In Which I Use Bad Words and Am Almost a Feminist

There are many wonderful words and phrases in the English language, including slang words and expressions which are still evolving and adapting with time even as we speak (pun intended =). Even though I teach grammar and I love studying much older forms of English literature, I get that language is evolving and that meanings and connotations of words can change over time. For example, to us the word “fond” means “affectionate”. It used to mean “foolish”. To be fond of someone was to be affectionate to the point of foolishness. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fond Now, I like knowing the history of the word and it helps me understand older texts, but I am going to use the modern understanding in daily conversation (most of the time ;).

However, the modern usage of one word in particular really grates on me and I especially cringe when I hear it used to apply to brothers in Christ. I do not know how many times I have heard people joking around or complementing each other in a fond way and say, “You are such a stud” or “That boy is such a stud”. Because I went to a Christian college, most of the times I heard it used was when Christians were referring to other Christians. Have you stopped to think about what that means? The slang term refers to a man who is very sexually active and promiscuous. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stud Do you really want to describe your Christian brother, boyfriend, or friend as being very sexually active? Now this is probably about when you are thinking, “Wait, you just admitted that meanings and connotations of words evolve. So, calling them a stud really just means I think they are cool or attractive.” Well, in a way, that is true. Urban Dictionary has mixed results with some definitions specifying sexual activity and some based more on the “cool” factor. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Stud And yeah, there is some language in that link if you choose to follow it.

But here is what really infuriates me, the double standard. Think about it. A stud is defined as a guy who sleeps around, but if you take that part out of the definition, what connotations are left? He is also considered attractive, charismatic, handsome, datable, popular, etc. with possibly a slight negative connotation of not being very smart. What would people call a girl who sleeps around? … A slut. What if someone called your sister, girlfriend, or friend a slut? If you confronted them and they said they don’t really think the girl in question sleeps around, but were referring to her overall personality, would you be appeased and let it go? If you take away that main part of the definition, what subtle meanings or connotations are left? The person is saying the girl is immoral, unfaithful, trashy, cheap, desperate, and with low standards. I don’t even want to include the link to that Urban Dictionary definition. In short, the word defining a sexually active man has several positive connotations, implying it is okay and even good for men to be sexually promiscuous while the connotations for the word defining a sexually active female imply that it is wrong and shameful for a woman to be sexually active. No matter what your view on sexual behavior is, you have to acknowledge that this is a double standard. Unfortunately, our words are indicative of what our culture feels or thinks way down deep, even if they would not express it openly or in more blunt terms. I would urge you to consider this degrading double standard and not perpetuate it by the flippant use of words.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/12608598@N02/8681213555″>NYC Subway Shoes</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

He is Alive and He is Working!

Spring Break, which is really Easter Break, has been great so far! I have enjoyed cooking some new things, hanging out with my newest housemate, and taking every opportunity to enjoy life here. I even got to go to a natural hot springs spa the other day. I still have almost a full week of break left, but I already know what the best part of my break was. After months of praying and talking with my landlady, and about a month of trying to work it out so that she could come to a Spanish Bible study with me, she finally came on Good Friday! We have been studying Genesis, but because of the holiday, discussed Passover and how this pointed to Jesus. She felt comfortable enough to ask several questions, which all pointed to her curiosity about how our faith is different from the Catholicism in which she was raised. She also stayed for the meal afterwards and everyone was very welcoming. We closed the evening in prayer that the Lord would heal her arm.

We invited her to join us on Sunday for a special Easter celebration breakfast, but her family was upset with her for trying to change their Easter plans so that she could go. However, He is risen, because on Sunday morning, her daughter called and said she was too tired to keep their plans and my landlady came with me anyway. This was a bigger gathering of a couple Bible studies that function as a network so I was not sure if she would get lost in the bigger group. I was sticking close to her until she insisted I go and talk with the “chicas” and that she would be fine. And she was. The believers were so welcoming and she got to meet several people as well as talk with some of the people she had already met at the Friday Bible study. We sang praise songs and also got to watch a little drama about the resurrection.

I was so happy to see how well she fit in and so glad to see her interacting with Mexican believers. I could not have been happier if she had only told how nice everyone was and how welcome she felt; however, she showed me that God is not just drawing her to the community believers offer, but to Himself. She specifically mentioned multiple times she wanted to know God more and learn how to read the Bible and pray and that was why she wanted to come to the Bible study. Be encouraged. He is risen indeed and He is working through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Photo is my own

Darkness Hides more than Defects

This year, I have had the opportunity to experience many new things culturally. Last week, I had my most stretching cultural experience yet, and I probably didn’t need to come all the way to Mexico to experience it. I went to a bar with some friends with whom I had just eaten dinner. Feel free to ask me about that, it is actually quite funny now looking back on it because I just held an empty cup the whole time so I didn’t look too out of place.

After we left, we had to go into an Oxxo convenience store to withdraw some money for the taxi home. The bright fluorescent lighting was quite the contrast to the dark bar with pulsing colored lights. I was with three other teachers and two Mexican men from one of their churches. One of the guys looked at us and said, “Wow, you girls are a lot more attractive in this light!” He had been sarcastic and joking most of the night, but now he defended himself and insisted he was not teasing. Aside from the girl who goes to his church, he had just met us that evening and we’d eaten our dinner outside so he actually had not seen us in the light.

It made me think about how while darkness can hide defects, which offers some security, it cannot make something beautiful. In fact, the darkness does not just obscure blemishes, but also true beauty where it is present. Hiding in the darkness will nullify the beauty of appearance and character. Light and truth reveals beauty, not just gives a poor illusion of it like darkness does. Children of light, let your light shine before men. (Matthew 5:16) When a lamp is lit, you do not cover it. You put it on a stand and it reveals and illuminates everything, the good and the bad (Luke 11:33). The light of the gospel will reveal hidden sin which is embarrassing to reveal, but it will also reveal the beauty of the gospel and the wonderful splendor of Christ in us.

Photo from unsplash.com