Beginning Today: Our Free Big Class: Stopping Harassment and Creating Cultures of Respect with Gretchen Carlson and Robin Hammeal-Urban

From today through May 28, take our new Big Class: Stopping Harassment and Creating Cultures of Respect with Gretchen Carlson and Robin Hammeal-Urban for free.

Our culture has tended, up until recently, to think of serious sexual harassment as characterizing a bygone era. The television show Mad Men, for example, set in 1960s mad menadvertising firms and including scenes with startlingly blatant sexual harassment, suggest that sexual harassment used to be a serious problem, but also creates a perception of cultural distance between the bad old days and today. If the #MeToo movement has demonstrated anything, however, it has shown that in many twenty-first century professional and social communities, we still accept as a fact of life that powerful people will coerce others into sex and degrade others based on gender.

2016 report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on workplace harassment  included the results of a random sample survey that found that 25% of female employees reported having been sexually harassed in the workplace. When the term “sexual harassment” was not used in the question, but unwanted sexual advances by employers were described, 40% of female employees reported having experienced these behaviors. When the question described people’s being treated with hostility in relation to their gender (as opposed to experiencing unwanted sexual advances or sexual touching), that percentage went up to 60. This survey demonstrates, first, that sexual harassment in the American workplace is anything but dead, and second, that many women notice sexually inappropriate and gender-biased behavior in their workplaces but don’t define these behaviors to themselves as sexual harassment. The harassment is happening, but victims don’t always recognize it as such.

Nor does harassment stop in the workplace. The sexual assault charges brought against numerous clergy members  in recent years indicate that churches are no more immune to predatory sexual behavior than anywhere else. It is impossible to deny that sexual harassment remains a serious problem across the board in American culture.

In this class, two women who advocate against sexual harassment join together to show us how to resist it, particularly in our faith communities. In 2016, Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News journalist, brought charges against Roger Ailes after having been dismissed from her job for refusing to have sex with him. Her choice eventually forced Ailes to resign from his position at Fox News (where several other women have spoken out about his having harassed them as well) and opened doors for other women to report their experiences with sexual harassment.  Today, she focuses much of her energy on advocating for gender equality in the workplace.

Robin Hammeal-Urban is Canon for Mission Integrity and Training for the Diocese of Connecticut. She is an attorney who specifically works to train faith communities on ways to build respectful interaction and resist sexual harassment. She also helps the church respond to situations involving sexual misconduct. She has written a book about rebuilding trust in faith communities in the wake of leadership misconduct and has many ideas about how communities of faith in particular can build respectful cultures.

In this course, Gretchen and Robin will educate you about how to define sexual harassment, why it’s important to speak out about it (and why it can be so difficult to do so), ways in which churches and individuals can respond to harassment, and ways to build faith communities that encourage respect. We hope that their guidance helps each of you as we work together to create a culture that truly respects the dignity of every human being.

We hope that you will join students across the world in learning about how to resist sexual harassment. For a preview of the course, please click here.

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Register Now for Our Free Big Class: Stopping Harassment and Creating Cultures of Respect with Gretchen Carlson and Robin Hammeal-Urban

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Register now for our upcoming Big Class: Stopping Harassment and Creating Cultures of Respect with Gretchen Carlson and Robin Hammeal-Urban. The class will be available free worldwide May 14-May 28.

The #MeToo movement has been so powerful that Time Magazine wrote its annual Person of the Year 2017 article about the people who came forward with their stories of rape, harassment, and other unwanted sexual advances from leaders in their professions and in other power positions. The men who revealed to have used their positions to demand sex or to harass people sexually came from many professions — from TV anchorman Matt Lauer to internationally respected playwright Israel Horovitz; from former Minnesota Senator Al Franken to New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh.

That these men were powerful in so many different professions and cultural arenas indicates the diverse range of ordinary people who have faced unwanted sexual advances in their day-to-day lives — from junior chefs trying to work their way up in New Orleans to aspiring actors trying to make a living in theater to people who work for senators in Washington. These powerful men got away with what they were doing because the culture allowed it. And as the #MeToo movement demands justice for the victims of sexual harassment, the movement also asks for change. It demands that people in power positions treat colleagues and junior colleagues with respect and that our culture no longer empower people to use positions of strength to demand sex or harass people sexually.

In the Episcopal Baptismal Covenant, we vow to respect the dignity of every human being. The #MeToo movement gives us a powerful opportunity to fulfill this promise by Carlson and Hammeal-Urbanusing our collective voice to demand change and to discuss ways by which we might enact change in our institutions and on a cultural level. In this class, Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor and an internationally recognized journalist who wrote the bestselling book Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back works with Robin Hammeal-Urban, a lawyer, Episcopalian, and sexual misconduct expert to help educate and open discussion about stopping sexual misconduct in our culture and creating cultures that demand that leaders treat people in their scope of power with respect.

Register for this class for free any time from now through May 28. For a preview of the course, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Just Launched: Praying with English Mystics with Dan London

We just launched Praying with English Mystics with Dan London For Individuals and For Groups.

Mystics have an exotic reputation. Our culture associates them with altered states of consciousness; with strange, even supernatural activities; with “mystic crystal revelations,” as the title song in the musical Hair puts it. At the very least, we expect otherworldly, “saintlike” behavior.

We do not necessarily picture a quiet woman who lived a life of prayer in her church cell with her cat, sometimes offering spiritual guidance to visitors, as Julian of Norwich lived. We don’t think of St. Theresa of Avila, annoyed at having had to cross a stream head down under her donkey due to a saddle-related mishap, griping to God about the indignity of her treatment — and, upon God’s resp0nding that this is how God treats friends, snapping back to God, “No wonder you have so few!” We don’t picture, in other words, people with personalities, tempers, and pets — but the entire point of this course is that mystical experiences are not limited to desert hermits or people who live in a kind of extreme religious haze, but for Christians of every kind and temperament who desire union with God.

In this course, Dan London, a teacher and priest serving Christ Episcopal Church in Eureka, California, discusses the English mystics of the fourteenth century, particularly Julian of Norwich and the author of The Cloud of Unknowing. He talks about the work of these mystics in the context of contemporary scholarship and explains ways in which we can use their work to help us on our own spiritual journeys.

We hope that this course helps support you as you build and expand your life of prayer. For a preview of this course, please click here.

 

Resource: Audio Bibles

Outside the context of the liturgy, today’s Christians tend to approach scripture as something we read to ourselves. For most of its history, however, people listened to the words of scripture rather than reading them on their own. So why not use today’s technology to bring scripture into your life the old-fashioned way? Here are some audio versions of scripture that you might find particularly interesting or inspiring.

  • Inspired By … The Bible Experience: Old Testament and Inspired By … The Bible Experience: New Testament are powerful and dramatic readings of scripture with Bible Experienceover 400 actors, actresses, and members of the clergy taking different roles. Performers include Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Denzel Washington, Forrest Whitaker, Blair Underwood, and many others. The reading has exceptional sound quality and is accompanied by an original score performed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra. This extraordinary recording won the 2007 Audio Association award for Audio Book of the Year.

 

  • The Word of Promise Complete Audio Bible is a powerful recording of the New King word of promise bibleJames Version of the Bible in its entirety. Many award-winning actors read characters in this version as well, including Richard Dreyfus, Louis Gossett, Jr., Gary Sinese, and Marissa Tomei.

 

 

  • James Earl Jones Reads the Bible: New Testament is the King James Version of the james earl jones bibleBible read by James Earl Jones (presumably because the firsthand voice of God was not available and this was the next best thing). There’s also a version of the King James Bible in its entirety read by James Earl Jones and Jon Sherburg.

 

 

  • BibleGateway now provides free audio readings for some translations of the Bible, including (but not limited to) the New International Version, the King James Version, and The Message. Just look up the passage and see if it has a speaker icon in the toolbar above the passage. If it does, you can listen to it. Many of the readings are extremely good. We especially like Max McLean’s reading of the New International Version. The website also has a page with information about its audio bibles, which are available in a number of different translations and languages.

 

  • The free Bible App offers access to free audio readings of the Bible. The best version is probably the same Max McLean New International Version that BibleGateway uses. The app is easy to use. Once installed, just select the NIV version in the top right and then press the speaker on the lower left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resource Update: Pins of Light Holy Week Retreat

Last week, we posted about online resources for Holy Week, and one of those resources was the blog Pins Of Light and their annual online retreat for Holy Week. Details about this year’s retreat were a little sketchy last week, but this week, they’ve put out more information, and it looks so interesting that we thought we’d draw particular attention to it.

This year’s retreat is called Chosen: Stories, Silences, and Songs from Scripture. It pursues the theme of reading between the lines in scripture by imagining situations from various characters’ viewpoints. It consists of three 45-minute online videos that will be released on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. People can participate at their own pace and on their own timetable with the videos. Jesuit spiritual directors are available for questions.

This online resource looks like a fantastic and creative option geared specifically for Holy Week. We hope that you find it helpful this week as we follow the story of Christ’s Passion and await the day of his resurrection.

Here’s Pins of Light’s video preview.

 

 

 

 

Resource: Holy Week Online Classes and Retreats

Last week, we updated you on online stations of the cross devotions that you might find useful during Holy Week. Today, we’re offering some suggestions for ChurchNext courses and online retreats that you might use during Holy Week. We hope you find these helpful.

ChurchNext Courses: We offer several courses that you can use to enrich your Holy Week.

  • Any of David Lose’s three classes on Making Sense of the Cross would be a good Painting 1focus for contemplation. Try Making Sense of the Cross Part 1 (which focuses on understanding the cross through experience), Making Sense of the Cross Part 2 (which focuses on understanding the cross through the gospels), and Making Sense of the Cross Part 3 (which focuses on Christian theories about the cross).
  • You also might enjoy Kathrin Burleson’s Praying the Stations of the Cross, in which artist Kathrin Burleson discusses and reflects on her series of fourteen paintings representing the Stations of the Cross.
  • And of the classes in our free Lenten curriculum Luke the Liberator would be a useful addition to Holy Week. These were developed as a resource for the Good Book Club as well as for anyone who is interested in learning more about Luke’s gospel. They are free until the end of Lent.

Online Holy Week Retreats: Here are two Holy Week retreats available online:

  • A blog called Pins of Light has offered popular online Holy Week retreats for the past ten years. This year’s retreat is connected with a musical called Chosen, but they aren’t being forthcoming with details about it. We’ll update if/when we learn more about it.
  • Creighton University offers a Holy Week retreat as part of its Lenten Retreat series. The retreat includes suggested readings, reflections, suggestions for prayers, the Stations of the Cross, and an opportunity to reflect and share thoughts with others.
  • IgnatianSpirituality.com offers a series of online retreats throughout Lent. They offer this one  for Holy Week.

 

Just Launched: Healing Spiritual Wounds with Carol Howard Merritt

We just launched Healing Spiritual Wounds with Carol Howard Merritt For Individuals and For Groups.

St. Paul is famous for having  written, “We see through a glass, darkly” — or, as the NRSV translation puts it, “in a mirror, dimly.” We cannot understand God’s nature without human language and human concepts limiting us because God is larger and greater than our understanding of reality can accommodate. The nature of our interactions with God requires us to use metaphors to describe God. The Bible uses the images of a father, a king, a war leader, a bridegroom, the master of an estate, a potter, a farmer, and many other metaphors that highlight elements of our relationship with God.

This necessity is part of our journey toward God; of what it means to be a human who worships God. Conceiving of God in erroneous ways, however, can cause great spiritual damage. When we grow up with images of God that are violent, full of hatred, cold,  wrathful, arbitrary, etc. we learn to fear God, but not to love God; to pray to God, but not necessarily to ask God for guidance. This kind of damage is a spiritual injury. It damages how we conceive of and interact on a spiritual level with God and with our neighbors.

In this class, Carol Howard Merritt talks about spiritual injuries: what they are, how to avoid inflicting them, particularly on an institutional level, and how to heal them — again, as churches, not just as individuals.

This class is ideal for people who want to learn how to deal with the spiritual injuries that people and institutions inflict — and how to keep our institutions from inflicting spiritual harm in the first place. For a preview of the course, please click here.