Hearing the Voices of Peoples Long Silenced: Week 1

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Gender Justice 2014

Ginna CarouselStories That Need to Be Told: Opening Editorial, Rev. Ginna Bairby

I am a somewhat-embarrassingly dyed-in-the-wool Presbyterian. I was baptized at a PC(USA) Church, where I attended worship, Sunday school, and various programmatic activities virtually every week from my baptism to my high school graduation. I spent summers in Montreat, served as a Young Adult Volunteer, attended a Presbyterian seminary, and in March of this year was ordained as a teaching elder. I’ve been to multiple General Assemblies, know what even the most obscure of our strange Presbyterian acronyms means, and currently work at the Presbyterian Center, the headquarters of the denomination’s national ministry staff, a building in downtown Louisville that sports a stained glass PC(USA) cross that, by my best guess, is 3 times my height. Continue Reading

Monologues CarouselDaughters of Eve: Biblical Women Take Back the Microphone, Miriam Foltz and Rachel Shepherd

Mary, Martha, Mary, Eve, Mary…some biblical women are part of our common cultural language. But what do we really know about them? What is the truth and what is the patina of ages of misogynist commentary? And what about the women who are less commonly talked about? When we took a class at Union Presbyterian Seminary called “The Bible from the Underside”, we started thinking about all these questions and more. As we looked to the Scriptures and discovered how much these stories had been distorted, watered down, glossed over, over-sexualized, and silenced, we knew we had work to do. With an offhand mention of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and how powerful it would be – at times heart-wrenching and at times great fun – to explore the Bible through that lens, this project was born. Continue Reading

Marci CarouselThe Cry of TamarRev. Marci Auld Glass

Perhaps you read Elizabeth Smart’s comments on human trafficking recently. As a 14 year old kidnapping victim, she connected her feeling of worthlessness after her abduction and sexual abuse, with an abstinence lecture she had heard. Here’s the quote that is getting all the traction: “I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you know longer have worth, you know longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.” Having been told a woman who has sex before marriage is like a piece of chewed gum, how was Smart supposed to see herself? Continue Reading

Sylvia CarouselRe-Imagining “Re-Imagining” and the Next 20 Years, Dr. Sylvia Thorson-Smith

Twenty years ago, in 1992, I was positioned between two major happenings in the Presbyterian Church. One year earlier, the Baltimore General Assembly tried to put the genie back in the bottle with the whopping defeat of a human sexuality report to which I and 16 others had given three years of our lives. That report, “Keeping Body and Soul Together,” breathed a welcome, grace-filled Spirit into the church for many people, just as it aroused contempt and outrage by those who were successful in defeating it. Friends teased me about repeatedly being the centerfold in The Presbyterian Layman – but through all of the firestorm, I discovered how tenaciously some Christians cling to traditional norms and how ecstatically others are to find release from them. Continue Reading

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Rita CarouselRe-Imagining God: Reflections on Mirrors, Motheroot, and Memory, Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock

Barbara de’Souza worked for almost eight years among poor communities in Sa?o Paolo, Brazil, and developed a two-year course in health education for women. The area she served had only one public health clinic for more than 80,000 people. Barbara provided basic health care information and instructions for doing community health work. Women gathered each week to learn anatomy from the head down, learning about the illnesses of various systems and their causes and about the politics of health care in Brazil. Continue Reading

Read more articles from this issue, “Hearing the Voices of Peoples Long Silenced”: Gender Justice 2014!

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