Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Don't call me "guy."

I am not a guy.

Yesterday I watched Sunday Morning, a CBS television magazine.  As they flashed pictures of events from 2013 on the screen a picture of Margaret Thatcher appeared.  The word used to describe her career was, "Statesman."   I was very disappointed.  I thought they knew better.  

I am not a kind of a man!

I also watched part of a program on The History Channel called Mankind: The History of All of Us.  If they mean all men than the title was appropriate.  During the time I watched the program I saw many women feeding children or killed by invading armies but there was no mention of the contributions of women to history.  Maleness is not the normative gender for the human race.  
Language creates reality.  Male generic language erases femaleness from our vocabulary and our consciousness.  

Not Counting Woman and Children

Each of the four gospels record an event where large numbers of people were fed. The story of the loaves and the fishes is found in Mark 6:32-44, Matthew 14:14-21, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:8-20.     John says it was people who were fed.  Luke and Mark say it was five thousand men.  Matthew also says five thousand men were fed.  But Matthew adds the phrase, "Not counting women and children."  If Matthew had not added that phrase we might be left to believe only men followed Jesus.  Male generic language erases the presence of women and their children.  We look for ourselves in Paul's writing to the brothers and we add sisters believing that we must have been included.  Every time we call women "guy" or "dude" or assume that women are included under the umbrella of mankind we diminish and erase ourselves, our mothers, our daughters, our sisters and our friends.  I think women are too wonderful to be erased.    

Monday, December 9, 2013

Biblical Inerrancy

Biblical Inerrancy

I have not blogged for several weeks.  With the help of Cathy Winch and Vanessa Finney of Personhood Press I have been editing my manuscript for Prostitutes,Virgins and Mothers: Questioning Teachings About Biblical Women.  As I come to the end of this process I am compelled to draw a parallel between our editing process and the centuries of copying and recopying the biblical manuscripts. I am staggered by the amount of errors in the manuscript. Errors which either I made or were made by one of the four brilliant women who read and made editorial comments in the manuscript.  I'll tell you one thing I am never using a comma again!

Biblical Infallibility 

Halloween of 2009 a Baptist congregation in Canton, North Carolina used their belief in biblical inerrancy and infallibility to burn Bibles.  


As Lee Martin McDonald states in The Formation of the Christian Cannon, "Those who would argue for the infallibility or the inerrancy of scripture logically should also claim the same infallibility for the churches in the fourth and fifth centuries, whose decisions and historical circumstances have left us with our present Bible." 

On the website Mainstream Baptist Dr. Bruce Prescott offers a test for "Inerrantist Truthfulness."  He says, "Here's a simple way to tell if you are getting a straight answer about claims for the Bible's inerrancy.  Ask inerrantists the questions listed below.

1. Is the Bible you read and hold in you hands inerrant?  If he says, "No," he is being honest.  If he says, "Yes," ask question 2. 

2. Do all the ancient manuscripts of the Bible say exactly the same thing?  If he says, "Yes," he or she is being honest.  He or she is simply uninformed about the history of the transmission of the Bible and needs to do some study. (2 Timothy 2:15)  If he says, "No," ask question 3.

3. How can you honestly say the Bible is inerrant when you know that all the manuscripts of the Bible have errors in them?  If he says, "The Original Manuscripts were inerrant."  Ask question 4.

4. Where are the "original manuscripts?" If he admits, "They have all been lost," or "They no longer exist on earth." Ask question 5.

5. Since God didn't bother to see that the Bible was preserved inerrantly, why is it necessary to believe it is inerrant?  If he says something like, "So men could be sure of their salvation." Ask Question 6.

6. Do you have to believe the Bible is inerrant to be saved?  If he says, "Yes," ask question 7.  If he says, "No," ask question 8. 

7. Do you have to place you faith in an inerrant book (unseen) before you can have faith in Jesus?  Doesn't that make the Bible an object of faith and another mediator between us and God? (1 Timothy 2:5)  Doesn't that make the Bible an idol?  Or, does belief in inerrancy prove that you are saved and is failure to believe proof that you aren't?  Is that why some inerrantists call Mainstream Baptist infidels? 

8. Why have inerrantist worked of 20 years to exclude Mainstream Baptist, divided the SBC and BGCO, and revise the Baptist Faith and Message to make it say the Bible is inerrant?  Was all the pain this has caused in the lives of God's people and churches really necessary?"   

I know this test doesn't work on several levels and it certainly doesn't work if one believes that it is the first King James translation which is inerrant.  I share it because of my passion for biblical literacy, my new found sensitivity to the errors that can creep into the written word and because of my experience at Liberty University where the doctrine of biblical inerrancy was used like a weapon.    

I also want to say that I found errors in the  questions above.  Some I chose to leave in like Original Manuscripts and original manuscripts.  Others I chose to change like mainsteam to mainstream.  Biblical inerrancy?  I don't think so!  How many errors can you find?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Love Your Body Now, Just The Way It Is!

 Women's Bodies!

When I was very young and the most protuberant part of my body was my hip bones I decided I needed to go on a diet.  I didn't.  I did not realize how I was being influenced by my culture.  Even as a feminist I could not shake the idea that my body, that is to say I, wasn't good enough.  I was/am!  
Watch these two videos and share you own body image celebrations.  I am going to have a sandwich.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Silenced Women


The depressing state of things!  

Yesterday I found this on my Facebook page.  I couldn't believe it was true although the UN Women icon at the bottom of each photo did lend some credibility.  I Googled, "women should" and before I even got to the final "d" the drop down menu read; not be in combat, not preach, not speak in church, be seen and not heard, not work (I am guessing they mean outside the home) not run and stay at home.  Check out http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/10/women-should-ads
So I Googled, "men should" and got always pray, not get married, wear makeup, not wear shorts and pay for dates.

Speak up!

Blatant discrimination and sexism is always shocking to me.  I want to believe it is only the far religious right of any religion and the lunatic fringe who  cling to these attitudes about women.  I showed the post to my husband and he was not surprised.  "What's new?"is all he asked.  In my last blog I wrote of my experience with attempted silencing. Speak up, speak out, be heard, use your voice. 

Silenced no more.

I looked blatant up in the dictionary. Among other definitions I found, "Offensively obtrusive; coarse. Shrill, ranting, angry, combative, strident and more are terms hurled at women who speak up against discrimination and sexism. Women must not be silent.  In the relative safety of the United States  from which I blog I am able to use my voice.  I am compelled to use that voice for women and their children who are silenced.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Women's Voices

Using or Losing our Voices:

I drove home thinking, "but it is my voice."

Two interesting, intersecting incidences happened this week.  First, I went to an ear, nose and throat Dr.  who told me I needed voice therapy.  Really?  I've been talking most of my life and I'm pretty good at it.  Second, the publicist who works for Personhood Press requested an endorsement from a Pentecostal professor for Prostitutes, Virgins and Mothers: Questioning Teachings About Biblical Women.
The Pentecostal professor could not endorse my work because he noted an, "echo of frustration" in my writing.  If an echo of frustration is all he detected I wrote really well.  He suggested that an editor rework the manuscript to remove that frustration.  In other words take my  voice out of my manuscript.   
I went to the voice therapist.  "Your voice is to breathy," she told me.  "Yes, I've been told that my whole life."  "Your voice is to low," she said.  "I know it has always been low."  "Here are some exercises to change you voice," she added as she handed me a yellow folder.
I drove home thinking, "but it is my voice.  I want my voiceI like my voice." 

Women's Voices:

Both these encounters aimed at changing my voice.  One physically the other religiously and I suppose politically as well.  Both wanted to make my voice more acceptable, less abrasive to them.  I have written the book I have written because I am more than frustrated and I speak with the voice I do because it is my voice.  It my not be acceptable to all but I intend to use it physically, religiously, politically and any other way I can.  What about you?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Christian, Atheist and Faith Based Debate

Christian - Atheist Debate

The symbols and rituals of Christianity are those I choose.  I was raised with them and they are comfortable for me.  I am a member of the Mid-Valley Interfaith Council in the Coachella Valley.  As such I have the opportunity to hear prayers, blessings, greetings and expressions of faith which are new to me but resonate with my experience of the divine. The members of the council are Roman Catholic, Latter Day Saint, Buddhist, Muslim and so many other faith traditions.  We meet once a month to eat, pray and share the work of our congragations in the community.  

I like this video because the participants are respectful, passionate and funny.  They do not take their own point of view so seriously that they forget to listen.  They are not angry about another's beliefs nor are they trying to change each other.  

Friday, August 30, 2013


Holocaust and Syria

I watched a documentary this morning.  It was made by a man who, as a child, survived the Holocaust.  All my life I have known that we must never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust in Europe so that it never happens again. But it is happening in Syria!  I tried to post pictures of the victims of the Holocaust and the Syrian Civil War.  They are so horrible I could not.  The only real difference in the photos is you can see the color of the blood in the Syrian photos and al-Assad seems to be killing his victims where they live instead of rounding them up.  I do not want war!  I do not want war for our country or anyone else but if it is true, we must never forget than action must be taken against the holocaust of the Syrian people.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013



Courageous Clarity speaks out about the rape of a 14-year-old girl by her teacher.  Her eventual suicide as a result of that rape and the 30 day jail sentence of her rapist.  

This crime came to my attention as I contemplated the rape and impregnation of a 15-year-old girl in Concord, New Hampshire.  She was raped by an adult member of her church.  Her pastor Rev. Charles Phelps made her apologize to the wife of her rapist and the entire congregation.  He told her she was lucky that she didn't live in Old Testament times because she would have been stoned to death.  The rapist in New Hampshire got 15-30 years.  In the rape described above, the rapist got 30 days.  I think the pain on the face of the young woman in the video expresses the horror I feel as I see how little women and girls are valued.  
Tina Anderson, the rape survivor wanted her name publicized to highlight church abuse.  


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Cushite Wife of Moses

Where to find the story of the Cushite wife of Moses?

The nameless woman known only as the Cushite woman is found in Numbers 12:1.

The Cushite woman tells her story.

Mariam and Arron were so angry that Moses married me.  They had a terrible fight.  Mariam became very ill as a result.

Observations on the Cushite woman.

Was the Cushite woman  Zipporah the wife mentioned in Exodus?  She is said to be from the land of Midian.  Did Moses have two wives?  Why were Mariam and Arron so angry that Moses had married a Cushite?  

In Numbers 25:1-8 the grandson of Arron kills an Israelite man and a Midianite woman.  The man is said to have brought her into his family.  They may have been having sex because they are in the tent and both are stabbed through the belly.  
"Since Cush is the Hebrew term for Ethiopia or Nubia, some say that this woman was black." 
(Winter, Miriam Therese; Woman Wisdom, 1993)
Like so many biblical women all we know about her is how she figures into the story of the male biblical hero. 
Following is an interesting video about the Cushite wife of Moses.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Biblical Women

Where to find the story of the Shunammite Woman

As is the case with so many biblical women the Shunammite woman is not named and does not tell her own story.  Unlike many biblical women she does speak up for herself.  She is found in 2 Kings 4:8-37 and 8:1-6 as a character in the story of Elisha the prophet.  

The Shunammite Woman Tells Her Story

I invited the prophet, Elisha to dinner.  I wanted to see what this holy man was all about. He was always accompanied by his servant, Gehazi.  They began to come to my home whenever they were in town.  I am a wealthy woman so I told my husband I wanted to build a room on the house for them.  One day Gehazi asked me if there was anything Elisha could do for me.  They wanted to thank me for all I had done for them.  I couldn't think of anything I wanted.  Gehazi told Elisha, "She doesn't have any children and her husband is old."  I did not believe him when he said I would have a son that time next year and I told him as much.  I said, "O man of God; do not deceive me."   

To my great joy, a year later I had a beautiful baby boy.  When he grew big enough he went to the fields with his father.  One day a servant carried my son back to me.  He had a terrible headache.  I held him on my lap and he died.  My  heart was broken and I was so angry at with that prophet.

I told my husband to send me a servant and I saddled a donkey.  I was going to see that prophet.  My husband tried to argue with me but my mind was made up.  I rode as fast as I could to Mount Carmel.  Gehazi met me as I approached and asked if anything was wrong.  I was not going to say anything to anyone but Elisha.  I know the power of words and I was not going waste them on the servant.  

I said to Elisha,"Did I ask you for a son?  Didn't I tell you I didn't need anything?  Didn't I tell you            not to deceive me?  My child is dead and my heart is broken.  If you had left me as I was I would not have this broken heart."  

Elisha told his servant to go home with me and lay his staff on my child's face.  That was not good enough for me.  I told him, "I am not leaving here without you!"  Gehazi went on ahead to do as Elisha said.  He met us on his way back and said my child was dead.  When we got to the house Elisha went into the room with my son.  He was in there a long time.  Finally, Gehazi called me.  My son was alright. Thank God!  

Elisha and I remained friends.  He advised me that there was going to be a famine and I needed to move my family to Philistia.  We were there seven years.  When we finally returned to Shunem, my home and land had been taken over by squatters.  I went to the king to ask that my property be returned to me.  Gehazi was already there and spoke to the king on my behalf.  After the king questioned me he appointed an official to help me secure my property and all the revenue my land had generated while I was gone.


The story of the Shunammite woman is told as part of a series of miracles to prove that Elisha is a prophet.  She is first described as standing quietly in the presence of the prophet or at the door of the room constructed for him. He only speaks to her through his servant. After the death of her child her whole demeanor changes.  She rides off to see Elisha.  When his servant asks what is wrong she ignores him and goes directly to the prophet.  I can imagine the scene.  She grabs him and screams,"Did I ask you for a son?  Didn't I tell you not to mislead me?     

Elisha tries again to have his servant take care of the women but she is not having any of that.  She forcefully tells him,"I am not leaving here without you.  Because of her tenacity her child and eventually her property are restored to her.  


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Anthony Weiner and Bathsheba

Anthony Weiner and Bathsheba

On Friday, June 26, 2009 South Caroline governor Mark Sanford apologized to his cabinet for his extramarital affair.  The reporter from Good Morning America, John Hendren, who reported on the governor's apology introduced the governor saying, "comparing himself to the biblical king who gave into the temptress Bathsheba…"  It happened again this morning with the Anthony Weiner mess.  The commentator attempted to excuse Anthony Weiner's behavior, using a comparison to David and Bathsheba.  Let's be clear David was a powerful man who spied on a young powerless woman, had her taken from her home, had sex with her, sent her home and when he found out she was pregnant had her husband killed.  Sounds more like rape than giving into a temptress.  

Anthony Weiner

The commentator then went on to compare Mr. Weiner to Presidents Kennedy and Clinton and to explain that we have set the bar very low and do not expect much from our political leaders.    There is no excuse.  Forgiveness, yes, but making excuses for powerful men who abuse their power with sexual misconduct, no.  


Bathsheba did not ask for what happened to her.  The prophet Nathan is reported to be her ally.  It hardly seems likely that he would have been an ally to the temptress of the king. Stop scapegoating Bathsheba and other women.  Let Mark Sanford and Anthony Weiner take responsibility for their own bad behavior and choices.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Defining My Passion

Religion, Feminism, Justice, Human Trafficking

I have not posted for many days.  One reason is the wonderful time I spent with my great-niece, family and friends.  Another reason was deciding the direction I want to take with this blog.  I have gotten lots of advice.  I spent thirty years flying under the radar, so to speak.  Now I have a blog, a twitter account, a Facebook page, and am working on creating an author's Facebook page.  The initial reason for this social media campaign was to promote my book, Prostitutes, Virgins and Mothers: Questioning Teachings About Biblical Women.  That is still important but I cannot stay silent about some of the things I have learned on social media.

Human Trafficking

I am working with the Riverside County Anti Human Trafficking Task Force.  One of the questions I ask groups to whom I am presenting human trafficking information is, "True or False, a woman's love for her pimp means that she is willingly choosing prostitution?"  Today I read the new Dreamworks movie Turbo uses the term "pimp your shell" to equate improving or making better.  Do the pimps who sell the bodies of others for profit make anything better? 


I am a Christian.  It is the faith path to which I have been called.  I am a member of the Mid-Valley Interfaith Council in the Coachella Valley.  We are Roman Catholic, Muslim, Latter Day Saint, Independent Catholic, Christ Science, Jewish and more. I am inspired by the ways God has revealed God's self to the others in the group and I always learn something from each meeting.  Yet I read so much snipping about other faith tradition.  If I think I know all the ways God reveals God's Self the
God I think I know is very small.  Is God so small that God only speaks to your religious group?  I do not use pronouns for God.  God does not have genitalia.      


I am delighted there are so many thoughtful feminist sisters and brothers taking a stand on human justice issues.  I am also shocked at some of the reactions I read to that work.  Such fear it seems to me but of what exactly?

Justice, Religion, Feminism, Human Trafficking

So I said all that to clarify for myself the work before me, my passions.  They are interpretation of the stories of biblical women from a woman's perspective, Christian Feminism, the end of Human Trafficking/Slavery, Liberty and Justice for all.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Am Not A Guy or a Kind of a Man

Mankind I am Not!

I went to the movies the other day and saw the advertisement below.  I was angry, a car "made for mankind."  That leaves me out.  Then I read an interview by Greg Robinson in which he claimed the ad was meant to be "gender neutral."  WHAT!  Does he know what gender neutral means?  Is womankind gender neutral?  Of course not.  No more than mankind is gender neutral.    

Made for Mankind

It is anachronistic to continue to use male generic language as if it is inclusive language.  It is not. My dictionary says, "Mankind, the human race; man taken collectively."  But Womankind is, "Women collectively." I am not women are not men. A change of language is in order.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

I am not a guy!

I am not a guy

or a dude or a kind of a man!  Cirque Du Soleil has a new show.  The TV advertisement proclaims it is the history of "mankind."  Enough!  It is not just his/story.  It is her/story too.  On a recent trip to Victoria's Secret I heard a young woman say, "dude, look at this bra."  I looked up to see a young woman talking to another young woman.  They have embraced their own erasure using male generic language.  

 If I approach a group of mixed gender and say, "Hi gals" are the male members of the group going to think I am talking to them?  Are they going to feel insulted because they have been greeted using female generic language.  Of course it is not generic and when mixed gender or single gender groups are referenced as guys or dudes or mankind the female gender is eclipsed.

Don't call me a guy!

References to femaleness continue to be used to insult men or boys.  You throw or walk or scream or whatever it may be, like a girl.  Watch the female pitchers in college softball.  Now that is throwing like a girl.  I am not a guy please don't call me one.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Equal Pay For Women

We Celebrate Equal Pay for Women Day

In 1963 President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay For Women Act.  That worked.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Why Do We Need Christian Feminists?

Why We Need Christian Feminists

What male church leaders have had to say about women is truly disturbing.  What some of them say about Feminist is equally disturbing.  In his sermon, New Age Gnostic Feminist and Their Influence on the Church John McArthur informs women that they are confused about their God given roll in the church.  He couples this with a picture of four smiling women from the cover of  Gospel Today
titled, Women Pastors.  He also describes The Center for Research on Women, at Wellesley College as a"deadly think tank" and displays a picture of Hillary Rodham Clinton in a Nazi uniform with a Hitler mustache.  Displaying a picture of Sarah Palin he says, "Even Christian are falling under the spell of the feminist."  I have a feeling Sara doesn't think so, but I don't know for sure.

I am a Christian Feminist 

I am a Christian Feminist because I came to my Feminism through my faith.  I do not believe in a God who discriminates based on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or anything else. In her book, In Memory of  Her Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza describes Jesus and His Discipleship of Equals.  I believe in a baptism which erases any form of inequality between male and female.  I believe in beautiful, brilliant women, created in the image and likeness of their creator and not confused about their "God given roll."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

God Created Man to be the Bread Winner and Other Antiquated Notions

Did God Create Men to be the "Bread Winner?"

 And other antiquated questions.

Women work!  Women work inside the home for no salary, no insurance, no retirement.  Women work outside the home to feed and shelter themselves and their children.  Many work at jobs that are fulfilling and enjoyable.  Many women work more than one job for minimum wage.  Let's be clear, these men are disturbed because women are working outside the home for a salary and other benefits, not that women are working.  It is difficult to control women who can pay their own way.  The "biblical" argument that God intended men to be the bread winners based on Genesis 3:17-19 is curious considering the occupations of these men.  They are not, after all eating from their personal toil raising food by the sweat of their faces.    

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Women in Ministry

This is an interesting, reasoned argument for women in ordained ministry.  The scholar is N. T. Wright.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Religious Fear of Menstruation

 Why are Men and Religions Afraid of Menstruation? 

The attached article concerning an India woman who was charged with a "deliberate and malicious"  crime against religious people because she entered a temple to worship while she was menstruating, is a  contemporary example of  women's experience globally and generationally. The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures give us examples of this fear of menstruation.  Leviticus 15: 19-30 prescribes the number of days a woman and anything she touches will be unclean because of menstruation or hemorrhage.  The story of the Hemorrhaging Woman found in Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48 and Matthew 9:20-22 is the story of a woman who had been unclean and untouchable for twelve years.  She reached out and touched Jesus making him unclean.  He offered not rebuke but healing.

Why are girls taught to fear their own bodily functions?

Fear producing colloquialisms like, "the curse"are used to name menstruation.  It is simply appalling that a woman's natural, necessary bodily functions are negatively labeled and used to restrict her movement and actions.  In Genesis 1:27 women and men are created in the image and likeness of God and in 1:28 they are told to multiply.  Without menstruation there is no multiplication.        
  Religious fear of menstruation.

How do we change?

If we are to change these attitudes we must teach girls and women to treasure their bodies, created in the image and likeness of divinity.  A divinity, which in some wonderful way must be female.  We must teach woman and girls that menstruation is not a curse, but a gift given to the female gender by the divine.  A gift which allows woman to bring forth life from their bodies.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Faith and Biblical Women

Biblical Women

I met a woman over the weekend who is a hospital chaplin.  I asked her to look at my blog.  Although she did not comment on the blog she sent me an email which said,"I don't get it.  It appears to be a case against Christianity or faith altogether."  I thanked her very kindly for her feedback.


I am not making a case against Christianity or faith.  I consider myself a woman of faith, a Christian.  The case I am making is against patriarchal interpretations of that faith.  I read a comment today on the Woman's Ordination Conference Facebook page.  The man who posted the comment encouraged the women who made the video, Ordain a Lady to go to confession.  He also informed them that they were listening to the devil, God picked men except God picked a woman for a mother.  For the full comment check out the Woman's Ordination Conference Facebook page.

Faith and Biblical Women

In my reply I asked the man to check out John 4:1-42.  These verses record the story of a woman who believes in Jesus as the Messiah and "preaches" to her village. Many believed in Jesus as the Messiah based on the "preaching" of this women. Long before St. Paul went to the Gentiles this women was teaching the Samaritans about Jesus.  
The most important moment in the Christian religion is the empty tomb.  If we believe the Gospels, that most important message is in trusted to women.  It was women whom Jesus picked to proclaim the good news of the resurrection, to teach the men who were in hiding.  
My aim is not to make a case against faith or Christianity, but to encourage interpretations that do not limit the full participation of women in their faith communities.  We are all created in the image and likeness of the Divine.  God did not pick men.  Men picked men.       


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Biblical Women

What Have We Been Taught About Biblical Women?

I was having lunch with a friend on Saturday and she asked, "What do your want people to get out of your book?"  I thought back to my experience at Liberty University, being told that I could not be ordained because, "God doesn't call women."  "Well, I believe I am called"  was my response.  "Than you better discern who's call you are listening to."  The implication being that there was something satanic about my belief that I had a genuine call to ordained ministry.  I experience this same attitude in the Roman Catholic Church, which is why I am currently attending Pathfinder Church of the Risen Christ.  A Catholic Community, not associated with Rome, where all are welcome.

I also thought about what I had been taught concerning biblical women over the years.  In my Feminist Dr. on Ministry program I learned the word, conscientization.   My interpretation of conscientization is that moment when my experience does not match what I have been taught.  My ah ha moment came during a Sunday School lesson about the "temptress" Bathsheba although I did not recognize it at the time.  I sat there thinking, "wait a minute, she was spied upon by a powerful man while she was taking a bath, (everyone knows that if a woman takes a bath in a movie something bad is going to happen to her) the spy finds out who her husband is but doesn't care, he sends other guys to take her from her home, he has sex with her, he send her back to her home, when he finds out she is pregnant he tries to pass the baby off as her husband's, when that doesn't work he has her husband killed.  And she is the temptress and he is the man after God's own heart?  

Understanding Biblical Women

The answer to my friends question is this.  I would like my book to be a catalyst for reexamination of biblical interpretations that have been handed down to us.  Interpretations which have been used to limit the full  participation of women in the church.  Interpretations which misrepresent biblical women as, bad, prostitutes, virgins or mothers when they are so much more.  I would like my book to encourage readers to learn who wrote the books of the Bible, to whom they were written and when they were written.  

Empowering Women

Half the human experience of divinity is the female experience. Women who are created in the image and likeness of God.  The Bible is so much more than proof texts, taken out of context to prove a point.  I would like my book to encourage women to interpret biblical women using women's experience as we develop biblical literacy.   

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day

I looked through images of Mary mother of Jesus.  In all the images she is very clean and saintly looking.  Probably nothing like the historical person.  As we celebrate mothers today remember it was through Mary's body, broken and bleeding in child birth, that the person Jesus came into this world. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Violence Against Woman

Violence Against Women

This picture showed up in my email the other day with a petition to Amazon to take the product off their web site.  It is a practice shooting target called The Ex-girlfriend.  The woman priest at my church, upon reading my blog about the Levite's Concubine, remarked that biblical desensitization to violence against women affects desensitization to violence against women today.    In what way does this image of a shot, bleeding woman further desensitize  people to violence?  What does it reveal about those using this target?  What if the target were a man of color or a child instead of a sexualized, woman?  Would Amazon need to be petitioned to remove the image or the product? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Women's Ordination

Woman's Ordination

Celebrating Women's Ordination

 Yesterday was a memorable day for Pathfinders Community of the Risen Christ.  The church was full as Deacon Joni Miller was ordained a priest in our community.  It is a joy to be part of a church that is not a motherless home.   

Friday, May 3, 2013

Levite's Concubine Video

Modern day version of the Levite's Concubine

This is a story I was never taught in Sunday School.  I was shocked the first time I heard it.   It is perplexing that the Levite takes no responsibility for the death of his concubine. Judges 19:1-30 Rather, he arranges for the destruction of  every man, woman, child and animal in the town.
 Judges 20:48 "Meanwhile, the Israelites turned back against the Benjaminites,, and put them to the sword-the city, the people, the animals, and all that remained.  Also the remaining towns the set on fire. "  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Levites Violence

Violence Against Women

I came across the story below on a web site titled, All True Bible Studies for Children.  What do you think?

The Story of the Levite's Concubine

Judges 19:10 - 20:48
Just before midnight one night, Beth heard someone pounding on the front door of their house. "Hello in there! Hello! Let me in," shouted a man. "Give me a bunch of money!"
This frightened Beth and she hid under the covers.
A minute later, Beth heard her father come into the room. "Beth," said her father, "would you please go to the front door and see what the man wants?"
Beth was scared, but she knew that it would be a sin to disobey her father. She got up, put on her bunny slippers and her robe, and went to the front door while her father returned to bed.
By the time Beth got to the front door, the man wasn't there any more. She peeked out through the curtains and saw him peeing on the lawn. Then he just walked away.
Even when she was back in bed Beth felt very upset. She started to cry and her sobs brought her mother into her room.
"What's the matter, Dear One?" her mother asked.
"Daddy asked me to go see the strange man at the door," sobbed Beth. "But the man scared me. Why didn't Daddy just go himself and see who it was?"
Beth's mother sat at the side of the bed and ran a hand across Beth's hair comfortingly. "There's a story in the Bible that explains it all, Dear One," said her mother.

And this is the story she told:

One day a Levite and his concubine were traveling through Jebus. It was late and the servant said, "Let's find a place to stay and turn in for the night."
"I don't want to stop in a town unless Israelites live there," said the Levite. "Let's go to Gibeah or Ramah."
So they kept going and didn't reach Gibeah -- one of Benjamin's cities -- until after it was dark.
They couldn't find anyplace to stay in Gibeah so they sat in the street.
While they were sitting, an old man on his way home from work came up to them and said, "Where are you going? Where do you come from?"
The Levite answered, "We're going from Bethlehemjudah to the side of mount Ephraim, where I'm from, and I went to Bethlehemjudah, but now we're on our way to God's place, but there's nobody to take me into his house. We've got straw and food for our donkeys and bread and wine for me and my companions so we don't want anything."
"Peace," said the old man. "I'll take care of you, just don't spend the night in the street." Then he brought them to his house, fed their donkeys, washed their feet, and gave them something to eat.
While they were partying, some men from the city, Belial's sons, surrounded the house and pounded on the door. "Send out the man who's visiting you so we can put our penises in him," they yelled.
The old man went to them and said, "No, brothers, no. Please, don't be so naughty. This guy is my guest, don't be so silly. Look, here's my daughter who's never had a penis put in her and the guy's concubine. I'll bring them out for you to dominate. You can do with them what ever you think is a good idea. Just leave the man alone."
The men weren't really listening. They took the concubine and put their penises in her and beat her all night. The next morning, they let her go.
When the sun was just starting to come up, the concubine fell down in front of the old man's house and lay there.
When it was full light, the Levite got up and opened the door of the house and started to leave. On his way out, he found his concubine lying just at the edge of the door.
The Levite picked up his concubine and said, "Get up, let's get going." But she didn't say anything.
Seeing that she was dead, the man put her on his donkey and took her home. At home, he got a knife and cut her into twelve pieces which he sent all over Israel.
When people saw the pieces they said, "This is the worst thing that has happened since we left Egypt." In fact, the Israelites got so mad that a bunch of them went to Gibeah, killed everyone they could find (including the animals) and burned down all the cities in the area.

"So you see," said Beth's mother, "the strange man might have hurt your father. That's why he sent you to the door instead."
Beth thought about this for a moment. "But in the story the girl who goes outside gets beat up until she is dead."
"That's true, Dear One," said her mother. "But she was only a girl. It's not a great loss. And people from other towns made sure that the people who did the bad thing were punished along with their wives, children, and pets."
"But why do the animals have to die? They didn't do anything bad and they don't even know what's going on."
Her mother smiled. "It's because God is a just God, Dear One, and animals are just animals. Now go to sleep; pleasant dreams." And with that, she kissed Beth on the cheek and went back to her own room.
Then Beth pulled the covers over her head and lay awake all night, hoping that the strange man would not come back with a bunch of drunken friends and demand to put their penises in her. All her questions had been answered.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

A Woman Prophet in Israel

Isaiah's Wife a Prophet in Israel

All we know is that Isaiah calls her a prophet, she was his wife, they had sex and she gave birth to a son.  Unlike the wife of Moses we do not know her name.  She is not credited with any of the prophecies in Isaiah.  Her entire story is Isaiah 8:3.  

The Prophet Uses Female Imagery 

 Is it possible that there are hints of her prophesies in the book of Isaiah?  In Isaiah 42:14b the prophet credits God with saying, "now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant."  In 49:15 God is represented as a nursing mother.  "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?"  In 66:7-9 the image of a woman giving birth is used as a metaphor for Zion and God is personified as the mid-wife.  In 66:13 God is said to compare God's self to a comforting mother.        

  Prophecies of the Woman Prophet

Is it possible that the prophecies in Isaiah, which use female experience are the words of the voiceless, woman prophet?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zipporah, the Wife of Moses

 Zipporah, Moses' Wife

What was life like for Zipporah?  She was not a Hebrew.  She practiced another religion.  At some point she was sent out of Egypt back to her father and only returned to her husband after he had led the Hebrews out of Egypt.
Her story can be found in Exodus 2:15-22; 4:18-20, 24-26 and 18:1-7

 Zipporah tells her story.

My father gave me to the Egyptian after he came to live with us.  He had helped us at the well when the shepherds would not let us water our father's flocks and my father was grateful. We had two sons.  
My husband was always concerned about the lives of the people he had left in Egypt.  When I met him I thought he was an Egyptian but he was a Hebrew by birth. He took me and the children with him on his return to Egypt.  On the way he became very ill.  He felt like God wanted him dead because he and his sons were not circumcised.  In his religion circumcision of the male is a sign of their covenant with God.  I circumcised my sons and told my husband, "Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!"
We did not stay in Egypt.  We were sent back to my father.  It was many years before I saw my husband.

Observations on Zippora

Unlike many biblical wives, Zippora has a name.  She also has a voice.  When I read her story I am reminded of the many military wives who endure long separations from their husbands.  Women who raise their children with the help of other family members and undergo difficult times that many of us cannot imagine.  I know that there are men who experience these separations as well, but this is Zippora's story.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Sacrifice of Jephthah's Daughter

Jephthah's Daughter is Sacrificed

The story of Jephthah's daughter can be found in Judges 11:1-11 and 29-40.  It is a shocking story.

Jephthah's Daughter Tells Her Story

I was overjoyed that he was home safe.  My father had been away fighting the Ammonites and now he was home.  I ran out to greet him and he began yelling at me. He was tearing his clothes asking me why I had brought this terrible disaster on him.  "You have brought me very low.  You are the cause of great trouble for me!" he wailed.  He was blaming me for a vow he had made.  A vow I knew nothing about.  There is no escaping the sacrifice.  I begged for two more months but I must return to the home of my father to be killed at his hands.  Oh, daughters of Israel remember my sacrifice.

Observations on the Sacrifice of Jephthah's Daughter

Sister Mariam Theresa Winter has written a beautiful psalm for Jephthah's daughter.  It can be found in her book Woman Witness.  I include it here with gratitude for all she has taught me.

His daughter ran to greet him, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  She slid into the arms of death, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  The abused little girl goes home at night, like an innocent lamb to  the the slaughter.  The runaway runs in search of herself, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  There is no balm in Gilead.  There is no comfort in Eden or Oz.  For we have lost a daughter.  The daughters of Eve went out from her, like innocent lambs to the slaughter.  Our daughters step out to face the world, like innocent lambs to the slaughter.  The women went to Buchenwald, like innocent lambs to the slaughter. African women were dragged into ships, like innocent lambs to the slaughter.  There is no balm in Gilead.  There is no comfort in Eden or Oz.  For we have lost a daughter.  The baby girl comes out of the womb, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  The little girl hidden within us comes out, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  Woe to the one who leads the child, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  Woe to us when we lead ourselves, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  There is no balm in Gilead.  There is no comfort in Eden or Oz.  For we have lost a daughter.

Where is the grace, the inspiration, the hand of God in the story of the sacrifice of Jephthan's voiceless daughter?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Destruction of Samson's Wife



Samson's Wife

Much attention is given to Samson's mistress, Delilah.  Very little attention is given to his wife.  Her story can be found in Judges 14; 15:1-8.   What if she told her own story. 

Samson's Wife Tells Her Story

Such a horrible man and he wanted to marry me.  He demanded that his father get me for him and my father agreed.  The wedding lasted seven drunken days and he asked that stupid riddle.  His thirty drunken companions couldn't figure it out.  They told me they would burn me alive if I didn't find out the answer.  I cried for seven days before he would tell me.  When he found out I had told his friends he was furious.  He said, "If you had not plowed with my heifer you would not have found out my riddle."  He left in a murderous rage and killed thirty men.  I was spoiled goods so I was given to one of his companions. 

When he finally came back and wanted to have sex with me, my father tried to give him my little  sister.  The cruelty of this man  knew no limits. He captured three hundred foxes, tied them together and set them on fire.  He released them into the grain fields, vineyards and olive groves.  All were destroyed.    

I was burned alive as punishment for his crime.

 Samson's Wife Destroyed   

  The writer of this story tells us it is God's idea for Samson to marry this foreign woman because God is looking for a' "pretext" to act against the Philistines.  God needs a pretext?  She and her sister are not asked if they want to marry Samson.  Samson simply says, "get her for me."  He calls her a  heifer, murders thirty men and abandons her for revealing the answer to a riddle.  Does this sound like a "hero" or a violent, selfish, cruel, criminal?        

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Noah's Wife

Noah's Nameless, Voiceless Wife

Noah's wife is nameless and voiceless.  How did she feel?  What did she think and believe about what Noah was doing?  Genesis 7:1 claims God said to Noah, "you alone are righteous before me."  Did Noah declare that to his wife?  What about her righteousness?  If she was not righteous why was she going along?  Are her reproductive abilities and those of her daughters-in-law the only reason they are included? Her story is found in Genesis 6:17 -9:21.     

Noah's wife tells her story

He says he and only he in the whole world has found favor with God.  He says God is going to destroy the world but I am to survive because he is righteous.  Do I want to survive in a world that has been destroyed?  What kind of a life will that be?  He says he is going to build a boat to hold two of every animal in the world.  He doesn't say who is going to care for all those animals.  I already know that.

He built it.  He says I  am to pack up our house hold and get on the boat.  Oh God.

I have never experienced anything so horrible. The water got deeper and deeper.  People were screaming and crying for help.  He would not let us save anyone or anything that had not entered the boat with us.  I was heart sick.

We are to leave the boat.  The water and everything else is gone.  He is going to kill some of the animals.  Animals I have tended he is going to slaughter.  How do I start over?

 He got drunk.  The first harvest from the vineyard and he got drunk.  After all I have been through and he got drunk.         

Observations on Noah's nameless, voiceless wife

Flood stories abound form all over the globe.  "Versions preserved in the ancient Mesopotamian traditions of Babylonia and Sumeria, in particular the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, come closets to the biblical account."(Miriam Theresa Winter)  The sons of Noah are named but the women mentioned in our story are not. They are on the margins and the concerns of their lives are inconsequential to the writer.          

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gomer, an Abused Woman

  The verbal and physical abuse of Gomer and her children 

 Gomer, the wife of the prophet Hosea has no voice in the book of Hosea.  What would she say if she told her own story?  She can be found in Hosea1:2-9; 2; 3; 4:1, 5-6, 10.

Gomer tells her story.

I was a prostitute before we were married.  That's how we met.  I had no male family to protect me.  I had to survive any way I could.  I thought his abuse would end with the birth of our first child but it didn't.  As hard as I tried to leave my past behind the abuse continued. 
I was so worried about the children.  It was devastating for them to witness the abuse.  When he stripped me and refused to give me food and water I could see the anguish in their little faces.  He told our daughter that he didn't love her and our baby boy that he is not his father.  I finally had enough.  I collected the children and ran.  That got his attention.

He found us and bought us  from the people who had taken us in.  He spoke sweetly to me.  That was a pattern with him.  He would abuse me and then feel sorry until it happened again.  He told our daughter he loved her and our little boy that he was his father.  I had hope that things would be better.


Hosea's language of abuse can be problematic for abused women and children.  We do not know why Gomer was labeled a whore by her husband.  In a culture where men are privileged and women are valued for their reproductive abilities, women must be carefully controlled.  The young women who was beaten with an ax by her brother may have been labeled a whore.  We are naturally horrified by the abuse of this young woman.  Unfortunately, spousal and child abuse abounds.  Men are not god and women are not nations deserving of punishment.

Below is a link to an anti-human trafficking coalition.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Religion As Justification to Abuse Women

 Justification to Abuse Women? 

I will strip her naked and expose her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and turn her into a parched land and kill her with thirst.  Upon her children also I will have no pity, because they are children of whoredom.  No one shall rescue her out of my hand.  
Hosea 2:3-4; 10b

Woman  Abused

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force

I attended the anti-human trafficking task force meeting today.  On the day Sister Monesa announced her work with the task force I knew I had to be a part of that work. I felt scared!  She took both my hands in hers, looked at me with her piercing blue eyes and said, "you are strong enough."  I have been trained as a speaker to bring awareness to the horror that is modern day human trafficking.  I learned that the Super Bowl is the "main event" in sex slave trafficking.  I am horrified and sickened.  A short search of Amazon yielded more titles than I imagined would have been written on the subject.  On a search of YouTube I found an amazing assortment of of videos designed to raise awareness to the reality of human trafficking.  Yet, there is so much silence and denial that it is happening in our towns and neighborhoods.   I have included one of the videos I found in the hope of raising awareness.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I am sorry I have missed a couple of days.  I thought I had a computer problem but it was just something I didn't understand.  Along with my passion for understanding and conveying the importance of biblical women I am committed to the work of eliminating slavery.   I am currently affiliated with the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.  As I was preparing this blog I came across a video about the selling of young girls and women.  Please watch the video and share your thoughts.
(Note: I have been told that the videos and pictures are not available on some devices.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday

Today  the Christian Church celebrates the washing of the disciples feet by Jesus.  All four Gospels tell the story of women who anoint Jesus.  Mark tells of a woman who anoints his head.  Matthew and Luke tell of a woman who anoints his feet and in John it is of Mary of Bethany who anoints his feet.  Jesus is reported to says, of the woman who anoints his head.  "I tell you, where ever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."  Jesus seems to think that her actions were so important that the good news the Gospel should be told in her memory yet her name was not recorded.  In my life time of being a Christian I have never heard the Gospel proclaimed in the name of this nameless woman.  So today as we celebrate Jesus' model of selfless service, tell the story in memory of her.        

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rembering the Women of Passover

On the 25th and 26th of March the Jewish community and many Christian communities celebrated Passover.  The names of Moses and his brother Arron are the most remembered during Passover.  But there are women, without whom there would have been no Moses.  First, there are the midwives Shiphrah and Prah.  (Exodus 1: 15-21)  They disobeyed the king's command to kill every Hebrew baby boy. Then there was the mother of Moses, Arron and Mariam.  She hid her son for three months.  Mariam is the brave girl who hides in the reeds along the river to keep an eye on her baby brother.  She negotiates with the daughter of the king to allow her mother to nurse her own baby and get paid for it.  (Exodus 2:1-10)  In Exodus 15:20-21 she is called the prophet Mariam and leads the women in song and dance praising God.  As the 2007 edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible states in the explanation of this text, "As women were the first to resist Pharaoh and save Moses' life it is especially fitting that women also get the last word in the story of liberation." Finally, in Micah 6:4 Mariam is included with Moses and Arron as a leader of the people. Remember the women named and unnamed who figure in the development of Judaism and Christianity. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mary of Bethany a Disciple of Jesus

On this Monday of Holy Week the Gospel reading for the Roman Catholic Church is John 12:1-11.  Jesus is in the home of three people he is said to love.  They are Martha, her sister Mary and their brother Lazarus.  Mary anoints Jesus' feet with nard, a very expensive aromatic ointment.  Judas is angry because of the extravagance of Mary's act of love and kindness to Jesus.  Many times when this story is told Jesus response to Judas, "you will always have the poor with you" is the story remembered.  And while that may be true the love Mary has shown for her friend is what I choose to remember.  In John 13:15 Jesus demonstrates a model of service by washing the feet of his followers and in 13:35 Jesus is reported to say to those with him that everyone will know that they are his disciples if they have love for each other.  Gail R. O' Day says in The Women's Bible Commentary, "Mary models what it means to be a disciple: to serve, to love one another, to share in Jesus' death." This is not the first time Mary has modeled discipleship.  In Luke 10:39 Mary is pictured sitting at the feet of her friend as a disciple would sit at a Rabbis feet.  On this Monday of Holy Week I celebrate the disciple and friend of Jesus, Mary of Bethany and all the women who are disciples and friends.                    

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Women at the Last Supper

As we approach Holy Week it is important to remember the role of women would have played in the week's activities.  I was taught that there were twelve male disciples and Jesus in attendance at the Passover meal.  In Mark 14:12 the disciples ask Jesus where he wants them to make preparations for the Passover meal.  In Mark 14:17 Jesus arrives with the twelve to eat the meal.  Disciples, other than the twelve, were preparing the meal.  Apparently the disciples were more than twelve men.  We are told that women traveled with Jesus and ministered to Him.  We are told that women and the Mother of Jesus were at the crucifixion.  We are told in Luke 2:41-42 that every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover.  It does no make sense that Jesus would travel with men and women, including his mother, and these women would not be included in the feast which represents the most important event in Jewish history.  Women disciples would have been the disciples who prepared the meal.  As a Jewish acquaintance once asked, "What do they think, he got Passover to go?"     
Following is a video for those of us who may not be familiar with the Seder or Passover meal.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Blog

I am the author of Prostitutes, Virgins and Mothers: Why Do We Believe What We Believe About Biblical Women?  The book will be released  March of 2014 as part of Women's History Month and International Women's Day. I am a cradle Christian and have long been disturbed by the portrayal or absence of women the Bible.  For far to long traditional interpretations  of biblical women have been used to limit their full participation in faith communities.  The recent Conclave of the Roman Catholic Church serving as an example of women's exclusion from making decision which affect the whole church.  

I hold a B.A. in religion from Chapman University, an M.A. in religion from Liberty University and a Dr. of Ministry in International Feminist Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary.  It is my sincere hope that a fresh examination and interpretation of these women's stories will result in conclusion which do not limit women in their participation in their faith communities.

I have included this video in my first blog as a celebration of strong, spirited, beautiful women.
Hope to hear from you,