Tag Archives: feminism

Modern-day “Deborahs”

On Saturday I attended a womens’ contemplative retreat at my church. The topic was ” Womens’ Places in the Church”. 

Naturally I came away from this time away with much” food for thought”. I am unapologetic about my feminist views.

Men listened to Deborah!

The first lessons/meditations were lessons from Paul & the Pauline writers.  Naturally these passages touched a nerve with me & every other woman in attendance.  EFM has taught me a lot about the times & politics of Paul’s writings, I still cringe when I hear or read some of his misogynist words. 

The next set of Scriptures given to us at this retreat  revolved around some passages from the Hebrew Bible that puts women in positions of power and/or leadership. We read & meditated on the stories of Deborah, Esther & Abigail. 

Since I’m of good Jewish stock on Mom’s side of the family, I grew up with the stories of Deborah & Esther. Both women show leadership skills.   In all honesty, I do nor recall Mom telling me much about Abigail, but the other two are very familiar to me.

I am blessed with many women who take a cue from Deborah’s leadership style. She did not let her gender stop her from doing what it was that God asked of her. Although Scripture does not record anyone questioning her leadership skills, human nature dictates that not all of her army would have been happy following a woman into battle.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the many examples of strong women in my life & I am grateful for their leadership & examples. These women are found in my parish, my Diocese & The Episcopal Church.  Several of these women wear the clerical collar, but most are laywomen like me.  These modern-day ” Deborahs” get God’s work done and may of them { especially my ” collared chick” friends } still face gender discrimination every day. I find it sad that women in the Church of England still are not seen as called to the episcopate. { remember  ” Mitregate” during the last Lambeth, anyone?}

 Why do some people {even other women} fear womens’ ordaination & even seem to want to limit the ministries of  laywomen? They claim that Jesus was a man{ He was} and that St Peter is the ” rock upon which I will build the Church”. I am not negating the important roles of St  Peter & the disciples but I take great umbrage with the theological positions of social conservatives who want to use Holy Scripture to keep women oppressed by teaching girls that they ” must keep silent in Church.”

Deborah was a priest & a judge to whom men LISTENED to in times of war.  Scripture does not tell us that anyone argued with Deborah’s battle plans; they trusted her  leadership.  She not only came up with the battle plan, she went with her army & saw the plan to completion. She was called by God to lead  in that time & place & I am convinced that the strong women leaders I know are also called by God.

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Book plug part 2{written after my daily perusing of NY Times}

Here is Part two of my series of reviews, section by section, of Lisa Bloom’s first book_ Think_.

The first part of the book delves into detail about why & how the ” dumbing down” of Americans occurs. Part two is much more optimistic. I like folks who can constructively criticize *and* offer solutions to problems ,whether said problems are personal, familiar, organizational or societal.

The dumbing down of Americans, especially American girls & women is a HUGE problem. The solution is attainable, even for the busiest women. It all comes down to prioritizing. Ms Bloom says that women need to create time to think, dream, create, ect. Whether literally or figuratively, Bloom says that every woman needs ” a room of her own. { Ha….I LOVE Virginia Woolf}

Ms Bloom devotes an entire section on the subject of the value of READING. As an avid reader, this section felt a lot like the author was” preaching to the choir of readers” but there were a few new point she brought up regarding reading that made me ponder my own reading habits. We tend to chose books that reflect our own tastes. especially nonfiction books. { I am by far no exception to this rule} She suggests that readers make a concerted effort to choose books which totally go against one’s personal/political/ social beliefs. Now I am not * quite* ready to purchase Ann Coulter’s latest tome , but I * might* check out Richard Nixon’s biography at my local library. Ms Bloom also suggest that reading should include one quality newspaper{ such as the NY Times, which I read online on most days} & a local hometown newspaper. I admit that I don’t peruse the Times as much as I should but the daily newspaper is part of my morning routine as much as is coffee.

Feast of Mary&Martha of & Philly 11

Today we commemorate on the church’s calendar the Feasts of Mary & Martha of Bethany.

Today we also remember the ” Philadelphia 11″ , brave women who were first ordained to te priesthood of The Episcopal Church.

I’ll admit that I know next to nothing about these women. But, according to the official site of The Episcopal Church, here are the names of these 11 priests & the bishops who stepped out on a HUGE leap of faith to ordain them into the priesthood.

Philadelphia 11:
Merrill Bittner
Alison Cheek
Alla Bozarth (Campell)
Emily C Hewitt
Carter Heyward
Suzanne R. Hiatt (deceased 2002)
Marie Moorefield
Jeanette Piccard (deceased 1981)
Betty Bone Schiess
Katrina Welles Swanson (deceased 2006)
Nancy Hatch Witting

Ordaining Bishops:
+Daniel Corrigan
+Robert L DeWitt
+Edward R Welles
Assisting: +Antonio Ramos

But the validity of these womens’ ordinations was challenged & charges brought against the bishops who dared to ordain them. According to the article posted on the web site of TEC, it was not until September, 1976 that General Convention passed a resolution making it legal for bishops in our Church to ordain women.

In September , 1976 I was but a wee baby. While it is true that I am a convert, the fact that women in The Episcopal Church have * only* been validly ordained since I’ve been alive puts me in awe. We’ve come a long way in those 34 years but the fight for equality is far from over. The Roman Catholic Church still won’t even consider ordaining women to he priesthood & many of our Protestant Christian sisters & brothers won’t hear of women as clergy. This is * really* sad, y’all. My hope & prayer is that All Christian women & girls might have the doors of ordination open to them some day.

As a woman, an active & PROUD Episcopalian Christian & a feminist I know that this monumental event in the history of the western Church did not come without a bitter fight. I am eternally grateful to these women & the bishops who ordained them, because these people” paved the way” for ALL women & girls on our Church to consider discerning a call to Holy Orders.

My life has is so very blessed by priests of the female gender & thanks to Facebook , I’ve ” met” several other priests who happen to be women. Y’all know who you are & THANK YOU! The priests I know & count as dear friends whojust ” happen” to be female are not only amazing priests but some of the most gifted & Spirit filled individuals I know.

Our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts-Schori, has been quoted as saying that she does not want t her gender & the fact that she IS the first Anglican Archbishop & the only woman to hold such a title in Christendom to be the focus of what God wants her to do as an archbishop. But, we cannot ignore the fact that her election IS historic.

My ” 10 Reasons to be a Episcopalian” t shirt says, among other reasons :

MEN & WOMEN GOD CREATED THEM,SO MEN & WOMEN WE ORDAIN THEM.

Amen.

Healthy & Happy

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” ~World Health Organization, 1948

After YEARS of struggling with my body image, I have FINALLY found a photo of myself in a bathing suit that I like! Yes. Anyone who k has known me from junior high on…I’ve struggled with a hatred of my physical self. Without delving into too much detail, lets suffice it to say that I practiced some * very* self-destructive attitudes & behaviors towards my body.

But, with God’s help & the help of my faith community{ both parish & diocese} I am to the point where I can be a good steward of the body with which I’ve been so blessed.

No it isn’t perfect but no one is perfect. And the women in the public eye to whom I look up for fashion & cosmetic advice are women who are quite comfortable in their own skin. Lisa Bloom & Christiane Amanpour have great style & while dressing & carrying themselves with confidence in the bodies they’ve been given at birth. The ” signature Christiane look{ dark suit with a button-down white blouse} is timeless, as is her haircut. If I meet Ms Amanpour, one of the questions I have for her is” How did you overcome being ” ethnic” in a white bread America?” It would be so cool to be half Persian & Half British. My own geneology isn’t * quite* as exotic as here, but this Iris Catholic Russian Jewish American has a bit of the exotic{ for a white gal!!} too.

I don’t have DD boobs & I don’t want them. I’m tallish for a woman 5 ft 5 1/2 inches & built as mom calls my younger brother & me a ” pencil person”. my bone structure is petite but that doesn’t mean that I need to maintain a weight of barely 100 pounds, as I’ve tortured myself by doing for too many years.

As the great philosopher Popeye says” I Yam who I Yam”

Amen.

THIS is what a feminist looks like..part 2

I can’t recall if I’d already written a ” Part 1″ Anyhow….

Y’all know that I am a quote junkie. This week I came across this quote & in the spirit of all the Kagan-confirming & the mitigate & thought it apropos. The quote goes something like this:

‎”I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.” ~Rebecca West, “Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice,” The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982

I am a woman & perfectly happy as God created me as a woman. I have NEVER wanted to be a man. So the stereotype that all feminists secretly want to be men is absurd: I know many other women who feel the same way as I do. ” Girl Power” need not mean sacrificing one’s femininity.

I am a feminist. But I am so not the stereotypical bra-burning, man-hating, butch-looking image of ” feminism”. I wear my hair long, prefer dresses to shorts, enjoy lipstick, and am totally straight. Heck, I even own & often wear bikinis to the beach & pool! But I think that women can aspire to be anything that we ae called to be.{ By the way, Church of England, that includes women as Bishops!} Attention Vatican: this also means that women ARE called & SHOULD be permitted to enter the diaconate & priesthood!

Yet I don’t let my gender pull me away from trying new experiences. This past American Independence Day I was the * only* woman present at the picnic I attended who was willing to join” the boy boys” in lighting some big fireworks It was freaking AWESOME: what an adrenaline rush! While on vacation this June I had a chance to fly in a private plane AND take the controls{ with the guidance of a very competent pilot in the seat next to me} of said private plane.

I recall as a child, wanting to join in the fun of lighting big fireworks, but my Dad told me that it’s too dangerous”. Well, if fireworks are dangerous which they are} then why must men be the * only* ones who can & should allow themselves to experience danger? Women too, over the age of 18 are able by law & should be encouraged to try new things if we so desire.

The Episcopal Church not only ordains woman priests{ note PRIEST, not ” ministers” but the US Episcopal Church also consecrates dualy-elected & approved women as BISHOPS.

I totally agree that men & women are different. But different does not mean ‘less than’. Feminism, to me, means that we seek equal opportunities for women & girls in all parts of the world. Although here in the United States we’ve still some milestones to uncover in the struggle for gender equality but we women born here are much better-off than our sisters in many parts of the developing world.

Last autumn I read a book by Nicholas Kristoff which changed my perspective of gender equality. The book_ Half The Sky_ details the frightening setbacks & inhumane atrocities suffered by our sisters in other places around the globe. But the book isn’t all tragic, it shows how the women featured overcame some horrendous injustices .

Feminism isn’t * just* for the female gender, either. I wish more men would self-identify as femininists & realize that having a passion for gender equality is very attractive & YES!!} very ” manly”.

Day 14: 50 Days w/++KJS

I am remiss….a lot has been occurring that has caught my attention. This tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, where I live, jhas consumed my thoughts as of late.

Today’s essay by ++KJS speaks volumes to me about what it means to be a Christ-follower .

She talks about how, sometimes when she travels she wears her ” funny purple shirt & collar”  The responses a collared ++KJS recieve apparently  are as varied  as are the individuals she encounters.  I can’t help but wonder what some  Christians who are * not* as forward-thinking as most of the folks I know with regards to womens’ ordination to the priesthood  think of a woman in a fushia shirt & clerical collar?

She spoke of two lesbian women  with whom she sat on a  commercial plane ride  who refused to  communicate with her during their shared flight.   This is sad. Anyone who would have recognized ++ Katharine would KNOW she isn’t judgemental but all the two ladies saw was the ” funny purple shirt & collar”.  Now I am sure they had their reasons for being wary of collared folks{ no offense to my dear  clergy friends!}   but I can’t help but  think that  many folks ” on the fringe” of  everyday society feel shunned by we Christians.  

++ Katharine say

” When we can look into the eyes of the person sitting next to us  who has a radically different opinion than us & see the image of God, then we can begin to discover that God is more than we can imagine.”

Followers of Christ are called to see God in every person we meet. Do we do this? Do I always do this. Negative.  I am very judgemental  of folks who are judgemental. Does this make any sense? No, but that is my way of thinking.

50 Days with ++ KJS Day 8

” How Can We Keep From Singing?”

This weekend The Episcopal Church will see two new Bishops consecrated. 
Indeed, ” How can we keep from singing?

 I’d love to somehow transport myself via the Floo Network & arrive at that Cathedral in time for this consecration.  But alas, the Floo Network is an invention of one Ms J.K Rowling.  Darn.

Both these  women{ yes WOMEN!!} are  superb, & have been elected & verified in due process with the Canons of The Episcopal Church.  I am * very* happy for these  women, their families , the Los Angeles Diocese & our wider Church.

How can we keep from singing?

Bishop Katharine says

”  We are meant to be bringers of peace and shalom, a light to the nations. And we are meant to sing a new song  of grace & abundance, of healing & transformation.”

I have no doubt that these two  new bishops will help to further the  mission of the Church both within the Episcopal Church &  within mainline Christianity.

Both Bishop-Elects Bruce & Glasspool are women of amazing faith,  integrity & courage.  If I had been a delegate on that Convention floor, my vote would have gone to both these fine  servant-leaders.

Yes, I am a feminist & am * delighted* that two more women will now wear a mitre.  But  I am more  delighted because I see that God ‘s work IS being done in the here & now.  Gender  is not a barrier to the episcopate & neither is   one’s sexual preference.  The gender  & sexuality of these candidates is a moot pont: both are  well-qualified & duly elected by the Diocese of Los Angeles.

If we are truly  living a faith which expresses  radical hospitality, then one’s gender or sexual orientation  should not even be  considered when vetting one’s choice for deacons, priests or bishops.

Radical hospitality is  hospitality that causes us to go beyond what is known & what is comfortable.  We are called to stretch our minds & hearts  in order to welcome the stranger who clearly is ” not like us”.

Amen.

Feast Of the Ascension 2010