Blog Tour #WomanInThePulpit

RevGals book cover

(This pinned post is your guide to our blog tour. Scroll down the main page for daily blog features!)

Together we RevGals have birthed / launched a book!

It’s available for purchase by clicking on the book cover in the right sidebar. Remember that all proceeds will support the ministry of RevGals.

To help spread the word, various RevGals and supporters will be featuring the book on their blogs for the thirty days between April 15 and May 15. The posts will be linked below. What a fitting way to celebrate a book written by a group who began as a group of bloggers.

Here’s another fun idea: As soon as you get your copy, take a photo of “There’s a Woman in the Pulpit” in a pulpit — with or without you. Post it on your social media. Use #WomanInThePulpit and #RevGals. Let’s retweet!

If you want to participate in the Blog Tour, there’s always room for one more blogger, so leave a comment and I’ll send you the invitation. Thanks to everyone for participating!

Sarah Howe Miller holds her copy of the book - in the pulpit!

Sarah Howe Miller holds her copy of the book – in the pulpit! Visit our #WomaninthePulpit Tumblr for more pictures.

Rev. Jennifer Lewis at Orientation of the Heart (April 15)

Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell at [D]mergent (April 15)

Rev. Liz Crumlish at journalling (April 16)

Rev. Kerri Parker at Tell the Stories (April 17)

Rev. Katherine Willis Pershey at any day a beautiful change (April 17)

Rev. Carol Howard Merritt interviews Rev. Martha Spong (audio) at the Christian Century (no subscription necessary) (April 17)

Rev. Rosalind Hughes at over the water (April 18)

Rev. Erin Counihan at Somewhat Reverend (April 18)

Rev. Robin Craig at Beautiful and Terrible (April 19)

Rev. Diane Roth at faith in community (April 19)

Rev. Deb Vaughn at An Unfinished Symphony (April 20)

Rev. Laura Schmidt Viau at The Viau from Here (April 20)

Rev. Deborah Lewis at Snow Day (April 22)

Rev. Teri Ott at Something to Say (April 22)

Rev. MaryAnn McKibben Dana at The Blue Room (April 23)

Rev. Joanna Harader at Spacious Faith (April 24)

Rev. Jan Edmiston at A Church for Starving Artists (April 24)

Rev. Martha Daniels at Rainbow Pastor (April 25)

Rev. Kimmy Stokesbary at Go the Distance (April 26)

Rev. Julie Woods at A Country Girl (April 27)

Rev. Laurie Brock at Dirty Sexy Ministry (April 27)

Rev. Sharon Temple at Tidings of Comfort and Joy (April 28)

Rev. Sarah Howe Miller at The Vicar of Hogsmeade (April 28)

Rev. Pat Raube at A Swimmer in the Fount (April 29)

Rev. Catherine MacDonald at My Window on God’s World (April 29)

Rev. Traci Smith interviews Martha Spong (April 30)

Rev. Karla Miller at amazing bongos (May 1)

Rev. Elizabeth Evans Hagan at Preacher on the Plaza (May 1)

Jacquelyn Lynn at Jacquelyn Lynn Blog (May 2)

Rev. Katya Ouchakof at Proclamation (May 3)

Rev. Rachel Hackenberg  (May 4)

Rev. Jennifer Mills-Knutsen at For the Someday Book (May 4)

Rev. Jemma Allen at Exilic Chaplain (May 5)

Gillian Hoyer at Gillian’s Island (May 5)

Rev. Stacey Simpson Duke at Earthchicknits (May 5)

Mary Beth Butler at Terrapin Station (May 6)

Rev. Sara Irwin at Sara I Writes (May 8)

Rev. Hilary Campbell at Pootling Along (May 11)

Rev. Anne Andert at Soul Wiggles (May 13)

Rev. Sigi Hegelson, guest-blogging at RevGalBlogPals (May 14)

Rev. Ruth Everhart at Love the Work (do the work) (May 15)

Rev. April Yamasaki at Writing and Other Acts of Faith (May 15)

Rev. Michelle Torigian (May 18)

Categories: RevGalBlogPals, RevGals Book Project | Tags: , | 13 Comments

RevGalBookPals: Summer/Winter Reading List

I have 338 books on my To Be Read list on the Goodreads website. (Are we “friends” there?)

I have three separate stacks of TBRs in my office. Let’s not discuss the galleys and other books on my Kindle (and my Nook).

I might have a problem.

These piles and lists only grow. Sometimes I think I should make myself a spreadsheet of what to read next and when. That would be a good plan, until…. ooh, look! Bill Bryson has a new book out and so does… FOCUS!

In the northern hemisphere, we’re approaching summer. Our southern sisters are approaching their colder months. Sometimes this time of year has a break for pastors. Sometimes not.

Whether or not you’re anticipating a vacation or a reading week in the months to come, please share in the comments what you’re enjoying, staring at on the side table, or waiting for on the library list.

 

Some of my list:

 

Faithiest: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious

H is for Hawk

The Man Who Would Not be Washington

Americanah

The Orchardist

He Descended into Hell: A Christological Study of the Apostles’ Creed and Its Implication to Christian Preaching and Teaching in Africa

 

How about you?

 

Categories: book discussion feature, Book recommendations, books, RevGalBookPals | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

The Pastoral is Political: The Male Gaze is Unbiblical

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources. (Luke 8:1-3)

Why does that passage matter? In the scheme of things, Luke’s gospel is following along. There are women spoken to, healed, encountered. This also happens in John and in Mark. Matthew, too. This insertion from Luke is interesting, though. It must be there for a reason.

I believe it is there to refute the idea that the disciples traveled with camp prostitutes. This passage is inserted, in my opinion, to acknowledge what was likely rumored and true about the disciples when Jesus was in the flesh and then among the followers of the Way after the Ascension. There were women with them. Why mention that the women had been healed or to whom they were married or their names?

It keeps the women from being nameless and faceless. They are not just bodies, traveling with the men- serving food, scratching itches, and tidying up after a late-night gabfest with the Master. They were participants and, furthermore, many were of greater social status than that of the disciples. Their names are used so that those who read Luke’s account would recognize some of these women by name, habit, or story.

Additionally, the gospels and the Scripture, where the Spirit peeks through, does not allow women to function merely as sperm receptacles and fetal incubators. Jesus reminds the Samaritan woman that she has worth beyond whatever man might currently offer her protection via house or bed (John 4). He also sees fit to restore a woman beyond fertility and a woman before fertility to life and community (Mark 5).

Throughout the Scripture, women wrestle with the ability or inability to have children, but those around them affirm that their worth is beyond rubies in being who they are. There are prophetesses, female judges, women who preserve their families, their in-laws, and even their husbands’ necks and nether regions. The Bible has no shortage of women upon whom the male gaze was simply admiring of strength, wisdom, and courage.

It is when Christianity becomes domesticated, around the time of the pastorals, that the community of women as leaders, teachers, facilitators, and financiers becomes a problem. As the Empire makes its own impression on Christianity, there is a certain domesticity that becomes expected of women. The mater familias is not yet a bishopess or even a deaconess. She is no longer a theotokos (God-bearer) alongside her brother disciples, she is a vessel whose value lies in her (tamed) sexuality, which is redeemed through honorable male claiming and through the bearing and raising of godly children.

Somewhere in there, women stopped being seen with the eyes of the Son of Man, and just became seen with the eyes of men.

I’ve been thinking about this with the information that has come out about Josh Duggar and his molestation of at least five young girls when he was a teenager and they were younger. I’m not linking to any story related to that. You can google it and come back. In addition to no charges filed, Duggar’s “therapy” was to help a family friend with a construction project. Then he was readmitted to the bosom of the family and it is likely that those whom he abused, including some of his sisters, were ordered to forgive him. It has been alleged that victims of this molestation also received counseling. In the same manner as Josh? Was their counseling toward their own ownership of their bodies and their right to reject unwanted advances? Was it counseling toward releasing of guilty feelings and wholeness? Was there a time to discuss that forgiveness might never feel right or come?

Part of the reality of the Duggars’ Biblical interpretation involves the subservience of women- in childhood and in marriage. Sisters are subservient to brothers. Daughters to fathers. Wives to husbands. Day in and day out. This is the obedience that matters. This order puts women in right relationship with God.

That manipulation of the Word, as well as the male gaze, makes me wholly uncomfortable, to say the least. Women who are taught- nay, indoctrinated- to this end struggle to perceive self worth outside of their relationship with men. Where they resist, it is labeled disobedience. Where they are mistreated, they are marked as co-sinners- in temptation and “allowing” such things to occur. Even little girls know that their value comes from how men view them, not what they can do themselves.

How far we have come from Luke’s paragraph- meant to end speculation and to clarify that women were a valued and valuable part of the traveling disciples’ group… AS women. The later church rejected the Gospel of Thomas, which asserts that Jesus would make Mary Magdalene like a man so that she could be saved, as the men were to be. The accepted gospels let stand that God enfleshed only had one gender expression, but he surrounded himself with many other bodies.

We cannot allow a twisted perception of the Gospel, of women’s roles, of “obedience” to co-opt the wideness of God’s mercy. There is no joy in Mudville that Josh Duggar has been exposed as having molested young girls. There is deep, deep grief that he, along with his victims, grew up with an understanding of the Bible that left all of them confused as to what is right relationship between men and women. His sin is not the only one here and he’s not the only one who needs to ask for forgiveness.

Whether or not the forgiveness is granted, from humans, is a different story. I have to ask myself, what would Mary, Susanna, and Joanna do?

Categories: The Pastoral is Political | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ferocious: A Pentecost Prayer

How great you are, O God our God,
and how foolish are we to call you ours!
Your power cannot be measured,
your holiness cannot be contained.
Without you, we are entirely hopeless …
with you, we are completely unsettled.

How to choose:
between your Consuming Fire
and the embers of complacency?
between your Dance of New Life
and the brittle familiarity of these bones?
between your Righteous Justification
and this world’s systems of injustice?

In the power of your glory,
save us and grant us courage
to draw near to your ferocious grace.
Give us strength to bear down
through the labor pains
of reparation & restoration.
Fill us with visions beyond our wildest dreams,

and as we dream,
we will sing your highest praises
if you will hold our deepest sorrows;
we will remember your promises of life
if you will hold our stories of death;
we will say your name often & loosely as though drunk
if you will hold our names intentionally in your hand.

Be fierce, O Holy God —
the world needs you to be fierce,
and the world needs us to be fiercely convicted
by your power and grace.
We dare to say
that we are ready to be
changed by your Spirit; we are ready.
Amen.

Categories: Pentecost, prayer, RevGalPrayerPals, Sunday Prayer | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Saturday Prayer

Holy One,

Here we are again, another Memorial Day weekend..

The “unofficial” start of summer – sunshine, barbecues, road trips, pool and beach excursions, a much-needed day off work.  After a long winter and a “sometimes spring,” we mark time with this date on the calendar.

We revel, we gather, we party, we celebrate…yet  in the midst of our celebrations, we rush past the “memorial” part of this day – a call to pause and remember…and remember…and remember again. To remember the names and faces of the millions who have lost their lives in military service in our country and throughout this world.  To remember those who still grieve their loss, whether it has been 70 years or 7 months.

Militarization is such a divisive topic – for/against, necessary/unnecessary, unjust/just…

And though these debates are important, crucial and valid, let us all for one brief moment take the time to cease from debate…

To remember.

The dead are forever etched in the memory of God.

The dead are forever etched into the memory of their loved ones.

May the dead forever be etched into the memory of this world because they were here, they lived, and they mattered.

And may we always honor their memory by believing and working towards that which we know to be true: peace IS possible.

Amen.

Categories: Saturday Prayer | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

11th Hour Preacher Party: Pesky Pentecost Edition

DSCF5754
Having just returned from the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, I am reassured that, because of and in spite of our best efforts, the Holy Spirit is still at large in the church. Sometimes she is a gentle, warming breeze. Often she is fierce and fabulous.
As you prepare to preach this Pentecost, how are you experiencing the Spirit? Is she, for you at this time, a comforter, a challenger, a prodder or an irritation? Is she bringing restlessness or is she being elusive?
Please share with us your musings and inspiration as you prepare to preach on this High and Holy day.
You will find inspration in our Tuesday Lectionary Leanings posts for both the RCL and the NL.
Gather around this table from North, South, East and West and together we will find God speaking into all our different languages and traditions, breathing life and love. Please be encouraged to share what you have and take what you need as, together, we bring the enlivening Spirit of Pentecost to our communities today.

Categories: 11th Hour Preacher Party | Tags: , , | 42 Comments

Friday Prayer: We Have An Advocate

We are not alone, sliding through a mystery with no guidance.

We have an Advocate who guides us with power and truth. 

 

We do not pray alone, worried about “getting it right” or being heard.

We have an Advocate who prays with us, in deep, wordless sighs. 

 

We do not work alone for the healing of the world.

We have an Advocate who directs our paths and reveals Christ to us. 

 

We are born of water and fire, adopted into the family of God.

We have an Advocate who strengthens our relationship with the Holy. 

 

We are a people of bountiful gifts and many connections.

We have an Advocate who blesses and encourages us. 

 

We are yet coming to know more fully the height and depth and breadth of the love of God.

We have an Advocate who does not rest in revealing that truth to all creation.

 

 

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your work seen and unseen, which shapes the world by love, light, and truth toward the will of God.

Categories: Friday Prayer | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Five: Blooming Things

We often encourage each other to “bloom where you’re planted.” I like the symbolism, but realized that RevGals and Pals hail from all over the world! What blooms in Maryland may be far different than the flowers in your part of the world.

Dandelions!

A field of dandelions!

So, to celebrate our diversity, show us five plants that bloom around your home or neighborhood. I’m looking forward to seeing the wide variety of beauty we have among us!

Photos are a help, but don’t let that stop you from playing. You can put a link to your blog in the comments, or play along there.

Categories: Friday Five | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

Thursday Prayer

Oh God,

I know you saw me. I know you saw me sitting in my car, parked outside a place I never wanted to need to be, having done a thing I’d always hoped I wouldn’t have to do. Again. Lost in a whirl of sadness, grief, humiliation, fear and rage. I know you saw me answer the phone, in that moment, even though I wasn’t sure I could even form words between my ugly-cry wheezings. I know you saw me answer that phone anyway because it was my best friend calling from half a country away and how because she was my best friend I could tell her the real answer when she asked how I was really feeling. And I know you heard me say it.

“I feel like I want to drop-kick God in the crotch.”

And there it is. I’m furious. At the situation. At people who hurt each other. At a system that doesn’t provide lasting help. At myself that I can’t fix it and sometimes make it worse. But mostly, in this moment, more than anyone or anything else, I am so spitting mad at you.

So God, dear God, who I love and trust and serve and hope in, still… today I pray for all of us who are so incredibly mad at you. For the brokenness you won’t repair. For the hurts you let burn and the wounds you allow to be reopened. For the illnesses you don’t cure. For the injustices you haven’t corrected. For the sufferings that DO. NOT. END. For those of us who have spent too many nights filling our pillows with tears. For those of us who come to your house week after week, day after day, and still find no peace. For grief that goes on and on. For all the ways we know you could step in and can’t understand why you won’t. For the prayers we’ve been praying and praying and praying and now have started screaming and wailing and cursing.

So hear us, God. All of us who are angry. Hear our threats, hear our pleas, hear our rage. Hear us because we don’t stop calling to you. Because we need you. Because we love you still. And we are desperate for the hope and help that only you can provide.

Amen.

Categories: Thursday Prayer | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Wednesday Prayer: Messy

Dear Friend,

Here comes Pentecost

which some call the Birthday of the Church,

and celebrate with cupcakes

Our churches will be decorated,

we will have doves on long poles in the procession.

Our members will wear red!

It is a day of joy.

 

In preparation for the feast day,

I pray that we remember that

the first Pentecost

(originally Shauvot, the Feast of Weeks in Israel’s calendar)

was not anything that the participants planned for.

They were not wearing red (probably). They were PRAY-ING.

 

Suddenly, things were on fire.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:1-4, CEB).

It was messy. It was scary. It was unexpected.

It was so unexpected that people outside the gathering space noticed!

Imagine if folks outside OUR churches noticed our festivals, this Pentecost!

 

I pray we might be open to something unexpected,

Even if it’s messy or scary.

To your spirit, moving among us

Alive, like tongues of fire.

Amen.

on fire

Categories: Pentecost, RevGalBlogPals, RevGalPrayerPals, Wednesday Prayer | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Wednesday Festival: Pentecost Preparation

Oil lamps in Leshan, China

Pentecost will be celebrated in churches using the western church calendar this week.  Around the ring there are a variety of resources to help with your preparation and reflection.

Rachel Hackenberg writes ‘On Birthdays and Pentecost’ and wonders whether “Pentecost-as-birthday emboldens the Church toward change”.

Jan Richardson offers images and words about the fire of Pentecost.  She writes about Pentecost after burying her husband’s ashes:

There is such a finality to ashes—ashes to ashes, dust to dust, after all. Yet Pentecost arrives to remind us that ashes do not have the final word, and that fire does not come only to consume. It comes also to bless, to call, to inspire, to give to us what we could never begin to imagine on our own.

Alicia Davis Porterfield considers Pentecost from the kitchen table and the possibility that being able to speak “sports-speak” just might be a gift of the Spirit.

Kristin reflects on this week’s RCL Gospel passage, inviting us to “revel in the promise of renewal that God offers”.

Janet Hunt engages us with the dry bones of the Ezekiel text which is an option in the RCL for Pentecost Sunday.

Casey compiles some resources for us over at Faith and Wonder, and offers suggestions for engagement in word and image.

Mindi has published her resources for Pentecost Sunday including a Call to Worship, and prayers of confession and assurance.

Natalie Sims offers here usual comprehensive review of music options for the lectionary texts.

And as always you can check out the lectionary resources on this site: find this week’s RCL reflections here and Narrative lectionary here.  

If you have published resources for Pentecost on your blog, please add the link in the comments.

Categories: Wednesday Festival | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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