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Life In The Body

Was Abigail Right to Go Behind Nabal’s Back?

By Arts, Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Marriage, Women One Comment

One morning after I taught a women’s Bible study on the life of Abigail—wife of Nabal, a woman hustled over to me, elbows swinging. Seeing her body language, I braced myself.

Her argument about my teaching went something like this: “You’re wrong! Abigail was most definitely not righteous. By taking matters into her own hands, she shows what happens when a wife steps out from under her husband’s ‘umbrella of authority.’ If Abigail had submitted to Nabal rather than intervening, David would have felt guilty for killing Nabal, and that guilt would have kept him from killing later.”

I’d heard this interpretation already—from Bill Gothard, among others.

So how do we figure out how to interpret this story? Was Abigail good or evil? The text itself provides the needed clues.

We find the “Abigail and David” story in 1 Samuel 25:2–43. The narrator begins with his assessment: “[Abigail] was …

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Women’s History Month: Meet Some Female Martyrs from the Early Church

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Women No Comments

When I spoke to a class of seminary students recently about women in public ministry in the early church, someone asked me to share some names and narratives about our foremothers. It seemed fitting to provide a sampling here during Women’s History Month. (Some day I hope we will simply learn “history”; but until women are included in the telling of history, we’ll continue to need a special annual focus.) You can find all the women listed below in the mosaics of Ravenna’s “new” (6th c) Basilica of Sant’Apollinare. I’ve included a summary of the stories that usually accompany them, as well. You will notice a theme of women exercising agency over their own bodies to the glory of God.

Agatha. Virgin martyr. Agatha died in 251. Born in Sicily into a noble family, she steadfastly vowed to remain a virgin. She was taken to a house of prostitution, tortured by …

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Why Churches Should NOT Drop Online Services

By Justice, Life In The Body, Uncategorized 6 Comments

So, Tish Harrison Warren has a regular column now in the New York Times. And I subscribed, because I generally like her work. Plus, I love that the Times has a regular columnist who shamelessly adheres to the Apostle’s Creed. But this week, I had serious issues with her words. The title says it all: Why Churches Should Drop Their Online Services

That felt super ableist to me. And the article itself didn’t get any better.

Before I go further, let me back up and remind my readers that an entire section of my web site is devoted to life in the body. I’m all about embodied living. The five senses. In-person gatherings and long conversations over food. True face time over FaceBook FaceTime. So given the choice, I usually opt for real embodied presence vs. Zoom. And yet, I still had serious issues with the piece—so much so …

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