Episode 19: Missing women in church history: Getting Cross and Getting Creative with Katie Moritz
Welcome to the Loved Called Gifted Podcast. This is your place to come for musings about spirituality, identity, and purpose.
I’m your host, Catherine Cowell.
I’m delighted to be joined for this episode by Katie Moritz, so thank you ever so much for joining me, Katie.
K: You’re most welcome
C: Where are you now talking from?
K I’m in a little place called Parkgate, between Portsmouth, Fareham and Southampton. And used to be a place where they grew strawberries.
C: And what do you get up to?
K: Well, I am currently studying, which takes up most of my week, I’m studying at CMS college and technician society. The title is Lay Pioneer Ministry, but the general idea is finding ways do church outside of the old boring dusty church. Listening to communities, which informs a lot of the work I do with women and community. So that’s most of my time, writing essays and going to seminars. I should just say, it is quite important to me, on Fridays I have a day off. My husband is a priest, we do ministry, and that is my sabbath; that is as much a part of my week as anything else really. I also have a business called Joy Factory, I do branding, I help people with branding and marketing. I have a women’s network within that called Breakthrough, I’m an artist, and I have a little boy called Issac who’s 6. And yeah, do gardening, go on rollercoasters, stuff like that.
C: Fantastic. And if you look at our podcast then our gorgeous heart logo is one of Katie’s. All of our branding you did, which has been absolutely fantastic. Thank you very much for that. It’s been amazing, actually, how much of a difference it’s made to me to have the branding and the stuff which kind of goes along with that sort of brand identity. It’s interesting because it’s given us a lot of courage, actually, which is fascinating.
K: I love that. My mission is to bring women into more freedom, and I’ve realised that I can do that through my Joy Factory work. By literally freeing up your time, Catherine, and making you feel more confident. My clients that I’ve seen, most of my clients have been women, just that they feel more excited about doing their own marketing, and they feel more alive about their businesses, and it literally frees them up time, because they don’t feel they need to do scheduling and all this crap, because they know what they need to do, they know who their customers are, means they get more time to rest.
C: That’s really cool. It’s interesting, because it did feel when we were working together, that whole sense of call you have around that branding work was really evident, and your encouragement to help us to think about “what is it you’re wanting to do?” and “why are you doing it?” And “how do we create something that reflects who you are and why you’re doing it?” As you can guess that all resonates a lot both with what Loved, Called, Gifted is about, and with what I’m passionate about as a person. So there’s a real sense of connection there. The thing which made me want to have this conversation in particular was that one of the things we talk about on the Loved, Called, Gifted course is how we can tap into our calling and our life purpose, and there are lots and lots of different ways of helping people to think about that and helping them to find the clues to think about what is it that I am really drawn towards, what am I called to do? One of the less obvious things actually is to think about the things that make us angry. And that’s not always helpful, we get cross about all sorts of things for all sorts of different reasons, but something, sometimes, something makes us angry because it’s actually touching on our values. Or connecting with a desire for change or for justice in a particular area. That can be a sign that we’ve got something to contribute to the world. That there’s energy within us. That could be a catalyst for change. We had a conversation about your desire to support women and how some of the energy and drive for that has been sparked by getting really angry about some of the things that you’ve been learning about women in history. It struck me that there’s quite a lot in your story and about that topic which is worth exploring, and actually I’ve been really really interested to find out what it was that you were learning about women in history, and what that sparked for you.
K: Wow, ok, so, the module was Church History and that seemed fairly innocuous, I did not see it coming, really, the rage that I felt, but I spent 5-6 weeks just absolutely furious in the lectures, just wandering around my neighbourhood feeling cross, and so – a bit of backstory, my women’s network, Breakthrough, I’d created that about 10 years ago when I started my business, Joy Factory, because I was so sick of going networking and having all these mansplaining people telling me about my business, and talking over me, and thrusting business cards in my face and I just thought, “I can’t handle this!” So that rage that we as women feel every day all the time, I thought “I want to do something with this that’s positive”, so Breakthrough was my way of dealing with that rage, I suppose. Through the stuff that I was learning on this module, I thought “what can I do with this? I feel so angry”, and it really helped strengthen my resolve and helped me really form this calling that God has over my life about helping women into more freedom (in Jesus). If I post this on LinkedIn later, *laughs* oh well, I’m a Christian, so what? Anyway, I took that rage again, I thought “right, what am I going to do with this rage?” We’d been learning about capitalism, and colonialism, that was some of the stuff I learned in that module, and I wanted it to be about freedom. In past modules we’d been learning about listening to your community and finding out what they need. There are a lot of mums in my contacts who felt like they were stuck in the 1950s even though we’re in 2000 and 20-something. Because they were bringing up their kids, they’d put their jobs on a shelf, the husbands were working from home in covid and they were just sort of stuck there. Through listening to them I thought, “what can I do to bring them into more freedom?”
C: What I was going to ask you, do you want to tell us a bit more about what you learnt?
C: On your course
K: Yes, so, what did I learn? We started from the very beginning, the desert mothers and fathers. MOTHERS and fathers. We had this amazing lecturer, Andrea Cavenalli(?). I think she was part of what set off my rage, because she’s a woman, she’s an amazing woman, she does sacred spaces, and so she framed church history as a woman teaching it to us, and we had different voices, we had an African voice, and that’s what CMS is all about, stopping it only being taught from a Western perspective, it’s about other voices. So I think maybe from the very first moment it was framed, I saw it differently, because of the way Andrea presented it. She encouraged us to get angry. I started to get cross at stuff in history. The inquisition. Women having to hide. Either getting married off at 14 and then dying, or getting burnt at the stake for sharing what they felt about God or working, or speaking! So that set me off on this path of learning about the Béguines, which I can talk about later. But then I was also really angry about – well, not just, it was a kind of a double edged sword about the way women were treated, but also about the way the ‘New World’ was treated, and the arrogance of the patriarchy and the papacy and stuff going around the world and just taking stuff over. But it’s the same thing of human power and domination that suppresses women and people of colour, isn’t it? I saw that connection between my Breakthrough and these women. They took what they could, like I have this thing about going sideways when some white old man blocks me, err, yeah, I go sideways, I go bad, and I think these women in history did that, they took what they could take, and the Béguines are amazing, they had all of this persecution. Then you have the wars. Women working in the factories. Then the men come back and take over the factories. But I think women are resourceful and I think we have to deal with all those things every day, but we also bring up families and the Proverbs 31 woman.
C: You started off talking about the desert mothers and fathers. Was there something in that? That annoyed you?
K: Ooh, the desert mothers and fathers? No, no, because I think they’re pretty amazing, I was glad that someone highlighted that there were desert mothers, I didn’t know there were.
C: Well that’s interesting in itself, isn’t it?
K: Oh yes, history, history!
K: That’s what was so amazing about Julian of Norwich. Her writing. Revelations of a … oh, I can’t remember what it’s called, now.
C: Revelations of the Divine Love. You want to explain who Julian of Norwich is?
K: Yes. Yes, I shall. So I was making the link between me discovering that there were desert mothers, and Julian of Norwich. She was really significant not just in Christian history but also in the history of everything, and of literature. She was an anchoress in the 13th century, she wasn’t married, she lived in, off the side of a church, she had a life of isolation. But she ministered to people out of her window, which was amazing, lepers and stuff when the abbots wouldn’t touch them, she was ministering out of a window, and she wrote this book about her revelations of God, but at the time she would have gotten killed for that, burnt, like Mother Eprette(?) who was a Béguine, which was this movement of women who – I can come back to that if you want.
K: So her book was so incendiary that all these women, for hundreds of years, hid this book. They took it on the road with them and hid it from all of these men that would come and take it. History was rewritten in 1920, I think it was, because this suffragette lady, she wanted to find it, and there’s been this whole mystery for hundreds of years, and she managed to find the manuscript and transcribe it, and it just changed history. Not just theological history or biblical history, but history, because she was the first… I think they say Shakespeare was the Father of Prose, and she was the Mother of Literature, or something like that, she was one of the first writers. So it was really significant. I just think it was so amazing that all these nuns hid this book, sounds like a movie. Smuggling this book around. “Keep it away from the monks!” I guess that changed history. And the same for me, when I saw those desert mothers there right there at the start, that changed how I saw that, as well.
C: It really interests me that you said that just hearing that there were desert mothers as well as desert fathers meant that you were seeing the history differently, and suddenly seeing that there were women. I wonder if that shone a bit of a light on just how male-centric the story is that we’re told.
K: Oh my gosh, yeah. Yeah. All of these moments, these big changes, they happen every 500 years, apparently. So women were in all of those moments, and I just didn’t know. Learning about mysticism in particular, like about the Béguines and about Theresa of Avila, and I’ve just done my own piece of study, another module about silence, and learning about these amazing women, and all of this persecution, and then what really annoys me is they did amazing stuff, and then the men took the credit for it! It’s like that story, I often quote this story, about the little hen; children’s story where she makes cake. She asks all the farmyard animals to help her. They say they are too busy, they haven’t got time, and then she makes the cake, and then they all want the cake. Not only do they want the cake, they’re going to tell everyone they made the cake!
C: Yeah. So tell us about the Béguines? Who were the Béguines, when were the Béguines, what did they do?
K: So they were – the first Béguine was believed to be Maria d'Oignies, and I did this essay, this presentation on her, coz we had to do a hero of pioneering, and she really piqued my interest because we were learning about that period in history, the Mendicant period, all the monks and orders and stuff, and it piqued my interest because she basically was 14 when she got married, but she’d grown up inspired by the franciscan order, which was a life of little. Picture a monk with a bald head. She didn’t like all the wealth and riches and fakery of the age. So she got married when she was 14. What piqued my interest about her is that she basically convinced her husband that she wanted to have a celebate marriage and she needed to follow her calling, and what really interested me initially about that was that her husband actually, he was prepared to let her follow her calling, I thought “wow, he’s an amazing guy”. It reminds me of my own husband, because I’m out here starting fires about injustice and he doesn’t mind *laughs* Which is good. Anyway, I then went on to study her. So she was the first Béguine and she went on to live in isolation. She ministered in the same way Julian of Norwich did. I believe she died of emancipation, because she was just taking the communion wafer, which is interesting in itself, because not eating was a way a woman had some agency over her life, because men were the ones who administered the communion. Hearing from God for yourself, was unheard of, for a woman. The other interesting thing about her is that she had this guy, Jacques de Vitry, who came to see her, he was a bishop in Paris, and he was just completely amazed by her. He gave up his whole life to come and – she was his spiritual director. She was the first female spiritual director, to him. She had these visions, it’s a really lovely story, that Jacques de Vitry tells. The only reason we know about her, is that he wrote her vitre, which is sort of her life story, and he was her confessor. He wrote this story about how she was weeping uncontrollably, in a church setting, and then this priest came in, this bishop, and said “oh stop crying, stop being such an emotional…” whatever. She said, “how can you not cry when you encounter God?” Then this bishop started crying and weeping; he had to wring out his clothes because he cried so much. All these other women basically wanted to come to her; they made a community around her that became the Béguines. And Béguinage. This was different because they lived in their own housing, they could work to support their ministry, which is different from women who can just be nuns, really. It was only men who got to go to monasteries, it’s too expensive, so this was really revolutionary, and also they lived in the cities next to all the people that were poor and starving. They are believed to have been the first red cross, they were the first nurses, they went on for about 800 years. The last Béguine died about 10 years ago or something. So it’s quite extraordinary. I knew nothing about it. It was so inspiring. Some of them – Maria d'Oignies died of emancipation, but a lot of them were killed for their writings, for not being prepared to back down. They called themselves The Greater Church and Rome, The Lesser Church, which is a little bit…daring.
C: Where did she live, and when did she live?
K: She lived in Belgium, you can actually go and see Béguinage now, the Red Cross headquarters is in old Béguinage. When is about the 12th Century. That’s about the time of the Dark Ages and Medieval times, just to place her in history.
C: So before the Reformation, before Ignatius, before any of that stuff.
K: Yeah, yeah, I guess so, yeah.
C: They were the first to be radical (?)
K: That’s why they were pioneers. It’s a movement that’s gone on, only just ‘til recently the last lady has died. You can go and see the Béguinage, it was quite amazing, it was really very different from what women had on offer, it was very different. Jacques de Vitry actually petitioned that they be left alone, basically. They weren’t an order. Rome and stuff were trying to say that they were – well, the Inquisitives were after them all, saying that what they were saying was heresy, but Jacques de Vitry fought for them, basically, took out 2 popes. So, so amazed was he by Marie that he petitioned for them as a man, that they would be authorised. In the same way that I need to be authorised in order to get anything done! How ironic.
C: So hugely inspiring, and I can hear from what you’re saying that there are real parallels between the sorts of things that you are called to, now, and have been in the past, that radical being alongside each other. I remember years ago you talking about having people at your house, who would be regarded as marginal.
K: Hmmm, yeah.
C: There are real parallels. I can see why they would be heroes for you.
K: I’d never heard of them. I’ve told so many people, just around the place, and actually some church leaders who’ve never heard of them, and you think “oh, wow, ok!” But then I hadn’t, so I can’t judge. But really inspiring for women, really inspiring history.
C: Yes, yeah, and as you say, completely unknown.
K: Yeah. People have heard of Julian of Norwich a bit. I hadn’t but my general knowledge isn’t great. But it’s so interesting that it completely crosses into the mainstream, there’s a documentary on BBC about Julian of Norwich. That;’s a secular programme. But that’s so interesting that she’s a key person in history for women. First women’s rights, really. Well actually the Béguines were the first women’s rights, I would say.
K: Or you could probably go back further, but who makes these bullet lists? I don’t know, probably a nun. Julian of Norwich is very interesting, she’s actually a bit more of a household name, isn’t she? She was believed to be a Béguine, of a kind, but this was in England. But the Béguines were in Belgium. But it spread all around the world. It was a big, big movement. Which I knew nothing about.
C: Yeah, I knew nothing about them until you just talked about them then. It’s a huge piece of history. And that’s one of the things about women in history. That very often we just haven’t heard of them.
K: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Something I didn’t mention, but another thing that inspired me initially when I heard about her, was the fact that she worked to support her ministry. I’m working part time, and I see myself as a bit of a tent maker. I need to make some money to pay for holidays as a family. But I identified with that, that they worked, and they were women, and they were seeking God, and they could marry as well, that’s another thing that was different. That inspired me. They gave women more choices. Which we should be allowed to have, really.
C: Yes, because very often it was the case that if women wanted a bit of independence, then the way to get that was to move into the convent.
K: Be locked up!
K: That’s crazy! Oh my gosh I couldn’t believe it when I saw they had a bloomin’ fence, it’s unbelievable! And still now, what is that about?
C: Well, I think it was freeing, because the institution of marriage and family and society, and the way that women were treated, and still are in huge parts of the world, meant that if you wanted some autonomy, you needed to move away from all of the blokes.
K: Another interesting point from a contemporary lens is that Jacques de Vitry was a male ally, really. That thing about not just being against something but actually taking action, and knowing your privilege, dare I say that word? It’s a bit of a loaded word, but still. He was a male ally, Jacques de Vitry. As well as her husband, they used their platform to help Marie. Which I think is quite amazing.
C: Yes, her story would have been quite different if she hadn’t had that support from her husband, which at the time was really radical.
K: They brought lepers into their home. Before she went into full isolation, they had all these lepers in their home. That’s quite an ask! For her husband. And they didn’t have kids. She wanted a celibate marriage, they didn’t have kids. It’s quite extraordinary. She was from a middle class family, and she gave all that up; very inspiring person. Although you could debate about the fact that she died in the way that she did, and some people have tried to lay over an anorexic narrative. But I think really – maybe she made a mistake, maybe she went too far, but she was taking, she was claiming her relationship to God from herself to God by her confessor, only taking communion, but I wonder if she meant to go that far; who knows?
C: Who knows? Who knows? But she did an awful lot in the time that she had.
K: Yeah, she did, she absolutely did.
C: What are the parallels with what you were learning with what’s happening now?
K: Oooh. Women being silenced. Solidarity of women. Studies suggest that when women are distressed, they collaborate, they work together. I think the Béguines is a really good example of women working together and supporting each other, rather than men, who just tend to – the article that I read about it said, with the credit crunch crisis, if it’d been women in those banks, they might have just rung each other up and said “let’s have lunch, let’s sort it out”, but all the men went “Noooo! Let’s go under our desks and not share!” So I see a lot of camaraderie there, the way that women are with each other. Supporting each other. The Béguines were kind of the first contextual ministry, in a way. They were in incarnated ministry. Rather than just being really far apart and I think churches can often do ‘projects’, but I see that sacrifice, and the fact that they lived alongside people who were in need, rather than just walking on by, like the people in the good Samaritan story.
C: So integrating their ministry completely into their lives? So it’s not they’re 2 separate things, but that this is who you are and how you live, and you have lepers in your house, because, why wouldn’t you? Rather than “We’ll set up a project where the lepers can come here, on a Tuesday, between 2 & 4, and we will feed them sandwiches and tell them how to behave.”
C: Just integrating everything.
K: See, I see – again, I’m aware of my privilege, but the risks they took, even in writing, they were taking a massive risk, and I think women take a risk, not merely in that way – well, some women do – this is what I mean about my privilege, what risk do I take? Probably not enough. But some women are risking their lives. In the Middle East. The risks they’re taking, taking a stand for what’s right. The Béguines felt compelled to do so. I suppose there’d probably be a link with persecuted women of faith. Yeah, people who convert, like Muslim women to becoming Christians, I’ve heard awful stories of people hiding, I think they took a risk. Big risk. The entrepreneurial nature of women. The fact that they made all these towns and just made it work and had this incredible community. Rather than the monasteries that were all just getting bigger and bigger and bigger, people lining their pockets and getting drunk and all the poor dying people outside the walls. I think that was really innovative. Having a voice. Standing up for what's right, that was very brave. Marguerite Perette, she was very brave, she was one of the Béguines that was beheaded because she wrote this book, and that was really, really brave to make a stand like that.
C: So what was her book?
K: Oh, I don’t know, I’d have to look it up. Sorry, I don’t know.
C: No worries. What I’m noticing from our conversations at this point is that actually when you talk about all of that rage that you felt for all of those weeks, alongside that is just the inspiring nature of what you are hearing about women you were studying. This dual anger at the injustice and the silencing, and the way that women were treated, alongside equally passionately, this sense of just how inspiring they were and just how brave and how innovative, and how much they have to teach us, that’s got lost and got hidden a lot. Both of those things at once, isn’t it?
K: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
C: It’s interesting, when you were talking about Mary of Oignes’ husband and saying he didn’t mind, her husband doesn’t mind. Actually he was pretty supportive. But it’s interesting isn’t it, that we still have that “well, we need the husband to not mind”.
K: Yeah. Like Jacques de Vitry, Marie needed – without him, we wouldn’t know who she was! Coz he wrote her vitre. And that sucks. But we still have that as women, don’t we, I’m afraid. We have to play with it, like these games like putting red lipstick on in a boardroom, because men will look at your mouth, and because it’s a sexual thing. I’m afraid that’s true. We play the games, we’ve got to be cunning. But you’re right, you’re absolutely right.
C: The other thing that struck me was that thing about risk. There is a bot of a narrative which suggests that ‘men take more risks than women’. What’s completely lost in that is the understanding of what risks actually are as a woman. Through most of history just getting pregnant is taking quite a risk.
K: Yes, especially then, ‘you’re going to die’.
C: Absolutely. So the courage that women have needed, and the risks that are entailed in simply living an ordinary life, or stepping out a bit and writing something that people are not going to approve of, that courage is immense, and quite often the narrative is that the women are not the ones that take the risks, the men are the ones who take the risks, the men are the brave ones. One of the things that interests me in your journey through this is the fact that you were angry for a while. And very rageful. And obviously you can’t stay in that space.
K: No *laughs*
C: Some people kind of do, don’t they. But I suppose what I’m wondering is how you have channelled that rage and what energy you’ve derived from that. And this is a different question but sort of related, what were the downsides to being that cross? And what have you needed to do to modify that?
K: Hmmm. Ok. Well, I’m gonna draw an analogy from the Béguines actually. Because I believe that they were the ones that wrote Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace. In fact, they did the first nativity as well, I’ve just remembered. That bubbled up in my brain. But they wrote that hymn. That was really helpful for me to solidify that idea, I think that is how I try and do stuff for God, I just try and channel things. So I channelled all of that energy into something. So the Béguines’ idea was that God would just flow through them and out for people to bless. I definitely identify with that. So I guess I channelled that, in the same way about Kickass Women and Breakthrough, just trying to do something positive with it. I can’t change the patriarchy, I can’t systematic sexism, but I can make a dent on it, as I learned from Anna Reddick yesterday, great lecture about what impact we make in the world. So I can do what I can do. One of my mission statements for Joy Factory used to be “continue to be a gamechanger, changing people’s minds, one person at a time”. And I have to believe that, otherwise I wouldn’t bother getting out of bed. Because one person is another person, is another person, and actually that person matters to God. So I thought, “what can I do, with what I have?” It just helps to get off the treadmill of algorithm and modern life, coz it sucks, really. Capitalism and consumerism all play into the problems that women have and that people who are oppressed have. I came up with this analogy that I mentioned earlier about the deconstruction. I made this little pot in a ministry time and sometimes you’ve just got to put the lid on it. You can’t keep on being an activist and fighting and deconstructing and thinking, sometimes you’ve just got to put a lid on. And if you’re me, go to Thorpe Park. I thought “what can I do?” So some of the things I did – I’ve just realised where I was going, now – we had this seminar on rest, which was really interesting, and that gave me the idea to do Restival, which was something that identified that women just don’t rest. Because of capitalism and because of patriarchy and all of this crap, women, y’know, mental load, as in, all the stuff that women have to do as well as their paid jobs. Paid jobs, by the way. Women are working all the time. It’s really hard for people to rest. When I ask people, I say “what would you do with 30 minutes if you had some free time?” Most people said “I’d do some housework.” A few people said “I’d go to a café on my own and read a book.” So I felt really inspired that rest – and there’s a quote, and I can’t remember who said it, “Self care is how you take your power back”. So I felt really inspired to do this day of rest. To show women how to rest. Give them some time to rest. But also give them some tools to rest. Then I just started doing the Thin Boundaries Club because I just want to give women tools to take back their power, really. Take up some space, find some more freedom.
C: I had a really interesting conversation with someone a few weeks ago. This conversation started because she realised that she did about 2000 steps in a morning before she even left the house. My conversation with her was “well, what are you doing in the morning?” Turns out she was getting up at about 6 and doing all sorts of stuff. At one point her husband said “that’s daft, why are you getting up so early?” But the point was that he had no clue about all of the stuff she was doing to hold their household together
K: Yep! Yep, yep, yep.
C: So he thought that she was being daft, dashing around, but actually he just didn’t, he just didn’t, he just didn’t know what was required. But it had not occurred to her that she was doing more than her fair share within their household, because they both work, they have a child, but she was holding it together. There was one occasion when I saw her and she’d said she’d just had manic text messages from her husband, who had taken their daughter to school, there had been an incident, I think she’d fallen over or something, and so his immediate response was to pass on all of the mental load of that to her.
K: Yep, yep
C: She was fielding all of these text messages about “ohh, what do we do?!” and the daughter had fallen over and what were they going to do about it and what needed to happen. I was listening to all of this completely gobsmacked that somebody a good 15, possibly 20 years younger than me, who you would have thought would have been a little bit further down the line in terms of emancipation and enlightenment, and yet she was holding all of this load. And yet I know that there are studies that show that when things become difficult, at work, women get overloaded more quickly than blokes, but the reason for that is that most of them are already doing 30-40 hours of fairly hard slog holding things together at home. And so the reason that the work stuff hits them quicker is because they are already full.
K: Yep. Well, I have an answer to this problem, for you and whoever listens to this, there’s a book called Fair Play, which actually recounts what you’ve just said about the husband phoning the wife, “help me, the kid’s – where’s their lunch, they’ve just fallen over” as an introduction to the book. Even the best well-meaning men, who might call themselves allies or feminists, their word will usually be “how can I help?” But they don’t know what needs doing. Fair Play is a brilliant book, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Where all of the things that make a life work, whether you’ve got a kid or not, all of the housework, but also, going to the dentist, planning holidays, doing Christmas, dealing with the in laws, having your own free time, getting your hair cut, going to the dentist, saving birds and the bees, everything, all are on cards, and then you dish them out as a couple, but you decide on the standard for each thing. It’s life-changing. I have a really decent husband, but it’s helped us. Not least every Sunday, I don’t have to have an internal struggle about “has Mike put the bins out?” If he hasn’t put the bins out, we’re going to have full bins, oh well. Coz it’s his card. Just that sense of not having to worry about it, that mental load. It’s a brilliant book, and it’s fun as well because you have cards, it really does work.
C: That’s the thing, isn’t it. It’s how do you hand over the task, with the responsibility for it, because so often what happens is that even if a woman is, has handed the thing over, they still maintain kind of a managerial responsibility for it.
K: E-e-exactly. So that’s what Fair Play does, and what’s good, I think we said right at the top of the podcast about values, and the way that the Fair Play system works is you decide what matters to you as a family. So that will say which cards are in play. So for instance there’s a card that’s Saturdays: Kid’s Parties. I don’t want to spend every weekend out at a kid’s party with Isaac every Saturday, so we took that one out of play. We don’t have a cat or a dog, so that one’s out, but you decide as a family what matters to you. Therefore you decide which cards you want. And you decide what’s the standard, so, doing the washing includes turning the right way inside out, and putting them back in the drawer *fake cough*
K: And to be fair to myself it also includes when you do the shopping, put the shopping bags, empty them and put them back in the cupboard, Katie. *ahem* Rightaway. So it works both ways.
C: Coz that’s the other – yeah it does. But that’s the other thing that happens, isn’t it? If that load isn’t shared then you get ‘a bit of help’ but then you have to kind of go and clear up after the help. It’s like when –
K: Yeah. I’ll tell you another real gem from that book, and she called it Unicorn Time, but I’ve renamed it to B-time. I’ll just explain it because it’s really interesting. So each person in a couple deserves to have their own time to do things that they love to do. So for me that’s like going to Thorpe Park, going to gardens, making some jewellery, going to see a play or whatever. Because if the individual doesn’t do the things that they love, the other person won’t fancy them anymore because they’ll just become a little shell of themselves. They don’t do the things they love, they’re not animated by things, you’ve got nothing to talk about. So we need to prioritise our self-care. And our essence. Not for the other person, coz actually it’s both ways, men and women or same sex, whatever, but we need to maintain what makes us, us, to have a successful partnership. Which I think is really interesting.
C: Yeah, yeah, and really really important, actually. Going back to that thing about women don’t rest, once you’ve got kids then quite often, the priority becomes everybody else.
K: Yep. And if we go down, the whole family’s screwed.
K: That’s the thing. When I say to people who aren’t very far along this path, they’ve never heard of boundaries and they don’t take any time off, I’ll appeal to their helper side – if you go down, the whole family is screwed. Everyone is gonna go down the pan. And that might appeal to them, coz they’re thinking about others.
C: And sometimes that is the thing that gives you the excuse. To do self care.
C: Because I have kids with extra needs, I am in that situation where actually, the domestic demands over the years have sometimes been just so enormous that keeping my head above water is really really difficult. It took me A While. I remember having a conversation with a friend, she said, I said, “well I’m surviving” and she looked at me and said “well that’s not the point. You don’t need to be surviving, you need to be thriving.” And that stuck with me, because I was very aware of just how far from thriving I was. Just how foreign that idea felt. And just how engrained that sense of “well I just need to hold everything up for everybody else” was within me.
K: It’s rubbish, isn’t it? It’s so rubbish. The Restival day I did, everyone had a great time, people said “oh it feels like a holiday and it’s so relaxing” but what I loved the most was hearing people’s stories after the day. I’m not gonna say names, but 2 people came off facebook, 2 people said they were gonna get a cleaner, which was amazing, 1 person said they were going to have date night every week with their husband, and another person said they were going to write a book. So it wasn’t just they’d had a nice day, but they’d learnt some things and realised some things and are going to go forward and make change in their everyday life to have more freedom. Which they should have! So that was really amazing and makes my heart sing.
C: Yes, and in the special needs world I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about self care. Which people often talk to you about, “need to do self care”, except that if you do a course in parenting, they generally slip it in as the last session. I did an otherwise really good course on attachment and parenting and self-care is the very last thing. If you are saying that this is what we need to do, then it should be a chunk in every session. That encouragement. You stick it at the end, that doesn’t really work. But I was listening to this podcast and the presenter was saying that self-care is really the wrong word for it. She said in these contexts where life is really demanding, it’s not self-care, it’s essential maintenance.
K: Oh yeah. That’s true. And I’ll say another thing to that, is that I tell people you’ve got to put it in your diary. We put our dentist in the diary, and business appointments, you have to put your rest in the diary. Otherwise it won’t happen. The way I teach people to do that is to know what their values are, what actually matters, and who do you want to be in the future. So therefore what needs to go in your diary, and what is not going in your diary? Because otherwise everything has a piece of you. But our diary is a sword for a woman, it really is. Ooh, I’ve just got, being asked – see, there’s real life, my lovely husband has said he’s going to make me lunch, coz we share the food preparation. And also, tidying up. That evidences Fair Play, doesn’t it?
C: It does, it’s great.
K: Seriously, our diary is a massive tool for a woman. I have this little thing, some people might get annoyed, I will only put something in my diary when I am sat at my desk, in front of my laptop, with some peace and quiet. Because people pleasing ends up with our diary being rammed. But our diary is a massive thing. I have a thing called a Joy Diary that I now do with Mike, where I think about – we have a meeting once a month, and – we have another meeting for like, bills and whatever, but this one is about, what do we want to do that brings us joy? So we look at the seasons and we plan in, “we’re going to go see lavender, we’re going to go to fireworks, we’re going to see this person”, and we prioritise that, and plan long in advance. Because otherwise what is life? It’s just like, y’know…drudge. And if we’re Christians – or anyone. We’re supposed to have this life that’s abundance.
K: Your diary is a massive weapon, I really do think that.
C: It’s interesting because we do a kind of open prayer space on a Saturday morning, and have a topic and everybody brings their thoughts around it. And we looked at joy, this Saturday just gone, and one of the things that really struck me thinking about it beforehand, is that joy is listed as the second depiction of the fruits of the Spirit. Love JOY peace patience kindness goodness… A lot of those other things, one would want to put some thought and some effort into developing. People talk a lot about developing patience. Then if joy comes second, then to actually put some effort into developing one’s capacity for joy and taking time for it, is a spiritual act.
K: Yeah, I think so. This is why I love Celtic Christianity. I am increasingly just looking out the window for what I should be doing, rather than anywhere else. Because the world is showing us. Nature is showing us joy all around. Just look out of your window.
C: So tracing your journey then, I think what I’m hearing is that you started off with a passion for women anyway, and then this course in church history just reignited that fire that was there anyway. That real desire to encourage women and to help women to find freedom, and one of the periods of seeing and being very angry about what you saw has done has inspired you to both continued what you were doing but also to help both in your own life you are protesting against those things and those structures which are destructive by finding another way of doing it, and you’re also creating spaces both online and your gatherings and your Restival and all of those things. You help women to also see and challenge the stuff which is oppressing them and getting in the way and helping them to behave in a way that is different.
K: Yes, and one thing I didn’t quite say yet which I would like to, is that the education parts, you said what have I done with it, I have this little line I wrote on one of my seminars about my mission, and it’s about help bringing women into freedom but male allies, like there’s some men you’re just not going to reach and there’s no point, but I will engage with male allies, people who are willing to listen. There are some great guys on my course who I know have been influenced by me being outspoken. I know I’ve taught them stuff. But I’ve got to be so careful. One of my values, because I have these 12 ‘becoming’ values, is being a kind activist and advocate. And I know I can go into my Enneagram 8, there’s another bit of jargon, but being kind of ‘Alpha’ and getting too cross, so I need to learn to measure myself, but I think education is also something I’m really interested in with men, who want to listen. I take kind of Jesus’ lead that He always invited people and He didn’t push it. That’s how I live my whole life with my clients, with my friendships, with everything, it’s a kind of b boundaries thing. But I’ll leave a little stick out there for a man who might be an ally. Or a woman. Believe me, there’s women who need to hear this stuff. I just see if they are interested. And if they are, I’ll talk to them. So my husband’s asked me to preach, I’m going to talk about Advent and rest, and not praising capitalism, I haven’t quite got it all down, but if someone gives me an opportunity to speak and to educate, I can communicate so I want to use that opportunity as well. I don’t want to get into a slanging match on Twitter, but someone around my house for some food, I think food is a great leveller, for education and for sharing. Doing silence has helped me to read people better. And to stop talking *giggles* which helps me.
C: It does strike me as well that there is so much within this that men need to hear for themselves as well as for the women around them. Because if you have a relationship where you are taking equal load of what’s going on, where one person is not becoming a shadow of themselves because they’re exhausted, then actually there’s huge joy in that, there’s huge joy in people being themselves. And you can enjoy one another.
K: They get oppressed by the systematic sexism as well. They have these awful stereotypes. I think men suffer from these stereotypes as well. Where the hell did it come from? I don’t really know. That’s too deep, really. *both laugh* Where did it come from? I don’t know
C: Yeah, I’ve often wondered that. It’s been really interesting to hear your story and your insights
K: Oh brilliant
C: And your journey, and what it is that you’re doing with it, and I love those stories from your Restival of people actually, having taken that time, have gone and done something different with their lives
C: So if people wanted to find out about your branding business and the other things that you’re doing, where could they find all that stuff?
K: Ah, well, just go to joyfactory.co.uk Do you want me to phonetically…? Joy, jump for joy, and then factory, where they make biscuits, .co.uk And from there you’ll find out about the branding, there’s also Breakthrough. I’m also on Instagram, katiejmoritz, but that’s all on the website anyway. You can contact me on the website.
C: That’s great, thank you ever so much, that’s been brilliant.
K: You are most welcome
Hope you enjoyed this episode of the Loved Called Gifted podcast. If you’d like to get in touch, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org You can find a transcript of this podcast at lovedcalledgifted.com and that’s also the place to go if you’re interested in the Loved Called Gifted course or if you’d like to find out about spiritual direction or coaching.
Thank you for listening.