Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Keeping Birth Names Grows

The patriarchal practice of changing women's surnames to match their husbands is shrinking as of 2015.

"Roughly 20 percent of women married in recent years have kept their names" in the US, according to a report in the New York Times this week.

Thank you to Claire Cain Miller and Derek Willis of the NYT for their analysis of data since 1970.


But let's not call women's original names their "maiden" names.  That's sexist in itself.

Do we talk about men keeping their virgin names or boyhood names?  No.  

I kept my birth name after my marriage in 1972, much to the dismay of my father-in-law and one uncle.

My husband John Arthur and I gave our daughters both surnames: Rosamond Arthur Eggebroten, Ellen Arthur Eggebroten, and Marie Arthur Eggebroten.

On our block in Santa Monica, there are 7-8 households where the parents each keep their own birth names.

When my daughter Ellen married in 2012, however, she took her husband's surname and became Ellen Arthur Michel.  I get it--Eggebroten is not the most euphonic name to be known by.

My third daughter, Marie, has so far solved the name issue by avoiding marriage.

"I don't believe in marriage," she says, informing us that we are to refer to her male friend of four years as her partner--not her boyfriend.

A friend of Ellen's marrying this summer chose to hyphenate her name with her husband: Erin and Cary Neff-Morgan.

Women keeping our birth names is just one aspect of the age-old battle for equality in cultures dominated by men.  

It's good to have choice in naming ourselves, whether we follow Lucy Stone or Starhawk (who creatively chose her own name) or tradition.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Guns & Churches

Should vulnerable church communities be protected by armed security guards?

David Gushee reflects on this question in his RNS blog today:


He points out that nearly all synagogues and temples in the US and elsewhere have hired armed protection--and for good reason.

I agree with him that hiring armed security for endangered congregations is better than encouraging church members to carry weapons.  In states that permit open carrying or concealed carrying of guns in public places, some people have been advocating armed congregations--in sharp contrast to how Jesus conducted his life.

It's hard to imagine a Wednesday night Bible study for 20 people or fewer regularly employing security guards--except at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where I think people might indeed need that protection now to feel safe.

On the other hand, members of that congregation have demonstrated such an unusual attitude of forgiveness toward their attacker that even they might refuse armed protection.

Certainly Jesus would not have wanted armed guards protecting his ministry.  If he were preaching today, would he travel with bodyguards?

I would vote against using guns to protect worshippers if the decision were being made in a congregation where I worship.

At Brentwood Presbyterian Church, where I am a member in Los Angeles, the possibility of an attack is extremely slim.  

Here in Telluride, my pastor in Telluride Christian Fellowship (a multi-ethnic congregation) is an African-American.  

It's conceivable that some nut could decide to come in and shoot for racist reasons, but it's inconceivable that our congregation would ever choose to hire armed security guards.

Orthodox Women Rabbis--Of Course!

Thank you to Gilla Nissan for sending me this news item from The Times of Israel.

A cohort of four new rabbis--two men, two women--were ordained in Jerusalem on June 9 at Har'el Beit Midrash.


Of course Modern Orthodoxy is inclusive of women as rabbis, according to Rabbi Herzl Hefter, himself a graduate of Yeshiva University in New York City. 

"It's the normal thing to do," he says.  

The new rabbis include Rahel Berkovits and Meesh Hammer-Kosoy.  

The article cites a number of previous ordinations in the US and elsewhere of women as Orthodox rabbis and predicts that soon there will be 100 Orthodox women rabbis in the US.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Austin, thanks for posting this serious response to the church shooting in South Carolina.


Yes, I and my friends and family and church must uproot racism and recognize that "racism... is denial of blackness as an equal and authentic image of God."

We must also work on control of guns, especially handguns and bullets.  

It's a crime to allow someone to sit in a church for an hour with a concealed lethal weapon.  

I suspect that God hates our misuse of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

We need to get in line with God's will on guns.  Surely God does not want every crazy person from Sandy Hook to Charleston to have access to weapons that can kill many so easily.