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Practical tools for recognizing and resisting Christian dominance
  1. Information
  2. Dear columnists, romance fiction is not your bitch
  3. Animus Possession: Are you a ball busting bitch? - Appliedjung
  4. Animus Possession: Are you a ball busting bitch?

This leads to a climate of shame, blame and separation from others. They may describe their colleagues as self-serving or hypocritical, their partner as self-centered. When those being described are further removed from their direct experience because of race, class or religion the verdicts get harsher, using words like terrorist, evil or barbaric. Instead of identifying problems and solving them, judgmental people easily end up blaming others and polarizing relationships into situations where they are right and therefore good and someone else is wrong and therefore bad.

Loving people in their vulnerability, complexity and imperfectness is not always easy. Yes, individuals are responsible for their choices. Moreover, because judgment generally accompanies the belief that an individual with enough strength of character can overcome anything, it assumes each person is completely to blame for any perceived imperfection or lack of success.

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Based on these beliefs we have created a punitive society with millions locked in prisons, jails and other detention centers — and with a constant stream of self-judgment in our own psyches. After the Papal Reformation of the 12th century when the promise of salvation was reinterpreted as something to be fulfilled not on earth but in the afterlife, there was a complete philosophical reorientation within Christianity. For the first time in its 1,year history, Christianity offered guaranteed salvation after death to those who fought in the Crusades and the promise of salvation to anyone who was free of sin.

Purity, including chastity sinlessness , on earth became the key to eternal life in heaven. Salvation is part of judgment in two ways. Salvation is what God grants through his final judgment. Because the object of such a salvific intervention may not think they are in danger, much of Christianity is vested in saving people from themselves. This intervention also accrues Christians good moral standing because they are acting virtuously and charitably towards others. The compulsion to save others is widespread today. Those who would not describe their actions as saving ones might use secular language such as helping others, but if help is premised on the inadequacy of the person receiving help, assistance only increases disempowerment and dependency.


I believe with support, most people have the ability to figure out how to solve their own problems. However, if one feels responsible for the salvation of others, it can be difficult to trust the personal strength, knowledge and wisdom of those other people. Within the Christian imagination, sin is often conceived of as dirt, pollution or a dark spot on the soul. Since sex is a primary sin we use phrases like dirty thoughts, dirty feelings and dirty pictures in association with it. To be free of sin is to be pure: innocent, uncontaminated or clean. Since C. The phrase heretical filth , used to describe Cathars and Waldensians, was echoed over the centuries by references to Jews as filthy, women as unclean, Indians as vermin, Bolsheviks on trial as filthy scum and Nazi depictions of Jews as rats who carried disease.

Almost all campaigns of violence were attempts at purification by the elimination of filth or pollution. Cleanliness was indeed next to Godliness and physical cleanliness was often seen as a substitute for or representation of moral and spiritual cleanliness.

Dear columnists, romance fiction is not your bitch

Since white is the color of purity and cleanliness, white Christians may conclude people of color are dirty or contaminating. The source of pollution may change over time — Jews are no longer accused of poisoning wells; people now fear recent immigrants of color contaminating our society — but concern for purity remains.

We see fear expressed in public policy discussions when homosexuals are accused of spreading AIDS or of defiling the sanctity of marriage. The valuation of purity leads many to work for the so-called cleansing of society through prohibitions on sinful behavior and elimination of contaminating groups.

Animus Possession: Are you a ball busting bitch? - Appliedjung

A plea of innocence is not only a denial of responsibility; it can also be a failure to acknowledge complicity. Our society is based on inequalities of wealth and power — multiple, intersecting systems of oppression. Many people are in great need. No one is disconnected from these problems; innocence and guilt are not useful referents.

Instead they may support campaigns of purification rather than efforts to address the roots of injustice, allowing themselves to maintain a sense of personal purity or innocence. Public health campaigns — from the prohibition of alcohol to abstinence-only sex education programs — highlight how many see the pursuit of purity as an antidote to sin. Rather than acknowledging the complexity of social issues, Christian-dominated thinking urges us to adopt single issue campaigns based on a binary sense of all or nothing, sinfulness or purity.

The Christian concept of charity as an individual act that brings salvation to others is a variation on the savior narrative on a personal level. This limited vision of in-the-worldness suggests that one can do holy works in the world even though the world is not sacred.

Through charity, a person shares their love of God. This contradiction can lead people to be more concerned about their good intentions than the real impact of their actions. The concept of charity was dramatically transformed in the midth century. The role for increasing numbers of white women, as they were being confined to domestic roles in middle-class households, became not only care of children, but also a new humanitarian mandate to care for the poor, the infirm and all of those who were called primitive people such as slaves and Native Americans who needed Christian love and salvation.

White women were thought to speak with female moral authority because they possessed a humanitarian sensibility deemed appropriate and unique. At the same time, they became symbols not only of gender-based moral sensibility but also of racial superiority. The privileges allowing the middle-class and wealthy to be generous were materially dependent on the unpaid or low-paid labor of the very population they were helping. With that relationship obscured, what was called and still is called humanitarian work served to maintain the dependency of those in need.

Charity is a one-way relationship, not a reciprocal one, and it reinforces unequal power relationships between those with privilege and those without, while at the same time reinscribing larger hierarchies of race, class and gender. By the end of the 19th century, the United States began to define itself not just as a nation of generous individuals, but a benevolent nation helping benighted peoples such as Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Filipinos.

Of course, we had to take over those countries and exterminate many of their citizens to exercise our generosity. But as President William McKinley stated so explicitly, it was both our generosity and our god-given responsibility to help them become Christian and civilized.

Even today, these relations of rescue , whether individual or national, continue to justify interventions that are rarely beneficial to those receiving such so-called help. And they may be guided by Christian values to be so. But when we respond to suffering only in the form of individual acts of compassion, we neglect examining the underlying system that distributes resources in such a way some people prosper and others languish.

The causal connection between the accumulation of wealth by charitable individuals and the people whose problems may actually be caused by the exploitive accumulation of wealth is obscured.

In addition, charitable acts are useful to the recipients in the short term but provide no long-term solutions to social need. A million charitable donations to soup kitchens or homeless shelters will neither provide living-wage jobs to eliminate the need for soup kitchens nor construct affordable housing to eliminate homelessness. Christian charity may be felt to be an obligation, but it is a discretionary one. In an effect labeled moral credentialing , researchers have found that some people, after performing what they consider to be a good deed, may feel that next time they get a pass.

They become less likely to act charitably in future situations because they have already established their virtue. Some Christians work for social change rather than only for social service. But groups from Abolitionists to contemporary peace and environmental activists, always a minority, are often persecuted by other Christians. Without examining the structural roots of social problems, people doing such work may only be providing a palliative for the impact of corporate and governmental policies which benefit them.

Lillian Smith. Killers of the Dream. Norton, , p.

Animus Possession: Are you a ball busting bitch?

Case and Robin Hawley Gorsline, eds. Pilgrim Press, which drew my attention to this quote. Beacon Press, , pp. Jeffrey Richards, Sex, Dissidence , Damnation. Routledge, , p.

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Ashis Nandy. Oxford, quoted in Sardar, Postmodernism and the Other , p. In C.

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Jonathan Kirsch. HarperCollins, , p. Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity. Peggy Pascoe. Oxford, Thomas L. Princeton, , p. While trying to decide what to do about the Philippines, McKinley stated that he got down on his knees and prayed. Harper Perennial, , p. Pascoe, Relations of Rescue quoted in Susan M. Cornell, , p. Stephen Hart. What Does the Lord Require? Rutgers, , p. For insightful articles about the impact of nonprofits and NGOs see: Incite!