feminism

What I’ve Been Reading Online

Taking a mental break from NaNoWriMo

AUSTRALIAN CULTURE

  • These women had every right to be safe.’ – Short obituaries to some of the many Australian women murdered by their partners in 2015. Destroy The Joint keeps a tally on the violent deaths of women in Australia. It’s horrendously sad and, as an Aussie woman, bloody terrifying. If it were a virus killing off Australians at a rate of 1 or 2 every week there’d surely be money spent on research to combat it.

SCIENCE AND FAITH

  • A seminary student visits the Creation Museum. – I found this interesting for a variety of reasons. I am grateful for people who take the time to question the opinions of young earth creationism (YEC), not because they’re picking a fight (I hate conflict…) but because they’re raising really important questions. After I got married to a former-YEC true believer I was strongly discouraged from following my personal interests in science – particularly my fascination with astronomy and the evolution of dinosaurs – because it conflicted with his and his family’s views on Genesis. Fifteen years later I find myself trying to re-learn science, and deconstruct the worldview that so heavily influenced my understanding of science for a decade. This Petto and Godfrey book was a great overview of the issues involved and I found it really helpful.

RELIGIOUSLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN

POSITIVE BITS ON RELIGION (Trying to balance it out because I don’t want this to always be a negative, angsty blog.)

  • The World Community for Christian Meditation – How grateful I am for encountering contemplative Christianity. What a lifesaver for my faith that has become.
  • I love this quote from Pope Francis: “The disease of a lugubrious face. Those glum and dour persons who think that to be serious
    we have to put on a face of melancholy and severity, and treat others – especially those we consider our inferiors – with rigour, brusqueness and arrogance. In fact, a show of severity and sterile pessimism are frequently symptoms of fear and insecurity. An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident!” – I have brought these words to mind several times since I read them. I must meditate on them more deeply.

ART

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What I’ve Been Reading Online

THEOLOGY & CHURCH

SCIENCE

Electromagnetic spectrum: image from Wikipedia

Electromagnetic spectrum: image from Wikipedia – I found it great to learn more about it in the course I’ve been taking on Astronomy.

  • This month I’m taking a course in Astronomy through Open Universities Australia’s free Open2Study short courses. The course is a four-week introductory overview of the science of astronomy, major breakthroughs (including, refreshingly, frequent acknowledgement of women’s contributions to science) and some mind-blowing, awe-inspiring discussions about our wonderful universe. The course is presented by a radio astronomy researcher and lecturer from Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.

As I’ve mentioned previously, though I have a lifelong love of science, for many years my particular social circumstances meant that my only exposure to scientific progress was heavily mediated by the selected reporting and interpreting of the creationist community. There were lots of reasons for this and as I’m completely disinterested in engaging in any debate (it’s just too dualistic and feels unnecessarily divisive and other people are far better at it than I), taking courses like this one has helped bring me up-to-date with current scientific understandings of the origin, expansion and development of the universe. One thing I’ve found particularly helpful in the Astronomy course is the clear explanation of what, exactly, are scientific theories (they’re not just vague hypotheses) and I have formed a far more accurate understanding of the process of the scientific method as it pertains to astronomy.

The course makes me think of Franciscan priest Fr Richard Rohr’s comment (which from memory I think was in this particular lecture) that scientists are far better than most religious folks at being humble before their incomplete understanding of the universe – where fundamentalism wants the black-and-white truth and wants it right now, science is able to take its time and explore the possibilities.

Snapshot from the reading pile

Here’s what’s currently occupying my bedside table:

  • Snow Blind. Christopher Golden. 2014. London: Headline Publishing.
  • Sarah Laughed: Modern lessons from the wisdom & stories of Biblical Women. 2005. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Robert C O’Brien. 1971. London: Puffin Books.
  • Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Susan Cain. 2012. London: Viking.
  • The complete illustrated works of Edgar Allan Poe. 1981, 2013. London: Bounty Books.
  • Goddesses: A world of myth and magic. Burleigh Mutén. Illustrator Rebecca Guay. 2003. Bath, UK: Barefoot books.
  • Feminism and ecological communities: an ethic of flourishing. 1998. Chris J. Cuomo. London: Routledge.