I know; we’re still in the midst of the dog days. What’s your August been like? I feel like I’ve been running, running, running for a long while and sometimes look back on those lazy days before school started up again with a certain amount of wistfulness recalling the luxury of boredom, which completely did not seem like a luxury at the time. It is this feeling of perpetual hurriedness that prompts me to take the long view of what a healthy activist life looks like.
Mourning the Loss, Celebrating the Life of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon
Womanist theology has given me new life I never knew I needed as a white woman until I was introduced to it in seminary. Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, one of the foremost scholars of the womanist movement, was the first African-American woman ordained in the Presbyterian church in 1974. She died on August 8, 2018. Her contributions to the world of theology as a whole as a womanist theologian are amazing.
Ezekiel is still there being hard on the women. I know; it was cultural for him and the rest of those biblical writers and figures – and yet this woman continues to yearn for a Bible and readings of the Bible that are hospitable to women and truly speak to our lives and experiences as women. This is why it can be important to seek out commentaries as conversation partners who are experts in various types of liberation theologies.
Another commentary I regularly seek out is the Women’s Bible Commentary, especially when what I encounter in my daily Bible reading leads me to feel bad about being female. For instance, on Ezekiel’s troubling imagery toward women, Jacqueline Lapsley considers,
While fully acknowledging the serious and irrevocable harm that the long history of interpretation of Ezekiel’s sexual imagery has done to real women, one may still wonder, what drives him to compose such sexually violent imagery? What historical, sociological, and cultural forces were in play to make these images symbolically and rhetorically powerful? Exploring these questions may yet yield insights of significance to women, and men, of today. (p. 283)
In other words, without excusing the effect of Ezekiel’s imagery, let’s consider the prophet Ezekiel’s context. And while at least one seminary friend of mine simply could not stand the word “context,” even as I acknowledge it was used a lot, context is often the key to a deeper understanding of scripture (and a great many other things in life).
Now that we’ve read the introductory material to 40-Day Journey with Howard Thurman, we’re on Week 1; we’ll read days 1-7. From the Questions to Ponder and Journal Reflections on Day 2:
Is it possible to live “serene” in a world like ours? If so, how? If not, why not? (p. 3)
Reflect on the spiritual disciplines you follow that help you to “live serene.” (p. 4)
I am still ruminating in gratitude over discovering The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. It asks its readers to do the “Activist Project Histories” exercise. If you aren’t able to purchase the book as a print or e-book, the full text is available at http://lifelongactivist.com. This week we’re reading Section 1: Managing Your Mission, Chapter 1: Who Are You? The part that gets me:
So, imagine that you are an “ordinary” activist. You’ve worked for years or decades on an important cause, enduring poverty, isolation, disapproval from family and community, and the depression and (sometimes) trauma that comes from being a constant witness to society’s evils. In other words, you’ve made the usual sacrifices that activists make and endured the usual things they endure. But you haven’t achieved a vast amount of liberation, or even a little liberation. Maybe you’ve just held the line against one small evil. Or maybe, despite your best efforts, the line moved backwards.
Were your years or decades of sacrifice worth it? (p. 2)
How would you answer this question?
Check the Think! Pray! Act! calendar for ideas and things to do.
Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.
- “Family Separations: A Word to the Church.” Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), n.d. https://disciples.org/resources/justice/immigration/family-separations/.
- “Reclaiming Jesus.” 17 January 2017. http://reclaimingjesus.org/home.
- Almada, Samuel E. “Ezekiel 1-39.” Pages 273–84 in Global Bible Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004.
- Broockman, David, and Joshua Kalla. “Durably Reducing Transphobia: A Field Experiment on Door-to-Door Canvassing.” Science 352.6282 (2016): 220–24. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6282/220.
- Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
- Padgett, Alan. “Old Testament: Ezekiel.” Enter the Bible, n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/oldtestament.aspx?rid=46.
- Schaper, Donna, ed. 40-Day Journey with Howard Thurman. 40-Day Journey. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Books, 2009. https://openlibrary.org/books/OL23575518M/40-day_journey_with_Howard_Thurman.