Monday, March 31, 2014

Uganda, Kenya, and World Vision

In Uganda, laws were passed this year that punish gay "repeat offenders" with life in prison.

In Kenya, one can be imprisoned for 14 years for having same-sex relations...  The laws are not usually enforced, but there are eight pending court cases.

Thus it's not surprising that World Vision took a stand in favor of recognizing the status of its employees in same-sex marriages.  

What a powerful statement for this well-known international aid organization to make.

World Vision was standing up for the oppressed and those in prison--exactly what Jesus would do.

But Jesus didn't have to worry about a budget of $1 billion to support or how to manage a staff that employs 40,000 people in 100 countries.

Once the donors, large and small, started dropping out, World Vision caved.

World Vision Loses Sight

World Vision--such vision!  The organization made a decision to recognize the marriages of employees who are in committed, long-term, same-sex relationships--like the federal government.

But two days later when challenged by conservative churches who see being anti-gay as part of the Apostles Creed, they backed down.


It's a sad day for people in Uganda, Kenya, and other countries where the same-sex issue is a matter of life and death. 

World Vision took a courageous step that stood up to the hatred and persecution currently approved by legislation in Uganda and elsewhere–but then it backed down. 

What would Jesus do?

These phrases are the ones being fought over:

based on biblical principles

authority of the Bible

what Scripture says about marriage

Never mind that Scripture says in at least one place: "...anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever married a divorced woman commits adultery" (Matthew 5:32).

That's what Scripture says about marriage.  

Is World Vision recognizing the marriages of its divorced employees?

From the statement issued by the Board on March 26:

"...we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.” And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners."

When Christians are picking and choosing when to see the Bible as authoritative and when to ignore it, they are being hypocritical... like the religious authorities in Jesus's day, whom he often fumed against.

Here's what Nicholas Kristof said back in February:

Here's the NY Times report:

And then there's Christianity Today, which kept this story upfront when the rest of the media weren't interested:

Open Letter to My Church

Beloved Elders:

Thank you for your service to Brentwood Presbyterian Church and to God as elders with responsibilities for all the areas that sustain BPC’s ministries.

I’m writing today to support BPC moving in the direction of more inclusive and expansive language in worship.  I heard that our associate pastor brought up this subject at last week’s Session meeting, and I want to encourage members of Session to keep an eye on this issue, along with all your other pressing tasks. 

BPC does a great job of referring to the people of God in inclusive ways in worship.  I haven’t heard “Rise up, O Men of God” sung lately!

Of course, it’s a little harder to avoid male language to refer to God.  I like the statement adopted by the PCUSA that appears in the brochure titled “Well-Chosen Words”:

“Rather than using only a very small number of terms referring to God (e.g., Father, Creator, Lord, Almighty), we should seek to employ the rich reservoir of imagery found in the New and Old Testaments.”

I always notice and appreciate the times when prayers and hymns during worship refer to God as “You,” “the Holy One,” “Sustainer,” “God of Mercy,” etc. and to Jesus as “Redeemer, Saviour,” etc. 

The equivalent United Church of Christ brochure lists the following expansive images of God in Scripture: Fire, Wind, Rock, Water, Light, Bread, Vine, Word, Wisdom, I Am, Potter, Midwife, Mother, Mother bear, Shepherd, Woman, Baker, Eagle, and Hen (each with a Scripture).

I understand that most BPC members are comfortable with hearing God called “Father,” “He, him,” “Lord” exclusively during worship.

But please remember that some of us feel uncomfortable with words that refer to God as male.  In the fall when we have new members in our Small Group, I tell them that I am “allergic” to hearing prayers where God is only addressed as “Father” and “Lord.”

My blood pressure rises and I get a little upset, even if I try not to.  It’s a disability, and I ask them to be understanding of my difficulty in this area. 

Back in the 1970s, masculine language to refer to God didn’t bother me, even though I was quite active in Christian feminism.  It was in the 1980s and 90s that friends pointed out to me how much this language reinforces the view of God as male, and thus empowers men while causing women to think that God is not like them.  Since then, I have sought out worship places where God is not referred to as male, and I have had to condition myself not to react to hearing masculine terms for God.  I drive out to Claremont once a month to take part in a worship service where I don’t have to be on guard like this.

I was surprised and delighted at BPC’s Women’s Retreat in January when I heard God referred to in so many creative ways such as “She” and “Loving God,” and I didn’t have to hear the masculine words.

Thank you for leading BPC to be such a nurturing community under God for so many people, and please continue to move in the direction of inclusive and expansive language for God and the people of God. 


Anne Eggebroten

Resources and websites on inclusive and expansive language:

Marquette University—guidelines for students:

PCUSA brochure:

UCC brochure:

Inclusive Translations of Scripture
·         The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995
·         Inclusive Language Lectionary, Years A (1983), B (1984), C (1985), New York: National Council of Churches
·         Inclusive Language Psalms, Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1987
·         The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation, Priests for Equality, 2007

My favorite Christian feminist organization, which supports inclusive and expansive language:

Nancy Hardesty on inclusive language:
Inclusive Language in the Church (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1987).

More discussion of inclusive language:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Being Sunnie

Women should have long hair, it says in the Bible, but most church ladies I know have short hair, dyed, teased, and hairsprayed.

An 8-year-old in Lynchburg, Virginia, was told she couldn't have short hair:  "her dress and her behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity."

Fortunately, her family supports her being who she is and choosing whether to wear her hair short or long, whether to wear pants or a dress to school.

Hooray for Sunnie Kahle and her great-grandmother, who is her legal guardian.

Thumbs down to Timberlake Christian School.

By their standards, Jesus should have been wearing long pants instead of a dress.

Long hair is a woman's glory, according to 1 Corinthians 11:15, but it can't be braided (1 Timothy 2:9).

Would Sunnie be sent home if she wore braids?  Probably not.  

Most Christian women today have no problem with short hair or with braids, but this school decided to enforce first-century standards on an eight-year-old?

The unspoken agenda is trying to move this child away from clothing and hairstyles that suggest to some adults LGBT styles.

Thank you to Sunnie's family for going public with this pressure and discrimination.  

Thank you, Gloria

Jeanne Hanson Skydiving
Jeanne Hanson sky diving to mark her 80th year

Gloria Steinem's gifts to womankind are many, but one of the greatest is her reclaiming of respect for women who are aging.  
Gail Collins interviewed Gloria to report on her outlook at age 80.  Her birthday is March 25, 1934.

 It's important not just "what 40 looks like" or 50 or more--though she has done much to combat the idea that women are not attractive as they age.  (Older men have more often been portrayed as sexy and interesting at sixty than women--though Meryl Streep and others are changing that.)

What's important is that Gloria's birthday plans included flying to Botswana and riding an elephant.  She has not folded up her life and put it on a shelf.  

Likewise, my friend Jeanne Hanson tried sky diving just before her 80th birthday.  What a role model!  (But I'll wait until 100 to do that--when I'm pretty sure an accident won't deprive me of any significant number of years.)

When I grew up, labels like "old hag," "old battleaxe" and "little old lady" were in the air--not to mention "spinster" and hours spent playing the card game "Old Maid."

The Beatles questioned "Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm 64?"

Now that I'm 65, that question seems shocking.  Maybe it would be appropriate for "when I'm 84" or "when I'm 94."  

The baby boom may be another factor, but in some circles aging is a way to gain respect, not lose it.  I've attended several croning rituals to bless and honor the contributions of older women.

Of course, factors like diet, exercise, good medical care, and just plain good luck are behind the health and activity that some older women are enjoying today.  Women who are struggling to eat or feed their families, who have had cancer or car accidents are less likely to be doing well.

Nevertheless, I want to thank Gloria for her part in the self-esteem and positive attitude I feel as a woman in my sixties today.  

Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination

Today is the 19th annual World Day of Prayer for women's ordination.

It's also honored as Annunciation Day--the day when the angel appeared to Mary inviting her to be the mother of the Savior.

See the website of the Women's Ordination Conference:

Message to the Southern Baptist Convention, the Roman Catholic Church, and others who still refuse to recognize God's call to women to be pastors:

Either ordain us or stop baptizing us.

We will stop all our volunteer work that supports the church if you don't give us the equality God bestowed upon us in creation.

Genesis 1:27~  Creation of male and female equally and simultaneously, both in the image of God, both with responsibility to take care of the rest of creation.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Of God and Bears

I'm happy to report that Elizabeth Johnson's stunning speech "Creation: Is God's Charity Broad Enough for Bears?" is now available on YouTube.

I was present to hear it at Loyola Marymount University on March 20, and I recorded my reactions on my dog blog:

A little booklet with the text of the speech was passed out at the end, and it's now available from Marymount Institute Press, Loyola Marymount University, One LMU Drive, Suite 3012, Los Angeles CA 90045. 

Elizabeth's most well-known book is She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (New York: Crossroads, 2002).  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Get with It!

Under Orthodox Jewish law, only a husband has the right to grant a divorce.

"I am chained to a dead marriage," reports Lonna Kin of Monsey, NY, in an article for today's New York Times written by Jennifer Medina.  It's also in the Jewish Journal.

For nearly ten years Lonna has been trying to obtain the legal document called a get that ends a marriage under Orthodox Jewish law.  

Her divorce under civil law was finalized in 2007, but under religious law she can't remarry without a get.

She's an agunah--a chained wife.

Her ex refuses to issue the get until she gives him $500,000 and full custody of their 12-year-old son.

Meanwhile, he remarries in Las Vegas--with a crowd of Orthodox Jews protesting.

Medina reports "a deepening crisis among Orthodox Jews--hundreds of women held in hostage in a religious marriage, in some cases for years after civil cases have been settled."

These believers have started the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot to publicly shame recalcitrant Orthodox ex-husbands into cooperation.  

The ex, who lives in Las Vegas, has worshipped at two Orthodox synagogues affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement.  A maverick rabbi from Monsey granted him permission to re-marry without the get, so that under Orthodox law he now has two wives.

Word to Orthodox Judaism: get with it.  Give women the right to declare a divorce.

Otherwise, Lonna is chained also to a dead religion.

Death by Crossing a Street

A 61-yr.-old woman was killed and her 32-yr.-old daughter injured by a driver in a sports car at 1 am this morning on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, near the pier.,0,5171620.story#axzz2wiJlEYIU

Apparently they were not using a cross walk or an intersection with a light.  They were near Tongva Park, perhaps returning to their car after an evening out.  

The daughter lives in Santa Monica and the mother was visiting from Wisconsin.

The driver was believed to be a man.  

It's so easy not to see pedestrians when driving after dark, especially if they are wearing black, which is the color most people wear to go out in the evening.

Was the driver speeding?  Did they see him but think they had time to cross? 

Was he drunk or using drugs?  

His decision to keep driving incriminates him.  

Protecting himself was more important than the lives of the women he hit.  


Friday, March 21, 2014

R.I.P.-- Not

Fred Phelps, the famous bigot from Topeka, Kansas, is now facing his Maker. 

He's also facing the hatred and sins he committed against so many-- US soldiers who died overseas, gays, lesbians, and others.

It's his own personal Judgment Day, and the Judge is not happy.  

God is probably saying, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).

If Fred is lucky, there's no fire.  God is merely sentencing him to an eternity of staring at his own sins and the pain he has caused.,0,647428.story#axzz2wig5kp7U

Let's hope that his tiny band of followers, mostly family members, will now melt into a puddle and evaporate like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz.

May we never again have to listen to the hatred of the group he called "Westboro Baptist Church."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Two Lia Mills

One Lia Mills is now 17 years old and became famous at age 12 for the anti-abortion speech that won a school speech contest in Canada.

The other Lia Mills is an Irish novelist who was raped at age 17 and was very grateful that abortion was legal in Ireland.

I wish the two Lias could meet.  

The younger Lia is being trained in the fine arts of feminism, though her family may not realize it.

By encouraging her to speak out and take positions and be all she can be, they are unleashing forces that may go far beyond the issue of abortion.  

For example, in the first 40 seconds of the speech she gave at age 12, she uses the words "choosing" and "choice" a total of four times.

"What if I told you that right now someone was choosing if you were gonna live or die?  What if I told you that the choice was not based on what you could do or not do...and what if I told you you could do nothing about it?  Thousands of children are right now in that very situation.  Someone is choosing whether they are going to live or die.  That someone is their mother, and that choice is abortion."

This is a kid who values choice, and as she grows older there's no guarantee that she will continue to oppose choice for women who face an unplanned pregnancy.

 It's apparent that her mother or perhaps both parents chose what view she would have on the issue of legal access to abortion.  Later on, she may make her own choice, and it could go either way.

Lia, consider the following scenario:

*What if I told you that right now someone was choosing if you were going to complete a pregnancy that you desperately did not want--or whether you were going to be allowed to end it?  

*What if I told you that the choice was not based on what you could do or not do about taking care of that baby... and what if I told you you could do nothing about it?  

*Thousands of women are right now in that very situation.  Someone is choosing whether they are going to spend the next eight months pregnant and bear a child or whether they are allowed to search their own soul and make that decision.  

*That someone making the choice is the federal government in the form of a room full of men, and that choice is whether access to abortion will remain legal or not. 

*The only choice these women will have is whether to entrust their baby to an adoption agency or try to raise it themselves, perhaps with no income and no partner.  

*Oh, there are a few more choices that some of them will make--to end their own life, to throw the baby away at birth, or to risk a dangerous and illegal abortion. 

As Lia grows up, she will come to understand the importance of adult women having legal access to reproductive choice.  She may still come down on the side of the anti-abortionists, but at least she will know what she is talking about.

I didn't really think about choice until I entered my first pregnancy.  Suddenly it hit me that no one should be forced to complete nine months of gestation and go through childbirth except by choice.  

Later, when I had a third pregnancy, unplanned, I was so grateful for choice that I decided to write a pro-choice book.

I kept the baby--completed the pregnancy--but that baby became a wanted baby, even though unplanned.

Abortion--My Choice, God's Grace: Christian Women Tell Their Stories (Pasadena, CA: New Paradigm, 1994).  Available on Amazon.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Faith Looks at Bill Gothard

My friend Faith Annette Sand graduated from Wheaton College in 1960 and knew Bill Gothard there.  She sent me the following commentary, which I post here to give it more visibility than it would have as an end comment.

I first encountered Bill Gothard in the fall of 1957 when I was a sophomore at Wheaton College. He had just graduated that year and was now enrolled in their graduate program. Bill was organizing college students who were willing to be Bible study leaders one evening a week under the auspices of a program working in various Chicago-area public high schools. Actually Bill was writing his master's thesis in this area so I guess we were acting as free academic assistants getting data for him on how such youth groups worked out.

     The proposed leaders were taken away for a weekend retreat to prepare us for our roles.  I remember the pressure put on me to cram one more event into an overly crowded agenda that had me up into the wee hours most nights studying to keep up with a 21-semester-hours class load (the result of really stupid "counseling" by a male peer, a couple years my senior, who had graduated from my high school.  I now realize he was jealous of the fact that I had validated first-year English among some other accolades given me that had escaped his own c.v.  He was probably hoping to help me fail at something). 

     Since service to ministry was always uppermost in my missionary family, it seemed appropriate to agree to be a Bible study leader at least for a year.  I remember Bill leading the retreat in a navy suit and tie and being rather uptight, albeit charismatic and persuasive in getting us to sign on.  I didn't sign up for a second year.

     The next I heard of Bill was in the early '70s in Brazil where I was now a missionary. Each year the Missionary Association Fellowship that helped with visas, travel and general encouragement held a pan mission conference. This year they'd invited Larry Coy to present a "Basic Youth Conflicts" seminar, which apparently was the current rage in the U.S. 

   Larry Coy had been my classmate at Wheaton and when we chatted, I told him I'd worked with Bill Gothard as a sophomore. Larry mentioned that he not only was Bill's associate but was also now writing the workbook to go with the advanced course of their program. Like Bill, Larry was a great salesperson and I took the message to heart.

     Shortly after arriving in Brazil in 1962, and two days after I turned 24, my husband and I had adopted 8 Brazilian orphans (ages almost 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 years old) when their orphanage closed. Now ten years later we had added two of our own to the family, so now the children ranged from 7 to 19 and we were facing a new reality of dealing with teenagers and school.  

     Oh, and did I mention that my (now-ex) husband had an affair with my oldest Brazilian daughter when she was 13 and 14? Besides this, he had a nasty temper which he took out on me in physical abuse for which he always apologized, quoting 1 John 1:9 for good measure, e.g. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I was firmly convinced by my fundamentalist world there was no other option than to stick it out and forgive this "cleansed" spouse and try to forget the betrayal). 

     Larry Coy's message reinforced this conviction and I returned home to the kids, convinced that if we stuck to God's immutable principles, all would be right and ours would be added to all those success stories they kept talking about in the seminar.

     We decided that from now on, my husband would be "in charge" of the four boys and I would be "in charge" of the six girls. I kept forgiving everyone around me and "rejoicing" in everything. I also remained silent when I thought he was being too harsh on the boys because he was in the direct line of God's authority. I did say things like: "Don't you think you should apologize to Graciano for losing your temper?" To which I would hear a disgusted, "No!" 

I was heartbroken but not overly surprised after one of my husband's vicious attacks on Graciano, 14, when he ran away to find his Brazilian family. I didn't see him for another 20 years so I mourned losing this bright child, our youngest son whom I'd raised from the age of 4 and who was totally fluent in English. Within a few months two of the older boys had gone off to find their fortunes after being the brunt of his nasty temper. But still I persisted in "obeying God's immutable laws" as per Gothard's interpretation.

     During the next couple years it felt like all the effort I had spent nurturing and raising these eight Brazilian children for years was coming to naught. Then a missionary friend with a seminary degree whom I had not seen for quite awhile came to visit, totally upset. As a woman, our mission world told her she needed to be "in submission" to the male authorities around her, but she had just come back from a long mission trip where, because she wasn't listened to, a young man in their group committed suicide. She knew that with her experience she could have helped him, but she was discounted and told she could have nothing to do with that young man nor could she even pray for him because she was rebelling against authority.

     Into the wee hours of the night we sat telling each other the stories of what had happened to us in the interval we had been apart. Finally about 2 am I looked at her and said, "I think, Barbara, they've sold us the Brooklyn Bridge! They keep telling us about all these wonderful success stories for those who obey the rules, but here are a couple real failure stories to add to their litany!" 

   During the time we had not seen each other, I had been silent while three of my sons left the family because of the vile temper of my husband, and she had stood obediently silent while the "male hierarchy" in her mission group had let this lovely young man commit suicide because no one would give him the help that Barbara knew he needed.

     Once you open the window, you can never erase the view from your memory bank. I had been totally flummoxed by a shocking story the last time I had seen Larry Coy.  Later I kept trying to ignore the story. In one of our times together as "old Wheaton buddies" Larry told me he had been offered a good position with Jerry Falwell.  Bill Gothard, however, was not only upset by Larry's contemplated leaving of Bill's ministry but was telling him he had no "right" to use the material Larry had developed while working with Bill.  He had just been a "paid writer." 

     When Larry took umbrage and said it was his own creative work, Bill said he would sue Larry to make him stop using his own words. (Later I heard Bill had taken Larry to court.) But I kept wondering, how could Bill go against every principle he had been espousing with such authority? Repeatedly during the seminars they had emphasized the "principle" that Christians could NEVER take another Christian to court because it was an un-Christ-like stance. Yet here Bill was willing to sue Larry. What gave?

     Then came the rumors that Bill's brother was sexually harassing women in their office. At that point I decided I was dropping all pretense at bowing to male "authority" and so, although it took a couple years to get exit velocity, I did manage to leave Brazil and get out of Dodge City by the skin of my teeth. Everyone in my mission world blamed me for not being submissive. Apparently I should have turned the other cheek and ignored his unfaithfulness, his physical abuse and his foul temper. When I didn't, I became a persona non grata to my mission community, but not to God who opened the doors and led me out of that wilderness into a new life full of adventure and travel and a new ministry.

     So recently when it looked like Bill Gothard had finally fallen on his own petard, I was not surprised. If he had listened to me 40 years ago, I could have told him his so-called immutable principles were nothing but bunk being used by a male-dominated church that was trying desperately to keep women blind and in bondage.  His harsh teachings were certainly not going to prepare anyone for heaven where there will be no more tears, nor crying, nor mourning, nor pain. 

     What were we thinking of to allow such poppycock to be stuffed down our throats?

     I guess we weren't thinking. We were brainwashed.

          --Faith Annette Sand, March 13, 2014, Pasadena, California

For more information on problems in Bill Gothard's ministry, see


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Hebrew Letters

My Hebrew teacher, Gilla Nissan, led a 10-week series in my home in the last few months.
Gilla leading discussion

She led us in understanding the properties of each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet:
 alef, bet, gimel...

Each session was filled with ha-Ruach (the Spirit) as Gilla explained things and then led us in meditation.

According to kabalat tradition, God created the whole universe through the Hebrew letters.

After all, Genesis 1 each act of creation begins with "and God said..."  If the Word was the means of creation, the letters are the forces behind the Word.

This is also reflected in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John.

Here's Gilla's website for more information:

The class will continue at a new location in Santa Monica.  Gilla also gives classes in Sherman Oaks.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sara Miles speaking

Sara Miles--a Christian and writer I'm just meeting.

She wrote Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead.

She's director of ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, San Francisco.

She's speaking at Wake Forest University on March 19, as a part of this conference:

Heads up, anyone in North Carolina.  Try to get to hear her.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ethiopian Grace

I turned on the television this morning just in time to watch Amane Gobena fight through the last four miles to win the L.A. Marathon at 8:35 am.

What grace, endurance, strength, courage!  Her long dark legs moved rhythmically.  Her arms swung in front of her, the left, then the right.  She wore a bright pink top with the number F17 and darker pink shorts.  

She glanced behind her two or three times in the last three miles to see if Tigist Tufa, also Ethiopian, was catching up--or one of the men runners.  Tigist's stride was stronger than Amane's, but she never closed the gap, coming in second.

Signs of the pain and exhaustion Amane was battling occasionally flashed across her face.

She won in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 37 seconds, also coming in ahead of the closest man, Gebo Burka, another Ethiopian.

"Gobena won $50,000 for winning the gender 'challenge.' The women were given a 17:41 head start and Gobena finished 41 seconds ahead of Burka," explained LA Times reporter Gary Klein.,0,5132313.story#axzz2vUF8mYGP

What a joy to watch this woman show her strength and skill. and on the day after International Women's Day!

Men and women competing together could not have happened a hundred years ago.  In fact, this is only the 29th L.A. Marathon.

What long, beautiful bodies these Ethiopians have!  For tens of thousands of years humans have adapted to survive and live in those African deserts.  Those that were more long and lean passed on their genetic secrets.

A group called "Run To Save a Soul" was among the thousands of other runners, some of whom a KTLA reporter interviewed on live television.  They were running for the drug and alcohol recovery program at Beit T'Shuvah in Culver City and gave a shout out to it.  

The synagogue offers free rehab to those who need it.  I've attended Al-Anon meetings there and know several people who have completed rehab there.

And now--off to walk a mere 14 blocks over to Ocean Avenue to watch additional runners cross the finish line.  I'll take Stormy and Na'ilah for their most exciting walk yet.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Score one for newspapers!

To the editor:

Thanks for your great work resulting in Friday's directive reducing dangerous use of force by Border Patrol agents on the US-Mexico border.

The LA Times reported on the BP ignoring recommendations of the research group.  Then Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered the BP to reconsider, and within a week BP Chief Michael Fisher sent out this directive that should result in fewer deaths of people along the US-Mexico border.

I call that a victory for good journalism and for people everywhere who care about needless loss of life along our borders.

I've visited the US portals in California and in Nogales AZ and blogged about them.  I've met very nice border guards as well as desperate immigrants planning to try again to cross, against all the advice of groups like the Tucson Samaritans.  This directive is a step in the right direction.  May there be less violence and more compassionate cooperation as the US enforces its borders.

Anne Eggebroten


I sent the above letter to the editor of the LA Times this morning.

"The US Customs and Border Patrol had commissioned law enforcement experts to review 67 shooting incidents that left 19 people dead along the U.S.-Mexico border from January 2010 to October 2012," writes reporter Brian Bennett.

The BP Chief would probably have gotten away with ignoring the recommendations of the Police Executive Research Forum if the LA Times had not stepped in.

Newspapers and serious journalism are in danger as people move to internet sources of news, which generally put out second-hand reports gathered by others.  

Covering a police chase or murder is easy, but it costs a lot of money to maintain hundreds of reporters and editors in the US and around the world to do investigative reporting and keep an eye on Wall Street, local business, city councils, state and national governments.

There should not be 19 deaths in less than three years along a peaceful international border. 

Juanita Molina of the Border Action Network, based in Tucson, sees a "clear pattern and practice of abuse of force" by Border Patrol agents., according to Bennett's story.  

My only complaint: this story took the top spot in today's newspaper--front page, upper-right corner--but online it was nowhere on the first page.  I had to click on "National" news and find it listed as #2 there.  

More evidence that online access to today's news is inferior to the experience of actually picking up a newspaper.

One Day a Year...

I generally hate these holidays that honor women on only one day a year.

My kids grew up knowing that Mother's Day cards and gifts were verboten.  I would lecture them about the origin of Mother's Peace Day and occasionally take them to a peace demonstration.

I especially hate it when every Joe Blow you meet wishes you a "Happy Mother's Day!" as if my choice to bear children and my experience of childbirth and childrearing were part of their business and something to celebrate so they can get back to taking women for granted on the other 364 days of the year.

I'm not sure about International Women's Day, March 8, and Women's Equality Day, August 26, commemorating passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Women in the US still don't have an Equal Rights Amendment, fought for during most of my adult life, and women around the world are way behind in literacy, access to food and health and reproductive services, employment, leadership roles in government.... et cetera.

Taking one day a year to notice that much more change is needed--well, I guess that's good.  Anyway, other women I respect think it's good.

My friend Linda Brebner from Evangelical & Ecumenical Women's Caucus-Christian Feminism Today (EEWC-CFT) sent me a link to a one-minute cartoon about women's rights.  I pass it on to you:

Click on the preview below to load and view the full card. Also, be sure to see Linda Brebner's personal message below the animation.
If you have any trouble viewing the Ecard, click on the link below or copy and paste the web address into your web browser:
Honor the fight for women's equality in religion by visiting the EEWC-CFT website:

Friday, March 7, 2014

International Women's Day

Hooray for women all over the world working for equality, work opportunity, food, health, education, literacy, and other needs.

There's a big march in London and events in Liberia, Cameroon, Australia, just about everywhere.  See list on Women's eNews.

Many people are using Twitter to dialogue about progress and needs for women around the world.


From Women's eNews:

On March 6, a group of independent global leaders chaired by Kofi Annan and organized in 2007 by Nelson Mandela, held its first live  for questions about women's rights. Some using the #askElders hashtag drew answers from Desmond Tututhe Anglican bishop, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

History of International Women's Day:

This holiday began in 1909 as a day associated with working women and started by the Socialist Party of Amerca.  The next year it was declared International Women's Day in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Russia was an early adopter of the day/

Forbes Magazine lists ten areas for improving women's economic equality this year:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Repentance for Bill Gothard

Have mercy on us, O God.

"I invite you... to the discipline of Lent--self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love..." 

These words from the Ash Wednesday Liturgy shared by millions of Christians today had a special impact on me today as I thought of Bill Gothard, yet another evangelical giant felled by sexual misbehavior.

Thank you to EEWC-CFT, Christianity Today, and to Recovering Grace for reporting on Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

I was mesmerized by reading the six parts of Meg's story and was late to the Ash Wednesday service.  I missed the ashes!

By the last of the six parts, I felt sorry for Bill Gothard.  At age 59 he wanted to marry this 20-year-old--the first marriage of his life--but the Board of Directors of IBLP would not let him.  (Never mind that he had not yet asked her.)

However, when I read this timeline, I realized that Gothard was/is a serial groper/abuser.

He is a sad figure, and the list of women harmed by him is very long.

I heard about Basic Youth Conflicts in the 1960s in Bakersfield.  In 1972 when I got married, my aunt and uncle were attending BYC seminars, which stressed that a wife should be under her husband's authority.

When John and I visited them a few months after we married, they chided me for not taking John's name and not being in submission to him.  I looked through the white plastic binders full of typed guidance that they showed me.

It was scary even though I had no intention of getting trapped by that nonsense.

Today I read some of what is being reported on the Recovering Grace website, and I was saddened.

So many times in history the Christian church has gotten into trouble by trying to restrict sexuality.  Here is one more instance.  Judaism, on the other hand, encourages marriage and sexuality within limits. 

I don't gloat that one more hypocrite and serial abuser is exposed.  (I suppose he was rapidly anti-homosexual, as well.)

He's now 79 years old, so the words,"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" probably have greater impact on him.

I'm just sad.

Have mercy on us, O God.  All of us.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Yulia and Christiane

For the record: I appreciate all the women leaders of government worldwide, and I appreciate all the women journalists who cover them.

Here's Christiane Amanpour interviewing former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko about the Russian invasion of Crimea:

Christiane has done so much good work on crises in the Middle East, and her documentaries such as God's Warriors--Christian, Jewish, Muslim (2007) are classics.

I like Ashleigh Banfield's Legal View on CNN.

I love Candy Crowly, Fredricka Whitfield, and Erin Burnett with OutFront.  

Who can't be a fan of  Rachel Maddow on MSNBC?

And then in print there's Maureen Dowd and many others.  

I can get more interested in international and national affairs when there are women playing key roles.

When I watch archived footage of news anchors in the 1950s and 60s, with men's faces and sober voices at every turn, I wonder how I lived through those times.

How?  By not asking questions.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Free Venezuela

My friend I-Joen sent me this link from her friend who has family in Venezuela:

There's an economic crisis and now student protests with the government shooting and beating up demonstrators.

Dear friends,
This is what’s going on in my country and one of the reasons why I’ve suffered so much anxiety over the last few weeks. My relatives are there. My cousin leads the opposition movement. She is one of the women shown in the video all beat up by the government. The coverage in the US has been limited, overshadowed by what’s going on in Ukraine. Please, share this message with others.

The video gives these statistics:

*  24,763 murders in 2013 - 90% unpunished

*  fewer than 5,000 murders in 1998, before current government came into power

Spread the information... write to your senator or representative.

I guess Syria, Ukraine, and Venezuela are the three most dangerous places for human rights on earth today.

Adelaide and Anne

In 1975 my friend Ginny Hearn and I picketed a seminar of The Total Woman at the Claremont Hotel near Berkeley, California.

I paid to attend the workshop and further heckle the speaker, Adelaide Woodcock, by asking questions about the biblical basis of the book by Maribel Morgan, which was the basis of the seminar.

Ginny's and my main point was that the behaviors recommended for wives in that book had no basis in biblical teachings.

We were interviewed by a reporter for the UC Berkeley daily newspaper, and when he asked, "Why do you think these women argue that wives should be sexy and subservient?" I answered, "Because they're stupid."

Getting quoted in the newspaper with that less-than-brilliant socioeconomic analysis was one of the low points of my life as a social activist.

A few years later Adelaide came across All We're Meant To Be: A Biblical Approach to Women's Liberation by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Nancy A. Hardesty (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1974, reprinted several times).  

The biblical feminist point of view made sense to her--she was an intelligent woman--and she later contacted Letha and wrote an article for Christian Feminism Today about her personal journey. "Four Keys That Opened My Way to Consciousness."

I had a chance to correspond with Adelaide and talk on the phone.  She was writing a memoir with the help of her daughter, Maridel Bowes.

This experience taught me never to write anyone off as unenlightened or as a political enemy.  People change.  Where you and I are today may not be where we are in ten years.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Women's History: 1914 to 2014

Good to know there's now a women's history walk in downtown Manhattan.

From Margaret Sanger to Susan B. Anthony--find out where in this city great moments for women's history occurred.

Here's a portion of the audio tour that tells about Margaret Sanger's indictment in 1914 in Federal Court in NYC for mailing information on birth control:

"Here in the grandiose building that once housed both the US Post Office and the federal courts, Margaret Sanger, who became the founder of Planned Parenthood, was first indicted and arraigned. 

Born in 1879 in Corning, NY, the sixth child of eleven who survived, Sanger watched her mother die of exhaustion, tuberculosis, and cervical cancer.  As a nurse on the lower East Side, Sanger met women who were suicidal, so desperate were they to stop childbearing. 

In March, 1914, she launched into the US mails her publication The Woman Rebel, pledging to give birth control information.  

She was arraigned in the Federal Court at this site for mailing such a 'vile, obscene, filthy, and indecent' publication in violation of the postal code covering contraceptive information and a fistful of other transgressions.

When she was summoned to stand trial in October, 1914, it became clear that she would be sent to jail."

She fled to Canada, "returning in 1916 to face the charges.  This time the government backed off."

You can do the tour online or in real life.

The Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls is inspiring but not easy to get to.

It's a lot easier to get to these sites in New York City and relive key moments in the struggle for women's rights--or at least do the online tour. 

All of us who have ever used contraception owe thanks to Margaret Sanger for her courageous work in 1914, one hundred years ago.  

We also owe thanks to Women's eNews for researching and setting up this video/audio tour.