Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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How Church Communities Respond to Domestic Violence

July 24, 2017 CFT Executive Council member, Dr. Christy Sim, writes about how church communities may have good intentions when it comes to responding to...

Femmevangelical: The Modern Girl’s Guide to the Good News

Crumpton writes from a strong, progressive Christian perspective. She has coined a new word to describe the archetype she promotes, “femmevangelical,” a mash-up of “feminist” and “evangelical.” She brings an honest voice, one borne out of the experience of attending a conservative church that presented the Divine only in a male voice and with a male perspective.

Spiritual Sobriety: The Promise of Healthy Faith When Good Religion Goes...

"Can a person have a 'persistent, compulsive dependence' on religion? Elizabeth Esther makes a compelling case for religious addiction in her new book, Spiritual Sobriety. Drawing from personal experience, as well as the stories of others, Esther writes extensively about the characteristics of religious addiction and its impact on faith communities, specifically Christianity."

Confronting Religious Denial of Gay Marriage: Christian Humanism and the Moral...

"Wallace begins with a very important question: why is the Religious Right so upset by gay marriage rather than by child poverty, or handgun violence, or military spending? She then proceeds to build evidence for her thesis: while “Christianity slowly separated from its Jewish origins, sexual renunciation took the place of kosher dietary restrictions and purity rituals as a boundary maker for Christian community.”

Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family,...

As she unveils her “crazy in the blood” narrative, we become aware that the experience of her family is intricately interwoven with her experience of the Church. There are moments of deep grace, but also moments of rejection. The Church, the hands and feet of Jesus, seems to want nothing to do with stories like hers and her father’s and brother’s.

Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith

This book serves as a useful introduction to an important spiritual figure. It also works to deepen her readers’ perspectives on her life, and to whet the appetite for seeing how the octogenarian feminist religious leader and her cohort continue to shape the monastic tradition in postmodern relief.

Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution

"So what is this revolution that’s happening before our eyes? It’s a movement away from top-down, pre-packaged religion toward a spirituality centered in an awareness of God’s presence as encountered in daily life—often in places and people where traditionally we have failed to recognize that holy presence."

Coming Back from Coming Out

"Coming out ruined my life. At least, that’s the way it seemed. To claim my identity as a lesbian meant sacrificing everything on the altar of my own selfishness, of my need to be “true to myself.” To come out as a 43- year- old woman meant walking away from a tolerable twenty- year marriage, leaving behind a career in church ministry, and learning to negotiate custody arrangements and a new solo life. To come out, for me, meant walking away from God."

Abounding in Kindness: Writings for the People of God

Elizabeth Johnson’s marvelous last chapter, “Peace over an Angry Sea,” is a sermon preached in 2002 for her colleagues at Fordham University who had recently lost family members... Christian faith focuses us not simply on the letting go but on a divine catcher. Lovely, I say, and a nice coda to this theological volume.

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

Searching for Sunday describes Rachel’s struggles as a millennial (coming of age about 2000) to find a satisfactory community in the church. She organizes this churchly memoir around the seven sacraments: Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage.

Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe

We start by thinking we are going to find the perfect church; then we become disillusioned when we learn it doesn’t exist; and, finally, we begin again by learning more slowly the art of finding out how our gifts—and questions—contribute to a bigger picture of who the church is called to be.

Christmas Eve, Incarnation, and Knowing Mary

As the choir sang, and the ministers spoke, and the candles flickered, for the first time I saw Mary in all of it. A young woman in need of a safe place. A young woman denied entrance. A young woman giving birth to the Human One anyway, in an inauspicious tangle of blood, fear, and pain.

The Feminist Reformation, Episcopal Style

So there we have it: three excellent books celebrating 40 years of an Episcopal feminist reformation. Any one of them, or all together, they will serve to inform and stimulate the minds of Christian feminists everywhere.

The Stories Clergywomen Tell: How Women are Challenging Sexism in the...

"Because of the challenges facing women clergy, it is encouraging to see two important resources. Written not only for women embracing their pastoral calls but also for churches and church leaders, both authors make the case that Christian communities must do more to address oppression of clergywomen."

The Adventures of a Small Town Female Pastor (or Why I...

“They were a very loving and caring group of folks who had a great deal of resistance to anything that would bring about the future they spoke of as 'their dream.' They wanted new people to attend— but only as long as nothing had to change.“

Why Doesn’t Church Work Anymore?

I do not reject the digital church. In digital church I see healing happening. I see a flattening of hierarchies that were made up in the first place and have been profoundly destructive. I see people telling the truth. And I see other people listening.

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

She wrote this book for people like me, the unchurched, those who are too damaged, scarred, scared or pissed to return to a pew — people who are not traditionally religious, who, as she says, maybe listen to “This American Life,” who have more education than money, who for all our preciousness still want some kind of transcendent moment in our lives.

Creating a Scene in Corinth: A Simulation

"Creating a Scene in Corinth sets up experiences of role-playing as an interactive method for understanding the context and the issues of Paul’s letter to this early group of Jesus followers. It involves us in biblical criticism at the same time as we personally wrestle with God’s word to us in our day. "

Wounded by God’s People

I wonder if the“more severe” unshared wounds Lotz mentions in the epilogue were originally the inspiration for the writing, but were later left out to avoid causing more pain to those involved. Or perhaps it was just my own personal wounds hoping she was going to give them voice.

It’s Not All About Millennials!

"As I witness all this hand-wringing about the millennials and their place in the church, the explanations and apologies and deconstructions, I can’t help but wonder why we assume that middle-aged folks attend church for the inauthentic worship experiences, seeking only an artifice to carry them through Sunday morning. And that the elderly are more intrigued by style than by substance."

Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?...

The concept of Christian identity was new to me, so I was especially intrigued by the lengthy first section, as McLaren discussed several ways in which Christians relate to people of other faiths in our country and world. Interestingly, other religions can have the same range of identity conflicts."

Why Have Religions Feared Women’s Brain Power?

"Women who think, women who question, women who are educated are a threat to those men who think power is theirs by right—simply by having been born male. And so in many times and places, now and in the past, education for girls has been discouraged, opposed, made difficult, or actually forbidden —in spite of the impoverishment experienced by nations that hold such attitudes."

Creating Learned Helplessness, One Potluck at a Time

It seems, in my experience (and by what I’ve observed) that most church potlucks are still initiated, organized, and managed by women. Why is that? Why are women the ones who stay long after everyone else is gone, cleaning the kitchen (while a few men linger to stack chairs)?

Three Books on Giving Up Church: A Review Essay

As we drove away from our church one bright, sunny Sunday, my husband turned to me and asked if I had found the worship service boring. “Well, yes” I answered, “but I guess that is pretty normal for me.” The truth is there are few Sundays when I feel like going and even fewer when I’m glad I went. I’d much rather be doing something else: taking a walk outside if the weather is warm, curling up under a soft blanket reading a good book if it is cold, or enjoying a leisurely brunch.

Is The Bible a Divine Revelation or Human Book—or Both?

. . . taking the humanity of the Bible seriously in no way undercuts it message, nor should it result in fear that the Bible will lose its power or meaning if we recognize that people wrote it in specific times and places with specific points of view. Of course. But, this has been and continues to be the dividing line among contemporary Christians.

Transforming Vision: Explorations in Feminist The*logy

Wisdom does not make distinctions between public and private or spiritual and sacred. For wisdom, all of life is full of the divine and to be lived to the full.

Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

Leaving Church is a memoir of finding, losing, and keeping—although with none of the preachiness that sometimes accompanies such narratives and with an ever-present consciousness of doubt and uncertainty. Taylor’s honesty on these points pervades the narrative and makes it one not to miss.

Walking with Wisdom’s Daughters: Twelve Celebrations and Stories of Women of...

It is not often that one comes across a worship-related book so richly layered that it becomes a prized resource far beyond the parameters of corporate prayer. This volume, a treasure trove of both scholarship and artistry, is one of those.

A Woman’s Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity

Christians today need an awareness of the intimate involvement of women in the early Christian movement, especially as it began in house churches. Too many assume women’s roles in church leadership only began during the feminist movement of the last 30 or 40 years. But we were there from the beginning!

10 Lies the Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been...

Grady's heart may be in the right place with regard to women's roles and rights, but his research and thinking are incredibly shallow and sloppy [see sidebar]. He refers frequently to church history, but with little cultural understanding.

Leading Ladies: Transformative Biblical Images for Women’s Leadership

As I read and re-read the anecdotes Porter uses to describe each leadership style, I recognize the Midwives who mentored me, Choreographers who led rituals and celebration in many moments of crisis and joy in my life, Weavers (the woman who initiated my church group!) and the Intercessors for whom I pray because I just don't have their kind of courage.

Roman House Churches for Today: A Practical Guide for Small Groups

After opening chapters on house churches, Roman religion, and Roman social relations (these economical treatments are among the finest I have encountered), Finger devotes the bulk of her work to a reading of Romans that combines theological, sociological, and rhetorical analysis.

Christianity for the Rest of Us

Although we’re of different generations, Diana and I had similar experiences of attending “Rotary Club”-type mainline churches that left us spiritually unsatisfied in our early years, leading us to turn to evangelicalism on our own as teenagers. There we found a more lively form of Christianity and an exciting emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ.

Out of the Depths: The Story of Ludmila Javorova, Ordained Roman...

Perhaps now that a woman has publicly claimed her priesthood, we will recognize ourselves within her story. Perhaps we will find each other and then, one day, like the walls of Jericho, and the Wall in Berlin, the wall between the men and women of the Roman Catholic Church will just come tumbling down.

Answering God’s Call to the Soul: Marjory Zoet Bankson

by EEWC Update editor Letha Dawson Scanzoni I see ‘call’ not as a vocational choice but as a special way of understanding what we are...

Calling Her by Name

When I call Her by name, / especially in community, / I find comfort, support, solace, strength, / I am held in Her loving arms. / In relationship, I pray / and worship.

An Empty Pew

Careful to avoid parking in the reserved "visitor" space, I found my way to a few United Methodist Churches within fifteen to twenty minutes from my house. Comforted that none of my choices turned out to be mega-church wannabes with huge white screens and coffee-house coffee, I felt somewhat hopeful that my opening to faith community would end favorably.

“Porch Talk” & “Home to Harmony”

The books are deceptively lighthearted, though, for there is a seriousness behind the humor. Gulley is dealing with virtues and lessons to be learned and ways of being good. Bob Siles, Jr., doesn’t like living in Harmony. Well, someone remarks, “If we can’t find joy where we are, we probably won’t find it anywhere.”

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Editor's Choice

In Search of Life-Giving Christian Symbols

For many years I have also believed that a symbol other than the cross should be at the center of Christianity. The emphasis on the cross leads to the glorification of violence and death rather than the love and abundant life that Jesus taught.