for those who don't want to just wait it out

like the song says this is a blog for someone who wants to say something (anything) and who's happy to wait and see what time will bring...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Life on Fraser

It's so predicable that it's (almost) laughable. Happens every time I go away - I run a million miles an hour before hand and then come down sick as soon as I stay still. Luckily for me, the weather on Fraser Island has been condusive to not doing too much other than small hikes, a few pic's (some more should be going on flickr soon) and cosying up on a couch to do some reading for when I spend time with the good people from AYWK's college next week.

The two books I've been spending the most time in are Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Life Together" and the pop psych book that Caz Andrews put me onto "Anything She Can Do I Can Do Better". It's all about female competition - which could be summarised into the three areas of life, love and looks. At times it's very funny as you get a glimpse into the ways in which girls will size each other up or vie for being the centre of attention - well, funny and scary...

I think the easy expectation of Christians is that we live in an 'ideal' world/community where surely something like female competition doesn't occur. But my own experiences tell me that this is far from true... I've been both the 'victim' and the perpetrator of this phenomenon: whether it be through friends (the author would call them frennemies), or women that I have gone to bible college or work with (actually for me it was bible college where it was the worst, which is the main reason for doing a session on it next week to get the girls in particular thinking about female competition within ministry). The book taps into the fact that most of it stems from our own insecurities, but also a socialisation process that starts from birth. I found this quote (particularly is out-of-context biblical references) fascinating:

"Competition is a fact of life. Without it we, as a species, would not survive. We all do it, either overtly or covertly, verbally or silently, actively or passively. Yet women find it hard, almost impossible, to acknowledge their competitive thoughts or actions for fear of being labelled aggressive, a most unfeminine quality. To be a 'real' woman one must be silent, demure, passive and sweet and only speak well of others - apparently just having a womb is not enough. Anything else is ugly and evil and will leave you a spinster crone, the worst punishment a woman can receive for all 'natural' women want to marry and have children. The Weaker Vessel must know her place, curb her curiosity or be turned into a pillar of salt." (p 7)

You can instantly pick up on her biases and her own agenda - but at least she doesn't hide them and it's there for the discerning reader to agree or disagree with. But interestingly, this morning as I was reading Bonhoeffer at breakfast, he tackled the same sort of issue (ie competitiveness) but couched it in biblical language:

" is vitally necessary that every Christian community from the very outset face this dangerous enemy squarely and eradicate it. There is no time to lose here, for from the first moment when a man meets another person he is looking for a strategic position he can assume and hold over another person. There are strong persons and weak ones. If a man is not strong, he immediately claims the right of the weak as his own and uses it against the strong. There are gifted and ungifted persons, simple people and difficult people, devout and less devout, the sociable and the solitary... the important thing is that a Christian community should known that somewhere in it there will certainly be 'a reasoning among them, which one of them will be the greatest' (Luke 9:46). It is the struggle of the natural man for self-justification. He finds it only in comparing himself with others, in condemning and judging others. Self-justification and judging others go together, as justification by grace and serving others go together."

What do you think? Why are you competitive? Girls and guys - I'd appreciate both opinions...


  • At 6:31 pm, Anonymous dk said…

    Hmm... an interesting question.
    I don't know if people would describe me as overly competitive - some of my friends would far better fit that category! (I'm probably wrong, though, now that I've thought about it a bit more)

    That being said, I do try to do well, but I think it comes more from my (probably too-high) personal standards, and a fair dash of pride - I don't like not living up to other people's expectations.

    Unfortunately, I still find myself putting other people down in order to make myself look (and feel) better, and I hate that part of me - I think all we can do (and I think I'm mostly talking to myself now) is accept that we aren't perfect and won't be this side of glory (a big enough step in itself), do our best, ask God to do His best, and then look forward to the aforementioned glory... Where all our relationships will be made perfect (among other things). :)


  • At 11:18 pm, Anonymous alex said…

    Hey Jodi,

    So is the author of ASDICDB just repeating rhetoric or is she owning those ideas on femininity? Because I think it's interesting that by saying a 'real' woman must be passive and sweet and demure, the author's actually demonstrating the exact opposite qualities. They're pretty provocative and bold generalisations to make (if not a bit stale - hardly anything we haven't heard before). Does she make any comments on where she thinks She sits as a woman in all of this? Just a thought.


  • At 9:25 am, Blogger Tom Tom said…

    I'm naturally competitive. I can't help it. Whether it's the way I've been brought up (a dad from the Balkans, only some will understand this) or the excessive amounts of testosterone raging through my manly veins. It's the nature of males to compete. It's kind of an expectation, if you don't look to be the best your manliness is questioned. And one of the worst things you can do to a man is question his manliness (in my opinion).

    In the end I'd put it down to social conditioning (males are supposed to butt heads so the girls can stand on the sidelines and simper and sigh) and biology. Considering I'm an engineer and know nothing of either of those two topics I think I'll stop now.

    Phew, thats more writing than most of my blog posts...


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