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I stand at the gate. I look back at what was. I look forward at what should be. My name is woman, and so I wait. I stand here with my Bible And read the signs that form the gates’ barrier. It is made of Scripture fragments. 1 Timothy 2 is the whittled stake that holds it up. Slivers of Ephesians 5 block my view. And splinters of 1 Corinthians bar my way. God, what did you mean them all to say? What answer can I give? I wonder why? I hold the whole of Scripture in my hand. I don’t understand Why these few shavings of passages block my way.   Read more
Today, I am a rebel. I forget about the laundry and dishes. I turn all my phones to silent And write. Yesterday, I cared what others thought. I primped and prepped to please. I scrubbed in detail on my knees For what? Read more
Why am I here and not there? I am HERE because I have been THERE. Read more
God of ages has called me to the Second Mile, To walk with my sisters through the Valley. I pray for the strength and the good courage to continue the walk. To be there in the darkness, to be there in the light, The Second Mile is to be there. Read more
Light shines from / a thousand prisms, / hung on golden filigree, / above the hall below, / where sheltered men / wear sheltering talitot / and stand and sit and / chant a thousand / shadowed words, / which had once been / written bold and in the light. Where are the Deborahs to lead the fight? Where your Huldahs to interpret sacred scrolls aright? Read more
I saw the angels. God’s holy angels. It’s all I used to talk about: Angels and the baby with the tired young mother. It was something to see. Scared me to death. Read more
Each drop of blood on the road to Golgotha was matched with a thousand tears of mine. I, who held Christmas in my body, saw Him carry the tree and decorate it dank with blood, dark with death. Oh, the carols he sighed. “Father Forgive Them.” “I Thirst.” “Son, Behold Your Mother.” What Father would forgive? What gall could quench that Voice? What Son could give his mother away on that God forsaken hill? And then, Hallelujah Chorus: “It Is Finished!” I gave up the ghosts of Christmas Past and Present with one vast, vacant, virulent voice wailing, “No! Oh God on earth, no!” I stood like a tree in a forest fire, my limbs flaming, my bones charred and breaking, my words robbed of oxygen by the presence of Hell ripped open, exposed by nailed Hands; by lifeless hands devoid of Yet-To-Come. Read more
I CREATOR/CONQUEROR/COMFORTER Read more
When I saw my cousin again, I had walked all day, my ankles swollen like my feet. Her bright eyes made my journey worth it. Read more
In 1664, a young Puritan minister named John Cotton Jr. was found guilty of “lascivious unclean practices with three women.”1 Mr. Cotton was a Harvard graduate, a descendant of well-respected parents, and a husband and father. As a punishment for his sinful deeds, English officials in Massachusetts forced Cotton to give up his pastorate of a local church. The question was, what could he do to support Joanna, his wife, and their children? Puritan leaders found the answer in an unlikely place: Martha’s Vineyard. For many years, members of the Mayhew family had labored as missionaries on the island, trying to teach local Indians about Christianity. The Mayhews needed help, and John Cotton Jr. was sufficiently qualified, in the eyes of the English at least, to preach to Indians. So, in 1666, John Cotton Jr. began a long missionary career on both Martha’s Vineyard and in the town of Plymouth. In many respects, his legacy lasted beyond his death, for his two sons, Josiah and Roland Cotton, preached to Indians in Massachusetts long after their father was gone.2 Other scholarly works have examined male members of the Cotton family and how they interacted with Native Americans.3 In this article, however, I wish to explore the experiences of Joanna Cotton, a wife and mother of missionaries in colonial America. In particular, I will explore the extent to which Joanna fell in line with expectations regarding gender roles in colonial New England. These roles typically involved a degree of female subordination to males. Read more

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