Saturday, June 25, 2016

Biblical Feminists Shake It Up

I'm having a great time at the EEWC-Christian Feminism Today gathering in Indianapolis.

Reta Halteman Finger was inspiring on Jesus/Sophia as mother in the Gospel of John.  Her keynote speech was titled "Lady Wisdom and Her Prophets, building on the scripture theme for this conference, Wisdom of Solomon 7:27.  This book was written between the time of the Hebrew Scriptures and the time of the Gospels.

It's amazing the number of motherly behaviors Jesus engages in as reported in John's gospel--feeding, house-cleaning (of the Temple), socializing his children, etc.  
"After the resurrection," Reta said, "We find the risen mother Jesus back at work, cooking breakfast for his children" (John 21: 12-15).  

Kristin Kobes du Mez, a professor at Calvin College, spoke about "Purity, Patriarchy, and the First Waves of Christian Anti-Trafficking Activism: Christian Feminism and the Case of Katharine Bushnell." 

Katharine Bushnell (1855-1946) "situated liberation of women at the very heart of the gospel," du Mez said.  Bushnell's comments on Genesis 1-3 in God's Word to Women provide evidence of her analysis of scripture from a feminist point of view.

Taking the "men were created first" line of reasoning for why women should be subordinate to men, Bushnell wrote that since "cows were made before men--even before theologians,--men must be subordinated to cows."

I'm surprised to meet people who have showed up at this Christian feminist conference for the first time ever, after finding our website on the internet:
  • a woman from San Diego who graduated from Biola University near Los Angeles, attending with her husband, and her 1-yr-old twins.  She's a doulah.
  • a woman with four kids ages 6-12 who does occupational therapy, runs yoga workshops, and attends a conservative church in Kokomo, Indiana.
Our long-term attendees include many lesbian couples, two male-female couples, and many other LGBTQ and straight people, married or single.  

Another joy of the conference is hearing from our student presenters and winners of the Nancy A. Hardesty Memorial Scholarship.  The 2014 winner, Jennifer Newman, studying at Vanderbilt University for her master's degree in theological studies, gave a talk that was inspired by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott's Omnigender and titled "Beyond the Gender Binary: Theology of Healing for Gender and the Divine."   

All this inspiration has happened in just the first evening and first day of the gathering--and there's Saturday and Sunday to come.

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