Friday, May 26, 2017
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Tag: Social Justice

Courage to Think Differently

To pressure us toward honesty, Johnson provides seven sections of powerful essays on aspects of our culture: irrelevant religion and idolatry, exclusion and thin democracy; biblical certitudes and ignorance; individualism and cheap grace; ecological crisis and greed; silence and job security; and empire and civil religion.

Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex, and Church

"Women in male-dominated societies are left with fewer reasonable choice in the face of structured male power. [And many] men fail to recognize that women are born into a system of scarcity [because of] male supremacy that leads them to see other women as antagonists…”

Was Esther a Post-Colonial Feminist?

Esther was in the same situation that many women in the postcolonial world are in; and in the end, like her, they do what they need to do in order to survive. And sometimes, through subversion, cleverness, or simply taking advantage of unexpected opportunities to exercise influence, they can go beyond survival and bring about change.

I Am Not Your Negro

I urge all of you, as Christians and feminists, to watch 'I Am Not Your Negro' and live with Baldwin through these difficult years of American history. Our struggle for gender justice depends on understanding the many other ways our society oppresses people.

McKenzie Brown’s Reflection on Protest— How We Prevail

I don’t want to have to protest again. I don’t want to be in a position where I must exercise my civic responsibility to stand and defend other human beings from a political leadership who would oppress them. That said, as an individual who has inherited the freedoms and privileges of American citizenship, it is a responsibility I cannot choose to ignore right now.

Dan Wilkinson’s Reflection on the 2017 Women’s March — “Dissent is...

Throughout the day waves of emotion moved through me. It felt so right to stand for justice and be a part of a fantastic movement that said, “We won’t let our country go backward. We will rise up; we will work together to ensure justice for all—not only for a select few.”

Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s Reflection on the 2017 Women’s March — “Changing...

"The amazingly diverse crowd, estimated at 50,000, moved slowly along, some in wheelchairs and some in baby strollers. There were people of various ages, genders, races, gender identities, religions, abilities, political parties. Even dogs joined the march and were as polite as the people!"

The Women’s March in Pictures

January 23, 2017 On Saturday, January 21, millions of people gathered on all seven continents to demonstrate their support for women's rights and other social...

Healing from Grief over the Role of White Evangelicals in the...

January 10, 2017 Writing for her “Born Again Again” blog in the Christian Century, Carol Howard Merritt says, “It’s difficult to know what will happen...

2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 3

There are lots of reasons for women to leave parish ministry, I’d say. Complicated family circumstances and fewer openings because of the implosion of the American church experienced first in the mainline but followed now by the evangelical church, as well, to name two. The bias that blights women’s service is one among them, in my experience.

2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 2

... the PC(USA) cannot confess sin against LGBTQ people with any integrity. First, this action would not include those Presbyterians who do not feel that they are sinning when they judge the LGBTQ person. Second, people with these judgments are still hurting LGBTQ people in the PC(USA). We are not of one mind in the PC(USA).

2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 1

My tradition is Reformed, always being Reformed (which is why we tend to protest what is traditional). Coming to a more expansive understanding of marriage is our generation’s experience of reforming our grasp of God and God’s will for us.

Love More: Trump and the Country We Know

We can react by demonizing those who brought the next four years upon our country. We can judge them and denigrate them and turn on them. And in doing so, we will perpetuate the very situation that led us all to this point. Or we can try to figure out how to love more and love better.

A Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends: From Fear to Faith...

I was nervous at first reading, as I am among those anxious Christians not worried about how our country is going to go forward. And I admit I was worried that I would have trouble with the conservative-sounding opening (conservative-sounding to me, at least – proving his point about polarization). However, he mostly comes out rather progressive in his view of various issues in light of the Scriptures...

I Love to Tell the Story: 100+ Stories of Justice, Wisdom,...

How would you like to own — or give to someone you love — a book that carries you along on its own joyful stream of stories? Yes? Then I have just the perfect book for you: the Reverend Dr. Nancy Wilson's I Love To Tell the Story: 100+ Stories of Justice, Wisdom, and Hope.

Free Speech—Using it for Healing, Not for Hurting

Each one of us can begin to cool the heated debate and polarization in this country. We can begin by a rigorous moral inventory of our own bigotry, biases, and fear so that we can first heal ourselves. We can practice right speech by using the guidelines of the Buddha mentioned earlier (Is our speech truthful? Necessary? Kind?), even with those who use hateful, caustic speech. We can post the “good news” on social media with inspiring music, stories, and prayers. We can develop the courage and the willingness to listen to those with whom we disagree.

At First Blush

God is with us. Sophia is with us. Woman Wisdom is with us. We are with each other. We can continue to move forward together on this journey of shalom as we lean on God and lean on one another.

What We Can Learn from Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini

Allowing Saeed a public forum in which to further denigrate Naghmeh, Christianity Today also denigrates every woman who has heard an overuse of the word 'I' as they were being beaten, and shames every victim who takes the blame on themselves when it’s not theirs to take. The consequences of this piece reach further than one victim.

Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and...

"The most oppressive of human binaries is the one that differentiates between those who are in and those who are out. Just as Jesus “took on whatever stigma was applied to the people he was engaging: women, children, Samaritans, lepers” (p. 180), so must progressive Christians and progressive queers continue to disrupt the inside/outside binary."

Disconnected Generations:  #NotHereForTheBoys

Clinton, Steinem, and Albright have devoted their lives to public causes and progress for women, and the thought that none of them may live to see—or in Clinton’s instance, be—the first female president when we are so close to the dream must be a hard pill to swallow.

2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Jann Aldredge-Clanton

As I listened to people’s stories, my heart ached over the pain they have suffered from denunciation and rejection by church and family, and I felt inspired by their courage in claiming who they’re created to be and working to liberate their churches from homophobia and unjust, unloving actions.

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.

2016 #GCNConf — “weconnect” Emmy Kegler Interview

I believe the church at its core can also be a place of healing (and it breaks me when it's a place of trauma). We have confession and forgiveness, peacemaking and reconciliation, prayer and offering going back to the earliest days of Christianity. Self-examination and self-giving isn't something we can do without community...

2016 Gay Christian Network Conference — Introduction

This year’s GCN speakers will include: Allyson Robinson, Baptist preacher and national trans leader; Broderick Greer, Episcopal curate and social justice advocate; Misty Irons, nationally-acclaimed blogger and theologian; and Justin Lee, the Gay Christian Network Executive Director.

Remembering All We Have Lost — #TDOR

For many of you, the gender binary simply exists as a pervasive framework around which you build your life. As a child, you accepted it. You existed within it. It wasn’t until adolescence or adulthood that you were required to understand it and decide how to respond to it.

The Changing Face of Evangelicalism: Rescuing Jesus

Ever since 2007, an award-winning journalist and radio producer named Deborah Jian Lee has been researching contemporary evangelicalism. She has been impressed by a change occurring among evangelicals—a movement that “ditches the Religious Right,” supports working toward social justice rather than political theorizing, and calls itself “progressive evangelicalism.”

Requiem for the Rest of Us — #kellyonmymind

Those who distrust grace once again brought about a human being’s undoing, As they have for millennia (just remember the lions and stones). Now, as then, decisions were made, orders were given, and there was someone willing to comply. The hands and feet of the adolescent monster we feed with our votes and our tax dollars Delivered death into her body, forcing her out, and into God's loving arms.

A Report from the “Jobs, Justice, and the Climate” March in...

For me, honoring First Nation people and ensuring environmental justice is essential, especially if we claim to truly love this "blue dot" (what astronauts have called the earth from space, depicted in my poster above) we all call home.

A Charleston Lament – #BlackLivesMatter

I am convinced that this is the lesson of Gethsemane Not Jesus crying humanly about his own impending suffering and death But rather Jesus's awareness of the depth of the intractable ruin of us The universal suffering of the other who threatens the status of the entitled just by being

Hurtful Words Hurt

There are millions of new combinations of words created every day, combinations that are put here, on the web, for anyone to view. And there’s one thing that nobody seems to notice, or care about, or even comment on, one important thing about all those words. A lot of them are hurtful. Some intentionally so.

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence

Armstrong defines war as “a psychosis caused by the inability to see relationships, “ and describes the First Crusade as particularly psychotic. In Jerusalem the “half-crazed” First Crusaders slaughtered some thirty-thousand people in three days” (p. 214).

The Civil Rights Challenge of the Coming Decade: RFRAs, Wedding Cake,...

... those of us concerned about both religious liberty and equity for LGBT citizens are caught in a bind. I believe in equity for LGBT people, but at the same time I believe faith-based institutions should be allowed room to shape themselves according to their deepest beliefs. Is it possible to have both?

Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice

“Yet, humbling though parts of the story may be, this is a history that needs to be heard. It isn’t wholly a story of stumbles. It’s also a story of honorable words and courageous actions, often undertaken in the face of great hostility. For that, we can all be thankful. It’s also a non-static story of growth, evolution, and change. Again and again, you’ll find evidence of that Wind that blows where it wills.”

Ain’t I a Womanist Too?: Third World Womanist Religious Thought

This is a movement that embraces life holistically, that seeks justice and freedom for all regardless of gender identity, socioeconomic class, theology, spirituality, and political ideology. It is a movement of women who have decided that the most important thing in life is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

#KellyOnMyMind — The Death Penalty (or How to Ignore Jesus)

March 5, 2015 Earlier this week, Kelly Gissendaner was slated to be executed in Georgia.  She was given the death penalty for plotting to kill...

An Opportunity to Practice Grace and Love

When I realized this was the Wall of Love, I was overcome with emotion. As they formed what would ultimately become a Tunnel of Love, the tears rolled down my cheeks. I had to turn away from them so I could gather myself because the feeling of unconditional love was so overwhelming in the moment.

“With his Stripes”— The Messiah Resonates in 2014

Whipping, pulling out hair, and spitting brought to mind the “enhanced” techniques authorized by Attorney General John Ashcroft on July 24, 2002, and the waterboarding he approved two days later. (What was I doing that summer? For sure, I was not keeping track of my government’s use of torture.)

2015 #GCNConf — “weconnect” Wendy Gritter Interview

My hope is that we will come to the day that our communities are places where LGBTQ+ people can be fully themselves and fully pursue relationship with Jesus without any hindrances. I wish I knew how long this season of transition will last— but I don’t.

Pray For Those Who Murder You

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” he says. When he himself was the target, he added, “Forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23: 34). Who heard these radical words and copied them down? Who later collected and preserved them? By the grace of God, we can find testimony today for this minority position against revenge in the words and acts of Jesus, Terence, Gandhi, Daryl Davis, and others. By binding our hearts to Jesus and his words, we can counter our intuitive responses and lift up even our enemies to the Creator’s loving care.

El Dia de los Muertos

In Mexico the Day of the Dead is widely celebrated, but this year it is overshadowed by the disappearance on Sept. 26 of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, 120 miles south of Mexico City, and by the deaths of many others who have been bystanders in Mexico’s war on drugs.

Prince Ea Thinks this World Should End

September 15, 2014 Starting off the week, we're sharing this inspiring spoken word piece by award winning rapper Prince Ea (Richard Williams) entitled, "Why I Think...

Feminist Faith-Based Social Justice

Backlash is a subtle thing. It can result in even the bravest of us stepping back from what we know to be right because the cost is so high—the loss of a job, perhaps, because of principles, or some dreaded implication for our children, who can become pawns and/or casualties in social justice skirmishes.

It’s Time for Transnational Feminism

Today there’s a term: transnational feminism. As Alena Amato Ruggerio reminded us in her keynote speech at the 2012 EEWC-CFT gathering, once you have a word for a feeling or a problem, you have means to tackle it. The issue becomes widely recognized.

Christian Ecofeminist Theology Today or Gaia, Sallie McFague, and You Walk...

Patriarchy and an industrial military complex, whether implicitly or explicitly, promote masculine conquering of the feminine or the perceived weaker "other," as is common in complementarian and/or hierarchical understandings of the world and Christianity.

World Vision: Treating Gay Christians with “Dignity and Respect”?

On the first day, a “Christian” organization whose goal is to help others said I was good enough to serve alongside their other employees. On the second day, millions of other Christians felt it necessary to forcefully proclaim, yet again, that they consider me "less than" and unworthy. On the third day, World Vision buckled under pressure...

Patriarchy, Power, and Sexual Abuse among Christians

March 7, 2014 A special compilation of links you’ll want to know about. by Letha Dawson Scanzoni Amanda Marcotte writes that “the message in the Christian right...

The Little Sisters of the Poor And The Health Care Mandate

I have no problem with devout Catholics following the teachings of the Church. But when I am required to live by those teachings, even if I do not agree with them, I am annoyed. The choice of an individual to use contraception (or not) is an intensely personal choice. To be denied that right because of the religious beliefs of the owner is unfair.

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.

Reflections from South Africa Upon Nelson Mandela’s Death

Archbishop Tutu put it well, calling Mandela “a terrorist turned into an icon of reconciliation.” Mandela turned to weapons at a time when there seemed to be no other recourse, but he also spent his years in prison learning Afrikaans, the language of the oppressor, as a tool for peace-making.

The Risk of Returning: A Novel

One rarely encounters a suspense novel in which the protagonist reminisces about insights from C. S. Lewis and the Bible and gets intimately involved with the mysterious woman who is helping him relearn his Spanish, but it's all here.

An Epiphany

The Ruler’s life has been irrevocably changed as a result of absorbing Christ’s world view, and his epiphany results as he sees for the first time his position in his own world. The pathology of that position is now clear to him: he sees the poor and their condition, and he sees in their watchfulness that they are Christ’s emissaries to him.

Equality as a Multiple Choice Test

I'd like it if everyone was very well aware that equal is equal, that anything else is greater than or less than. Because I want to believe that in my life I will experience at least a little time in which I am equal, not less than. But actually, how things are? Equality is more like a multiple choice test. And some people will circle every single answer, and some people will, miraculously, manage to circle one or two.

The God We Serve – Adam Ackley, Azusa Pacific University, and...

So, it is no surprise to me that Azusa Pacific University has asked Heath Adam Ackley to go away. And it is no surprise to me that the people who asked him to do so were apparently not concerned about the justice or righteousness of the request. As is usual, capitalistic considerations trumped all others.

Coming Out— It’s a Struggle for Atheists Too – Wild Goose

Everyone has felt like an outsider; everyone has felt misunderstood. I always believed that a Christian church would have all the answers, that embracing Christianity meant an end to the isolation and the confusion. Clearly, I was wrong; so many people are searching for answers.

Princeton, Demons, and Fundamentalists

'Hence, the controlling metaphor of The Accursed would seem to be that as long as people believe God is angry, totalitarian, and brutally unforgiving, their whole world takes on a vampirish, bloodthirsty, fearsome coloration."

Wild Goose Festival 2013 – Introduction

I've never been to Wild Goose before but am looking forward to the experience. You'll be able to read about and see what I experience here on Where She Is (and on the Christian Feminism Today social media outlets) as I'll be posting frequent updates leading up to, during, and directly after the conclusion of the festival (August 8-11, 2013).

What Does Family Therapy Have to Do with the XL Pipeline,...

The question facing all of us is whether the unbridled dependence on oil and gas that marks our North American economies and lifestyles, or the creation-care vision articulated by environmental and Aboriginal groups, will determine our future.

There Is More than One Christian View on Homosexuality

"But when it comes to homosexuality, many people have the impression that there is only one religious or biblical view – only one way to consider the question of equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. That view, in the minds of many, is that any and every same-sex sexual expression is sinful in the sight of God."

Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism

Reviewer Mark William Olson writes, "Nevertheless, in reading [David Swartz's] narrative, you may find yourself thinking that women and feminist concerns are getting short shrift. On one level, of course, that’s simply a truthful reflection of what happened at the 1973 'Thanksgiving Workshop' that created the 'Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern.' It reflects what happened at various follow-up meetings as well. Men ran things. The concerns of women were regularly pushed aside because they simply didn’t match the agenda of the dominant males. As David’s book honestly acknowledges, nervous, self-serving men sometimes rushed to bury feminist concerns, fearing that other leaders in 'the evangelical world' would write off the larger effort if they thought it was giving support to women’s ordination—or some other apparent 'outrage.'"

Why We Need Immigration Reform: A Christian Feminist Perspective

"Perhaps that’s the worst part of being a modern-day Samaritan in southern Arizona: you may never know if the persons you have hugged and tried to help are living or dead. Laws prevent you from taking a shivering immigrant to shelter: actions like those of the kind traveler in Jesus’ story are currently illegal in the US. You can provide food, water, blankets, jackets, shoes—but for transportation you could be punished with 15 years in prison."

A Time to Embrace: Same-Sex Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics

"William Stacy Johnson is the perfect author for such a volume: an attorney, a professional theologian, an ordained Presbyterian minister, a professor at Princeton Seminary, and a student of over 270 specialized books and articles and 95 relevant legal cases."

A Christian Feminist Speaks Out on the Drone War in Pakistan

"The notorious instability of many Middle Eastern countries means a seemingly innocuous walk to a market, across the street, through a park might be disrupted by a suicide bombing. A decade-long U.S. military presence has done little to provide safety for women and children in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. "

Confessions of a Christian Humanist

For Christianity to be Christian it cannot by-pass St. Paul’s confession of Christ crucified as “the wisdom of God,” for it would have nothing distinctive to contribute to the humanist project. But for it to be humanist it cannot ignore the truth wherever it is to be found, for all truth ultimately reflects the beauty and goodness of God.

A New Religious America: How a “Christian Country” Has Become the...

As for Islam and violence, Eck quotes Jamal Badawi's insistence at Boston University in 1994: "Jihad cannot be equated with senseless terrorism. . . . I would challenge anyone to find an instance of the term holy war in the Qur'an. Jihad means exertion, effort, excellence. The Qur'an is described as the tool of jihad, 'Make jihad with the Qur'an,' but not with the sword."

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.

Of Widows and Meals: Communal Meals in the Book of Acts

Practitioners of the Way of Jesus today—meal servers, food preparers, scholars, pastors, Bible students, lay leaders, social activists, and evangelists—will all find much to ponder, and repeatedly to return to, in Of Widows and Meals.

Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally

Ultimately, Hawn concludes, the point of engaging in multicultural musical expressions "is not to 'feel good' but to feel again — feel a sense of the holy and an experience of community" which will move us, with all our sisters and brothers around the globe, to shout in renewed, "polyrhythmic" enthusiasm: Alleluia! and Amen!

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America

I was personally impacted by Nickel and Dimed, because Ehrenreich, in part, was telling my story! For the past four years, I have been a sales associate in a large department store; and in many respects, Ehrenreich's experience parallels mine.

Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour of the Countries, Factories,...

Timmerman’s research began with the simple act of checking the labels on his clothes, curious about places of origin for his shirt, jeans, boxers, and flip flops. He then decided to travel to those places—Honduras, Cambodia, Bangladesh and China—to go undercover as a garment buyer in order to meet the people who made his clothes.

Broken We Kneel: Reflections on Faith & Citizenship

In these hard days, in these dangerous times, we need witnesses and prophets like Diana Butler Bass. Bruised and broken, we can abandon our vision. Bruised and broken, we can flee our faith. Or bruised and broken, we can kneel, dreaming of love, striving for peace, pleading for grace.

New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future

A number of familiar themes resound: strongly self-critical commentaries; recovering stories from the past and spinning new ones; the importance of knowing the tradition in order better to reclaim or redefine it; the problematics of determining what practices and beliefs are “authentically Jewish”; a robust attitude that can celebrate gains while recognizing there is much left to do.

The UMC Trial of Beth Stroud: A Mother’s Perspective

I refuse to give into despair and instead have hope that attitudes in our churches, regardless of denominational affiliation, will change. In many ways, it is the church that is on trial.

The Galilean Secret

As theology or ethics, The Galilean Secret scores an A for its emphasis on internal reconciliation leading to external reconciliation. But as fiction, the plotting sometimes strains the reader’s credulity with some rather unlikely coincidences.

Justice, Love, and Compassion on Trial

--Why I Took Part in the Jimmy Creech Protest Demonstration by L. Victoria Peterson Why did more than 100 persons leave their homes and jobs and...

Capital Punishment of Women and the Mentally Ill

The function of a governor in granting clemency is to mete out mercy. An insightful article about the Karla Faye Tucker case and other executions in Texas during the governorship of George W. Bush was written by Sister Helen Prejean, the Roman Catholic nun whose story was told in the movie Dead Man Walking.

The Help

The Help richly deserves its many weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list. Stockett, a white woman from Jackson, overcame her fear and tackled this tricky topic by creating the voices of three women whose lives are forever entangled and unforgettable.

Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America

Years after her death, Helga has become a role model for tough, independent-thinking, risk-taking women everywhere. We would all do well to learn from her, and from Linda Lawrence Hunt who gave her story back to us.

Matthew and Empire: Initial Explorations

This book can be extremely helpful to Christian feminists who care both about properly interpreting the Bible and who oppose all kinds of private and public oppression. There are many parallels between the ancient Roman Empire and the "American Empire" of the 21st century.

“When One Woman Cries. . .”

Hi Kimberly, We seem to have come full circle, having begun this blog three and a half years ago with a discussion of Betty Friedan...

Why Should Difference Make Any Difference

I knew the Bible verses some of my teachers were using to teach these things, but it did not make sense to me, though I said nothing at the time. It just didn't sound at all like something that the God I loved and served would do! Why would God create females with brains and talents and abilities and yearnings to serve and advance the good news of the gospel and then say, "No thanks, I don't need or want your service"? It is painful to have one's wings clipped. I tried to follow the gender hierarchy that I was taught, but down deep the seeds of what would later be called Christian feminism were taking root.

Onmigender: A Trans-religious Approach

his book compassionately explores the dilemma faced daily by “both”, “neither” and “other” categories of humans and proposes that Christ and the Jewish and Christian scriptures demand compassionate acceptance of all people, regardless of their genital or sex chromosome configuration.

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Saving Women from the Church: How Jesus Mends a Divide

Many more situations are addressed through two stories illustrating a hurtful issue women face in church. Each of these scenarios is followed by an elaborate semi-fictitious version of a gospel story depicting how Jesus treated the suffering woman.

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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.