response: How to Use This Issue (March 2013)

Beginning this month I’ll be sharing with you here my monthly column featured in our magazine, response! In my column, “How to Use This Issue,” I suggest ways readers can use that month’s issue to reflect, discuss or act based on the stories shared within. As managing editor of the magazine, writing this column is one of my favorite tasks. It’s a spiritual practice for me.

I’d hate for you to be left out of all the fun, so if you (and all of your friends) don’t already subscribe to response, take a minute to subscribe and help support the work of United Methodist Women—and get a sweet magazine for doing so. 

How to Use This Issue

M. Garlinda Burton delivers her address at Limitless: Redefine Tomorrow in Durham, N.C., in August 2012. Photo by Sara Davis.

M. Garlinda Burton delivers her address at Limitless: Redefine Tomorrow in Durham, N.C., in August 2012. Photo by Sara Davis.

Read M. Garlinda Burton’s Bible study, “Can’t Hold Me Back: A Study of Esther.” Then read it again. In the study she is speaking specifically to the young women who attended United Methodist Women’s Limitless event in August 2012, but her message is universal, for all ages and groups and times. She bids you to own God’s magnificent call for your life. Pick a favorite quote from her Bible study and share it with someone else—post it as your Facebook status or send out a Tweet, e-mail a friend, include it in your newsletter or church bulletin, or maybe slide a note into the bag of a roommate, partner, spouse or child before she or he heads out for the day. This Bible study is a great way to kick off Women’s History Month.

Homer Simpson, father on the television comedy The Simpsons, once said to his intelligent daughter Lisa, who’d just discovered a chemical that erased negative thoughts, “If you were a boy, you’d be a scientist!” Homer Simpson has offered many such “truths” over the years, but this is one of my favorites. This year the National Women’s History Project has set the theme for Women’s History Month as “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” Girls can be and are scientists.

Were you ever told that girls aren’t good at math? That boys are better at science than girls? These messages are not only untrue but they are harmful—not just to girls but to everyone, everywhere. What diseases would already be cured if more women were scientists? What new innovations would already exist that increase access for those with disabilities, make food and travel safer, or improve access to medical care for those in rural areas? How much better would the world already be if generations of women weren’t told math and science was for boys? It’s time to stop asking this question. As United Methodist Women members it may seem silly to have to say something so well understood as “Girls can do math,” but so many girls need to hear it. As you gather this month, include in your prayers the names of women you know who work in the fields of math and science. And tell as many girls a you can that girls are awesome at math and science.

Construction work is also not just for men. United Methodist Women National Mission Institution the Moore Community House in Biloxi, Miss., sponsors a program called Women in Construction. Jim West writes about this work in “Moore Community House: Transforming Women’s Lives on the Gulf Coast.” What “nontraditional” work does this article inspire you to do? What projects can your United Methodist Women group participate in this month that you haven’t participated in because it is considered “men’s work”? What “women’s work” can you encourage the men to do? The sooner we can eliminate these labels, the better off we’ll all be. Let it start with your United Methodist Women!

Let Women’s History Month be the reason this month to share the work of United Methodist Women with others, and be sure to take time to celebrate and thank one another for the work you do. Thank God for you.

TARA BARNES
Staff editor, United Methodist Women
Managing editor, response.

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