Monday, December 19, 2011

Voices of the Oppressed -1

How's my mental health today?

I'm doing quite well, although I do have a lot of things rattling around in my head.

This  past weekend Heidi and I were part of a great dinner, movie and discussion evening with a group of friends. The event grew out of an idea that was raised in a men's Bible Study that I'm part of.

We (study group called Band of Brothers) meet at a local Tim Horton's at 6 a.m. every Wednesday. A few of us have been meeting for almost 4 years. Last May, 3 of us discussed taking our wives out one evening as a group. Heidi and I, along with 2 other couples went to the Titanic exhibit. Afterwards we went to one couple's home and talked about what we had seen and experienced. The same 3 couples went to the Italian Pavilion during Folklorama, an annual mid-summer multi-cultural event here in Winnipeg. We concluded that evening with another discussion over gelati. Earlier this fall we three couples had another group date at the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit and concluded the evening with our usual stimulating discussion.

Last month our group date got larger. this time 4 1/2 couples went out. (One guy's wife was out of town). We went to see the movie, The Way, and then went to a close-by lounge for our discussion over 'coffee'.

As men we have all been receiving positive responses from our wives regarding these 'date nights' - especially because we men take the initiative to plan and coordinate these events. Another benefit is that a wonderful bond of friendship is developing through these group 'dates'.

This past Saturday we treated our wives (and ourselves) to a potluck dinner, movie and discussion. The group had grown again. This time we had six couples out and two couples weren't able to attend. It is a wonderful growing community.

The movie we watched was The Help. Set in a the state of Mississippi during the early years of the civil rights movement in the USA, it is a gripping story of a group of oppressed women making their voices heard. It is a story of contradictions, love and discrimination, oppression and human dignity, bigotry, racism, intimidation, and dysfunctional family relationships. It is a story of courage, faith, compassion and hope.

It's a story that will make you squirm, laugh, get angry, and rejoice in the victory of  risk-taking and the power of voices raised in a common purpose.

It is a story that raises questions for us today.

If you haven't seen The Help, go see it! Read the book.

If the book were about the culture and society we live in today, which oppressed voices would we hear?

We bounced that question around the group after the movie.

I will spend the next few blogs examining that question.

Whose oppressed voices do we hear today? Whose unheard oppressed voices require amplification?

Are we listening for the Voices of the Oppressed?

Stories can be used frivolously or to manipulate the emotions of people. On the other hand, stories can be used to powerfully drive home an important spiritual truth. They can be used to help give the listener a deeper insight into that truth by enabling that listener to grab hold of a self-discovered insight into God's truth through his or her processing of the story. At the same time, those outside the truth-seeking audience are left in the dark about the message, taking away much of their power for criticism. 
- Philip Ware

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