ViewPoint

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. Continue reading

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Ending the Silence about Sexual Assault

Today, as in the biblical narratives, instead of focusing on the details of the rape and the sufferings of the women who were victimized, we focus on the accomplishments of the powerful men who caused their suffering. We may even support them without thinking about it. How many of us still watch reruns of Seventh Heaven or The Cosby Show, whether on television or on DVD recordings that we had purchased before any of this had hit the fan? How many of us still listen to R. Kelly? How many of us still watch Woody Allen’s and Roman Polanski’s movies? If we are honest, most of us will answer yes. We are sympathetic to these men because we don’t want to ruin their lives—the same way the biblical text is sympathetic to the men. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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A Dumb Blonde, a Woman Driver, and a Preacher Walk into a Bar

My internal critic is loud as I respond, and I realize I’ve absorbed the cultural messages well. Am I overreacting? Do I sound shrill or angry? He didn’t mean anything by it. It was just a joke. But I shake it off and go back to the truth I feel in my bones and I tell him this: research from Western Carolina University shows that dumb blonde and women driving jokes are more than innocent fun and games. Psychologists have proven exposure to sexist humor like that “gentle tease” about women drivers leads to tolerance of hostile behavior toward and acceptance of discrimination of women. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Toward an Inclusive Incarnation: Easter and Male Divinity

While many things are more permissible for deconstruction these days (from evolution to an authoritarian image of the divine), God, Jesus, and gender still feels decidedly off limits. Don’t question what it means that a man saved us from sin; don’t question what it means that it was a man who died for humanity; and don’t question why it is a man who promises to raise us all in the same way. Continue reading

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Disconnected Generations:  #NotHereForTheBoys

“Cauterucci is on to something here. 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. Younger women, however, have the benefit of time on their side, as well as distance from the more outright, widespread, and socially acceptable sexism of decades past.” Continue reading

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Want to Reduce Abortion? Fund Planned Parenthood

This issue is too important for vitriol. Planned Parenthood does perform abortions. But it also provides birth control and counseling to a population at high risk for unwanted pregnancy. If we really care about reduction of abortion, we should be encouraging Planned Parenthood to increase its efforts to reach groups of women at high risk for unintended pregnancy. And we must fund the birth control effort. Continue reading

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CBE and EEWC: Sisters after All

Though the biblical basis for women’s equality has been accepted in many churches in the US, there are still denominations that teach gender hierarchy and oppose women pastors, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and the Roman Catholic Church. Continue reading

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The “Dirty F-Word” and Its Consequences in My Life

I felt empowered to view my reflection as an intelligent, thoughtful, caring individual. I found ways to love the language of my foremothers without compromising my feminism just because I chose to love to cook, crochet, or plant gardens. That empowerment of choice allowed me to let go of the resentment I had towards what are traditionally considered domestic tasks or “women’s work,” to support women’s engagement in them when it was their choice, not a role imposed on them, and to seek to learn to love those who did not act in love towards me—even those who refused to accept the “dirty f- word.” Continue reading

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Transformative Anger

Therefore I urge us to remember that if we are willing to expand our notion of anger, if we allow ourselves (and others) to truly and deeply grieve anger, then we see potential for a transformation from fury to passion. We will see an urge for bringing about change that never runs tired. We will see hope for a hurting people. Continue reading

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Shades of Gray: Toward Real-Life Christian Sexual Ethics

From a Christian perspective, sexual ethics can be extremely difficult to discuss in any kind of nuanced manner, particularly in the Catholic setting with which I am most familiar, because the Church’s sexual teachings are so rigid and narrow. They offer no shades of gray to accommodate the many and varied situations that real life presents. Church teachings are seen as obsolete, irrelevant to the 21st century, and seldom factor in to sexual decision-making by people of any age. Thus movies and other media messages readily fill the void. Continue reading

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Domestic Violence Allegations in the Faith-Based Community: How Shall We Respond?

Thus, I too suggest we commit ourselves to hearing all voices, even if it makes our hearts ache. Let’s not protect the ones in power simply because they are our friends and we cannot imagine such things. Let’s be willing to believe people who claim they were violated. Let’s listen to their stories. Let’s allow victims the freedom to look a little crazy in their trauma response. And let’s change the way we typically respond to allegations of domestic violence. Survivors of abuse deserve better. Continue reading

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Pontifical Council for Culture: Women’s (In)equality and Difference

The ridiculous assumption is that the entire culture of female identity can be explored in four days and a few tweets. It strikes me that the church may be operating under the misconception that there is only one female cultural experience, and not a myriad of individual women’s experiences across innumerable cultures. Continue reading

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How Marcus Borg Taught Me to Read the Bible

A ViewPoint by Kendra Weddle Irons I have an aversion to mirrors. My house has only a couple and I generally avoid looking at them—or rather at my reflection in them. It didn’t used to be this way. I can remember, … Continue reading

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“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.) Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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El Dia de los Muertos

A ViewPoint by Anne Eggebroten El Dia de los Muertos, November 2, was different this year in Mexico. Most Christians are familiar with All Saints Day, November 1, because of All Hallows Eve the night before, commercialized as Halloween. In … Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Girl Scout Barbie? Are you KIDDING me?

Our culture’s obsession with beauty, sexiness and youth doesn’t need reinforcement by the Girl Scouts. If anything, scouts should be standard bearers of a counter-culture. That it’s great to try to be healthy, study hard, play hard and give back to your community. And that’s possible to do, even if you aren’t good at sports, are average in looks and scholarship, and are not a Wall Street mogul. Continue reading

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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. (Examples: sexual harassment and genital mutilation.) I first encountered this at a demonstration in Los Angeles against the US-supported war on Gaza. I met members of Af3irm, a group that began as a Filipina feminist movement. In 2010 after “a comprehensive analysis of class, race, gender, and sexuality,” Af3irm switched to “conducting militant movement-building from the United States with a transnational, feminist perspective.” Continue reading

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Becoming Feminist: Conceiving and Creating

My joy for the little butterfly was also the joy of breaking out of my own chrysalis. In the ashes of my loss, I found a crown of beauty, my own voice, which had enormous value all by itself. My body hadn’t birthed a baby this time, but it had conceived something else: the belief that I am valuable and that my voice should be heard, loud and clear. The belief that I am a creator, not always a creator of babies, but always a creator of something hopeful and good for the people around me. The belief that all women are life-givers and, through our smallest of actions and loudest of voices, we are able to redeem the earth. This is what feminism is to me; that women have a voice, a voice that is heard, a voice that is a creative force in the world. Continue reading

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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 and agreed to rescind their promise to treat lesbian and gay Christian people fairly. Continue reading

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On Christian Femininity and Bragging Rights

But if our greatest treasure is our spiritual gifts, then men and women together should lift up the riches offered by the women of the church. We should open wide the doors to this storehouse of wealth. It means being a little less quick to slap down a compliment with, “Oh, isn’t God great? God did it. I didn’t do it. It wasn’t me.” Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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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. I see the opposite, too, but I can carry my traffic wherever I like. And there is church, for me, on the Internet, that works. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Are Women Broads? The Power of Words

“I believe and have taught my daughters that language matters. How we talk about ourselves, as well as how we describe others is important. The words and adjectives we use can carry a different message, depending on what we choose. Words can motivate or destroy. They can inspire or distress. And among the more damaging ways we use words are those off the cuff remarks that slip in a quick bit of slang.” Continue reading

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More Than One Way to Do Money God’s Way?

I don’t disagree with Evans: I’m well aware that my picture of financial peace does indeed come straight out of middle class American privilege. Nor am I interrogating here the systemic injustices that condemn people living in at the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum to generations of poverty. But it’s also true that few people have done more than Dave Ramsey—even from the classist, individualist standpoint of someone who’s a personal finance adviser, not a social activist—to equip people in vulnerable positions such as prisoners, military personnel, and immigrants who speak only Spanish to “change their family tree” by having hope and taking concrete action. Continue reading

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Sex-Positive Marital Fidelity and the Feminine Face of God

Where the problem is objectification of the female, restoration comes in knowing the divinity of the female. Where the problem is profanity and commodification of our sexual selves, restoration comes in knowing sex as a sacred union: a mystical union between two expressions of God’s presence in the world. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Rachel Held Evans and The Nines

Strong female leaders of faith are making great, great strides. At this point, we need more male leaders to act in concert with our efforts. Perhaps after so few women accepted Rhoades’ invitation, he should have done as some have suggested—cancelled this year’s event and said, “we can’t go forward without a stronger, more representative line up.” What an example that would have been! Continue reading

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To Revere the Image of God in Every Person

It is my prayer that all of us will eventually learn to recognize and revere the image of God in every person of every conceivable gender identity, along with the many other diversities of appearance, belief systems, preferences, and whatsoever differences may occur to us. Continue reading

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Rapists’ Parental Rights

The vast majority of Christians will experience a lifetime of preaching and religious education without once hearing that rape is a grave sin to be avoided or repented–or that God weeps with survivors, fights for their protection and healing rather than shaming them into justice-free forgiveness, and calls all Christians to as well. Continue reading

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Submission, Subjection, and Subversion in Household Codes

“… the overarching message of Jesus throughout the New Testament is a call for those in power to give it up or lay it aside for the sake of the powerless or for the greater good of the community. The theme of “little ones” being greatest in God’s kin-dom saturates the Synoptic Gospels. Jesus flees popularity, risks his life to defy rigid structures that oppress “little ones,” and finally endures the shame of crucifixion as a rebel against Roman domination.” Continue reading

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Mutual Submission in This Time and in This Place

But something changed a few decades later that made the early church start to rein in the mutual submission and egalitarianism of its Savior and the teachings of its foremost apostle. What was it? The simple answer is that Jesus did not return. The early church expected the second coming of Jesus to happen in its first generation: in the lifetime of the first believers. When the end is right around the corner, it is easy to live in a counter cultural movement so opposed to the world around you. Continue reading

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Child-Free Again. Sort of.

Hello Church. I’m looking at you. Let’s stop assuming that all women want to help with children’s programs. Invite men AND women to participate. I have helped out here and there over the years, but I chose support roles that did not require my spending time with small children when I was home with my own all week. Even now that mine are older, I decline. Courteously. Continue reading

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God Places the Solitary in Families: Childfree Doesn’t Mean Childless

For me family is a much broader and expansive concept than the nuclear family. Jesus said that anyone who obeyed God was his mother, brothers, and sisters. I see no reason to limit my family to those I am biologically related to, and I think part of our responsibilities as Christians is to cast a much larger definition of what a family is. For me my children will never be my own flesh and blood: they will be kids who need a mother for this time in their life, and I hope they will continue to be my kids after they’ve moved on. Continue reading

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Is There a Litmus Test for Christian Feminists? Should There Be?

Else we come to a place where feminism demands autonomy in all things, so that when I want to blow cigarette smoke in a random child’s face, that’s my choice; and when I want to make poor dietary choices, thereby making myself sick and putting extra burdens on the health care system, that’s my choice; and when I want to drive recklessly, so I can get to work on time, that’s my choice. There has to be limiting factors in all our actions, including abortion, because we are not solitary beings. Continue reading

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What Does Family Therapy Have to Do with the XL Pipeline, Climate Change, and Native Peoples? A Canadian Christian Therapist Speaks Out.

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. Continue reading

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God is Not a Guy, and Neither Am I!

“Just when I thought we’d about eliminated the so-called ‘generic’ use of ‘man’ because it really is exclusive, up pops ‘you guys’ almost everywhere. Women and girls seem to use ‘you guys’ as much as men and boys do. So why do females think they’re included in ‘you guys’? These same women usually protest loudly when they are referred to as ‘men’ or ‘man,’ as the King James and other older versions of the Bible do and as many churches still do. So why do they think it’s okay to be called by the male word ‘guys’?” Continue reading

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Personal Tragedy Meets National Tragedy: The Boston Explosions

“Will we respond with anger, casting about for someone to blame, someone to hurt with our words or actions? Or will we make the difficult decision to respond only with love, searching for ways to connect with each other as a people and support those affected, perhaps even directing our attention to creating a world of peace and equality where violence is never considered necessary to achieve an end?” Continue reading

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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.” Continue reading

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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. In Pakistan, when parents send their children to school, they do not know whether a U.S.-sent drone will drop bombs nearby, sending a neighborhood into chaos, destroying homes, murdering women and children.” Continue reading

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Forgiveness and Boundaries

by Marg Herder
“If I can learn to forgive— if I can learn to say, “I will no longer carry this suffering in my hands. Today I will set it down”— I will then free myself from anger and pain and make the space to move into understanding and compassion. Likewise, when I make and enforce effective and appropriate boundaries, I am making it more likely that peace and love will flow freely in and through my life, and thus out into the world.” Continue reading

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