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Published Date: August 2, 2014

Published Date: August 2, 2014

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Journeying on Broken Glass

Part I

Dear Rev. John, I write about religion for The New York Times,
and I am doing a story about women clergy….
Researchers and women clergy themselves talk about the ‘stained glass ceiling’,
and I was wondering if that had been part of your recent experience at all?1


Multicolored panes bear down overhead.
            I can’t stand up all the way.
                        Don’t hit your head.

The stained-glass ceiling cracks.
            Shards rain down.
            Holy ground shimmers.
                        Watch your step!
                        That stuff is sharp.

Stepping carefully through the glass.
                        Can’t you move any faster?

My feet bleed.
                        Bandage them up yourself.                       

After all, you’re the one who stepped on the glass.

Part II

“…what women hold inside is more like an internal glass ceiling on their ambition,
a ‘sense of limitation [and] our deep conditioning to look for safety in relationship,
to peg our entire identity on getting affirmation, particularly affirmation from men.’”2


Do your feet hurt?
Mine too.
Let’s help each other get the glass out.
                        Sounds like you need counseling.

What if we go running?
Like a race?
Yeah.  But we run it together.
                        This is your problem.

But remember…
Don’t talk about your feet.


And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?
As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’
Romans 10:15



  1. Email received from Neela Banerjee of the New York Times on May 30, 2006.
  2. Dr. Elizabeth Debold, as quoted in Rich Barlow, “See spirituality in ideals of feminism,” Boston Globe May 27, 2006.