As we head into 2019, we have been thinking about being more intentional with our friendship and in our support of one another. We recognise that we are all on personal journeys trying to live our Christianity intentionally in sometimes difficult circumstances, trying to confront the injustice within and around us, and trying to influence people and spaces we find ourselves in to also embark on journeys towards justice. As we do this, we think we should be asking a few questions:
As we have thought about our (the Branken family and Neighbours) plans for 2019, we see us focussing in particular on:
These are a few ways you could help us in 2019:
I have started studying this year at UP. I am doing a short course called leadership in Urban Transformation at the Centre for Contextual Theology at University of Pretoria. It involves 5 x 4-day sessions over the year where we analyze, reflect and plan our work.
Today is day 4 of the block and lectures start really early so I arrived at 6:30. I went in, the lecture theatre was locked and so went to sit outside. While waiting there I opened up my lunch box and offered the young woman next to me a mango. She seemed quite eager to receive it and so I began to ask a bit of her story.
She is from the Eastern Cape and has come to study theology. She is currently sleeping at the Elim Church while she waits for her NISFAS funding to secure her residence. She should be placed in res by next week. In the mean time she had not had food (clearly for a while).
I gave her the rest of my lunch, my card to call if she needs help in any way and went off to class thinking about what's happenening around South Africa on our universities and how this story gives me a little more insight into why this is all so important.
Post to my men friends on consent...
Part of the toxic masculinity we have grown up with has included being taught all sorts of things we now need to unlearn. Most of us also never had open, healthy conversations about sex and consent growing up. All I learned from church and parents was that sex before marriage was a sin and bad. It was completely inadequate. Friends were not good advisors on this either as they too had nobody sit down with them to help navigate this all.
We as a result need to have conversations about sex and consent not only with our kids but with fellow men.
So, let's talk about some ground rules on consent:
1. It must be freely given... It is not ok to pressure, trick or threaten someone into saying yes. Power plays into this. It is never ok to use power to obtain consent. Also obviously nobody who is drunk, high or passed out can give consent.
2. Consent is reversible. It is ok for someone to say yes and then change their mind at any time. Even if you are already naked in bed, consent can be reversed. Even if you have done it before, it can still be reversed. Respect the word no.
3. Consent must be informed. You can only consent to something if you have all the facts. For example, if someone says they will use a condom and then they don't, it isn't full consent.
4. A person participating should be enthusiastic. In other words, they should want to do it. If someone is not enthusiastic (meaning happy, excited or energized), stop and check in with the person.
5. Consent must be specific. Saying yes to one thing (e.g. going to the bedroom to make out) is not the same as saying yes to other things (like having sex).
Sex is beautiful but when you mess with the freedom of people's consent it is violent. It really causes deep hurt and pain, sometimes pain that lasts a life time.
Men, the ladder we have to use to climb out of those bins has a name... It is called respect.
Let's show some!