Various Goodnesses

At Her•Menuetics, Laura Turner encourages her fellow evangelicals to embrace the F-Wordfeminism:

The church needs feminism because at its core, feminism affirms to us what our faith teaches us about male and female in God’s Kingdom and what Jesus himself preached throughout the New Testament.

The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology announces that John Franke will be giving the inaugural Stanley Grenz Lectures a month from now:

The Stanley Grenz Lecture Series is offered by The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology in honor of former Professor Stanley Grenz, a prolific Christian scholar with a pastoral heart and deep intellectual presence. Stan engaged the challenging theological questions of his generation with a profound sensitivity to the complexities of a Christian community embedded within a cultural context. In honor of him, this series is designed to invite scholarly theological discourse into the public forum, as an expression of Christian faith and service.

Third Way Magazine has a great interview with my theological muse, Jürgen Moltmann (HT: Scott Paeth):

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Rachel Held Evans: A Woman’s Voice

Rachel in a big pulpit.

It’s tough representing your entire gender.

I feel the pressure every time I climb those super-intimidating stairs to stand behind one of those super-intimidating old-school pulpits to give a sermon I spent extra hours preparing because a small part of me still believes I’m unworthy to give it. I feel it every time I post a blog or write an article or publish a book, every time I give an interview or am asked to speak.

“We wanted to feature a woman’s voice,” a well-meaning conference planner will inform me with excitement, as if mine is sufficient to capture the experiences of 3.5 billion human beings.

I’ll desperately scan the program for another woman’s face, trying to shove the old adage from Clare Boothe Luce from my mind: “Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes.’ They will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes.”

Luce’s insight, illustrated brilliantly by XKCD, is not a helpful one to share with a perfectionistic overachiever who takes herself way too seriously and who retreats to the company of complex carbohydrates when she’s nervous, which is to say, all of the time.

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Bec Cranford: Wonder Woman and Proverbs 31

Wonder Woman. Oh yes, images of Linda Carter and her spectacular blue eyes fill your head. And her twist (oh yeah, the twist.) Not to mention the Golden Lasso of Truth.

When Dc Comic books designed the character it was 1941. The “we can do it” women’s effort was full on, and so was World War II. Our heroine was drawn with this cool skirt and red shoes. She was a 2000 year old Amazon. Amazons were a mythical race of women warriors who trained for war. Yep, this Greek Warrior woman would help fight crime and spoil evil’s agendas.

We have all these ideas today from media of what the perfect woman should be. On one extreme we have those who think that all men are evil. And then we have this objectification of women for their vagina: mere sex kittens or property. And then the fundamentalists who feel that women are only baby makers and less than. So is a woman called to minister, lead, be a business mogul or teach?

Amazingly progressive for its time, we sing King Lemuel’s Mother giving us the example of a Valiant Woman; a woman worth more than rubies, diamonds, jade and gold. I realize I am writing to a cross section of sexual identity and some of you who hate the Bible: But let’s look and see how a woman can be a wonder woman according to the Hebrew text.

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Stephanie Drury: Covert Misogyny

For as inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly the progressive Church likes to imagine itself, there are still deep, linty pockets of gender bias and old habits that haven’t been broken. And how could they be, if no one has pointed them out? Actually, I take that back. How could the Church realize its biases if if the people in positions of power won’t entertain the possibility that they have them? The tragic truth is that the people in power do not need to realize their biases if they don’t elect to, and there’s the rub.

Gender bias in Christian culture is so ingrained that it’s difficult to access much of the time. Many women who didn’t take their husband’s last name or promise to obey him (see, progressive!) are just fine with male-pastor-only denominations. Many men who Mr. Mom while their wives work the day job (and to whom many will ascribe feminist tendencies when he’s just acting like a decent human being) can still operate under constraints they haven’t examined. We all do it. It’s getting to the point where you can dig it up and examine it that’s the hard bit.

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Kelly J. Youngblood: Disagreement in Love

Tony invited feminists to post on his blog, and since I consider myself one, I decided to write something.  It’s not about feminism, however, because what I want to write about goes much deeper into each of our Christian identities than whether or not we identify as feminist or not, emergent or not, evangelical or not, or any other facet of identity that we hold close in our hearts.

In my brief time in seminary, one of the classes I took was “Method and Praxis in Theology”.  I still have a stack of flashcards I made to help myself memorize and understand theological terms.  I did well in the class, A through B+ on all of my assignments, and I earned an A- on my final paper on the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.  The problem is, I don’t really remember most of what I read and learned in that class.  My flash cards have terms such as “law of universal causality” and “theodicy” and “teleological argument”.  I don’t remember what any of them mean.  As I look at the definitions on the back, there are words in the definitions that I don’t understand anymore.  And so, often, when I read theology blogs, they are challenging for me to understand.  This blog is challenging for me to understand.

When Tony posted about being accused of racism, I didn’t even know what “regnant” or “nascent” meant in the statement that had come into question.  I didn’t understand parts or all of the criticisms I read.  I’m not a stupid person, but sometimes, I feel that way when I can’t follow the arguments or conversations.  Sure, I have a BA in English Literature.  But it’s been 12 years since I received it.  Sure, I took some classes in seminary.  But it’s been 8 years since I quit.  Since then, the majority of my time has been spent taking care of my two children.  I’ve worked part-time, here and there, but primarily I have been a stay-at-home-mom.

Unfortunately, though, I have realized that I sometimes have made others to possibly feel stupid as well.  At the time when I was in seminary, I also participated in some discussion boards and I loved showing off what I was learning.  I loved the feeling that I was winning the argument.  Looking back, I was proud that I had more knowledge than the people with whom I was arguing.  There are times when I got–or still get today–angry, disdainful, arrogant, and don’t listen to what someone is saying.  My pride in my own intellectual ability sometimes wins out over how I treat people.

Over time, what I have seen in Internet arguments are accusations of not listening or not trying to listen or understand another’s point of view.

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Marg Herder: On Fear and the Paradox of Surrender

In 1993 I participated in the LGBT March on Washington.  This was an event in which hundreds of thousands of American gay people gathered in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate for equal protection under the law.

I was 32 years old.  I had been an out lesbian for 14 years.   It wasn’t like today.  Many of my friends were not out, especially not in every aspect of their lives, and all of us had been abused in some way due to who we were.  Many of my friends suffered through angry and vicious times with their families.  I was about the only person I knew who wasn’t kicked out or somehow made to feel defective or worthless by my parents.  Instead, in my case, the church stepped in to do that.

All of us who gathered for the march knew pain.  We were all wounded.  And because of that we were all a little guarded, a little skittish, a little closed off.  It took a lot of effort just to be.

Now we talk about equal rights.  Back then I remember talking about equal protection, I think because we felt danger, like someone was stalking us all the time.

The first night in Washington, D.C. my partner and our two friends returned to our hotel after dinner and walked through the city.  There had been lots of gay people on the plane, in the airport, checking in to the hotel, on the Metro.  There seemed to be ONLY gay people at the restaurant, and we all talked across tables to each other.  There were gay people walking on the street, and we all smiled and spoke to each other.  Everyone’s eyes were wide open. Wide open.  With wonder.  Everyone was smiling.

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Doreen Mannion: Angelina Jolie, Mom, and Me: Body Image in Our Mixed-Message Culture

I was shocked and saddened by the negative comments on actress Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. Jolie made this decision after learning she has a mutation in her BRCA1 gene that gave her, according to her doctors, an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. The fact that Jolie saw her mother fight breast cancer for 10 years before succumbing to it at the age of 56 no doubt also weighed in her decision.

Some of the same people who believe in a woman’s right of body self-determination when it comes to choices such as abortion wasted no time in criticizing Jolie, going as far as calling what she did “self-mutilation.” Others claimed she should have chosen to smoke marijuana or have better nutrition. This woman is a millionaire and has access to the world’s best advice. Do people really believe that if these “treatments” worked she would not have chosen them?

My Mom lost one breast to cancer in 1989 and the second the following year. She chose to not have reconstruction, opting instead for removable prosthetic breasts. There came a time in Mom’s life when she decided she wasn’t going to wear her prostheses anymore. I have never considered her mutilated; her body shows the remnants of numerous accidents and surgeries that have left a trail of scars almost from head to foot.

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