Friday, May 20, 2005

burns me UP!

I was going to post something entirely different, but I made the tactical error of checking my email. Lately I've been getting a lot of very random junk German emails for some reason, with subject lines like "Kulturelle=Kriminal" and "Du weisst....?" See, I always knew that learning German would come in useful. But that's not what's got me bothered today. No, unfortunately, this was a legit email message from people that I know and like pretty well, and who probably like me pretty well, too. And I am oh so sorely tempted to send them back a reply which would make them most emphatically NOT like me anymore.

What did I ever do before this blog? Good grief.

After I graduated from Harding in 1998, I left the States to teach English in Wuhan, China. I worked at a college there, in the middle of this enormous city of about 8 million (that's roughly the size of NYC, people! Huge!) and taught conversational English, Brit lit, linguistics, composition...but I didn't go for the thrill of teaching English, which would have been easier & better paid here in the States somewhere. No. So why did I go? "Because I--am--a--MISSIONARY!" (Only Em will get this reference. The rest of you, who are mostly imaginary anyway, will have to go dig up an obscure film called "Walton Family Christmas," or something like that, and watch for the scene with the woman missionary who gives away old broken toys and dolls to the "heathen" children up in Appalachia.)

Yeah. Oh, youthful exuberance and delusion. I'm happy it's behind me.

The organization I went through is still placing people there. It's a CofC operation and as far as I know, only CofC people have been recruited. So that means exactly what you think: the best and the worst of us shipped off to China, with our 2 70-lb suitcases packed full of CofC baggage, whether we wanted to bring it or not. I learned this the hard way that first year. I have a lot of scary little anecdotes. One of them ends with the punchline, "Isn't God a man?" But, on the upside, in a lot of ways, I can locate my motivation for pursuing a theological degree in my experiences of that year.

Anyway, to get to the point. I am still loosely connected to this organization, just as someone who's been there and remains on the mailing list. And today I get an email which proclaims this urgent message (paraphrased): Urgent need to replace a male dropout as there are two women located at this rather isolated school with no male leadership.

I'm just, just, well, nearly speechless, frankly, at the amount of rage that I feel over this. I'm used to frustration and impatience. I'm used to a certain amount of disgust, even. But rage? Wow, when did I get in touch with my inner feminist? 'Cause I am ready to blast these sincere and faithful people into smithereens. Did they really mean to devalue the work of these two women in this way? Did they really mean to imply that God will only use penes to do God's work in the world? It kinda sounds that way to me. No, not kinda. It sounds exactly that way to me. I never realized how much one can do with a penis! I was under the impression that it was a sort of specialized organ, concentrating in one area of expertise...but apparently, this is just further evidence of my feminine ignorance, because obviously, the penis is what one reads and understands the Bible with, what one preaches with, what one prays with and hands out the elements of the Eucharist with...what a marvelous organ. Let us sing its praises--thank God, women are allowed to do that, at least. Otherwise we'd never get to open our mouths...except, that's a little too rude, even for me.

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