Pam’s Paper Blog - December 2016

posted 1 Jan 2017, 07:50 by Richard Jones   [ updated 1 Jan 2017, 07:50 ]

Dear friends,

Whatever possessed the United Nations to choose Wonder Woman as their ambassador to encourage women? I was quite incredulous at the decision, positively open mouthed. In one blow they must have offended such disparate groups as faithful Muslims and Western feminists in choosing such a Barbie doll idea. Never mind what it burdens our children’s self-image with.

This is not the first time the United Nations has chosen a fictional character to emphasise a desirable outcome with Winnie-the-Poo, for example, being chosen as an ambassador for friendship. But what does the unrealistic nature of super powers say to women across the world? Is being the best in human terms not enough? No, I’m with the female employees with my back turned and my arm raised.

Every Christmas we listen to the same story of a young woman’s obedience to God that enabled the incarnation. Mary was very young, unmarried and unprepared for what was being asked of her. But her decisions, and the faith that supported them, is an example to us all. Yet Mary too has been given a makeover with statues of a pretty white face and blue cloak. Often I find myself wondering what she was really like as I listen again to the Christmas story.

Our history is littered with great women, most of whom would not find their place on a catwalk. Women who defied the expectations of their age like Elizabeth 1st who ruled for 40 years; or Marie Currie who won two Nobel prizes for work on radiation; or Florence Nightingale who earned the right to serve soldiers as a nurse. All of them worked determinedly against the current of expectation and none of them were gifted by super powers.

Surely in the 21st century we expect more from women than a thin waist and fanciful abilities? We could wish them the political astuteness of Elizabeth 1st or the intelligence of Marie Currie; or the compassion of Florence Nightingale. But I think what is most useful to both men and women is an obedient faith in our sovereign Lord; it’s about as good as it gets humanly speaking; a faith that inspired Mary to say: 

‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him, from generation to generation. 

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud

in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 

he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 

according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

 Merry Christmas, Pam Daunton