Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ireland Sheds Catholic Injustices

New York Times, May 26, 2018

Ireland is throwing off the oppressive yoke of the Roman Catholic Church.

💗In 1966, and earlier, an unmarried pregnant woman was usually shamed and coerced into giving up her baby.  

Dolores Quinlan was one of hundreds of babies whose mother was not only forced to give her up but whose name was erased from Dolores's birth certificate.

Through DNA testing, the two were finally reunited, now when Dolores is 51 years old.  

Her mother was forced to "put her hand on the Bible and swear to not trace me or talk about it again," said Dolores.

Thank you to Ed O'Loughlin and Megan Specia of the New York Times for this report.

💗In 2018, unmarried young women have a much better chance of keeping their babies, if that is their choice.  Their extended families do not carry such a heavy load of shame.  

Young men may even be outed and noticed as part of the problem.

💗In 2018, and for years earlier, unmarried young Irish women who chose not to raise a child had to find money to travel to England for an abortion.  

As of this week, women can obtain a legal abortion in Ireland.

View these two films about young women incarcerated in homes for unwed mothers in Ireland in past years and forced to work in the Magdalene Laundries:

The Magdalene Sisters


Note:  Mary Magdalene was cured of "seven demons."  She is not described as a fallen woman in the Gospels or letter of Paul.  All that is legend.  She and other women traveled with Jesus and the twelve and "provided for them out of their resources."  They were not even poor.  See Luke 8: 1-3.  

The woman who "is a sinner" in Luke 7 is nameless and does not become part of Jesus's group of followers.  

Another note: "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23

It's Depressing


I wake up, and the sinking feeling hits me again.

He is still president.

It's hard to leave behind the pleasant dream I was having.  

It's hard to face another day of smirking and lying and unjust actions in the White House.

I turn on the morning news.  

Kim Kardashian's request for a pardon for a grandmother is being ignored.

"Alice Marie Johnson, a grandmother now in her early 60s, is more than two decades into a life sentence for a first-time conviction based on her role in a drug-trafficking case," says NBC.  

Instead, a money launderer will be pardoned.

Enter Dinesh D'Souza, sentenced in 2014 to five years probation for using straw donors to contribute to the Senate campaign of Wendy E. Long, who lost to Kirstin Gillibllrand in 2012.   

dt tweets this morning that he will pardon D'Souza.  Poor guy won't have to languish on probation for another half year.

Message to Michael Cohen: Don't worry.   

Message to people serving long sentences for drug offenses: screw you.

Meanwhile, the stock market is falling as our allies increase tariffs on things we import.

Another excruciating day in the 45th presidency.  


Update:  The president commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson on June 6, 2018, and she was reunited with her family, including younger ones she had never met.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Feeling unwanted and unloved...

Peeking inside someone else’s life is something we all want to do, especially if it’s someone we admire and look up to.

Melanie Springer Mock gives us this opportunity in her memoir, Worthy: Finding Yourself in a World Expecting Someone Else (Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2018).

She has written, co-written, or edited four earlier books:
  • Writing Peace: The Unheard Voices of Great War Mennonite Objectors (Cascadia, 2003); 
  • Just Moms: Conveying Justice in an Unjust World (Barclay, 2011);   
  • The Spirit of Adoption: Writers on Religion, Adoption, Faith, and More (Cascade Books,  
  • If Eve Only Knew: Freeing Yourself from Biblical Womanhood and Becoming All God Means for You to Be with Kendra Weddle (Chalice, 2015).

Her articles have appeared in The Nation, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Christianity Today.  With Kendra Weddle, she writes a blog: Ain’t I a Woman? De-Constructing Christian Images, which is part of the Christian Century blogs network.

She’s medium tall, pretty, runs marathons, and even takes on a triathlon event or two.  She teaches English at George Fox University, 26 miles southwest of Portland.  She’s married and has two adopted sons.  (How do you write a book when you have a full-time job and two teenagers?)

In short, she’s done everything I ever aspired to—and done it well.  I know her from EEWC-Christian Feminism Today, a group of which we are both members. 

Imagine how surprised I was to learn that she’s been plagued by a life-long sense of not being good enough—not being “worthy.”

It began because she was a preacher’s kid and didn’t think or act in ways that her church community felt she should. 

In her teen years it got worse.  Because her super-curly hair was hard to tame, she kept it short.  She had an older brother and money was scarce, so she often didn’t wear the kinds of clothes or make-up that would announce her as a girl.  She was often mistaken for a boy and even ordered out of girls’ restrooms a few times.

By her mid-20s all her friends were marrying, but she hadn’t even really dated.  She felt unloved and unlovable. 

All this was a great surprise to me because I respect her so much.  My own experience is so different: eagerly complying with teenage female stereotypes, being suspicious of marriage, feeling ambivalent about whether to have children, and too often imagining myself superior to others.

Her honest admission of feeling unworthy and lonely is touching, and she makes a passionate case for Christians to stop inflicting expectations on others. 

Another plus: Melanie links her personal experiences to social analysis of gender roles and expectations, especially in the church. 
  • ·        Why did her brother get to ride the lawn mower with her grandfather, while she had to help her mother with cooking? 
  • ·        Why was she laughed at for saying she wanted to play on the middle school football team? 
  • ·        Why couldn’t a woman witness from the pulpit at her church?

At many points she launches into biblical analysis too.  There should not be a set of standards to determining who can be part of a church and who can’t: “…all are inherently worthy,” welcomed at God’s table. 

Some churches reject another group of Christians as “not biblical enough” or “too gay” or not correct on some political position.  We need to know that all are worthy of God’s love and get better at tolerating difference.

Melanie gives a great example of the need to stop thinking that the Bible’s positions on social issues are obvious.  In 1960, Bob Jones Sr. preached that “All Orthodox, Bible-believing Christians agree on one thing; and that is, whatever the Bible says is so.”

But his sermon was about the Bible as supporting racial segregation.

With each other in ‘interpretive communities,’ we need to explore the Bible as “a rich text that demands our attention and invites our interactions.”

We must have “only one objective: ensuring that our expectation for others allows them to be exactly who God created them to be.”

Congratulations, Melanie, on a great contribution through this book.  Because you're twenty years younger than I am, I have hope for women in the future as well as for our churches.

Thanks also for the shout out to Christian Feminism Today for curing your loneliness and to our gatherings for being a redemptive community (pp. 237-39). 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Rose McGowan rules!

Rose McGowan, actor, director, activist

"The shame is theirs, and we can be free," said Rose McGowan today in an interview with Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC.

Every word she spoke was strong and inspiring.

Now I'm going to watch Citizen Rose on Thursdays at 10 pm--I didn't watch the first episode on Jan. 30  The second was last night, May 24, on the E!Network.

I may also buy her memoir, Brave.

Thank you, Rose, for your bravery, and thanks also to all the 95 women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse.

He was in handcuffs briefly this morning but is now free on $1 million bail.  

May he go to jail for the rest of his life.

Though we must stand up and indeed be free as she says, it's not easy.  Though I'm not a survivor, I know others who are.  

It's hard to break free from the past.  The "coulda, shoulda, woulda" thoughts persist.  

"If only I had done x, y, or z...."

It's hard to keep the shame and blame on the abuser, especially when others are blaming you for your clothing, or for allowing yourself to become trapped alone with a man who turns into an aggressor, or for not noticing and helping another woman or child.  

It takes time to recover enough to truly believe "The shame is theirs, and we can be free."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Paige Patterson kicked out as seminary president

What's wrong with this photo?  How many women do you see?  

Hooray that Paige Patterson is no longer president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

Here's the seminary's goal:
One of the largest seminaries in the world, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary equips men and women with a strong theological foundation to fulfill God’s calling on their lives. Rooted in Scripture and branching out to fulfill the Great Commission, Southwestern’s motto is “Preach the Word, Reach the World.” This motto captures for a new generation of students the historic pledge of Southwestern Seminary to serve both Southern Baptist churches and a lost world by equipping ministers for their God-ordained task.

Note to Southwestern Baptist: pride comes before a fall.  

Since 2000, the SBC has refused to allow its churches to ordain women to be pastors.  

As long as you keep refusing to ordain women and applauding men who oppress women, you can except more embarrassing petition campaigns to remove your leaders.

Thank God that Patterson's comments on "stay with your abusive husband" are being widely quoted and challenged.

But will he still speak at the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas June 12-13?

Thank you to the 3,000+ mostly evangelical women who signed petitions against Patterson.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Fuller Theological Seminary & Women

Payton Hall, one of the stately old buildings on the Fuller campus

My favorite southern California seminary announced this week that it's moving from Pasadena to Pomona--55 miles further east.  

Fuller Theological Semnary will be close to the Claremont colleges, including the liberal Claremont Theological School, and not too far from the neighborhood of Azusa Pacific University--a location that will fit its theology as well as its geography.

The photo from 1947 in today's Los Angeles Times reveals much about Fuller's roots.

Four men in grey suits stand together looking at some papers, in front of a stone building being erected.  They all have ties and white shirts.  Three are grey-haired or balding; a younger man, pointing at the papers (architectural plans?) has dark hair.  This is the founding of Fuller Seminary.

One of the men is the evangelist Charles F. Fuller, who at the time hosted the radio show "Old Fashioned Revival Hour."  

There are no women in the picture. No women attended the seminary until the mid-1950s, and they were studying to be directors of music or church education, not to become pastors.

A friend of mine, Dr. Margaret Meier, was one of the first women admitted to Fuller.  She describes how marginal she and a friend felt on the all-male campus.

Another friend of mine, Dr. Karen Torjesen, was hired as a half-time administrator at Fuller soon after completing her doctorate in early church history.  This was in 1985-87.  She had been hired because the main line denominations had said: either you deal with your lack of women professors or we will pull our students.

There was only one woman professor at the time, Dr. Roberta Hestenes, who taught Christian Education.  By this time there was a Women's Concerns Committee to address the needs of female students, agitating for more women professors and for women's voices in the chapel.

Dr. Torjesen soon showed herself to be too much of an activist for Fuller.  She co-wrote an article for the campus newspaper laying out from a Church History perspective the problematic character of the biblical and historical arguments against homosexuality.

Fuller announced that it would not renew her appointment.  The Women's Concerns Committee orchestrated student resistance against her dismissal, to no avail.  

Dr. Torjesen went on to found a graduate program in Women's Studies in Religion, one of the first in the nation, at Claremont Graduate University.  She held an endowed chair funded by investor Margo L. Goldsmith and became chair of the religion department.  

Her most well-known book is When Women Were Priests.

Women now earn Masters of Divinity degrees at Fuller and become pastors.  

Its move to the distant suburbs of Los Angeles will enable its students and employees to find more affordable housing.

How will Fuller continue to evolve?  When will it finally have a woman president and equal numbers of male and female professors?

Its founders did not realize that they had much to learn.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Test for You

What's wrong with this list of speakers for the conference last April of Together for the Gospel - Distinct from the World?    It took place in Louisville, Kentucky.   See

Resources by Speaker:

Not a single woman listed among the 60 speakers.

From Albert Mohler to Won Kwak, it's all men listed by their first names.  3 Davids, 4 Johns, 3 Marks, 4 Matthews, 1 Peter, 1 Paul, 1 Philip.

These guys think they are biblical.  They think God is a male and sees things through the lens of patriarchy the way they do.  

Just one problem:  patriarchy is a human idea, the Roman way of organizing people with a father in charge of those under him.  

It's not in line with Galatians 3:28 nor with Acts 2:17-18.  Go to your Bible.  Look them up.

Adherence to 1 Timothy 2 doesn't explain why Prisca was teaching Apollos with the full approval of Paul (Acts 18).

Sorry, guys, but you're going to have to work a little harder if you want to be "distinct from the world."