Good stuff I read this week

photo © 2007 Kjunstorm | more info (via: Wylio)
First up you have to stop by Roxanne Krystalli’s incredible blog, Stories of Conflict and Love. Roxanne works at development projects for women in conflict and post-conflict areas around the world. She not only blogs about it, but takes incredible pictures of her work and adventures as well. Here’s how she describes her site:

“Stories of Conflict and Love” is part commentary on international development, conflict and gender issues, part travelogue, part the mind’s meanderings that the road triggers. I find myself shaken by the shoulders every day. Moved by the world. Inspired, appalled, scared, excited, optimistic – in equal parts.  I am currently in the Middle East, thinking, writing about and working in the field of post-conflict development, and always seeking to be moved.

Stop by and visit her. Find out the incredible work she is doing. You can also follow her on Twitter at @rkrystalli.

For years I’ve been saying that jumping to the conclusion that the Samaritan Woman Jesus meets at the well of Jacob is a prostitute is nothing but male fantasy (which is why it’s been wrong for 2,000 years. The male interpreters and writers want to see a prostitute, so that’s what they write about. For the record Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute either). I’ve written about this in my thesis, on this blog, and preached about it (I will be preaching about her again this Sunday at Grace Episcopal Church). This week I was delighted to discover that David Lose had written from this same viewpoint on a mainstream and much read blog: The Huffington Post. In “Misogyny, Moralism and the Woman at the Well” David points out there are other explanations for why the Samaritan Woman had five husbands that do not make her a whore or a loose woman. Here’s an excerpt:

Yet there is nothing in the passage that makes this an obvious interpretation. Neither John as narrator nor Jesus as the central character supply that information. Jesus at no point invites repentance or, for that matter, speaks of sin at all. She very easily could have been widowed or have been abandoned or divorced (which in the ancient world was pretty much the same thing for a woman). Five times would be heartbreaking, but not impossible. Further, she could now be living with someone that she was dependent on, or be in what’s called a Levirate marriage (where a childless woman is married to her deceased husband’s brother in order to produce an heir yet is not always technically considered the brother’s wife). There are any number of ways, in fact, that one might imagine this woman’s story as tragic rather than scandalous, yet most preacher’s assume the latter.

And this:

Why do so many preachers assume the worst of her? I would suggest two reasons. First, there is a long history of misogyny in Christian theology that stands in sharp contrast to the important role women play in the gospels themselves. Women, the four evangelists testify, supported Jesus’ ministry. They were present at the tomb when their male companions fled. And they were the first witnesses to the resurrection. Yet from asserting that Eve was the one who succumbed to temptation (conveniently ignoring that the author of Genesis says Adam was right there with her — Gen. 3:6) to assuming this Samaritan woman must be a prostitute, there is the ugly taint of chauvinism present in too much Christian preaching….

I also love the fact he nails Dan Brown: for all the celebration of the Feminine Divine and Mary Magdalene’s expanded role, there are only two female characters in The Da Vinci Code.

Dan is the Marbury E. Anderson Chair of Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary and a contributor at

My own March Madness specials

Here’s the reminder for the freebies and special going on during the month of March:

I’m doing free 30 minute spiritual direction sessions through March 31. Email me for an appointment. Don’t know what spiritual direction is? Watch this video. One more thing to add to the video: I found I have a knack for helping artists on the spiritual path. Sometimes we artists have a tough time figuring out how to be spiritual, creative, and build a business. Sometimes we have trouble figuring out how Godde wants to use our talents and business for the greater good. If you’re having trouble:

  1. Connecting your spirituality with your business
  2. Wondering how you can serve the greater good…

I’d love to talk to you.

Don’t forget about his week’s giveaway: Wild Women: Crusaders, Curmudgeons, and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era. We aren’t the only ones living life by our rules and changing the world as we go. Get one of my favorite books to learn about the fierce foremothers who blazed the trail for us. All you have to do to enter the drawing is telling me in the comments if you’d like to see of newsletter from this site. The drawing is open until midnight, Friday, March 25.

To keep up with all the giveaways this month, you can subscribe to my blog via email or RSS. Both of those options can be found on the right bar menu.