Zoe and I enjoying the beautiful weather on Thursday.
Happy Saturday! I’ve had a pretty great week with my nephew Justin here. I’m very sore now, the result of three days of walks to the park, stores and a farmer’s market, but it was totally worth it. Zoe had a blast, and Justin, although perpetually having a teenaged grumpy face, has had fun, too. I really, really, really wish he could stay another week.
Let’s go to the links. First up, this story by Kristen E. Vincent on Protestant prayerbeads, a.k.a., rosaries:
“Is it okay for Protestants to use prayer beads?”
In the five years I’ve been writing and teaching about prayer beads, this is, by far, the number one question I hear.
The subtext of the question seems to be, “Are we going to get struck by lightning if we use beads in prayer?” There is fear, or at least, concern.
Granted, not everyone is tentative about using beads. Many people take up the beads without hesitation, thrilled to have another tool for prayer. But there are enough that it warrants addressing the question, particularly in my (southern) neck of the woods.
I always begin my response with the Old Testament story of the Israelites, newly-freed from slavery. They were headed to The Promised Land, this wonderful place that God had set aside for them. But in between them and TPL was a massive desert with no planes, trains, or automobiles in sight. In faith, they set out on their journey, not realizing how long it would take. As the years passed and they got more and more tired of being hot and sticky and thirsty, they began to rebel. They even argued with God, saying they would be better off as slaves back in Egypt. They were beginning to think God had abandoned them.
In response, God told them to take up the fringe on their garments. Bet they didn’t see that coming! How could fringe help them in this situation? But God understood the Israelites were physical beings. Even though God had promised to be faithful and always be with them, God knew the Israelites would get so focused on being hot and miserable and forget God’s promises. God knew they needed something tangible – physical – to hold onto and remind them that God was with them. So God told them to take up fringe – a common, ordinary, everyday object – and hold onto it when they needed comfort, guidance, assurance, love.
So if the question is whether it’s okay for Protestants to use beads – a common, ordinary, everyday object – in prayer, we have only to look at the book of Numbers (chapter 15) and read how God offered fringe: the first prayer tool. That’s how we know we’re safe from lightning strikes (aside from the fact that God is not in the business of lightning strikes).
At this point most people are able to relax and consider incorporating beads into their prayer time. Others, however, have more questions:
• When people use prayer beads, isn’t the focus on the beads rather than God? No. The focus is on developing and going deeper into one’s relationship with God. That’s what prayer is about. The beads are just a tool to facilitate that.
My Anglican rosary and Common Book of Prayer. I purchased the rosary at Full Circle Beads.
Read the rest here. I purchased my first Protestant prayerbeads- I call them by their other common use name, Anglican rosaries– five years ago. I’ve used them intermittently. I have issues with keeping up devotional habits; I’ll set aside time for Scripture and prayer, and stick to it for a few weeks, only to stop because of everyday tasks. When I do actually use it, I can attest to appreciating what a tactile object can add to prayers. I also like the circular movement of counting off the beads. Physical movement in worship, from lifting hands during a praise song to kneeling in prayer, helps focus all of me.
Now, a turn of 180 degrees to this story on the depiction of women (especially Blacks) in music videos. From The Root:
A searing new report revisits an age-old concern about the portrayal of women, especially blacks, in music videos, which are engulfed in overtones of racism and sexism, researchers say, according to the International Business Times.
The depiction of women in music videos “creates a ‘conducive context’ for violence against women and girls,” the IBT writes about the recurring theme, which is especially prominent in hip-hop lyrics.
The report, Pornographic Performances, released in Britain by End Violence Against Women Coalition, Imkaan and Object, condemns the portrayal of women in pop videos as hypersexualized and “endlessly sexually available” objects, the IBT writes. IBT’s reporting cites as examples “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, “Summer” by Calvin Harris, and “Never Say Never” by Basement Jaxx.
The activists are calling on leading figures in the music industry, as well as media regulators and politicians, to make changes, IBT says.
Further, the study denounces the depiction of black women as “wild and animalistic” hypersexual objects, IBT says. It also states that “racialised tropes” cut across all genres of music.
Researchers say that viewers have been found to have “an associated tolerance of racist, sexist and even rape-tolerant attitudes,” according to IBT.
Additionally, findings show that those who watched music videos in a controlled setting exhibit “more sexist attitudes towards women and are more tolerant of sexual harassment,” IBT reports. They are more likely to endorse a “sexual double standard”—which sees men who have many sexual partners as admirable and women who do so as “sluts,” the IBT notes.
I don’t watch new videos too often today. I feel I’ve outgrown much of it. But yes, the nearly naked girls, used as props, splayed across cars, beds, walls… augh. Reminds me of Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad”. Watch it below. Excuse the use of “bitch”. It’s in the song quite validly.
The Yazidis are an ethnic and religious minority living mostly in northern Iraq.
There are also Yazidi communities outside of Iraq in Germany, among other places.
Read the rest. This week, I’m choosing the beautiful Janelle Monae with the fun “Electric Lady”. Loving the college sorority setting (and Janelle’s gorgeous fro). Have a great weekend.