Shawna Atteberry

Baker, Writer, Teacher

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Dame Wisdom in Action

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Dame Wisdom in Action
Proverbs 31:10-31

Ah, the Proverbs 31 woman, let me count the ways I hate thee. I grew up hearing about this woman every Mother’s Day. How she was a good and submissive wife who obeyed her husband and took care of her kids and was happy with her life in the home. If you come from a conservative or fundamentalist Christian background like I did, you know what I’m talking about. Every single Mother’s Day the male pastor brushes off this passage and preaches how a good Christian woman ought to act. She’s the best wife, mother, and homekeeper of them all. She eschews the public sector to take care of her home and family. She keeps her house clean, obeys her husband and submits to him. She is a wonderful mother, and gets the meals on the table on time. She’s SuperWifeMom.

By the time I hit my teens I was groaning and tuning the pastor out. By the time I hit my early 30s, I was single, not too sure if I wanted to get married, and I knew I didn’t want do the whole kids thing. I stopped going to church on Mother’s Day. If there was one Saturday I conveniently forgot to set my alarm clock and not make it to church, without feeling guilty about it, it was Mother’s Day.

Unfortunately for the conservative evangelical background I grew up with, it was beat into my head that every good Christian reads the Bible for herself. She sees what is there, so she won’t fall into error. This backfired where I am concerned. I did read my Bible. I wanted to know what it said, and how I should act. And I noticed something. I noticed that what I heard all those years about the Proverbs 31 woman was not all of the story. In fact most of what I heard wasn’t even in the story! This woman was not restricted to her home and family. I got to know an entirely different women when I read her story for myself.

This woman is a household manager, industrious, produces and sells textiles, brings in income for the family, oversees planting of a vineyard and uses her own money to set it up. She has servants she oversees, she gives to the poor, and her household is a small business that provides for her family, and her husband is praised for it. This is not the picture of the stay-at-home mother that is normally depicted in sermons. She works both inside and outside of her home.

I learned there is a big difference when the Bible talks about a wife and how we talk about a wife, particularly a housewife. Carole Fontaine said this about that difference:

In the Bible, the term wife encodes a set of productive and managerial tasks that, along with a woman’s reproductive role, were essential to the existence of the Israelite household. There is no equivalent understanding of “wife” as a social category in the modern West, where women’s household work does not usually contribute to the family economy and tends to be ignored, trivialized, minimized, or otherwise degraded. The often insulting idea of “just a wife and mother” would have had no meaning in the biblical world.

Or as Rabbi Rosenfeld said at the beginning of his lecture on Proverbs 31: “First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Women have ALWAYS worked outside the home, and EVERY mother is a ‘working mother!” Women’s work was necessary for the survival of the family, and she generated income for the family. Textiles—the spinning, weaving, and making of fabric goods–drove the ancient economy for 20,000 years. Women’s work was the backbone of the ancient economy and the ancient household. And I will love Deirdre McCloskey forever for pointing that out to me. So this woman was much more than the imaginary 50s housewife some segments of Christianity hold up as the good Christian wife. I’m not hating her as much.

Then I discovered something about her this week that I never knew, and I may just be darn close to falling in love with her. While reading up on this passage one of the writers pointed out that this poem is filled with military imagery. In fact the word translated as capable in “a capable wife who can find?” is hayil. When it’s used for a man it’s translated as “strong” or “mighty,” and it’s normally used in the context of war. It also means the power that is able to acquire strength through gaining money and raising an army. Right off the bat, we are told this is a strong woman who knows how to get things done.

Then verse 11 says: “[her husband] will lack no gain” or spoils or booty. The writer, Raymond Van Leeuwen notes that using this word here is strange because it “suggests the woman is like a warrior bringing home booty from her victories.”

In verse 16 she “considers a field and buys it.” Here the word “buy” may not the best translation of the Hebrew. Literally, she “takes” the field, and this word is normally used of an army taking a city or a region. It means to conquer and subdue a territory. This verse shows the woman looking at a wild field and figuring out how to tame it and subdue it into a vineyard. In the Judean highlands turning a plot of land into a vineyard took a massive amount of work. The soil was rocky, and all of the rocks had to be removed, then the land terraced, and the rocks built into a wall, so that the vineyard didn’t wash down the hillside at the first good rain. It also had to be terraced to make sure that enough water stayed in the vineyard so the vines could grow. Like a general this woman surveys her battlefield and plans her attack. Anyone who has ever gardened knows this is not an over-exaggeration.

Verse 17 has the most obvious military language: “she girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong” or in the good old King James Version, she “girded up her loins.” Men normally girded up their loins in the Bible for a heroic deed; a deed that involved fighting. Having a strong arm is another Biblical metaphor for being battle ready.

The end of the poem comes back to where we began with the word hayil. In verse 29 the woman’s husband tells her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Here hayil is translated as “done excellently.” The woman has done deeds of strength and power that again refer to warfare and gaining wealth. “Surpass them all” is another idiom for military activity–as in the army met the enemy and bested them.

So we see that this woman is not only pictured as a manager, entrepreneur, and merchant, she is also pictured as a military leader. There is nothing submissive or docile about this woman. She makes textiles, buys, sells, and fights for her family’s survival and good. And yes, she still sounds like SuperWoman. But there is a reason for that. Just as this woman is not the fictional housewife of the 50s, she is also not just a woman either.

I’ve always wondered why Proverbs 31 ended with this poem about this woman. So have others. It seems odd. And after all the focus on wisdom and gaining it, why does this book end with a woman going about her mundane daily activities? Part of the answer to this is how the Jewish sages defined wisdom. Wisdom was not just knowledge gained for knowledge’s sake. Wisdom was knowledge that was to be applied to everyday life. In the Bible God created the world and set boundaries and laws to govern what she created. Wisdom sought to define those boundaries and apply those laws to their daily lives. This woman is living wisdom.

But there is another reason why this book ends with a woman. It began with one. At the end of Proverbs 1 we are introduced to Dame Wisdom. We find out that Wisdom was with God when God created the heavens and earth. In fact, She was the master designer and architect of creation. She watched God bring order out of chaos. She rejoiced in creation, and calls out in the public square and city gates for men and women to follow her. She wants us to learn Her ways, so that She can give us good lives. She builds a house, prepares a feast, then goes out again to call everyone to come into Her house, eat Her feast, and learn Her ways. She continues to create and bring order to the world. After the tabernacle and temple are finished in the Hebrew Scriptures, there are huge feasts for all the people to celebrate. Wisdom does the same. She builds Her house then invites everyone over to celebrate. The last thing we hear about in Proverbs 9 is Dame Wisdom.

And the last thing we hear about in the book of Proverbs is the Wise Woman in the 31st chapter. The reason Proverbs ends with this woman is that it is showing us Dame Wisdom in action. This woman does everything Wisdom does in earlier chapters: she creates, brings order to chaos, feeds and clothes her family, and takes care of the poor. She doesn’t just live wisely, she is Wisdom Incarnate. These verses do not describe what the typical woman of that day is like. They are showing us Wisdom hard at work in the everyday world.

She shows us what we are called to do. Just like Dame Wisdom and the Wise Woman of Proverbs 31 we are called to live wisely in our everyday, mundane lives. We are called to learn what God wants, where our boundaries are and live by that everyday. For ancient Israel the boundary was there is only one God, YHWH, and YHWH alone will you worship and obey. For us as Christians our boundary is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That is our boundary. Day by day we have to figure out how to live that love at home, at work, in the store, on the sidewalk, and at church. Within the boundary of that love, we are called to create, to order the chaos around us, to build God’s realm and to celebrate God’s reign here on earth. Or as Elizabeth Barrett Browning put it:

And truly, I reiterate, . . nothing’s small!
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim:
And,–glancing on my own thin, veined wrist,–
In such a little tremour of the blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more, from the first similitude.

Our call is to see God in our world and then live what we see. When we follow Wisdom and listen to Her, our eyes will be opened, and we will see the holy in everything. When we see the holy all around us then we will know how to live our own lives and show that holiness, God’s love, to others.

Originally posted on September 22, 2009.

Related Posts
Sermon Meanderings: The Proverbs 31 Woman
Proverbs 31: A “Capable” Wife, Huh?
Poem: In the Beginning Was

My interview with the NotMom Blog

My profile at the Blog has been posted. You can read about my thoughts on being a NotMom, my chosen family, and why women without children weren’t that big of a deal for Jesus or the early church here. Please leave comments and show the other NotMoms some love.

I’m very thankful for my many chosen families, and all of the love and new roles they’ve brought into my life. In today’s world where we often don’t live near our birth families, and move so much more than we used to, I think it’s very important to have a chosen family close to you. I also think it’s important for theological reasons: Jesus said that anyone who obeyed God was his mother, brother, and sister (Matthew 12:50; Mark 3:35), so for me, my church is my family.

Jesus broadened the definition of family to include those who obeyed God. In fact, he ignored his biological family for his chosen family, which is why the American church’s idolatrous view of the biological family makes me angry. For Jesus, the chosen family that obeyed God was the most important family, not the one you are born into.

Blast from the Past: The Biblical Family?

This was originally published on 10/12/2006.

Abraham had two children with two different women. Isaac and Rachel had two children. Jacob has at least 13 children, 7 of them with Leah. What does the “typical biblical family” look like? It’s hard to tell by the patriarchs. Abraham had a wife and a concubine. Isaac and Rachel were monogamous regardless of the number of children they could produce. Then there’s Jacob with two wives, two concubines, and a brood of kids. I think it’s safe to say that there is no one “typical” family model in the Bible no matter how much some conservative Evangelicals want there to be. The New Testament is even foggier with Jesus changing the rules about family. In fact he redefined family saying “Whoever does the will of my Mother who is in heaven is my sister, my brother, my mother” (Matthew 12:15, NT: Divine Feminine Version). He also didn’t go in for putting family above all else mentality that we see in conservative evangelicalism. He said no one could put their family above him and still call themselves a disciple of Christ. This redefinition of family continues through the New Testament as the Church, the body of Christ, becomes family. Paul mentions several family members “in the Lord,” but he doesn’t mention one biological family member in his writing. We only know Paul had a sister and nephew thanks to Luke. We know Priscilla and Aquila were married, but we have no idea if they had kids: Paul and Luke never say. Then there’s Paul and Jesus–neither of them even bothered to marry. It also appears that Barnabas, Lydia, and Timothy were all single as well. And yet they are part of the body of Christ, part of the family of God.

When we see family in the biblical and Middle Eastern sense of the word, it is not the nuclear family we are used to. Family was the extended family, which usually lived together, may be not in one dwelling, but all of their houses or tents were right next to each other. When a son married, the parents built a room on top of their house for the couple. The couple then moved in. The family was run by the oldest living male–the patriarch–and everyone lived together: parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and children. This was family in the Old Testament and New Testament. In Acts we also see the concept of household, which included all the relatives plus the servants and slaves. How many people were added to the body of Christ when Cornelius and his whole household repented and were baptized? His wife (or wives), children, relatives, servants and slaves? Lydia’s household also were baptized. Who all did that include? Lydia’s relatives? An aged mother or grandmother, siblings, nieces, or nephews? Then there were her servants and slaves, all of whom repented and were baptized. Lydia’s household became the first church in Europe (Acts 16). Households and families were very different than the Western nuclear family. In fact, in many parts of the world, this is what family and households look like today. Not even Christians in other countries will agree with the American Evangelical definition of “family.”

There is a reason I’m bringing all of this up. I have seen a couple of articles about larger families starting to be more common than the typical 2-3 child norm our society worships. Of course these larger families are looked down upon, especially the mothers who decided that this is what they wanted: to have a large family. On the other end of the spectrum are couples like my husband and I. We’ve chosen not to have children. Both of these decisions should be fine with the church along with those who have chosen to remain single. All of these families are represented in the Bible. My husband and I should not be classified as “selfish” because we’ve chosen not to have the culturally accepted family. Neither should women like Leslie Leland Fields, who wrote, The Case for Kids at Christianity Today, be judged on why she and her husband have six children. In the article Leslie talked about the reaction outside of the church her big family receives, but I can see raised eyebrows in the church foyer when they walk by as well. It is more acceptable in the church for a larger family because we see children as a blessing from God. But I still have heard comments about “what were they thinking” directed at couples with a lot of children.

Back to my end of the spectrum: please do not believe that because I don’t have children that means I hate them or don’t want to be around them. I love children. And every child needs at least one adult in their life who shares their life and hangs out with them because they want to and not because they have to. I love being that person. I love being Aunt Shawna. When I told this to one of my friends, Virginia, she absolutely agreed. That meant a lot to me because Virginia is a mother (she has two kids), and she is called to children’s ministry: she’s a children’s pastor. I take very seriously the part of the infant dedication or infant baptism where the pastor turns to the congregation and asks the congregation to do all they can to help the parents raise their children in Christ and in the Church. When I say, “I will,” I mean it. I will do anything I can to help parents raise their children to know the love and grace of Jesus. Whether they have two, six, or ten, no set of parents can raise children by themselves: they need the church; they need a community. This was something the extended family provided in the Bible: parents weren’t all on their own raising a family. This is also the way neighborhoods used to be: the entire street helped parents raise their kids. It wasn’t a Lone Ranger thing.

In her book Real Sex, Lauren Winner points out that both singleness and married life teach the church about God and her kingdom. Marriage teaches us about God’s love for us, the church. Marriage teaches us what faithfulness in a relationship looks like. It also teaches us about forgiveness and compromise. Just as marriage is not easy, it is not always easy to be part of the community, and it’s not always easy to be in a relationship with God. Singleness teaches the church utter dependence on God. Singles don’t have a partner always there to help. They have to depend on God for their intimacy. They teach us that there should always be an empty spot in our lives for God alone. They also remind us that in the end the only marriage is between Christ and his Church, and all of us will be siblings. Our primary relationship with each other is not as spouses, but as brothers and sisters in Christ. Before our marriage vows are our baptismal vows. Before we married, we were a sister or brother to our spouse.

Let’s take this a step further for families of all kinds. Large families teach us we don’t always get what we want in community. Siblings may have to share bedrooms and toys. They can’t hog the bathroom or the computer. They also have to conserve: their clothes will go to the next sibling. They have to learn to share. They also have to learn to compromise. They know life isn’t all about them when there are younger siblings too play with and care for.

Childless families remind us that we don’t always get what we want. Not all of us are called to be parents, just like not all are called to be parents to a large family. Childless families remind the church that family is a much larger concept than those who live under our roofs. We also remind the families with children that they don’t have to go it alone. We are here to help. We spend time with their kids because we want to. We also remind the church that marriage is not for children alone: we can use our marriages to build the kingdom of God. Childless couples have more time and resources for short-term mission trips, giving to those in need, and in helping the families at church raise their children in a godly way.

All of us together show the world what the kingdom God is like. It’s like the single person who depends on God for the intimacy she or he craves when they crawl into their bed alone every night. It’s like the married couple who does not let the sun go down on their anger and works through their argument to reconciling peace before they go to the bed. It’s like the family with two children who show us how important it is to know our limits and to do what is best for the entire family. It is like the family who has six children and teaches us that life does not revolve around us: we have to share, we don’t always have to space we want, and there are others who need us. All of this is what it looks like to be part of the church, part of the family of God.

Proudly Childfree and Not Apologizing For It

A friend on Facebook brought this article to my attention. Ross Douthhat recently wrote for the New York Times that childfree people like me and those who postpone parenthood do so because:

Parenthood is “the last binding obligation in a culture that asks for almost no other permanent commitments at all.” In this sense, it isn’t necessarily that family life has changed that dramatically in the last few generations. Rather, it’s stayed the same in crucial ways — because babies still need what babies need — while outside the domestic sphere there’s been an expansion of opportunities, a proliferation of choices and entertainments and immediately available gratifications, that make child rearing seem much more burdensome by comparison.

This has two consequences for young, reasonably affluent Americans. First, it creates an understandable reluctance to give up the pleasures of extended brunches and long happy hours, late nights and weekend getaways, endless hours playing Grand Theft Auto or binge-watching “New Girl.” Second, it inspires a ferocious shock when a child arrives and that oh-so-modern lifestyle gives way to challenges that seem almost medieval, and duties that seem impossibly absolute. And the longer the arrival is delayed, the greater that shock — because “postponing children,” Senior points out, can make parents “far more aware of the freedoms they’re giving up.”

Once again the complexities of choosing not to have children or postponing children are glossed over. No mention is made of people like me who didn’t marry until I was 36. No mention is made of women like me who have significant health problems that would make pregnancy a living hell of pain. No mention is made of being financially secure enough or grown up enough yourself to start a family (as the daughter of a man who never grew up, I wish more people who wanted to live as perpetual teenagers would NOT have children). No, we’re just selfish people who want to have endless brunches and have marathon viewing sessions of our favorite shows (and no one ever had a child for selfish reasons: “I just want someone to love me”).

I’ve recently written about being childfree at Christian Feminism Today with my post, God Places the Solitary in Families in which I make the point that just because I don’t have children of my own doesn’t mean I’m not a parent:

This year I experienced something I thought I would never experience: empty nest syndrome. I never thought I would feel the emptiness that comes from a child leaving the nest for one simple reason: 10 years ago I decided that I did not want to have children.

What I didn’t know was that a few years later I would fall in love with a young British man who started coming to church when he started college in Chicago. Taylor and I bonded over being writers and our mutual obsession with Dr. Who. For three years we read each other’s writings and talked about everything. Somewhere along the way I realized Taylor was my kid; I had “adopted” him. In June he and his girlfriend moved to Seattle, and I became an empty nester. I can’t believe how much I miss my kid.

I also wrote a post a few years ago on my reluctance to write about my choice not to have children. I admitted I was selfish, but not because I want to spend my free time brunching it up:

I know there are those who will think I am selfish for not having children, and you’re right. I am selfish. I know how much time and energy it takes to raise kids. I know how large of an investment it is, and there is no return policy. I do not want to spend my time and energy raising kids. I want to spend my time and energy writing books. I am going to give birth and create new life: I’m just going to stick to giving birth in a metaphorical and spiritual sense.

(I’m happy to say that an article based on this post will be published in the June issue of Gather Magazine.)

Yes, I’m selfish for not wanting to have children, but not because I want an extra hour to brunch with the girls. I’m not having children because I want to do the same thing Ross Douthat does while his wife spends twice as much time taking care of their children. A Pew Study last year reveals that women spend twice as much time caring for children as men do. As I work at home and my husband works elsewhere, guess what would happen to my writing time if we had children? I’m 43–middle aged, with health problems. There’s no way I would have any energy to write once I finished with childcare. Don’t get me wrong: my husband would help all he could, and he would be an incredible father, but he works 50 hours a week outside of the home. I work at home. Do the math. (I have to admit when I see my husband with our nieces and nephews I feel a little guilty for not having children because he really would’ve been an awesome dad. But I don’t feel guilty enough to undo the tubal ligation, give it a go then be in unbearable pain for the last half of my pregnancy.)

The decision to postpone having children or not to have children at all is so much more complex and complicated than brunch and TV shows. It has to take into consideration the age the couple was when they committed to each other, the health issues of each person, where you are financially, and if you’re cut out to be a parent. Not all of us are. I’m not. I’m the first person to admit, I’d be a horrible mother. I’m glad I know that about myself. The decision not to have children is a complicated one that takes a lot of soul searching and years of discernment to make, and it should not be demeaned by an assumption that I would rather have time for one more mimosa than change a diaper.

Why Susan Patton Is Wrong About College Women & Marriage

Susan Patton would be vastly disappointed with me. The mom of two Princeton sons, whose letter to Princeton and now an editorial in the Wall Street Journal telling women in college to marry while there before all of the good fish in the sea are gone, does not want to hear how I didn’t even meet my husband until I was 28, and then I didn’t bother to marry him for another eight years. According to her, I was a very lucky woman who had focused on my career and graduate studies to find a man at all since I didn’t grab one up in college:

Could you marry a man who isn’t your intellectual or professional equal? Sure. But the likelihood is that it will be frustrating to be with someone who just can’t keep up with you or your friends. When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky, you won’t find that glazed look that comes over his face at all appealing. And if you start to earn more than he does? Forget about it. Very few men have egos that can endure what they will see as a form of emasculation.

So what’s a smart girl to do? Start looking early and stop wasting time dating men who aren’t good for you: bad boys, crazy guys and married men.

College is the best place to look for your mate. It is an environment teeming with like-minded, age-appropriate single men with whom you already share many things. You will never again have this concentration of exceptional men to choose from.

The biggest problem I have with Patton’s view is her poor opinion of men. She seems to imply that men hit their peak in college then it’s all downhill from there. If I was one of Patton’s sons I’d be pretty depressed about my mother’s view on men. She seems to think that men are these delicate flowers whose egos have to be constantly assuaged, and after college they are just not going to become more intelligent, better people as they continue to grow up. To be honest, I’m pretty insulted on behalf of all the wonderful men in my life who are incredibly intelligent and love strong intelligent women. I have more than one male friend who has no problem with his wife, partner, or significant other making more money than he does. Patton’s view of men and their delicate egos does not line up with the men I know. Neither does her view that as a woman gets older she’ll find fewer and fewer intelligent men available. I have found the exact opposite to be true. And yes there are men who once they hit their 30s only date women in their 20s, but I don’t think it’s as normative as Patton implies. I have plenty of friends in their 30s who have married in the last five years to people the same age as them (or close to).

I’m sure this is exactly what Patton’s Wall Street Journal readers want to read. After all the old white boys club does not want their patriarchy to change. They want women put back in their place, so that men can continue to rule the world without worrying about pesky annoyances like maternity leave, family leave, equal pay, or the fact that birth control is basic healthcare. Patton is doing everything she can to help them out. Thanks Susan. I wonder if her views would be different if she had daughters instead of sons?

There is also one other huge problem with Patton’s article. She’s wrong. Women with college educations are more likely to be married by 40 than woman without college degrees, whether these women married in college or not. In College Women, Don’t Listen to Marriage Concern Trolls Amanda Marcotte cites a study done by Paula England who said: “[Women with college educations] marry later, but they catch up. By age 40, 75 percent of college-educated women are married, compared to 70 percent of those who attend high school or some college and 60 percent of those who did not complete high school.” Older men don’t seem to be turned off by smart women their age if 75% of those women are married by the age of 40. England’s study also found that college educated women who married later stayed married longer. How many friends do you have who married in college and are now divorced? So not only are women who didn’t marry in college more likely to get married than women without a college degree, they are more likely to stay married.

I also have theological concerns about Patton’s views on women, men, and marriage. The biggest concern is one I have talked about over and over on this website, and it comes straight from Christian conservative circles as well: it’s the belief that a woman’s primary purpose in life is to marry and have children, and everything else in life should be subsumed under those two roles. It has to be that way because woman was made to be a “helpmate” to man. Of course no one wants to talk about how that word is a mistranslation of the Hebrew phrase it interprets (it is not a translation). Ezer Cenegdo literally means a help or power equal to. Woman was created to be a help and a power equal to a man. In English Bibles the King James Version has the most accurate translation: helpmeet. They also never talk about the reason woman was created is because it was not good for the man to be alone. You will never hear any of these conservatives say that a man’s primary responsibility in life is to be a husband and father to the exclusion of everything else because it is not good for a man to be alone. Just because human beings are created for companionship does not mean that one relationship and family unit should override everything else.

In fact, Genesis 1 has a very balanced view of work and family life:

Then Godde said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So Godde created humankind in Godde’s image, in the image of Godde Godde created them; male and female Godde created them. Godde blessed them, and Godde said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28, adapted from the NRSV).

The creation story in Genesis 2 interprets humanity’s dominion over the earth into the man and woman tending the Garden of Eden. Again in that creation account human beings are told to work and reproduce. They were to make the earth fruitful and be fruitful themselves. Work and family have always gone hand-in-hand in the Bible. The main difference today is that men and women no longer work at home as was true in the Bible, but both men and women have always worked to financially provide for their families from the very beginning. This idea that women have to devalue their education and career to be marriageable is not Biblical, and I would go so far as to say it is sin. It encourages us to disobey the greatest commandment: to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and with all of our strength (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).

I’m not saying marriage and parenthood are not vital roles in life or are not needed. I’m happily married. I have to say it’s one of my favorite sacraments. I’m just saying it’s not the be all and end all of life for women, and we need to stop talking about it that way. Especially as Christians with a call to love Godde above all else and commanded to build her kingdom on earth. Churches should be encouraging their women to do everything in their power to hone their Godde-given skills to build the Kingdom of Godde in our lives, neighborhood, and cities. Kingdom building may start in the home, but it never ends there.

Yes, Susan Patton is wrong. She’s wrong about women. She’s wrong about men. And she’s wrong about marriage. Women and men created in Godde’s image are to be revolutionary world changers bringing the love and peace of Godde into their worlds through the gifts and callings Godde has given them. They should be taught to encourage one another to continue in their faith and education, and to spur each other on to be better Christians and better human beings. They can’t do that if half of them are being told to hide their lights under bushels and pretend to be less than they are for the other half. Potential husbands and wives should be taught that the stronger they are as individuals the stronger they will be as a couple. And this is how Godde intended it.

Blast from the Past: Geeks and Ghosts: Valentine's Day for the rest of us

We take Halloween very seriously too

I posted this three years ago. An update on what you will read: I still have not learned Latin (BAD SHAWNA!), and we still haven’t gone on the Haunted Chicago’s My Bloody Valentine Tour because it’s too damned cold! Tonight we will be having a romantic dinner at home: lasagna, salad, homemade bread, and sundaes, and we’ll watch The Olympics. May be we’ll get in a macabre movie or two over the weekend. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

You remember the TV show Freaks and Geeks? It had the tagline: “What High School was like for the rest of us?” This is what Valentine’s Day is for the rest of us, whose romantic tastes fall on the more….macabre and nerdy side of things.

I should preface this that for our first date My Then-Best-Friend-Morping-into-My-Boyfriend took me on The Haunted Chicago Tour (the first date weekend also included Neil Gaiman and Shaun of the Dead). It was perfect. Even if you’re not a believer of things that go bump in the night, The Haunted Chicago Tour is worth the money because of all of the weird, macabre, and gory Chicago history that you learn during this 2.5 hours. But I’m a believer of things that go bump in the night, so I was really hoping to see the monk ghosts who supposedly haunt Hull House. Everyone else was trying to see Demon Baby up in the second story window while I was wondering around the garden outside of the house praying to see monk ghosts. I should also mention the year before when My Best Friend was trying woo me, so he could become My Boyfriend, he lent me Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and American Gods to show me he was interested. Our first date fell around his birthday, so I brought along Anansi’s Boys for his present, then we went on The Haunted Chicago Tour (and watched Shaun of the Dead). That’s who we are.

February is one brutal month of Chicago, and I got my first taste when I flew up to spend one of the weekends around Valentine’s Day with The Boyfriend. The highs that weekend were two degrees. We’d just gotten together, and hadn’t seen each for over two weeks, so cuddling for warmth on the couch watching movies sounded romantic (and warm) for both of us. Did we watch Casablanca? Ever After? Sleepless in Seattle? Oh hell no. Here was our “romantic” movie line-up: Donnie Darko, Being John Malkovich, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Groudhog Day. We may have watched a couple of Pixar movies because we totally love Pixar. Knowing us: The Incredibles was also on the line-up. We did brave the frigid Chicago weather for a wonderful meal at Gioco’s. But that’s not what I remember. What I remember are airplane engines falling out of the sky, people taking over John Malkovich, and Bill Murphy committing suicide and taking Phil with him.

This picture was NOT taken in February

Then there was our first Valentine’s Day as Husband and Wife. Sometime before February (and yes the weather was brutal), we were watching Mythbusters, and Kari was wearing a shirt that said Geek. And Geek was written in Greek letters. I blew out one of The Hubby’s eardrums by jumping up and down on the couch and yelling and screeching: “I HAVE TO HAVE THAT SHIRT!” You see, being the total nerdy dork I am, Greek was my favorite subject in college, and I pursued an M.A. that was almost nothing but Greek and Hebrew. I’ve called myself a Greek Geek for years. I. HAD. TO. HAVE. THAT. TSHIRT. And guess what The Hubby gave me for Valentine’s Day? Yeah baby. (I don’t remember where we ate out at.)

Another Valentine’s Day I received a collection of books to teach myself Latin because a couple of weeks before I had mentioned that I love learning dead languages, and I wanted to add Latin to Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. The Hubby is my biggest supporter when it comes to learning more geeky subjects and becoming a bigger nerd. God, I love that man. (Don’t remember where we ate at.)

Tonight we’ll be staying in and watching Being Human and Castle. Because that’s just who we are. We’ll be going out to Gioco’s for dinner on Wednesday because we don’t want to deal with all the crowds (and next year I probably won’t remember where we ate at). It’s who we are. And may be next year we’ll go on Haunted Chicago’s My Bloody Valentine Tour (scroll down about half way down the page).

C’mon, you know you want to join us.

Now I am off to write a wonderfully macabre Valentine poem for my nerdy macabre Husband.

New post on Christian Feminism Today: Mutual Submission in This Time in This Place

I have a blog post up at Christian Feminism Today discussing the Household Codes and mutual submission in the New Testament and for today: Mutual Submission in This Time in This Place:

I think we do ourselves a disservice if we simply fall back to the New Testament Household Codes and say that’s the way it should be. That set of Household Codes won’t work in this time and place, but what Household Codes will? One where children see parents sharing power and not insisting on having their own way all the time? One where couples decide that a smaller house and fewer things is the way to go, because neither one wants to spend that much time at work and they’d rather spend more time together? A code that encourages workers to take their vacation time instead of being workaholics?

Yes, it’s much easier to just fall back to Ephesians 5 and say let’s do this! The Bible says it, so it’s good enough for me! But does that convey a contemporary Christian message of mutual submission? Or is it just a cop-out, so we don’t have to do the hard work of figuring out how to be Christians in this time and this place? I don’t have the answers, and honestly, I believe it’s a question that needs to be worked out in our faith communities.

This blog post is part of the One to Another syncroblog at Rachel Held Evans’ blog this week.

“Submit One To Another: Christ and the Household Codes,” which will focus on those frequently-cited passages of Scripture that instruct wives to submit to their husbands, slaves to obey their masters, children to obey their parents, and Christians to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21-6:9, Colossians 3:12-4:6; 1 Peter 2:11-3:22).

Sermon: Everyone Has a Story, Judges 4

This weeks Old Testament reading (Proper 28A/Ordinary 33A/Pentecost +22) is Judges 4:1-7. Unfortunately, the reading stops before the story really gets going and gets good. You really should read the entire chapter, verses 1-24. I wrote this sermon eight or nine years ago, and it is still one of my favorites. Probably because it has some of my favorite people in the Bible.

Everyone Has a Story

Judges 4-5

One of my absolutely favorite news segments was “Everybody Has a Story.” Journalist Steve Hartman had this absolutely cockamamie idea that a person didn’t need to be rich, or famous, or even a celebrity to have a story. He believed that ordinary people, living ordinary lives, in ordinary places had stories that the rest of us would want to hear and might even help us live our own little, ordinary lives. Even Steve admitted he wasn’t sure his idea would work. But for years Steve Hartman proved that everybody has a story. One of things I loved about this news segment is that Steve found some of the most unlikely people, in the most unlikely places, who have lived through and done some of the most unlikely things.

His stories reminded me a lot of the stories I read in the Bible. Ordinary people, doing ordinary things, living ordinary lives. But instead of a pesky reporter dropping in, a pesky God decides to show up and change those ordinary lives forever. That’s what happened in Judges 4.

An Unlikely Couple

The first three verses of this chapter are typical for the book of Judges. In the book of Judges Israel is caught in a very destructive cycle. They decide to worship the gods around them instead of Yahweh–the God who brought them out of Egypt. God then gives them over to an enemy who oppresses them for a while–in this case 20 years. Then the people come to their senses and cry out to God who then raises a judge to deliver them from their oppressors. There is much rejoicing and the people obey God during the life of that judge and then the cycle starts all over again. This is called a downward spiral because not only does the same cycle keep happening, but each time it gets worse.

When we come to verse 4 we read: “At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel.” Now we come to the first twist in this story–the judge is not a man–it’s a woman. We have an unlikely judge–she’s a wife and probably a mother. And why is she the judge and not her husband? Because God called her and not him. Yes, it’s as simple as that. And what about Lappidoth? I always wonder about this man. He’s only mentioned once in the Bible, but he intrigues me. Since Deborah is judging Israel at the palm of Deborah and fulfilling her calling as a prophet, I’m assuming he’s okay with the arrangement. And yes, in our day and age, we go, “Well duh, yes, she can work if she wants to.” Back then, in that day and age, Deborah should have been home being a wife and mother–cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids. The place she should not have been was out in public, resolving disputes among the people. That was man’s work. That should have been what Lappidoth was doing. But this unlikely couple obeyed God’s rather strange calling on their lives–God called Deborah to be a prophet and judge, and both she and Lappidoth obeyed God’s calling.

So, not only Deborah, but Deborah and Lappidoth are the first unlikely people we meet in this story. Now we will meet our next unlikely person.

An Unlikely General

Barak enters our story next. H’s a general, commander of the army of Israel. Deborah tells him that God has spoken and wants Barak to take an army and move against Israel’s oppressor: Sisera. Up to this point the men God called to judge Israel’s enemies have been gung-ho about going and wreaking a little havoc. God told them to go and destroy Israel’s enemies, and they went and destroyed Israel’s enemies in some very creative ways with no cajoling or prodding. So when Deborah calls Barak and tells him God’s ready to move against Sisera, we expect Barak to yell, “Yippee, it’s about time!” and go. But that’s not what he does. Barak puts a condition on his obedience: Deborah must go with him. The general wants a woman to accompany him in battle. And this woman, this married women who probably had children, says, yes. If that’s what it takes to do God’s will then she will go, so that the enemy can be defeated.

But Barak’s condition costs him: he will not be the one to kill Sisera. In another irony of this story, a woman will kill Sisera. Of course, at this point, we think the woman will be Deborah.

Again Lappidoth impresses me. No, he’s not mentioned in these verses. But his wife is going into war with Barak, and he doesn’t forbid her. In all likelihood, he is probably one of the 10,000 who go into battle. Again this unlikely couple obey God, at what could be great cost to them.

Although Barak wanted assurance of God’s presence, and it did cost him the full glory of the battle, I don’t think we should be too hard on him. Remember Deborah was a prophet–she was God’s representative on earth, speaking the words God gave her. I think if I was Barak, I might want her to come along too; I might want that assurance of God’s presence that Deborah, not only gave to Barak, but gave to the soldiers as well.

So we have an unlikely couple and an unlikely general that God is using to accomplish her plans. Now we are coming to the most unlikely person in the whole story.

An Unlikely Ally

Word reaches Sisera that Barak and his troops are on the move, and Sisera rallies his army to meet them, thinking that he has pretty much won this battle. But God had other plans. Deborah gives the command for the troops to march and Barak leads the way. As they are moving toward each other, God throws Sisera’s army into a panic. I like the account of the battle given in Judges 5:20-21: “The stars fought from heaven, from their courses they fought against Sisera. The torrent Kishon swept them away, the onrushing torrent, the torrent Kishon. March on, my soul, with might!” God once again fought for her people and delivered them from their enemies. In the middle of the fight Sisera sees that things are not going his way, and I’m thinking that what he does isn’t something generals of armies should do: he runs. And this chicken is about to run into a fox.

Back in verse Judges 4:11 we have a verse that appears out of nowhere about a man living in the area. It seems like an odd verse to insert between Deborah’s command to Barak and the preparations to march to war. In this verse we learn about Heber, a man descended from Moses’ father-in-law, who lives in the area. Now in verse 17 we find out why that piece of information appeared out of nowhere. Sisera runs to the place where Heber and his wife, Jael, are staying. At this point in the story it appears that Sisera is home free. There was peace between Heber and King Jabin–Sisera’s boss. For all appearances he should be safe. And Jael plays the perfect hostess…for a while. She invites him in, gives him milk to drink when he asked for water. Then she tucked him in with a rug for a nice nap. But instead of standing guard at the tent as Sisera ordered her, Jael has other plans. Deborah will not be the woman who defeats Sisera–Jael is. And she is a more unlikely person for the job than Deborah. Jael is not only a woman. She is a Gentile woman. She is not from one of the tribes of Israel. God will use this Gentile woman to deliver Israel from their oppressor. Instead of standing guard and deflecting Israel’s soldiers when they come looking for Sisera, Jael sneaks to where he’s sleeping and kills him. Jael is waiting at the entrance to the tent when Barak comes, and she leads him inside the tent, and shows him his enemy, dead. All that Deborah had spoken happened. Israel defeated the army of Sisera, and Sisera had been killed by a woman. After the victory song of chapter 5, we read that Israel had rest for 40 years.

Using a very unlikely combination of people: a wife and mother, a hesitant general, and a Gentile woman, God delivered Israel from their enemies. When God came these people were living their normal, everyday lives. They didn’t think anything was going to change, and they sure didn’t think God would use them to make those changes. But God did.

An Unlikely People

And I’m not sure which should surprise us more: that God uses ordinary people to do His will, or that God gets mixed up with us unpredictable, insecure, hesitant humans at all. Even with Barak’s hesitation and insistence on Deborah coming to battle with him, God still gets mixed up in the lives of these ordinary people, with foibles and quirks, and uses them to accomplish her plans for her people.

I bet Steve Hartman would give his eyeteeth to be able to tell this story on the evening news. You see what Steve doesn’t know is that there is a reason why everyone has a story. It’s because God made everyone. We all have stories because we are made in God’s image. But it gets better than that. God comes to us and wants be a part of our stories. The God who is Creator and Ruler of all wants to take part in our ordinary, mundane, messy lives. Then she wants to use our lives and our stories to build her kingdom and accomplish her plans, not only for the Church, but for the world. But don’t freak out–God doesn’t send us out alone, just like Barak didn’t go out alone. God goes with us, so that everyone we encounter can be a part of her story–just like we are.

So as you live your ordinary life this week, remember all those ordinary people you see have stories. And God wants to be a part of those stories.

Why I Keep Harping on Biblical Women, Equality, & Women Working

Rev. Laura Grimes officiating Mass

There’s a reason why I keep harping on the subjects I do. There’s a reason I’m writing a book called Career Women of the Bible. And there’s a reason I wrote the E-book, Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. There is a reason why I keep blogging about women in the Bible who were:

  • Religious leaders
  • Secular leaders
  • Business women
  • Merchants
  • Entrepenuers

It’s because I keep reading things like this:

I believed the “Beautiful Girlhood” spiel. I did it everything the “right way”. I stayed at home, I submitted to my father, I skipped college, I prepared to be my husband’s helpmeet, and I regret it. I had years of my life go by where I was little more than an indentured servant to my parents. My husband and I were forced into thousands of dollars of debt working for an abusive employer that we could have thumbed our nose at if I had been able to get a job. While I was without the commitments of marriage and children, I could have easily gained an education that could have served me and my husband well in early marriage. All those years living as a quiet submissive housekeeper, I could have been discovering interests, and developing as a person.

Why I Wish I Had Gone to College by Young Mom

It’s because I keep reading about lies like this on the Are Women Really Human? blog:

YOUNG LADIES MUST PREPARE TO BE HOMEMAKERS…Prepare to Marry Young If God’s Will; Don’t accept cultural norms and practices…Don’t Assume College or Career:

  1. Be aware of serving the cultural idol of education and career.
  2. Be willing to lay aside the pursuit of higher education if marriage comes early.
  3. Be willing to lay aside a career when married.
  4. Think of a non-paying (but very rewarding and important) “career” in the home related to your husband and children.
  5. If unmarried, consider a “feminine” vocation or job that will benefit family later.

Detwiler further divides reasons married women work outside the home into “necessary” reasons and “wordly” reasons. The only “necessary” reasons are a husband’s unemployment or disability, or to save up money or pay off debts. The clear implication is that any woman who works outside of the home when her husband is also employed is sinning if her work is not indispensable to family finances. Meanwhile, worldly reasons for a woman to work outside of the home include:

6) Identity and fulfillment primarily in work outside the home. Not content with obscurity of being a wife, mother and homemaker… [my emphasis] 8 ) Husband and wife may think she can work outside home with little or no harm to the marriage and family. 9) Realization by a woman that it may be easier to work outside the home than in the home as a wife, mother and homemaker.

There’s an obvious disdain here for women and especially mothers who have outside employment. Detwiler clearly implies that such women are lazy, self-absorbed, and unwise parents. He clearly associates a woman working outside the home with “harm” to her marriage and family. He states that there is “lack of biblical support” for women to work full-time outside of the home.

It’s because The Council for the so-called “Biblical” Manhood and Womanhood just released a curriculum for kids and teens with this warped view of the creation stories in Genesis:

While God created men to be generally oriented toward work, God created women to be generally oriented towards relationships of helpfulness and companionship.

This is God’s good design.

A design for male headship — leading, protecting, and providing for the woman.

A design for female submission — submitting to and helping the man; a companion-helper ‘fit for him.’

Some will be doubtful … even upset by this teaching of God’s good design for men and women.

Yes I am upset about this. But not because it’s Godde’s good design. I’m upset because it’s one big, fat lie. If you want to see a drastically different way to interpret these same verses read this: Does It Really Mean Helpmate?

So yes, I keep harping on Women, the Bible, and Equality.

Women’s & Men’s Work

Of course what these people fail to tell you is that not only is there a “lack of biblical support” for women outside of the home, there is also a lack of support for men working outside of the home in the Bible. That’s because EVERYONE worked at home during biblical times. In ancient agrarian societies the home was a self-sufficient farm where everyone worked to make sure the family had shelter, clothing, and food. Few people left the home to “go to work.” The same was true for merchants at that time. If you lived in a town or city and sold merchandise, you lived above or next to your business, and the whole family worked in that business. The only people who worked away from home were traders and soldiers. That’s it. Everyone else worked at home.

The biblical model of family was not destroyed when women started working outside of the home. The biblical model of family was broken when men started working outside of the home at the beginning of the Industrial Age.

Not only did women work to financially support their families: women’s work drove ancient economy. Women’s work–spinning and weaving–making textiles to trade fueled the ancient economy, so different tribes could trade for precious metals and exotic foods. In Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years, Elizabeth Wayland Barber shows the monetary value of women’s work for their families. She also shows the power and autonomy women had as textile makers and traders in the Middle East. Women have always worked to financially provide for their families. They’ve also made, bought and traded. It’s nothing new. What is new is this ridiculous modern idea that man goes to work, leaving his family behind for the better part of the day, then comes back home with money. That’s new. Not women working. (For an excellent overview of the work women did do in the Bible to support their families and bring in money see Sunzanne McCarthy’s “Women’s Orientation to Work” blog series, starting here.)

This is a totally foreign concept to most people although it describes well over 90% of our history. (History did not begin with the Industrial Age, the Victorian Era, or 1950s suburbia.)

What the Bible Really Says

photo © 2006 Dale Gillard | more info (via: Wylio)Women working in the Bible, bringing home the bacon, and being leaders is also a foreign concept to most people. Again and again I heard from readers who were amazed at what women did in the Bible after reading Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. They were amazed to find women judges, military leaders, and women who wouldn’t take no for an answer from Moses, Jesus, or Godde. They were amazed to find a woman negotiating with a general on behalf of her city, and most of them were flabbergasted that Tamar was praised for disguising herself as a prostitute to insure she would have children for her husband’s family through her father-in-law.

They were amazed to find out that the quiet and submissive woman the women in the Bible were supposed to be is nothing but a caricature. It’s what men who have interpreted the Bible for centuries want women to be. It’s not what Godde created women to be.

And that’s why I keep doing what I do.

The time for lies is over.

That’s not what the Bible says.

It never has been. It never will be.

Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down Podcasts

Want to hear about what four of my readers said about the women they met in the Bible in Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down? Here is what we talked about in these four 30 minute podcasts:

Mark Mattison and I talk about how passages in 1 Corinthians are interpreted to keep women silent in church and submissive to their husbands. We talked about the many different ways these verses can be interpreted that make women equal with their husbands and equals in church, preaching and praying in their congregations. How many people know about these different interpretations? Not many.

Catherine Caine and I talk about how the traditional Christian views affect people who aren’t Christians. Catherine is a secular humanist in Australia, and she talks about how the traditional view of women can influence business as usual on an unconscious level. She also loved how earthy and action-oriented the women in the Bible were. She loved how they made decisions and did what needed to be done without any drama or hand-wringing.

Sandi Amorin talks about her experience growing up in the Catholic Church and how her questions about “Where are all the women in the Bible?” went unanswered. Sandi was amazed that she had never heard about most of these women in church. Sadly that’s not unusual. Women in the Bible who go against the “traditional” view of women are ignored and marginalized. We don’t hear their stories because they were anything but submissive and quiet.

Lainie Petersen and I talk about how the lie that Godde made women to be quiet and submissive leads to the abuses we see throughout the church today: domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and the reality that churches are much more likely to blame female and children victims than to hold male abusers accountable for their actions. The consequences of this horrible theology are brutal, and no one in the church likes to talk about it, much less do anything about it.

Stop listening to the lies

Most of all: don’t believe the lies anymore.

  • Women were made in the image of Godde.
  • Godde calls women to be both religious and secular leaders.
  • Godly women have always worked and financially supported their families.
  • In the Bible women not only worked–they had careers too.

Don’t listen to lies. Buy Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down and learn what Godde and the Bible really say about women by clicking the button below.
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Paul Was Not an Evil Misogynist: Podcast with Mark Mattison

photo © 2007 Francois Bester | more info (via: Wylio)Earl

A lot of people blame Paul when part of the Christian Church claims that man is the head of the women and the head of the home , and, therefore, cannot hold leadership positions in the church. They say Paul said that:

Men are the head of women & the head of the home.
Paul told women to be quiet in church.
Paul told women they couldn’t teach men.

Too bad for them Paul didn’t say all these things. Paul’s words are interpreted to say these things, but that’s not what Paul actually said.

Earlier this year I posted on why the Apostle Paul was not the evil misogynist he’s cracked up to be. I looked at the verses in 1 Corinthians 11 that are normally used to keep women subordinated to men, and out of leadership positions, and showed that the passage can be translated to empower women instead of marginalize them. My friend, Mark Mattison, posted on the same subject at The Christian Godde Project over the weekend. In this podcast on Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down, we talked about Paul’s correspondence with the Corinthian church and why a few verses cannot be taken out of either letter to be what Godde meant for all time. Here are the verses we’ll be talking about this podcast:

Now I praise you, sisters and brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.

<You say:> ”But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christa, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christa is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, because he is the image and radiance of Godde, but the woman is the radiance of the man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man; for neither was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.”

But the woman ought to have liberty over her head because after all she will judge the angels. The point is, neither is the woman independent of the man, nor the man independent of the woman, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, so a man also comes through a woman; but all things are from Godde. Judge for yourselves. “Is it appropriate that a woman pray to Godde unveiled?” Doesn’t even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her instead of a covering. But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do Godde’s communities (1 Corinthians 11:2-6, DFV).

Mark Mattison

Mark is an independent scholar who was the founder and is still a contributor at The Paul Page, which keeps up with all the scholarship coming out on the Apostle Paul (no small task). Mark is also one of the founding members of The Christian Godde Project and the general editor of The Divine Feminine Version New Testament. Mark and his family live on the wrong side of Lake Michigan in Michigan (key words: lake effect snow) where they get a whole lot more snow than we do on the right side of  Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Podcast: MarkMatthison1Corinthians11.wav

Find out what Paul really said about women keeping silent and not teaching men when you buy Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. (Hint: Paul wasn’t talking about all women for all time. He was talking to very specific troublemakers in very specific congregations.)

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The third full length podcast with Sandi Amorin will be posted next Monday (10/3)!