reflection

MNWJ PERSONAL REFLECTION

MNWJ Blog

Working as a group on the news website was an exciting experience and I got to learn a lot of new coding styles. I also improved my curating style, interviewing skills, audio skills, research and writing skills. On the website I worked on the welcome message, the interviewing of Dr Val and MEP Afzal Khan, the audio, the video, the statistics and graph on the Homelessness story, the read more on the homelessness article as well as the social media. I also helped with the coding of the website. During the vox pops it was very interesting to see different but similar views from the public regarding the homelessness situation. In completing the website on time, we met every Tuesday and Thursday during the Easter holiday.

According to spritz web solution, a good website should have good use of color, text that can be easily read, quality photography and simplicity. A website should also be functional and error free as it will be in the eyes of the public. A good website should also have fast loading pages, minimal scroll, consistent layout, prominent logical navigation, descriptive link text, cross-platform/browser compatibility and screen resolution. A good search engine optimization is very important so that the website is easily located hence the use of hyperlinks. Our website has most of these qualities.

Creating the website came with its challenges. Some of the challenges I and Prang encountered include being turned down at the initial stage of the vox pop before Shiffa joined us however we refused to give up. Bad weather, getting statistics and finally making sense of the statistics were also some of the challenges we encountered. When we were conducting the vox pop, we struggled to understand the accent of the of the public and there was a lot of construction work and traffic noise and street music at the town center so we had to put the recorder very close to the mouth of the interviewees which made them a little uncomfortable. Due to bad audio, I had to add caption to one of the shots of the video. As a way to show how nationalism, we planned to have an audio of our biography in our native languages however due to time constraints we could not accomplish that. It was also hard to find statistics regarding the homeless and rough sleepers so I had to make use of one that had the whole of England. In order for it to make any sense in relation to our story, I picked a couple of cities within Manchester to show the increase and decrease of the homeless and rough sleepers over a period of 5 years.

In the future, to improve the website, I would add more captions to the video and upload it to social media for easier understanding even in a public place with no earphones or headphones. I would also like to make the pictures have a full screen resolution so that the reader can be able to have a clearer vision of the images.


my pictures

I like the independent journalists blog because I one day aspire to be a freelancer as well as own a media house. I also like the blog’s content. The content of the blog is all about the experiences of different free-lance journalists. It incorporates other news stories as well. It also creates an avenue for freelance journalists to network with one another. It is a collaborative blog where freelance journalists can share resources and benefits. The blog belonging to the society of professional journalists (SPJ) invites different journalists across different works of life as guest bloggers to share their thoughts and professional views on various topics ranging from network and support for freelancers to interviews and support for music journalists.

The index page of the blog has a one-page content however, there is a horizontal lining between when a blog ends and another one begins. The blogs are not categorized. The headers are in a different colour and font making it easy to identify the beginning of a new blog, the font of the content is also legible aiding the visual reading of the blog. The contents are also not long, they are concise and straight to the point. This makes the blogs easy to read as they do not appear bulky. The date of the publication is written under the header. The pictures of the different authors are placed at the top right hand corner of the blog under their blogs. On the right hand corner of the blog, there are tweets, links to their categorized stories, blog archives and meta where people can see the HTML validator as well as a login point and WordPress. There is also a short mission statement of the SPJ with links to the full statements and links to becoming a member. There are hyperlinks to some of the bloggers taking the reader to their websites and social media pages. For some of the bloggers their social media platforms are embedded into the blog. At the bottom, there is a hyperlink to the official website of SPJ, their social media platform, other stories on the blog, their members, missions and resources. They also have a disclaimer the end of the page.

The overall background colour is a very light green, the content page is white with black fonts making it appear as a professional blog, the first header is written in white with large fonts on an orange and black background however, the background colour, header colour and font colour changes with the navigation. All the other headings are written in orange. The name of the authors are written in black while the tweets and hyperlinks are in blue and orange respectively.

There are four navigation points on the index page of the blog classified as National Blogs, Regional Blogs, SPJ.org and @SPJ_Tweets and they are interlinked into each other making the navigation easy although I think it is a little difficult to identify because the headers catch the attention of the readers first.

SPJ Blog

ED WALKER

This blog by Ed Walker is a blog I can relate to as a student and as an aspiring professional journalist. The blog addresses the issues journalists face on a daily basis and the things all journalists should know. The blog is not collaborative however, the information provided are very detailed and useful. There is no use of picture, audio or video which is not a very good thing for writing for the web. A web should have audio and visual aid which this blog doesn’t have.

The language is very simple and conversational. He does not use very colloquial words which sometimes makes a blog too professional, the blog is written more as a feature blog than as a hard news blog. The header which is the author’s name is linked into all the pages, the name of the author is hyperlinked and it always takes the reader to the home page whenever it is clicked. The blog has many hyperlinks embedded into the stories. Some of the hyperlinks include the Malicious Communications Act, Article about Wokingham’s Road issue, the schools he attended and the places he has worked which include Trinity mirror. On the right hand side of the page, there are links to his recent posts, recent comments, archives from 2008 to 2011, categories and the Meta page. All these are repeated at the bottom of the page with no disclaimer. Also on the right hand side of the page there is a hidden icon which states follow. The readers can type in their email and signup to follow Ed Walker. The blog is created with WordPress. The readers have the opportunity to share the posts via twitter, Facebook and google+, other than this there is minimal use of social media or user-generated contents. Readers can follow Ed through his Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr accounts respectively. His readers can also contact him by email. He also has a content starter kit for local bloggers. The contact me page could have looked better with the social media badges than just with words which are linked into the page. The articles are very short and there are linked for the reader to click on to read the full story.

The blog has four navigation pages which include the home page, best of page, about page and contact page which are interlinked into each other making the navigation from page to page easy. The navigation in right after the header which has the name of the author and who he is. The readers can only comment on the best of page at the very end of the article which is not a conventional way of many blogs where readers can make their comments at the end of each article posted. The readers can also only like the articles there is no dislike button.

The background is white with black fonts. There is really no design to the blog except for the header picture which gives the blog a bit of colour. The end of the page however, is black with yellow fonts. The headers are all written in bold black. Using WordPress might have been a limitation to what the author could do to his blog because it is not self-coded.

Ed Walker

WOMEN IN RELIGION

According to church growth experts, there are more women in every kind of church than men and the traditional explanation for this is that women are more spiritual than men and industrialization. The new age movement also suggests that the church’s music, messages and ministries cater to women yet a huge number of senior pastors are men. Evangelical pollster George Barna described women as the backbone of every Christian congregation. The feminization of the church theory explains that men are more impacted than women by the increasing pressure on people to seek professional advancement. Nancy Pearcey, the author of Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity said that religion came to be seen as for women and children and not as relevant to the “real” world of business, politics and academia due to industrialization. This website aims to offer more understanding of the involvement of women in religious activities. This article will be brokenn down into three (3) parts; the role of women in the church, society, modernity and the feminization of the church and women and technology.


THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

cathedral

Women are a very active part of the church, they have lots of roles and responsibility within the church however, differnt denominations have different ideas of what a woman should be allowed to do without excercising full authority over a man using the Epistle of Paul as a justification. Clement of Alexandria once said that, "Many women have received power through the grace of God and have performed many deeds of manly valor”. On the other hand, Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius belives that women do not possess the gift of God only when she is together with a man. According to him, a woman is designed as a help mate which is a duty for her alone as the man is in himself the image of God.

Pope Francis instituted a commission to examine role of female deacons in the Catholic Church, a movement he believed will be beneficial to the church. This move came as a result of complaints from Advocates of women serving as deacons stating that they are under-represented in the Church's hierarchy and decision-making processes. However, the pope said that he did not see women becoming priests, a motion that was once rejected by Pope John Paul the second in 1994.

According to James O. Baird, an author, there is a great deal of confusion today as to women's roles both in the home and in the church hence. Biblically, it is stated that the role of a woman includes bringing up children, showing hospitality to strangers, washing of the saint’s feet, relieving the afflicted and diligently following every good work. The leader of the King’s Church evening site, Lukundo, said that she feels that women in the church should be bold enough to do whatsoever that they feel God has called them to do irrespective of their gender as that will be their role. She said there is a tension between what God has called them to do and the space that they have to do it based on culture. She also spoke about what she thinks about women being allowed to preach. She encourages all women not be bitter at their spouses but should be patient as we are all on a journey to more revelation and discovery.

Lunkndo spoke about the challenges women face within the context of the church.

She also spoke on women leadership

Pastor Joeseph Taiwo, the Senior Pastor of New Life Gospel Church, said that what the bible meant by women should not preach is that women ought not to excercise authority over men. He said, "Saying a woman should not preach is like saying they should not evangelise or talk to people about Christ". According to him, Wome should be nder the authority and leadership of men because they are weaker vessels.

He spoke on his other reasons why women should be under the leadership of men and what he feels are the role of women within any church community.

The society views not allowing women to preach as chauvinism or discrimination however, many different churches and religious organizations have different doctrines to back this believe in accordance to their interpretation of the bible passage that states that, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression” 1Timothy 2:12-14. According to John Piper, Chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary, the bible draws a distinction between the church and the home. He said, “At home men are proving their fitness to be elders (pastors), and at church they are the ones who are given that role”. He views teaching and exercising authority as the role of elders which automatically are men however he is of the opinion that it’s not a problem for a woman to minister in hundreds of ways in the church, but the office of leadership and teaching of men is preserved for spiritual and godly men.

There are many objections to this view of women in pastoral ministries. One of the most common theory of this is that Paul the author of the scripture mentioned above was only reacting against the female-led customs of the Ephesian idolaters, and the church needed to be different which meant that Paul only restricted the women of Ephesus from teaching men. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul described the Christian faith as one in which distinctions of race, social status and gender do not apply. He said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free, there is neither male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28. Another objection is that Paul was referring to husbands and wives and not men and women generally.

mary and jesus

Another reason for justifying the fact that women should not be pastors is the fact that at the time of creation Eve was easily deceived which in turn led to the downfall of Adam. The scripture above justifies the fact that God chose to give men the authority over women because women are more easily deceived yet they are left to care for their children who are also more susceptible to deception as well as their husbands. The author, Claire Drury, once said that attitudes to the position of women in Christianity depends first on which biblical texts one chooses, then on how one reads the bible and how much weight is given to the contexts in which it was written. With the ever increasing fight for gender equality and the rise in western modernity, Christian women have begun to assert their right to equality inside the church as well as in secular life as is the case with catholic nuns who called on the pope to appoint them as deaconesses in the church in other for them to be able to do so much more than they are already doing. According to Clare, some modern scholars have recognized that many of the most influential ideas about women in the church have come from celibate male writers whose fears about their own sexuality were projected on to women thereby projecting a negative stereotype towards women hence, keeping them at a safe distance and in a secondary position within the church.

PUBLIC OPINION

spreadsheet

Members of the public have varying opinions regarding women leadership in the church. Supporters of women leadership in the church said that women are more organized and passionate in everything they set their minds to do. They also said that women are more principled and serious minded and that women are better managers considering that they are an integral part of the church community. On the other side of the fence are the critics of women leadership in the church who believe that men are more superior to women hence the need for them to lead men in every area of society. They also feel that women are not patient and that women make quick decisions and can be extremely sensitive to issues. Some people simply do not care who leads in any religious setting. The public also said that allowing women to become leaders in the church will make them more dedicated in doing God's work and no one understands a woman better than another woman. Oladunni, a postgraduate student of social care is of the opinion that women should not be active leaders in the church because it requires dedication and commitment. She said that women already have so many responsibilities in the home to take care of and adding to their portfolio only leaves them feeling overly stressed. On the other hand, Godwin A, also a postgraduate student has a contrary opinion. According to him, Ability is not defined on the basis of Gender. He said, “All genders are endowed with leadership skills or have dispositions to acquire, learn and develop to be leaders”.

Graph Showing the public opinion

TOTAL NUMER= 100

pie-chart

Women have very important and specific roles within the church. They can be leaders however, in many christian denominations, women will still be limited with regards to how far they can go in reaching their full potential without having authority over the men. There are many women bishops who have authority over men within pentecostal churches however the answer to how right or wrong that is remains with individuals and the church.

SHARE THIS STORY ON:

Facebook Twitter

READ MORE

SOCIETY, MODERNITY AND THE FEMINIZATION OF THE CHURCH

cathedral

Scientists have proven that a woman’s brain is designed in a form that allows her to do several things at the same time while a man’s brain allows him to focus on one particular thing at a time. Despite a woman’s ability to multitask, she still has a lot of limitations on her path that hinders her from achieving her full potential. Oscar Wilde sums up the situation women encounter in the society as, “Women have a much better time than men in this world; there are far more things forbidden to them”.

In 2016, many women have become very independent and the messages of self-love and self-confidence have risen. Many women have shifted from the traditional norm of being subordinate to men and embraced more political roles such as Theresa May who is the current prime minister of England and Hillary Clinton who is the democratic presidential elect for the United States. Ms. Margaret Mensah Williams, a member of the Namibian parliament once said that, “the refusal to promote women to leadership positions by a clergy of a specific religion is an indication that this specific community may not be ready to accept women into political and public life”. It can be said that when a culture dictates that women should be subordinate to men and should follow the opinions of their husbands and fathers, they are less likely to be politically active. In addition, other political leaders and regular citizens do not take the few women who are politically active seriously. A good example is that of the first lady bishop of the Church of England. Her critics argued that she was not the one who was leading but that she was just there as a figurehead who is still submitting to the authority of a man.

Professor Julie Scott Jones, a professor of sociology said over the last 50 years, women have comes tremendously far but that they still have a long way to go. She said in 2016, women definitely have statutory equality with the men. She spoke about the challenges as well as the stereotypes women face within the churches.

She also spoke about the gender gap in most churches.

She said looking at the very early churches after the death of Jesus; it was very equal to men and women. According to her, men and women worked and preach together and they were seen as a community. Dr Julie said, “It was only after the Christian church became the official form of religion after the Roman Empire in Europe that suddenly it had to be men”.

She finally spoke on what the future holds for women in religion.

The rise of feminism in the early 20th century has a direct link with the increase of women being allowed to become religious leaders including priests and bishops. Religion has not been exempt from the widespread improvement in the representation of women throughout society. As with other issues concerning women in positions of power, there is opposition amongst those who have views that are more traditional to the role of a woman. Women are discouraged from pursuing higher education or religious pursuits, but this seems to be primarily because women who engage in such pursuits might neglect their primary duties as wives and mothers. The rabbis are not concerned that women are not spiritual enough; rather, they are concerned that women might become too spiritually devoted.

Exclusion of women from religious institutions and religious leadership may have a negative impact on women’s status in society and limit their opportunities in politics and public life. Globalisation comes with new possibilities as well as challenges. There is a complex relationship between religion and globalisation as religions become more self-conscious as being world religions. Women’s participation in religious institutions around the world varies not only from a religion to religion, but also within the denominations of the same religion and can depend on cultural norms and traditions existing in a country or region. The author, Kamila klingorova, describes religion as a fluid concept with interpretations and practices ‘embedded’ and thus varying with respect to cultural and historical relations.

statue of a woman

Historically, women have played important roles in the development of various religions around the world from Hinduism to Christianity however; the treatment they receive and are receiving in the church has spurred several debates. In Christian society, women have always being directly subordinate to the men. Historically Christian societies in Western Europe have not allowed women to take on senior roles within the church as they were meant to take on more submissive roles in the church and home. However, in the last 50 years it has become more common for females to be ordained as priests and bishops within different Christian denominations such as the Protestant Church. The fight for Women’s rights has also encouraged debate in religious communities to give women a place within the church as senior leaders.

ISLAM

Within Islam, women are not allowed to become an imam and take a religious service. There is a general negative perception of the treatment of women in Islam, it is often assumed that the negative stereotype attached to Muslim women is as a result of the strict law guiding them and the constant conflicts experienced in some Muslim countries. In western countries, the Islamic law that instructs females not to go to school and wear a veil is regarded as uncivilised and repressive hence, the treatment of Muslim women. Men and women in Islam also have different places of worship.

HINDUISM

In Hinduism, it is believed that women were created by Brahman as part of the duality in creation to provide company to men and facilitate procreation as well as continuation of family lineage. Unlike Christianity, Hinduism is a predominantly male dominated religion and women play a secondary role. During the Gupta period however, socially placed women within the family were given administrative roles and were allowed to teach and participate in discussions. At Verdic ceremonies, women are not allowed to officiate but they are allowed to perform domestic rituals such as Puja. Ironically, Hindus worship a lot of female goddesses which means a husband is obligated to treat his wife with maximum respect as she is considered a gift from god. However, the freedom of women are limited, she is totally dependent on men in a male dominated household. Women such as Sita, Ganga, Kunti , Amba amongst others exemplified the roles that Hindu women are meant to play both at home and in the public.

JUDAISM

In traditional Judaism, women are considered separate yet equal. Unlike traditional Christianity, God has never been viewed as exclusively male or masculine. Judaism has always maintained that God has both masculine and feminine qualities. Jews believe that women are endowed with higher levels of intuition, understanding and intelligence. They are allowed to hold positions of respect; however, they are not permitted to take active part in worship. The men and women sit at different places during worship. Although women are held in high esteem, the Talmud associate women with the characteristics of laziness, jealousy, gluttony, witchcraft and occult and gossip and men are warned to stay away from such women because of their lust and not the shortcoming of women.

BUDDHISM

Buddhism does not consider women as inferior to men. While they accept the physical differences between the two sexes, they are both considered very useful to the society. In the family both husbands and wives are expected to share equal responsibility and discharge their duties with equal dedication. The husband is admonished to consider the wife a friend, a companion, a partner. In family affairs the wife was expected to be a substitute for the husband when the husband happened to be indisposed. In fact, a wife was expected even to acquaint herself with the trade, business or industries in which the husband engaged, so that she would be in a position to manage his affairs in his absence. In Buddhist societies, men and women are considered equal.

THE FEMINIZATION OF THE CHURCH

statue of a woman

“They say the church is too feminine"

Church growth experts have said that there are more women in every type of church in every country. The possible explanation for this is that women are more spiritual than men are and that the music, messages and ministries cater to women. Many men including Christian men view the church as women’s club so they do not go; however, those that go do so in order to please their spouses or family. Research has also shown that some men who actually attend churches frequently show less commitment in church activities, which include Sunday school, and small group activities. In addition, men are more likely not to practice spiritual activities such as tithing, bible reading and prayer. Despite the huge number of women who attend the church, a huge number of senior leaders are men. Recent surveys show that 93% of senior pastors in the US are men. It can be said that the statistics apply to other countries as well.

Dr Bex Lewis talks briefly on the feminization of the church.

There is an almost inseperable link between the treatment of women in society and the church. How a woman is viewed in the society often times determines how she is treated in the church. In highly Patriarchial societies, the women though are scientifically able to multitask are relegated to the back seats, they are required to be submissive and usually seen but not heard. It is however not certain, the future of the church.

SHARE THIS STORY ON:

Facebook Twitter

READ MORE

WOMEN AND TECHNOLOGY

group

social media buttons

“The PC has improved the world in just about every area you can think of. Amazing developments in communications, collaboration and efficiencies. New kinds of entertainment and social media. Access to information and the ability to give a voice people who would never have been heard- Bill Gates"

We are living in a world where many people spend a lot of time on social media connecting with people from everywhere. Social media has become a meeting room for many organizations and inventions have being birthed through social media. Rapid growth in the use of online social networking has allowed these platforms to be used as technological tools for changing religious, political, and economic attitudes and behaviours. Many religious communities and church congregations create opportunities for social interactions beyond the regular worship services. Youth groups, men’s worship groups, women’s circles, summer camps, and other activities provide a social network of people to connect beyond their shared faith.

Sister Catherine Wybourne, prioress of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Oxfordshire, and digital nun on Twitter said, "Being web-savvy should be a required skill for religious leaders in general". Religious leaders have websites, blogs and Twitter feeds, there are email prayer lines, online confessionals, and apps that call the congregation to prayer. On the other hand, Dr Paul Teusner, a lecturer at Melbourne is of the opinion that, “The technology presented to religious organizations is wrapped with cultural values that compliment, challenge or repel religious attitudes”. He argued that the web might have encouraged a conceptual approach that does not hold firmly to a single standard but has drawn multiple theories which has turned us to consumers of religion.

The continuous use of social media is challenging the control that leaders once had over their doctrine and congregates. The web has rapidly increased the interpretation and articulation of different religions and individuals have much more freedom in deciding whom to approach as a source. Religious leaders are required to be more accountable and transparent in their interactions with those outside the traditional hierarchies.

Christian missiologist, Ed Stetzer said that social media has come to stay. He said, “At once it represents technology at its finest, and humanity at its worst. But the same was said of television, and cinema, and probably the printing press”. According to him, social media can be treated as a god as the day of some people revolves around consuming and interacting with every bit of information delivered to them. In his words, “We can treat it as Satan, which others do and rail against the evils that come through MySpace (not realizing that, maybe the Devil left there, too)”. Social media is seen as a tool and the wrong use of it can have a negative impact however, it can produce results when applied correctly.

Professor Michael Kruger said that:
"We live in a world where technology advances at such an overwhelming pace that we hardly have time to stop and be amazed by it. According to him, despite the goo use of social media within the church, it causes short attention span, low view of authority, over-focus on equality, lack of physical presence and low commitment and accountability".

Digital Marketer, Bex Lewis said that social media has become better and easier to use. She said in time past, social media was used by people in dark rooms, people who had shut themselves away however, the use of social media has become more open. According to her, a person does not have to have computer knowledge to use social media however, communication skills are essential.

She spoke briefly on the influence that social media has on the world.

She also spoke about how social media can help bridge the gender gap currently been experienced in churches.

Dr Bex explained that social media could show the world that Christians are real people with real passion. She said that people could come to the church and still do the things they love such as clubbing and going to the pub. She said, “Church is a thing that you enjoy, you find encouraging that helps develop your life as a whole, the spirituality has an impact on your life as a whole”.

Speaking on the best social media handles suitable for churches, she said that churches should look at what is popular and trendy. She however suggested Twitter as it gets people involved before, during and after an event, Facebook, as it is good for individual one to one stuff, Pinterest works best for children’s activities and Instagram for pictures. However, she said that it is important for people to understand the restrictions about showing kids.

She also spoke about her upcoming projects.

THE MEDIA IN WOMEN IN RELIGION

The media has been at the heart of debates regarding women in religion. Rosie Dawson, the producer of Religion and Ethics at the BBC said that the difference in the reporting of men and women within the media is not always gender related. She said there used to be a sort of Christian stereotype in the media though they are not as bad as they used to be. The stereotypes were attached to the clergy in a sense that they had to appear in a certain way and speak in a holy voice, which was quite unreal. She said that was the most common stereotypes in television especially in comedy. She said it is very difficult to generalise stereotyping because the stereotypes will differ enormously depending on the media outlet.

Another common stereotypes found in media reporting on women in religion is about Muslim women. Muslim women especially those with black hijabs and black full covering are seen as submissive, oppressed and almost non-people who do not have a voice of their own however some active Muslim women are beginning to challenge those stereotypes. She also spoke on the gender gap in the church using her church as an example.

From her reporting, Rosie that some of the reasons why women are said to be more active in the church is because they have more time and are more drawn towards nurturing a relationship between them and Jesus. She said, “Women are more likely to volunteer, single women are much more sociable than single men and that would be reflected in the churches. When asked about if the media can help to bridge the gender gap in the media, she said she does not think it is the work of the media to bridge the gender gap in churches but the responsibility of the churches. She said, “It is the job of the media to reflect what they see”. According to some media accounts, women so outnumber men in the pews of many churches that some clergy have changed decor, music and worship styles to try to bring more men into their congregations.

Singer Charlotte Church says the way women are portrayed in the UK's media is "despicable" and likens the media to a class bully.

SHARE THIS STORY ON: