“UP THE MOUNTAIN ye were?” the woman said to me. I tried to look at her from the passenger seat, though my glasses were bedazzled with raindrops.
“Picked a day for it, too,” I said, and she laughed, and clicked her tongue. She was in her mid-seventies, wearing a corded cream wool sweater and speaking to me in that rough thicket of an Irish country accent that I encountered anytime I left the main towns and met a sexa- or septuagenarian. “My name is Aidan Ryan, by the way,” I said – appropriate, it seemed, now that I’d been soaking her upholstery for a few minutes. “Oh, not many Ryans here,” she said. And that was all I got out of her. I never learned my driver’s name.
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Is God a man?
Is God a woman?
Does it really matter?
These and similar questions seem to be doing the rounds again, on social media and elsewhere. My answers, in brief, would be “No”, “No”, and “Yes, very much.”
Why does it matter so much? Why does it matter what language we use about God, what pronouns and names and titles we use to address and describe God?
Let me tell you a story.
You know those arguments children have which go “boys are better than girls”, “no, girls are better than boys”, “no, boys are better than girls”, on and on and on? They’re especially annoying on long car journeys or in waiting rooms.
A while back, two of the children I work with, then aged about 5, were having just such an argument. I wan’t paying much attention, just keeping half an eye on things in case…
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[Gawain said:] “Ah, my uncle king Arthur! My good brother Sir Gareth is slain, and so is my brother Sir Gaheris, who were two noble knights.” Then the king and Gawain both wept, and so they fell on swooning.
Thomas Malory, Works, ed. Eugene Vinaver (my translation).
“Three things happen when they [women] are in the lab.… You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry.”
Nobel Prize-winner Sir Richard Timothy “Tim” Hunt, World Conference of Science Journalists 2016.
I’m currently tinkering with the final edits to an article on male swooning in Middle English romance. Medieval romances are full of fainting men: swooning from lovesickness, losing consciousness after battle, collapsing on receipt of bad news about beloved companions. In the middle ages, it seemed to me that swooning and weeping could be used as proofs of hypermasculinity – and so…
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Three months ago my family and I moved into our first home. Something about buying a house makes you feel like a real bonafide adult. And with that comes real adult decisions. We moved to Charlotte from Tampa in January and when my husband and I were deciding where in the city we wanted to live, we like many young families, fell into the trap that is holding back so many of our cities: providing our child with a good education.
Like so many other cities in America, in Charlotte you can find the public schools with the highest test scores in the suburbs. Decades and decades of socio-economic trends, not to mention racism and segregation, are the major cause of this divide – in fact, that could be a blog post all on its own. Of course many will tell you test scores…
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“Don’t borrow someone else’s plan. Develop
your own philosophy and it will lead you to