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Archive for February, 2011

Most men have faith in women, few women have faith in women. I have been astonished at the number of women who have come to me for advice whose only trouble was that they had no faith in womanhood, and consequently none in themselves.

These words from Helen Sunday stood out to me as I read about her earlier today. Not only do we need to have faith in our ability to live fully into womanhood, we need to be able to define what womanhood means. What does it mean to have faith in womanhood and therefore ourselves? Helen Sunday presents several potential sources of identity definition for women. First, a woman can ask herself what men want her to be. Second, a woman can ask herself whet she wants to be. “But, in the future, we shall come to asking the right question: ‘What does God want a woman to be?'”

The question of today is only half-answered as yet. Women do not know what they want to be, because they do not yet know what they are. Only one thing they have learned and this is that they are no longer the chattels of the man.

As I read this text written by a woman in the early 1900’s I can’t help but think that we have not come very far in defining who we are as women according to God. How do we define ourselves as women? What questions should we be asking and what actions should we take in discovering this? The most essential element of this discovery of womanhood seems to lie in the fact that women need to act for themselves. Definition cannot come from outside the woman and it cannot come without a recognition of the essentially female aspects that come from God.

I will close with one more quote from Helen Sunday because she articulates this better than I can ever hope to.

“The great, historic opportunity has been offered to them [women]. The gates have been flung wide for them. At last, the doors of the Doll House have been opened, and they have been invited to come into the great world outside. The rest is in their own hands”

Amen

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women and the psalms

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
and may his prayers condemn him.
May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven[a] from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.
May his descendants be cut off,
their names blotted out from the next generation.
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD;
may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
May their sins always remain before the LORD,
that he may blot out their name from the earth.
Psalm 109:6-15

I have often struggled with amount of violence in the Psalms. These Psalms are full of anger. The question is, where does this anger come from and is it justified? I think this question is especially important for women in today’s world to consider. When and how are we allowed to be angry?

I am reading The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris right now and she has some interesting things to say on the subject.

Women in American society are conditioned to deny their pain, and to smooth over or ignore the effects of violence, even when it is directed against them. As one sister said to men, “Women seem to have trouble drawing the line between what is passive acceptance of suffering and what can transform it.” This is the danger… that we will try to jump too quickly from one to the other, omitting the necessary but treacherous journey in between, sentimentalizing both pain and praise in the process.

The sister, speaking of the women she counsels–displaced homemakers, abused wives, women returning to college after years away–says, “It doesn’t help that the church has such a lousy track record here. We’ve said all these crappy things to people, especially to women: ‘Offer it up,’ or ‘Suffering will make you strong.’ Jesus doesn’t say these things. He says, ‘This will cost you.'”

Anger is one honest reaction to the cost of pain, and the psalms are full of anger.

Maybe it’s time for us to just admit that we are angry and use the Psalms to put words to that anger.

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Seriously, I want to be this girl…

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In response to the discussion about Haven, our wonderful professors submitted this letter to the editor of our school newspaper today. This is truly why I am glad to be a student at SPU. Our professors truly care about us and it feels good to see this in writing. You can find the online copy of the letter here. You might also find this article about faculty response to the discussion surrounding Haven particularly interesting.

To our students, present and former:

The recent events concerning Haven’s status prompt us to redouble our commitment to express our deep, abiding love and care for each and every precious one of you — with whatever cares, concerns or questions you have as you come into our classes, offices, labs, performance halls and library carrels.

As faculty, we are proud to be the voices of SPU’s ecumenical spirit. We come from diverse perspectives on issues of sexuality, but we all share a common pastoral concern for the safety of your heart, your mind, your body and your spirit. You are the reason we have been called to Seattle Pacific University. We have a deep sense of responsibility toward your genuine growth as unique human beings of inestimable worth. Sometimes, these encounters change you and us forever, for the better. Sometimes, we fail to meet our own standards. Forgive us for our lapses of this duty to you.

We commit ourselves anew to make a safe place for you to live, learn and grow. And we take heart, like Paul, that nothing — nothing unwise we say, nothing shortsighted we do, nothing unthinking we do — will be able to separate each of you from God’s love that is in Jesus Christ.

We share your hope for a rich and gracious dialogue on issues of human sexuality that trouble the church and that have too often been neglectful of the minority voices among us. Therefore, as faculty, we commit to partnering with you to promote those conversations on SPU’s campus.

Sincerely,

Christine Chaney, English

Stamatis Vokos, Physics

Priscilla Pope-Levison, Theology

Kevin Neuhouser, Sociology

Gaile Moe, Family and Consumer Sciences

Jeff Keuss, Theology

William Purcell, Communication and Journalism

Jennifer McKinney, Sociology

Michael Hamilton, History

Kerry Dearborn, Theology

Lane Seeley, Physics

Tina Schermer Sellers, Marriage and Family Therapy

Patrick McDonald, Philosophy

Jack Levison, Theology

Robbin O’Leary, Mathematics

Kathy Stetz, Nursing

Andrew Ryder, Theatre

Greg Fritzberg, Education

Ben McFarland, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Sharleen Kato, Family and Consumer Sciences

Luke Reinsma, English

Don Holsinger, History

Susan VanZanten, English

Sharon Young, Mathematics Education

Christopher Sink, Counselor Education

Shannon Scott, Communication and Journalism

Eric Hanson, Music

Rod Stiling, History

Sara Koenig, Theology

Don Yanik, Theatre

David Diekema, Sociology

Ruth Ediger, Political Science and Geography

Mícheál Roe, Psychology

Kevin Bartlett, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Elaine Scott, Engineering

Eleanor Close, Physics and Science Education

Sandra C. Hartje, Family and Consumer Sciences

Carlene J. Brown, Music

Jennifer Maier, English

Laura Lasworth, Art

George A. Scranton, Theatre

Brian Chin, Music

Doug Thorpe, English

Owen Ewald, Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics

Kimberly Segall, English

Elaine Weltz, Computing Sciences

April Middeljans, English

Tom Trzyna, English

Denise Daniels, School of Business and Economics

Roger Feldman, Art

Margaret Diddams, Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development

David Nienhuis, Theology

Dana Kendall, Psychology

David Stewart, Clinical Psychology

Don Peter, Engineering

Amy Mezulis, Clinical Psychology

Ed Smyth, Educational Ministry

Kathy Fitzsimmons, Nursing

Gary Fick, Library

Cindy Strong, Library

Baine Craft, Psychology

Rick Jackson, Communication and Journalism

Liz Gruchala-Gilbert, Library

Scott Beers, Education

Frank Kline, Education

Thane Erickson, Psychology

Tracy Williams, Education

Evette Hackman, Emerita Family and Consumer Sciences

Timothy A. Nelson, Biology

Doug Strong, Theology

Lorelle Jabs, Communication and Journalism

Cindy Fitch, Biology and Pre-Health Advising

Ursula Krentz, Psychology

David Leong, Theology

Stephen Michael Newby, Music

Sharon Hartnett, Education

Melani Plett, Engineering

Raedene Copeland, Family and Consumer Sciences

Rebekah Rice, Philosophy

Bob Drovdahl, Educational Ministry

JoAnn Atwell-Scrivner, Physical Education and Exercise Science

Karen Snedker, Sociology

Ross Stewart, School of Business and Economics

Phil Prins, Computing Sciences

Al Erisman, School of Business and Economics

Jim Rand, School of Business and Economics

Randy Franz, School of Business and Economics

Rick Eigenbrood, School of Education

Heidi Monroe, Nursing

Bryce Nelson, Library

Janet Bester-Meredith, Biology

Steve Johnson, Mathematics

Daniela Geleva, Family and Consumer Sciences

Don Summers, School of Business and Economics

Steve Layman, Philosophy

Wayne Johnson, Music

Lynette Bikos, Clinical Psychology

Don MacDonald, Marriage and Family Therapy

Bryce Nelson, Library

Lyle Peter, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Jon Deming, School of Business and Economics

Mike Langford, Theology

Charlotte Pratt, Biology

Michelle Beauclair, Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Rainer Seitz, School of Business and Economics

Karisa Pierce, Chemistry and Biochemistry

(This is a partial list of signers as of Feb. 21 — a complete list will be published in the next issue of The Falcon in a full-page advertisement.)

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I am home for the long weekend. Time at home always prompts me to think about who I am and where I came from. Combine this with the fact that I am graduating in four months and you have one very introspective Adri on your hands.

Since embarking on my education at SPU I have become increasingly critical of culture (in good ways I hope) and I like to think that I have a little bit of a rebel streak in me. Hell, during a game with friends, I was voted most likely to “piss off a police officer and get arrested.” While this doesn’t always seem like a great plan for my life, I like to think that this is a semi-true characterization of myself. I pray that I will never become a person who blindly follows authority and I hope that I will never stop seeking truth and speaking out when this truth is not upheld. So where does this Adri come from? This is a good question, one that I have been asking myself for some time now.

A piece of art that I made in sixth grade provides an interesting insight into the mind of 12-year-old Adri.

That’s right folks, this piece is called “Adri’s Protest.” I started laughing when my brother showed me this unearthed piece of gold but I think it illustrates well who I was and where I came from. The protesters are holding signs that say, “the kids are our future,” “stop abortion,” “stop global warming,” and “free the test monkeys.” Pretty profound huh? And while the sentiments in this drawing might be a bit naive and overly simplistic, I like to think that my rebel streak has always been in me.

I encourage you all to go back and look at something you created when you were young, you might be surprised at the perspective your 12-year-old self can provide.

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My school is currently in heated debate over the existence of a gay and straight alliance club called Haven. The debate on whether to allow Haven club membership has been a long and exhausting one for many people on campus. As a friend and student of many of the people who have poured their hearts into this issue it is very sad to see how the students and faculty have been treated by members of the administration.

Here is a link to an article in The Falcon (the SPU newspaper), “Haven no longer to meet on campus.” And here is another link to a great article in Seattle Gay News, “SPU rejects LGBT student group, Haven’s right to meet

The most frustrating thing about the whole issue is that SPU prides itself on being a university that values open discussion and honest evaluation of many different views and beliefs, yet for some reason we cannot accept a club like Haven meeting on our campus. If we are going to be a university that strives to build strong Christian scholars, we should be open enough to at least allow conversation to happen openly on campus (for any topic).

My friend posted a link to the SPU statement on sexuality earlier today and I think this quote is particularly important to hear during this time of debate on campus.

Human beings are created in the image of God, male and female, and are of inestimable worth. Because we are created in God’s image, people must be treated with respect and dignity by all institutions in society whether male or female, young or old, rich or poor, believer or unbeliever, homosexual or heterosexual. This priceless value constitutes the theological and anthropological foundation of our discussions regarding human sexuality. We, therefore, affirm the fundamental worth of all human persons, including those with whom we disagree.

You can read the entire Statement on Human Sexuality on the Seattle Pacific website.

My hope is that SPU can come out of this with a richer sense of what it means to engage each other in discussion. Whether or not we agree on all the issues is beside the point, what matters is that we love each other enough to hear the stories and experiences of our brothers and sisters here on campus.

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Then the kingdom of heaven will be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible. When the foolish took their lamps, they didn’t take oil with them. But the sensible ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps. Since the groom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“In the middle of the night there was a shout: ‘Here’s the groom! Come out to meet him.’

“Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 But the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’

“The sensible ones answered, ‘No, there won’t be enough for us and for you. Go instead to those who sell, and buy oil for yourselves.’

“When they had gone to buy some, the groom arrived. Then those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.

“Later the rest of the virgins also came and said, ‘Master, master, open up for us!’

“But he replied, ‘ I assure you: I do not know you!’

“Therefore be alert, because you don’t know either the day or the hour.

Matthew 25:1-13

The wise virgins are thy who keep their lamps trimmed, who burn oil in their vessels for their own use, who have improved every advantage for their education, secured a healthy, happy, complete development, and entered all the profitable avenues of labor, for self-support, so that when the opportunities and the responsibilities of life come, they may be fitted fully to enjoy the one and ably to discharge the other…

…Such is the widespread preparation for the marriage feast of science and religion; such is the type of womanhood which the bridegroom of an enlightened public sentiment welcomes today; and such is the triumph of the wise virgins over the folly, the ignorance and the degradation of the past as in grand procession they enter the temple of knowledge, and the door is no longer shut

Wise are the words of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in The Woman’s Bible, a biblical commentary on various passages pertaining to women.

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