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Lot is brewing in my mind these days, a few days after my first semester of seminary ended. My writing–both blogs and fiction–suffered this semester but I loved all the reading, writing, thinking, discussing theology, the New Testament, women in the history of American religion, and St. Anselm’s proof on the existence of God (well, maybe not that last one so much…)

A few blogs are percolating  but until then I thought I’d share some of the best of what I’ve been reading:

‘I Believe You:’ The Silence and the Shame of Sexual Violence in Church by Catherine Woodiwiss on Sojo.net: “In fact, the purest public extension of grace towards the victim — the words “I believe you” — came not from a pastor, but a host on MSNBC.” Read more, especially if you wonder if sexual abuse affects those in the Church.

After Steubenville: 25 Things Our Sons need to know about Manhood by Ann Voskamp (this relates to the Woodiwiss piece): “We went to the church elders. A handful of us girls with one teenage boy who knew what he saw and wasn’t afraid, we went to the elders and sat there with our hands literally shaking and our mouths impossibly dry and we tried to find words for what should never have to be said. My cheeks and throat burned. And I have never told anyone what happened next, but after Steubenville, to stay silent is to let perpetrators perpetuate. We were looked in the eye, Son, and what we were told, those words tried to shatter God —“Boys will be boys.” Son. When the prevailing thinking is boys will be boys — girls will be garbage. And that is never the heart of God.”

New Wave Complementarianism and the Revenge of the Straw Men by Jenny Rae Armstrong:  “I think we should speak about our beliefs and experiences with honesty and charity, never forgetting that we are beloved sisters in Christ. I think we should trust the Holy Spirit to lead and convict, and be careful not to disparage the work He is doing in and through someone else’s life, even when we don’t “get it.” I think we should keep the main thing the main thing, and team up for the good of the kingdom and the glory of God.” Interesting, especially if you go read the article she’s referring to A New Wave of Complementarianism by Wendy (and read all the comments on both)

“What will you do after seminary?” – A Female Grad on Becoming a Pastor by Suzanne Burden: “But for me, and for hundreds of other women who will graduate this May, the question to the Church still remains: “What will you allow me to do?” How we answer has Kingdom-implications as we seek to reflect his gracious rule—his unbelievably good news of reconciliation—to a watching world.”

On International Women’s Day: Why I Can No Longer Defend the Ministry of Women in the Church by Steve Holmes: This is getting a lot of comments and has been reprinted by Fulcrum and by Christians for Biblical Equality. “I have defended the ministry of women in the church in public for a while now, including on this blog. I don’t think I can do it any longer. Not because of any lack of calling or gifting in their ministry, but because of a lack in mine. …”

Now two that are from secular publications, although the first is co-authored by a minister. If you’ve never read anything from a Marxist/left-of-left perspective, these are the pieces to read. You’ll be challenged, as I definitely have been reading from this site.

The Boston-Baghdad Connection by Mel King and Rev. William E. Alberts: “In fact, [pastors’] pastoral care, while critical, apparently provided a safe way of avoiding the more risky, and no less caring, inquiry into the expressed Boston-Baghdad connection motivating the Marathon bombers.”

The Terrorist “Radicalization” of the Tsarnaev Brothers by Gary Leupp on Counterpunch (for some very strange reason I couldn’t get this to hyper-link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/07/the-terrorist-radicalization-of-the-tsarnaev-brothers/ ) This is a provocative and sobering read. “On April 15,  the brothers’ bombs killed two young women and a little boy, occasioning a national outpouring of grief and countless tributes to the imagined bravery of we Bostonians and the heroism of local police. On that same day in Baghdad, according to Iraq Body Count, 30 civilians were killed by car bombs and IEDs for reasons directly connected to the U.S. invasion and occupation. In all 62 were killed in Iraq by bombs or gunfire for such reasons, just another typical day in that wrecked country.”

And to end on a light and lovely note, because not everything is depressing, take a look at these pictures.

Happy reading and thinking and praying and doing!