Web Explorations Table of Contents

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Fall 2006 by Letha Dawson Scanzoni

  1. Resources for Christian Living and Learning
  2. Gender in the News
  3. Expanding our Horizons
  4. Some Recommended DVDs
  5. Recommended Online Video

Welcome to another edition of Web Explorations for Christian Feminists. I’m glad you stopped by and hope you’ll come back often. Since the links in Web Explorations take you to sites outside eewc.com, please keep in mind that EEWC cannot be responsible for their content. Nor does the inclusion of a link mean that it necessarily represents the views of EEWC. The links simply take you to sites that I think you’ll find interesting and informative. I hope you’ll enjoy exploring them.

Note new organization of material. If you’ve visited Web Explorations previously, you’ll no doubt observe that the material this time is organized differently from previous editions. The same general type of online information is still there, but under new headings. Although I’ve omitted the quarterly special topic this time, a list of websites clustered around a particular theme may appear occasionally in future editions as special features.

Resources for Christian Living and Learning

Reading and Listening to Barbara Brown Taylor

Barbara Brown Taylor discusses her burn-out and transition experience 
as described in her book, Leaving Church. You can read the transcript or watch the video online.
From the PBS program, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, July 7, 2006. (Be sure to check the resources and related links listed on this site as well.)

NPR Audio interview with Barbara Brown Taylor 
From Fresh Air with Terry Gross, August 28, 2006

Public Truth, Private Truth: Making the Move from Sermon to Memoir 
An address by Barbara Brown Taylor presented at the Washington National Cathedral, June 7, 2006 (printed transcript). This lecture is also available in video and audio forms. Just click on the “Watch or Listen” links to watch it on Windows Media or listen to it on Real Audio.

A lecture on “The Preaching Life”
Presented by Barbara Brown Taylor at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 10, 2003. (Audio)

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori 
NPR Audio interview with Presiding Bishop-Elect Katharine Jefferts Schori, first female voted to lead the Episcopal Church.
From The Diane Rehm Show, June 29, 2006

Saints, Prophets, and Spiritual Guides: Julian of Norwich
Sylvia Maddox writes that Julian’s mysticism “was not the world-denying mysticism that was so popular in fourteenth century England, but a vision of God’s nearness and ultimate goodness. 
From explorefaith.org

“Each Act—A Prayer” 
Excerpt from Unceasing Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide by Debra K. Farrington.
From explorefaith.org

“Becoming a Feminist in the Bible Belt” by Sarah Griffin 
Sarah Griffin’s awakening to Christian feminism after growing up in a southern fundamentalist culture is a story that many in EEWC will identify with. 
The article is from Women Writers, an e-journal founded and maintained by Kim Wells to showcase articles and book reviews of interest to feminists.

How Does Your Garden Grow? 
EEWC member Rev. Peggy Michael-Rush’s experience with a vegetable garden reminds us of what Jesus said about faith and mustard seeds.

Gender in the News

Gender and the Trinity: A Controversy among Presbyterians 
Should the familiar, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” terminology be more inclusive in its representation of a God who is beyond narrow gender classifications? 
From the Presbyterian Church USA site.

Who’s Co-opting Feminism? 
This link was suggested by EEWC member Reta Finger, who writes, 
“Ever heard of an ‘ifeminist’? Let’s not get co-opted!” 
From AlterNet.org

Discrimination against the female brain
From AlterNet.org, September 28, 2006

Raising boys without dads in the picture 
From Guardian Unlimited, July 9, 2006

Viewpoint: Bring on the Daddy Wars 
From Time magazine online, Feb. 27, 2006

Women now make up half of all migrants 
From BBC news, Sept. 6, 2006

What Makes Women Happy? 
From Guardian Unlimited, June 11, 2006

“If Daughters Decided” 
Having daughters influences how politicians vote. 
From Time magazine online, July 27, 2006

The Profound Language of Mothers and Daughters
An interview with linguist Deborah Tannen 
From Ms magazine, Spring, 2006

Expanding our Horizons

Websites to aid in understanding people of various backgrounds and faiths from around the Globe

Daughters of Abraham Bookclub 
A group of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women in Cambridge, Massachusetts is promoting respect and understanding across religious lines through a book club in which they explore the teachings and traditions of each other’s faith. You can read a report from the PBS program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. You can also watch a video of the report.

Veil Comments spark anger 
Once again, head and face coverings worn by some Muslim women have become a topic of controversy in Britain (BBC News, October 5, 2006). See also “Cabinet Colleagues Turn on Straw over Islamic Veil Row” (Guardian Online, October 8, 2006) For related earlier reports, see “Behind the Veil.” (BBC News, December 10, 2004) and “In All Modesty” (Guardian Unlimited, June 21, 2002).

Spread Your Cloak over Me
In this video presentation, you can watch and listen to a panel of women from the three Abrahamic traditions as they discuss what Judaism, Islam, and Christianity teach about caring for widows and orphans as representative of all who are at risk, disenfranchised, or marginalized by society. From the video library of the Washington National Cathedral.

Some Recommended DVDs

One of the many things I like about the Internet is the help it provides in selecting movies and DVDs by providing access to reviews and trailers that can aid us in deciding if we’d like to view the entire film. Often, films come along that are not highly promoted but that have a message that we as feminists of faith would find worth pondering, and it’s important to be aware of them. Sometimes such films are inspiring, sometimes challenging, sometimes disturbing. Here are a just a few that I’ve appreciated watching in the past year or so that are now available on DVD. I was able to rent all of them through Netflix, though you should be able to find them through other sources as well.

Deepa Mehta’s deeply compelling drama about India’s “widow houses,” bleak places to which women were consigned after the deaths of their husbands. It tells the story of a little girl who was, without her knowledge or consent, married to a dying man whom she had never met and then exiled to live in a prison-like house of widows of all ages. There the women are condemned to lives of poverty as societal outcasts and not permitted to marry again. Jeannette Catsoulis, writing in The New York Times (April 28, 2006) described this movie as “an exquisite film about the institutionalized oppression of an entire class of women and the way patriarchal imperatives inform religious belief.”

Iron-Jawed Angels
In this HBO film, Hilary Swank plays suffragist Alice Paul and the lengths she and her sister feminists were willing to go (including hunger strikes and forced feeding) in the struggle to win women’s right to vote in the United States.

Trembling before G-D 
This documentary introduces us to Orthodox Jewish gay men and lesbians as they speak of their struggle to reconcile their faith and their affectional orientation. It is not difficult to see how their struggles and experiences parallel those of Christian lesbians and gay men. You might also want to follow your viewing of this film with the companion DVD, Trembling before G_D: Bonus Material, which provides some follow-up to the earlier film and also provides answers to questions about the making of the film and its worldwide impact on discussions about homosexuality and Judaism, especially within the Orthodox branch.

The Snow Walker 
The breathtaking photography of the vast northern Canadian wilderness would itself be reason enough to see this film , but I was especially impressed by the courage, quiet resourcefulness, and spirituality conveyed through an Inuit woman as played by teenager Annabella Piugattuk. Ms. Piugattuk had never acted before and had herself grown up within the culture she represents in this story of a cocky, self-centered bush pilot whose plane crashes in the wilderness while taking a sick Inuit woman to a hospital. The pilot undergoes a gradual transformation through his friendship with the Inuit woman as they struggle for survival after the accident. The extra features with this DVD, showing how the film was made and the crew’s sensitivity to the Inuit people, are also worth watching.

Two Women 
(A recent Iranian film. Not to be confused with the 1961 World War II drama with the same title, starring Sophia Loren) The story told in this film touches on numerous themes such as choice in career, harassment and stalking, emotional abuse in marriage, patriarchal traditions that hinder women from developing their full potential, the importance of female friendship, and more. Also read this PBS interview with the controversial director, Tahmineh Milani, and her reasons for making this film and others about life in Iran, her country of birth.

Brother Born Again 
This review of the film comes from InterfaithFamily.com. It summarizes this true story of a Jewish bisexual documentary filmmaker who travels to Alaska to try to understand and be reconciled with her brother who has converted to fundamentalist Christianity and is living in a Christian community in Alaska.

Recommended Online Video

A Girl Like Me 
Originally begun as part of a high school literature project, this film is the work of 17-year-old Kiri Davis who interviewed African American teenagers about self-image and concepts of beauty. As part of her project, she repeated the “doll test” that had been conducted by social scientists Kenneth and Mamie Clark from the 1930s to the 1950s and which was influential in the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision outlawing segregated schools. The results of the Clarks’ research, which involved showing black dolls and white dolls to small children, underscored one of the ugliest results of racism: the negative self-image that young black children had internalized because of society’s message that blackness indicated inferiority. What is most shocking is that Kiri Davis’s repeat of the doll test with young African American children today yielded tthe same results found by the Clarks a half century ago. After you have watched the film, listen to filmmaker Kiri Davisand syndicated newspaper columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. as they were interviewed on National Public Radio, October 2, 2006, about their response to the film’s disturbing revelations.

The Bill Moyers Series on Faith and Reason 
If you missed any or all of the segments in Bill Moyers’ series of conversations with great thinkers, you can still watch them on your computer.

Lectures from the National Cathedral in Washington, DC 
This is a treasure trove. Here you can see and hear outstanding religious leaders who have been guest speakers at Washington’s National Cathedral. Nearly five years of lectures are online and feature speakers such as Marcus Borg, Barbara Brown Taylor, John Shelby Spong, Jim Wallis, Meinrad Craighead, Reynolds Price, Gary Wills, Victoria Barnett, Krister Stendhal, NPR’s Diane Rehm and her husband John (on their long-term marriage), Sue Monk Kidd, Huston Smith, and many others.


That’s all for this edition of Web Explorations. I hope you’ll enjoy checking out these resources. I think they’ll keep you busy for quite a while!

Your Web Explorations Guide
Letha Dawson Scanzoni