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“Church after the rain,” Frankfurt, Germany

Darfur in the News: To read more…

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How we can help: More general info: World Vision: Vulnerability of women:

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Rethinking Women’s History

By Women One Comment

As I was driving home from taking a class this week, I gave thanks for the opportunity to get an education. My great-grandmother was not so blessed—because she was a woman. When I watch “Sense and Sensibility,” I have to remind myself that not so many years ago women were disallowed from inheriting property. When I voted in the general election last year, I exercised a right that my female ancestors didn’t share (and that women in Iraq are only now beginning to enjoy). When I worked for an insurance company, I was paid on the basis of my performance, not my gender. How easy it is to take such blessings for granted. Not so many decades ago, circumstances were much different. And the changes for the better are thanks, in great part, to the Bible…. On the first day of a secular class I took in “Women and Revolutions,”…

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What Makes a Person a Person?

By Bioethics, Infertility, Uncategorized One Comment

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss got it right. So what makes someone a person? How we answer this question can mean life or death for a lot of people. Why? Because with personhood comes entitlement to rights and civil protection. Those who advocate placing maternal rights above the rights of unborn babies often say that what makes someone a person is that he or she has “function.” That is, personhood means having the ability to do or function in some way. To these individuals I am a person because I am able to think, to respond to stimuli, to feel, to reason (okay, more or less). The ramifications in the abortionist’s office are enormous. Lacking the ability to reason, the “developing mass of tissue” in the mother’s womb is considered a non-person and thus has no rights. The rights of the “true” person—the mother—take precedence….

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Something about Mary: Truth or Fiction?

By Gender & Faith, Uncategorized No Comments

The first time I realized there was “something about Mary,” I was taking a Ph.D. course in “Women of the Renaissance.” I wanted to look at some paintings for a project I was doing, and I did a Google search for paintings of “Mary Magdalene.” Strangely, I kept coming up with scenes that showed Mary Magdalene with her sister, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. Huh? I thought. That was Mary of Bethany. I want Mary Magdalene. It wasn’t long before I discovered that most of the painters of religious works during the Early Modern period thought Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene were one and the same. Not only that, they portrayed her as a public-“sinner”-turned-believer, and the “sinner” part was in quotes, if you know what I mean. So I did some further checking and I discovered that the confusion about Mary started about a millennium earlier than the…

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That Same-Sex Thing Hits Close to Home

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Sharon (not her real name) used to sing a favorite duet with me—a song about the Morning Star who knows my mind, the Mansion Builder who’s not finished with me yet. I watched as she shared the gospel and prayed with Liliana, who placed her faith in Christ when our church team went to Mexico. Shar and her husband, A. J., supported us through the high highs and low lows of the adoption roller coaster before our daughter was finally placed in our arms. Shar and I loved to talk literature, to eat scones and drink tea together, to jam to Keith Green and Rich Mullins music. Then depression hit. Her occasional suicidal thoughts became daily obsessions. She went on medications that made it worse. I visited her in hospitals where I had to remove my shoelaces before I could see her. In one such center (one that was Christian…

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What Does “Workers at Home” Mean?

By Gender & Faith, Uncategorized One Comment

I’ve been talking to some moms lately who wonder if it’s okay to contribute to the economics of their households. I’m not even talking about being gone from home from 7:45 AM till 5:30 PM. I’m talking about women working from home. A few biblical passages come to mind… The woman in Proverbs 31 had kids and was selling belts and buying a vineyard from her own income. This was a well-to-do woman, but she was still contributing to the economics of her household. When Paul admonished Titus to encourage older women to teach the younger how to be “workers at home” (Titus 2), he was talking about women in a culture in which, to our best understanding, more than 85 percent of the industry happened in the home. There was no such thing as a factory worker and a stay-at-home mom. Both husband and wife were usually stay-at-home parents;…

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Create in Me a Green Heart

By Life In The Body, Uncategorized No Comments

My husband and I have a cross-cultural marriage. Though native-born Caucasian Americans, we come from different worlds. If you’ve seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” you understand the sort of differences I mean. I hail from a large, loud family; Gary came tiptoeing into the world to join the Small Family of Reserved Souls. He’s an Atlantic-coast guy; I’m a Pacific-coast girl. He was raised inside The Beltway; I’m a fifth-generation Oregonian. When we married, one of our major differences was in how we viewed our involvement in environmental issues. Gary, an Eagle Scout, was quite respectful of the natural world, but inside the house…well…let’s just say that the first time I whipped out cloth napkins (to preserve trees, of course), Gary wanted to know what Senator was coming for dinner. As the years went by, we let practical ways of caring for the environment fall pretty far down on…

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Positive Adoption Language

By Infertility, Uncategorized 3 Comments

When my daughter, Alexandra, arrived home from school today, she told me one of the girls in her class didn’t “get” adoption. Apparently this fellow student looked down on Alexandra and asked, “Why don’t you go back to your old parents?” Sadly, when Alexandra tried to explain, she didn’t get far. Almost ten years ago, Gary and I rejoiced over the arrival of the girl—an eight-month-old, dark-haired, blue-eyed baby—who came storming into our lives. (Alexandra does nothing subtly.) Her adoption is a fact of her life that we discuss openly and with enthusiasm. And we do so using positive language—adoption vocabulary chosen to assign the maximum dignity to the way our family has been built. It is language that has helped us to eliminate some of the emotional overcharging that for years has helped perpetuate the myth that being part of an adoption means that one has somehow missed out…

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Of Spiders and Reproductive Technologies

By Bioethics, Infertility, Uncategorized 3 Comments

One of my favorite seminary courses was a media arts class in creative writing. Near the beginning of the semester, the prof gave us an assignment to write something relating to spiders or webs. Having just read Proverbs 6:6 (“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise”), I came up with the following: Why does He tell us to go to the ant?Why not the spider who toils all night weaving web in time for morning dew?The ant—he hustles to maintain; but spider—she spins, a pirouette of beauty in her work. Isn’t she more like Him than he?Like the woman in fine purple, she toils, her hands grasping the spindle.Along with some heroes from B-rated movies, we think of black widows, deception, the kill. But spider is regal. She’s far underrated.Why does He tell us to go to the ant? My professor wrote a reply that…

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Truth: A Casualty in the Schiavo Case?

By Bioethics, Uncategorized 2 Comments

The best workshop I attended at the Evangelical Press Association meeting in Chicago this year was the one covering bioethical issues. It was led by a high-ranking Christian doc at a US well-known med institution. And we discussed the Schiavo case at length. In one sense that’s old news; on the other hand, the issues are not going to go away… So let me begin by asking, Do you think the journalistic coverage by the secular media was fair? What about that of the Christian media? Both sides of the journalistic coverage on that case, it seems, were slanted. We expect the secular press to get it wrong. But the Christians also “missed it” considerably in several ways. Here are some questions to consider: 1. Do we really believe parents’ rights trump spouses’ rights. What does it mean to “leave and cleave”? Do good parents trump a lousy spouse? Do…

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Infertility Tries Patients’ Patience

By Infertility, Uncategorized One Comment

Last week was Mother’s Day. And once again I watched a lot of people around me hurt. Mother’s Day, like all holidays, can be difficult for some. Those who have lost or are estranged from parents or children feel tinges of pain on the day set aside for honoring mothers. Yet the infertile find Mother’s Day particularly painful. For them it serves as a reminder of the gift they long to have but that continually evades them. The subject of infertility is surrounded by many myths. So we’ll look at some questions/answers that help us put a few of them to rest: Are infertility and sterility the same thing?Infertility is not sterility. Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected relations and/or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term (600,000 women miscarry in the U.S. each year). Secondary infertility is the diagnosis when couples who have…

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Sunday Meditation: The Queen and Miss Congeniality

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The biblical character, Esther, has a few things in common with “Miss Congeniality.” No, really. I admit to loving that movie–as do most of the girls in my extended family. Call us shallow, but we love to get together to watch Sandra Bullock morph from a clumsy FBI agent with scary eyebrows and nasty hair into an undercover (and actually believable) beauty pageant contestant. Bushy-browed undercover agent becomes believable pageant contestant; little no-name orphan girl becomes the Queen of Persia. See the similarity? It’s all about the big reversal of events. In the case of Esther, you-know-Who was working undercover. We never hear His name mentioned, but he leaves fingerprints everywhere. After we read the entire biblical story, we get the point the author is making: The God of Israel shows loyal love time and again to His covenant people; the Almighty Lord is sovereign in all His dealings; and…

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I post on the Engage blog for women in leadership at every other Tuesday.

On the Nightstand/In My Kindle
Silence, by Shusaku Endo; Silence and Beauty, by Makoto Fujimura; The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, by C. S. Lewis; The Image of God in an Image Driven Age, ed. by Beth Felker Jones and Jeffrey W. Barbeau; Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God, by Lauren Winner.

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