Hearing the Voices of Peoples Long Silenced: Week 2

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Gender Justice 2014

joan-martin carouselRe-Imagining the Church as Spiritual Institution, Rev. Joan M. Martin

Listen to the words of Elizabeth, an enslaved woman and minister, born in Maryland in 1766: “I betook myself to prayer and in every lonely place I found an altar.” And to this Berber proverb: “The true believer begins with herself.” And to our own beloved and contemporary Mercy Oduyoye: “There is no justification for demanding one uniform system of theology throughout the Christian community, but that theology reflects awareness of the horizon toward which all believers move.” What more is a horizon than the point where our ability to see normally ends and where our imagination takes off? But that theology reflects the horizon toward which all believers move. Across the centuries African women and African-American women in the diaspora have lived out our lives in communities of faith that suggest that spirituality is not a phenomenon that originates in any structure, including the Christian church. We had spiritual lives before the Christian church came along. Continue Reading

Weaving CarouselRe-Imagining Creation: Gathering at the Table of Necessity, Elizabeth Bettenhausen

I begin with a poem by Kathleen O’Keefe Reed, a clergywoman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is titled “Creatio Ex Nihilo”— “Creation Out of Nothing.” Putting her hands on hips That would not have been known to exist Except in such moments She expands an equally ephemeral breast With the breathing of a satisfied sigh That wants to be eternal She looks dawn upon her latest creation And says to herself, Hattie, you sure did blend your colors nicely this time! She is the ragrug woman Gatherer of good for nothing Weaver of worth Expert in creatio ex nihilo Her joy any ball of cloth not fit for dust Whatever is worn out she receives Just dump it right here on the kitchen table Where her hands hover over the chaos Where fingers dance with scissors, thread and needle Making strands of life emerge. Continue Reading

carolyn gilletteGod of the Women, Rev. Carolyn Gillette

(Re-published from an earlier issue of Unbound) God of the women who answered your call, Trusting your promises, giving their all, Women like Sarah and Hannah and Ruth, Give us their courage to live in your truth. God of the women who walked Jesus’ Way, Giving their resources, learning to pray, Mary, Joanna, Susanna, and more, May we give freely as they did before. God of the women long put to the test, Left out of stories, forgotten, oppressed, Quietly asking: “Who smiled at my birth?” In Jesus’ dying you show us our worth. Continue Reading

Author Rev. Robin LostetterSing a New Church!, Rev. Robin Lostetter

“Language used in the worship and work of the church should affirm the wholeness of God and the full personhood of every individual.” So wrote Starr Luteri, in the PC(USA)’s 1996 study paper “Language About God”. [1] When you think about it, isn’t that what we want the Church to be doing in all areas — not just in our use of language, but in theology, in pastoral care, in mission, and in every aspect of ministry? What is our call if not proclaiming the fullness of God and bringing the Good News to every human being we encounter? Our choices in the use of language, particularly language that is gendered, may serve to silence or to liberate women. Continue Reading

Marci CarouselFalse Dichotomies, Rev. Marci Auld Glass

Many people presume that because I am a pastor, I must, therefore, be pro-life. It is presumed to be the “Christian” position on the subject, right? And I want to be able to call myself “pro-life”. Really, I do. I am a big fan of life. I am thankful for it. I do my best to treasure it each day. I work hard in both my personal and professional life to try to make life better for the people I encounter on this journey through life. Life is beautiful. Life is a gift. Life is precious. Who wouldn’t be a fan of life? So I want to declare myself “pro-life”. But, somehow, that term has already been taken. And the people who have claimed it have told me I don’t belong. Continue Reading

Nickel CarouselChildbearing Decisions, Fertility, and Faith, Rev. Emma Nickel

It’s no secret that the church loves babies. We love cooking meals for families with a newborn, and we coo over tiny infants in their white baptismal gowns. Our lectionaries are full of Bible stories recounting miraculous births. But what happens before a baby arrives – and before a baby is even conceived – is another matter. It’s a matter that is virtually silent within church walls. There are few spaces in the church for women to discuss decisions related to fertility, despite how interwoven these experiences are with our lives of faith. Whether implicitly or explicitly, women take their faith into account as they decide whether or not to have children, try to get pregnant, or cope with infertility. Continue Reading

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

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