More “light” reading.


Buckle up.

Thanks to The New York Times’ contributor Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian woman my age, tonight’s reflections (conveniently just before bedtime) are on FGM, or “female genital mutilation.” Ye-gad, just the mention of it gives me the shivers. So, I needed to process it a bit before retiring.

Do Not Be SilentClick here to see the article I read tonight.

I’ve been familiar with the ghastly practice for some years now, although I wasn’t 100% sure I understood exactly what the procedure entails. So, for some real fun, I checked out some images on Google.

WARNING: If you follow suit, be prepared. You will see some horrifying sights, including a hand drill, horribly dirty and rusty razors, pliers, and other crude instruments. You will see entire families, often the males (mainly those appearing to be the pater familias, but also including some who look age-wise to be brothers) but also the females, holding down screaming girls who look to be about 5 or 6 years old with the most gut-wrenching facial expressions – often with their eyes being covered by family members and such.

It’s a bloody mess. Literally. Wrap-up and recovery? Their legs tied together with some scrap material to immobilize the legs.

Why on EARTH would these practices have originated in the first place? It goes part and parcel with the general misogynistic bent of our world, to which even women subscribe. This practice of FGM, among others, unequally places the “burden-of-proof” weight of sexual purity on girls and women over and above the weight placed on boys and men in many, if not most, cultures. In Islamic cultures, Mohammed is said to have prescribed circumcision (for both genders), but, in an addendum, not cut too severely. Apparently, some folks didn’t get the memo for the girls.

Even though hundreds of girls die annually from this practice, even under medical conditions, and even though grown women suffered their own gruesome experiences of the practice, it continues to be perpetuated because of the fear that a girl will not be marriageable if she is not “cut.”

It’s viewed to be the way that a girl will not let her sexuality “get out of hand” and so that she will not “get out of control.”

I just have no words. Well, that’s not true. I have no words that I can post here and not create quite a ruckus, especially among my Christian family, both brothers and sisters, young and old.

So, here’s what I will say:
Please be aware that this happens. It is real. Just like sex-trafficking of children is real. Just like the fact that the stats of sex-trafficked people will always rise as long as the number of “johns” remains so horrifically huge is real. Just like the fact that most “johns” in the world are caucasian, “western,” and could very well live in your U.S. suburban neighborhood, statistically speaking, is real. These things are REAL. Way too real.

Also, FGM happens NOT only among Muslims and tribal peoples, but among Christians in certain parts of the world. It happens among the uneducated and the educated, although the stats (at least anecdotally) say that the rate of education is inversely proportional to the rate of FGM. The higher the education; the less likely a family is to “cut” their daughters.

#stopFGMSo, please become aware. In some way, whether it’s sharing that article I’m sharing here, please advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Let the Holy Spirit nudge you on this, or on whatever God is laying on your heart – do refuse to do nothing.

[Nod to my colleague Shayne Moore’s co-authored book “Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery”]

Who’s She? Hannah More

A lot of people know William Wilberforce’s name. Many saw a movie (“Amazing Grace“) or read a book or two about his passionate and tireless zeal for the end of human slave trade and were appropriately moved. But very few have heard of an unsung heroine named Hannah More, the author of the many tracts and pamphlets used by Wilberforce and the other abolitionists. As the only female member of the Clapham Sect, the group that was the epicenter of the movement, she quietly wrote the words that slowly, eventually helped awaken an nation, and ultimately the world, to the atrocity of human slavery.

Just hours ago, I was reintroduced to More. My colleague Bronwyn Lea sent me a review she posted tonight on another of our writing colleagues’ (Karen Swallow Prior) books on Hannah More: Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (Thomas Nelson, 2014), which made its debut about a week ago.

I could not keep either from you because

  1. Prior has written what looks to be a lush biography of Hannah More’s life and involvement with the abolitionist movement in England through writing and other strengths.  Prior highlights these contributions, but makes us aware that More did much, much more (sorry – couldn’t resist, even though this is a serious post). The book’s trailer calls her a woman “whose faith compelled her to both engage her culture and transform it,” and “woman writer who helped end the slave trade and taught a nation how to read.” Whether you’re a woman or a man, you will probably realize, after reading this post and hopefully the biography, that we all owe a debt of gratitude to her, along with a great deal of honor and respect for her writing, along with her courage, resilience, and ingenuity on behalf of education for the poor and in other arenas.
  2. And why through Bronwyn’s post? Why not just a direct link to the book? Well, first because I haven’t read it yet. I just learned about it hours ago, as I mentioned. But second, and more importantly, I wanted to introduce you to Bronwyn’s writing. This post is not “amazing”; it’s rather bread-and-butter: a book review. Meh? Not really. It still shows Bronwyn’s amazing facility for the distillation of large ideas and concepts, particularly when it comes to complex and often emotional issues. Just as I am typically inspired after reading Bronwen’s writing on just about any topic you might name, after reading her post on More, I instantly decided upon inaugurating an ongoing series of posts to highlight and bring attention to unsung folk, with women being my primary focus, who have effected change for all of humanity and for the Gospel of Christ. And so, her post bringing attention to Prior’s biography of Hannah More graces the first post in the series.

I encourage you to read the work of both authors – blog posts, articles, and books, especially this book on Hannah More.

Thanks for reading!

To encourage others to read and learn about More, as well as two other Christian authors, feel free to share this image on your FB page or Pinterest board, and please link it to this post (link: https://natalieeastman.com/whos-she-hannah-more/):