Rachel’s body was buried by the side of the road and a faith group’s maternal health ideology was revealed . . .

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At the moment, I’m feeling a bit stunned. Epiphanies can be a lot like choking. In her book Sexual Politics and the Biblical Narrative:  Reading the Hebrew Bible as a Woman, Esther Fuchs writes, “Procreative contexts are the only ones in which women address Yhwh and hold a dialogue with him.” (pg. 45)

It is no coincidence that stories of women who didn’t receive their conception miracle and remained “barren” were not included in Biblical texts. Procreation served patriarchy.

“. . . and women are to be saved in childbearing.” That was part of the answer P@ige P@tterson gave me when I asked him if there would be a place for me to serve post seminary graduation. His answer was no, “If you are talking about pastoral ministry.” “But why Dr. P@tterson,” I asked. He said, “Because women were last to be created, first to fall, and saved in childbearing.”

I had heard a rumor that he had said something similar in Missouri at the Baptist Seminary there, but I couldn’t believe that I was an actual recipient of the famous quote.

Saved in childbearing. It seems so ironic considering that every minute of every day a woman dies as a result of pregnancy. It seems so ironic considering that statistically speaking I will never have a child. And mostly, it seems so ironic considering that the subject is what saves me, what wakes me in the  morning and rocks me to sleep at night.

Saved in childbearing, saved in childbearing, saved in childbearing. May the women of Burma and Bangladesh, Jacksonville, and Jakarta be saved in childbearing today.

Paradise Lost

February 19, 2010

My 18 year old Buddhist friend says this to a gathered group last night, “stupid eve had to eat that fruit and god punished her with the pains of childbirth.” Did I mention that she is from Asia – didn’t even grow up under the shadows of any steeple or culturally careless translation of Genesis.

How is her statement NOT connected to poor maternal health globally? How can I get that on paper in a way that makes sense academically?

“Stupid Eve . . . ” Unbelievable.

Elizabeth A. Clark, Joyce E. Salisbury, Elizabeth Moltmann-Wendel, James B. Nelson and I are having a meeting in my study right now. They just gave a much needed critique on my three completed chapters. Dr. Nelson asked me to teach one of his classes for him next fall while he is on sabbatical.

Every last bit of that is true except for the meeting, three completed chapters, and the request to teach for Dr. Nelson. However, I am staring at their books. They look fabulous on my desk.

So much to share, but one computer . . .

six people,

pricey internet

=

no words.

I’m on my way to the village for a maternal health Bible study. This will be the third visit of the trip. The women have taught me so much already.

Amsterdam and The Lady

June 19, 2009

 The Amsterdam Airport is where I write this post. Our bodies are tired and confused, but thankful to be on the journey.

So far, our trip in numbers:

3 girls

6 checked bags (remember, we have birthing kits)

2 airports

Happy Birthday Aung San Suu Kyi.

Tanzania

June 17, 2009

IMG_0651

Tanzania

June 18 – July 22

Maternal Health Field Research and Listening Journey

Updates Coming Soon

embodied

May 10, 2009

I spent the afternoon with one of my favorite people in the world. I’ve always been completely amazed at her natural, God-given gift to minister with presence. She is one of those embodied individuals who fits well in her own skin and as a result, when I’m with her, my skin fits better too. 

My friend’s mother is in the advanced stages of a debilitating illness. She cares for her mother by bathing her, feeding her, and creating opportunities to laugh with her. We talked about the power of caring for the body. We talked about the power of touch. She said her mother doesn’t know her anymore and she prays that maybe, on some level, her mother recognizes her touch. “Her hand around mine is the most familiar grasp I know,” she said. “The next time you are with your mother, grab her hand and close your eyes. You could recognize her touch even without sight.” Her words made me cry.

Our bodies are more than vessels. Our bodies are ourselves and when a disease takes our ability to remember or communicate, we still have the need to know and to be known by someone. “We cannot be human alone.”

Body Theology is beyond what I ever imagined when Dr. Noble first suggested I couple the area of study with maternal health. I have become as passionate about the health of an individual’s body theology as I have the health of a pregnant woman and her safe delivery. This realization of the importance of our bodies and the bodies of those around us, affects the way I look at strangers on the street. It affects the way I relate to those I love. It affects the way I think of my own body. 

Conversations like the one I had today move me spiritually. It is an honor to care for one who is sick. It is an honor to feed friends a meal that will nourish their bodies. It is an honor to grasp the hands of our mothers. 

I know my friend is a wonderful caregiver. On this eve of Mother’s Day I celebrate my friend and her mother whose grasp she knows well. May she take time to care for her own body in the midst of a holy act fraught with love and frustration.

1778

April 28, 2009

That is how many words I just wrote.