Thursday, November 18, 2010

11/18/10 - Consciousness Raising

In the 60’s feminists used a process of “consciousness raising” to gather women together, talk about their problems, and stir a rebel against men or the establishment. Their goal was to make women feel connected to other women in their issues or problems.

As Mary Kassian put it on her blog: “40 years ago Chicago had hosted another “first”: the first-ever national Women’s Liberation Conference. Speakers challenged the 200 women in attendance to use the “radical weapon” of Consciousness Raising to spread bitterness and incite women to rebel.”

So the early feminist used consciousness raising as a way to gather women together to rebel. They'd assemble a small group of women and begin to complain about men and the oppression they felt. They’d complain about how unhappy they were “just” being moms, wives or second class to men in the workplace. They’d stir other women up and get them to be angry and upset along side of them. Then a woman who wasn’t really upset or unhappy would become unhappy with her life. (Here’s Wikipedia’s take on Consciousness Raising)

Since I first became aware of this tool: “consciousness raising” I hadn’t thought too much about it, other than it did work in the movement of the feminists. I mean think about it, through these C.R. groups an entire generation of women radically altered the culture we live in!

But lately I can’t help but think that consciousness raising is still taking place among women and not just in the feminist movement, but in our churches.

Women are created for fellowship and we long to be in community and I believe God created us this way. So we can easily fall pry to this dangerous outcome of fellowship.

We must ask ourselves some tough questions about our fellowship with each other and if we are stirring each other up towards godliness or selfishness.

When we get together with other women, are we prone to complain about our life, our children, our husband, our state of singleness, or our unbearable circumstances? Our complaining can lead to others complaining. Then we don’t feel so alone or isolated. We feel justified! Justified to be upset! Justified to be self centered!

If our goal in fellowship with sisters in Christ is to feel justified in sin, to look for affirmation in others rather than God, and if we’re not pointing each other to the Lord, then is what we’re doing any different than consciousness raising of the 60’s?

There is nothing wrong with sharing our burdens or concerns with our friends, but our aim in relationships is to be mutually building each other up, encouraging each other, and pointing each other towards Christ.

A fellow mom told me recently that she felt convicted after a play date with another mom. She said, “We spent the whole time complaining about our different situations and after that time together I felt worse.” She explained how she wrote her friend a note, asking to be forgiven for not bring them both to God’s Word and seeking His counsel together. This realization helped her see how easily you can fall pry to the consciousness raising of the early feminists.

As the writer of Hebrews says: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (10:24-25)

Let us be women of love, good works and encouragement!

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