These are a round-up of some things that have got me thinking this week.
I highlighted an article on human trafficking in Indonesia- which is harrowing and disturbing in itself- and this led to an twitter conversation with @God_loves_women. Her challenge was “I’m slightly concerned by how words like “trafficking” & “sexual exploitation” prevent there being a gendered analysis of what is happening, & without that, we cannot hope to address the issues.” She made the important point that there is a political and spiritual battle to hide the gender dimension of trafficking which makes it easier to sidestep the issues of patriarchy that are involved. I think that she is onto something important here. I have tended to treat all trafficking in the same way regardless of who are the traffickers or the trafficked and it is true that trafficking is by no means always of women by men. But I think she is raising the idea that the trafficking of women for sexual, domestic or industrial exploitation is different from the trafficking of children and men- even for the same purposes. All are horrendous but all need a distinct suite of interventions and approaches because while all of them involve an abuse of power that allows exploitation, the actual power dynamic for each is different. In lumping them together we lose the discourse of gender inequality and male aggression that is the particular framework of trafficking women and that will make it harder to fight. What do you think?
I also enjoyed this on the Christian and contemporary art. Apart from anything else it refreshed my memory on Carson’s Christ and Culture which is on my reading list again for later this year. The thrust of the argument is that as Christians we are constantly to seek the glory and Lordship of Christ within whatever context we find ourselves. It is not particularly for us to judge but to be gloriously and intentionally committed to find Christ within the cultures we inhabit. Five thought-provoking pointers are provided for how to do this. There is a lot in here and I found myself applying the thinking to all sorts of things that I am involved in. It seems like a great starting point for working out an intelligent Christian discipleship that makes sense of the tension between being citizens of heaven and participants on earth!
And my favourite quote of the week!
Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. -T. S. Eliot