Christian Blog and Online Women's Ministry in South Africa - Cup of Faith

Better Together

Hot on the heels of the #metoo and #menaretrash movements, you can’t help but feel a complete divide between men and women. As someone who empathises with people and their stories, I find it incredibly difficult to find ways to encourage a new way forward when I feel like we’re on the cusp of a gender war. I am overwhelmed by the heartache and fear, worried about those who do not have the support or resources to navigate their traumas, scared for the future of my children, and questioning whether we can bridge the gap and work together.

We are at a strategic cultural intersection with relationships between women and men eroding. While it is good for women to expose their pain, abuse, and experiences of gender inequity and oppression, what often follows is a never-ending cycle of blame, accusations, denial, avoidance, and ultimately devastation for everyone involved.

Better Together is a beacon of hope in this challenging storm. Danielle Strickland offers practical steps toward a real and workable solution that include two things needed for change: a vision of a better world and an understanding of oppression.

Understanding how oppression works, whether it relates to gender, race, socioeconomic status, or religion, is an important part of undoing it. Let Danielle inspire you to believe that change is possible and equip you with ideas and strategies that will compel you to action.

Honestly, I feel that often what prevents us from moving forward is that we’re just so defensive that we don’t bother to listen to the other side. As an example, I have a loved one who can’t understand the #metoo movement – they’ve shared terrible posts on Facebook and continue to rip it apart. When the opportunity came for me to discuss it with him, he became defensive and instead of listening, spoke about how women are also abusive and aren’t the only victims. It took a lot of patience and compassion, but eventually, I broke through his walls and shared my own story. Of course, it felt different when the story was about someone who he knew and cared for – it was personal – and tapped into the emotional aspect, suddenly there was understanding.

Danielle talks about understanding oppression in her book, a goal that I feel more people should set. I have a strong belief that we should spend more time trying to understand the people around us, their behaviour, and why they feel inclined to act, behave, believe or do the things they do. Sometimes, we have this knee-jerk reaction where we immediately dislike someone based on something they did – often, something out of their control – and without understanding, we are simply judging a person and not giving them much of a chance. Should we believe that ALL men are bad? NO! Absolutely not! I know many men who are lovely, respectful and caring.

But we should be angry and enraged by the stories that these movements have shone their light on. We shouldn’t be shaming women for sharing those stories, but rather be disappointed that they experienced it at all, and providing the encouragement and prayer that they need to help them in navigating their next steps. Rather fighting one another, we need to be working together to support those who are sharing their stories and push out the wrong-doers.

Danielle’s book is a timely and relevant read. Generally, I like books that open the way we think and discusses “tricky” topics that we as Christians, tend to shy away from. A lot of the time, we feel uncomfortable with how these discussions make us feel and are too afraid of opening the dialogue and digging deeper into that discomfort, to figure out why it makes us feel some sort of way. What I liked about Danielle’s style of writing is the wisdom, boldness and practicality of it all, while being backed by biblical scripture. She doesn’t back down and discusses gender issues in life, at the workplace, and even in the ministry – things we all see and have become conditioned to believing that, that’s just how it is. She also doesn’t provide an unrealistic solution, but instead provides us with thought-provoking biblical wisdom, encourages us to embrace diffences and work towards equity by working together to move forward.

This is the kind of book that I would love to do as part of a bible study because I feel like it opens the conversation and allows the group to expand and share their own experiences, while also guiding you to a place of understanding and equipping you with the tools to build a new future.

You can purchase your copy of Better Together from leading book stores including CUM Books

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