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Margaret Mowczko
Jephthah’s daughter, Manoah’s wife, King Lemuel’s mother—the Old Testament is full of women whose names are withheld. They are typically identified only by their relationship to a man. I’ve often found myself irritated when reading an Old Testament narrative that features an unnamed woman. Why did the Old Testament authors leave out the names of these women? Weren’t these women important enough to be named? Is the Bible minimizing the significance of its female characters? Does the Old Testament promote a society in which the service of women is diminished or ignored? To answer these questions, I needed to step out of my world and into the world of the Old Testament’s unnamed women. Read more
Throughout the last quarter of the twentieth century, women be­gan to enter the seminaries of the United States in record num­bers. Upon graduation, many sought ordination and have served well in various ministry positions for many years. These same women now find themselves sitting on empty nests, entrenched in the “good old boys” network that makes up much of the patri­archal church structure, encountering a variety of “stained-glass ceilings,” and wondering if this is where they belong. Read more
The newly formed Advisory Council on Violence Against Women, co-chaired by Attorney General Janet Reno and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, is seeking to maximize the impact of the Violence Against Women Act by recruiting the collaboration of national leaders from law enforcement, the media, colleges and universities, sports, health care, primary and secondary education, the corporate workplace and also from religion. On October 11, 1996, leaders from many faiths and religious groups gathered in Washington DC at an interfaith breakfast, with President Clinton as honorary chairperson of the event. The Attorney General gave the key-note address, and leaders of various faith communities were asked to respond briefly. Speaking for evangelicals, Catherine Kroeger made the following remarks: Read more
This is not an article about the role of women in the church or in the workplace. It is about managerial responsibility to safeguard women on the job. Our laws today say that employers have that responsibility. They must ensure that women are not unfairly treated as sex objects, and that sexuality not interfere with normal work patterns and practices. Read more
W: William David Spencer A: Ajai (male) M: Maureena (female) W: I notice that some Muslim women wear head coverings one hundred percent of the time. M: Yes, all the time. It is a very totally different culture in the Muslim world. That’s why, when we went to the Middle East, the first thing we were taught—do not walk around with your hair open. Because they consider you are a prostitute. Because they consider that, if you show your hair, you are tempting men to the sexual immoral sin. You are enticing them. This is according to the Qur’an. Read more
Africa has been the theater of many wars in the past decades, and the Congos are no exception. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Congo Brazzaville have been in war both simultaneously and at different times. Even though the DRC has garnered most of the publicity in the West because of its size, the length of the war periods, and its strategic economic position in Africa, Congo Brazzaville1 has also experienced war and its many consequences. Read more
It is useless to deny that women can be victims. Increasingly, the secular press documents it. The Christian press has long acknowledged it in society at large and is now beginning to acknowledge it even within the sacred walls of the church of Jesus Christ. People are also beginning to acknowledge that sexual harassment and violence exist on the job, even in strongly Christian organizations. I recently stood beside a woman in such a situation. (In referring to her in this article, we will call her Sue.) I, too, had experienced sexual harassment on the job, but in a secular context. I found few differences in what needed to be done between the secular context and the Christian organizational context. Read more
When a girl is sixteen years old, it seems like life is full—innocent and wonderful—opening up like a book waiting to be storied on fine, white linen pages. The confines of childhood are being left behind while the concerns of adulthood are yet far enough in the future so that the moments of teenage hood burst with joy and possibility. Yet at any time, we are vulnerable to forces both within and outside of ourselves that can both gradually and quite quickly shift the course of our lives in ways that will affect us as long as we live. I say these things as one speaking from my own experience of feeling the wonders of being sixteen, later complicated by life and marriage to an abuser.           Read more
 An 18-year old, 5'8" famous Brazilian runway model died recently of systemic infection due to her anorexic state. She weighed only 88 pounds. Her problem? She sought to be the epitome of beauty—according to the tastes prevalent in fashion circles. Read more
The recent news has been permeated with two contradictory “epidemics” characterizing Americans: anorexia and obesity. However, maybe the larger paradox is the way in which the Church has embraced the same standards of beauty that the larger culture has. In many cases, the Church has adopted cultural standards of beauty and views physical bodies as representations of spirituality. This appears to be a modern version of the “health and wealth” gospel in that “Christ is reflected in one’s physical appearance.” Read more

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