This is my last post in a series of three dealing with sexual abuse and Christian spirituality. I wrote these as a way to process some of what I’ve been noticing as I work with women in the Church who have experienced sexual violence and abuse. There is something about the traditional messages of the Church [...]
This post is my second in a series of three posts dealing with sexual abuse and Christian spirituality. In my first post I talked about ways that certain Christian messages tend to create stumbling blocks for those striving to heal from the trauma of abuse, and I listed a couple of ideas to keep in [...]
Recently, I’ve spent a lot time with Christian women striving to heal from abuse and from damaging messages they learned from their experiences of church, faith, and religion. I want to talk about the ways that seemingly harmless messages from religious leaders can contribute to the systems of gendered violence and oppression that target women, and I [...]
“A woman is acquired [in marriage] in three ways…by money, by document, or by intercourse.” This is how the first mishnah in the tractate Kiddushin begins. In just this sentence alone we gain a window into how women were seen in the world of the rabbis. As each subsequent generation—from the Talmudic sages of 600 CE to 20th century feminist scholars—probe this Mishnah, the meaning of this statement is investigated, challenged, and, ultimately, transformed.
I attended the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia. I was amazed by the preponderance of sacred fashion statements (the hats!), the number of New Age practitioners from the North American West Coast, and the ubiquity of the phrase “interfaith dialogue.” As former chair of the Union Theological Seminary Interfaith Caucus, a [...]
The Freudian take on religion, that it is all about sex, or more precisely all about repressed sexual urges, is hardly new. Nevertheless, it was somewhat startling when renowned sociologist of religion Peter Berger returned to this trope last week on his The American Interest blog in an entry entitled “Religion As An Activity Engaged [...]
I recently received an email from the fine editorial staff at State of Formation informing me that I am officially a lapsed contributor and my posting account might be deleted. This is very true. I have lapsed in my public reflections about all things religious. When I ask myself why I lapsed, my answers are [...]
The Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall claims that Women of the Wall “don’t come to worship, they come to demonstrate.” But what he chooses not to see is that separating worship from politics is a luxury reserved for powerful people with normative practices. If you’re a member of a group that’s “out,” accessing the same prayer sites, practices and rituals, in order to worship with the same level of respect and dignity as the “in” group necessarily becomes a political action.
Like the master-signifier of reality, the hanging portrait of a prophet hovered in the air of a vacated instruction room, smiling with relief over a group of the elect youth of God’s Zion who had been selected by heavenly beings in heavenly places to live in the latter days of human history and to call [...]
This is the first installment in an ongoing series that will explore issues in spirituality through a review of significant symbolic motions, poses, and gestures from a variety of religious traditions. Throughout human history, the heart’s longing for religious enlightenment has spawned many practices associated with the active contemplation of and interaction with the bodies [...]