Thursday, October 20, 2016

Common English Women's Bible

I am so excited that the publishers of the Common English Women's contacted RevGalBlogPals and asked several of us if we would review this new offering. I am even more excited that I know some of the women who wrote and edited this Bible: the Rev Dr Jaime Clark-Soles, the Rev Sharon Alexander, and Dr Jodie Lyon were all part of my formation and education in some way at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

I have been using this version for the last three weeks as I do my daily prayers and devotions, and also for sermon preparation. I was already familiar with the Common English Bible format and language. I am truly appreciating what biographical information can be gleaned about all of the different women in the Bible. I appreciate the frank non-judgmental discussions included about sex and sexual norms I have been reading. Even when my daily studies have not led me to a woman's story, the women's stories are easily identified by the formatting and I find myself wandering a bit further afield in the text daily than I would ordinarily wander. The discussion starters have already provided at least one sermon point over these last weeks.

This Common English Women's Bible has already become a staple for me in the tetris-like stack of Bibles I use to contrast and compare ideas and words. I know I will continue to enjoy the perspectives of the women who contributed and edited as I use it in my own daily devotional reading and study. It is so refreshing to "hear" these discussion starters and biographies from a woman's point of view.

Here are the specifics on the CEB Women's Bible:
  • All 80 contributors are women
  • Each book of the Bible has its own introduction.
  • Reflections—writings that can be used in personal devotions or as conversation starters—accompany nearly every chapter of the Bible.
  • Sidebar articles explore more than two hundred themes of particular relevance to women’s experiences in relationship with scripture.
  • Character sketches of more than one hundred named and unnamed women in the Bible are scattered throughout the text.
  • Every woman in the Bible—named and unnamed—is indexed.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Stand Your Ground - Black Bodies and the Justice of God - Chapter 5 - Jesus and Trayvon: The Justice of God

The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas continues to relay the story of Trayvon Martin to us through the words and interviews with his parents. She uses their own words to illustrate their faith in God and then pulls the lens back to also use those same words to illustrate the historic faith of Black Christians in the United States. In this fifth chapter, Dr Douglas draws sharp parallels between the death of Trayvon and the death of Jesus Christ, in that they were both innocent men who were executed by the powers that be of their individual time periods.

Dr Douglas utilizes the story of the Samaritan woman at the well to show how a male Jewish Jesus uses his privilege to balance out the demonization of the female Samaritan woman. In balancing out the power by giving up his privilege, Jesus places himself in solidarity with those who did not have the social power to move freely in his society. In this movement of Jesus, from the place of privilege equalizing the place of subordinate, we find an example to follow to move from our places of sacred white space to places in solidarity with those in the cross hairs of Stand Your Ground culture today.

Dr Douglas uses the interviews with Trayvon's parents to show how they continually try to turn the conversation toward resurrection by speaking of their beloved Trayvon with pride and love. They refuse to allow Trayvon's character and life to be further crucified. According to Dr Douglas, this is in harmony with their Black Christian faith which places more weight in the resurrection than teh crucifixion. I have to say that I have never been a big fan of Matt Lauer, but Dr Douglas' reporting of his interviews with the parents make me never want to watch him again.

At the end of this chapter, Dr Douglas names Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism as America's original sin - from which most all other sins originate. It has been there since our inception as a country (chapter one) and Stand Your Ground Culture is merely the newest manifestation.