, am I even posting about this? Well, there was a conversation going on. I listened to a few people. I like discussing things, so I joined in. It really is that simple. I’ve learned enough about myself to know what my sensitivities are, and this takes away some of their power. Therefore I join the conversation out of interest, out of a joy of interacting, of thinking and chewing over an issue. Of, yes that’s right, looking deeper. This is not a big issue for me, but it is a big issue for some. Out of interest in and respect for their point of view, I am adding my voice. There’s no obligation to listen, of course!
I should add that in no way am I saying that this is merely about personal sensitivity to an issue. There do seem to be less women in the UK blogging about Christianity than men, and it’s good to point this out and ask why. I would love to read more blogs by women reflecting deeply on their faith and theology. It’s been great to discover new ones during this discussion. Here, however, I’m merely bouncing my own thoughts around on my own blog.
Now, again there are various tangents and topics that skim through my mind. I do still want to talk about denominations, because one thing I have noticed about the UK Christian blogosphere is that bloggers tend to ‘cluster’ in their denominations. This, to an extent, is inevitable. All these threads of commonality, be it gender, profession or belief will naturally cultivate certain groupings. Humans, after all, have a tendency to congregate. Coincidentally, tomorrow marks the start of the ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’. So perhaps I’ll do a separate post about that later in the week. But what I would like to see is more crossover between blogs of different denominations, celebrating that which we have in common, explaining our differences and doing so with gentleness and respect. More on that, later.
I also want to look at the nature of Christian blogs, because I wonder if the issue is not so much about UK women bloggers who are Christian but those who blog particularly about Christianity, theological reflection, or church ministry. Because the latter is far more specific, and it may be that there are plenty of UK Christian women bloggers, but just not so many who use their blogs as a place for theological reflection. They have other topics that they choose to blog about..
Which takes me into the area of the purpose of blogging, audience and all kinds of things that would make this post too long. But my point, if I have a point, is that there are so many factors. It’s interesting to me to dig a bit deeper and find out what they are.
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