“Ruined: a memoir”

Awarded a "2017 Book Award" by Christianity Today -- CT Women

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I’m glad we have this month, but I hate that we need it.

In honor of #SAAM, Christianity Today (CT Women) asked me to write a week of devotions (April 24-28) called: From Shattered to Whole: Trauma may wound us, but God can create beauty out of brokenness. I hope you’ll click over there and read them. Each one is brief! If they speak to you, please pass them along to someone else who might benefit.

You can buy my memoir at Amazon, Tyndale, and other retailers, in all formats. Audio is available at Two Words PublishingAudible or Downpour.

Told with candor and unflinching honesty, RUINED is an extraordinary emotional and spiritual journey that begins with an unspeakable act of violence but ends with tremendous healing and profound spiritual insights about faith, forgiveness, and the will of God.

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From Shattered to Whole: a week of devotions at CT Women

In honor of #SAAM, Christianity Today (CT Women) asked me to write a week of devotions (April 24-28) called: From Shattered to Whole: Trauma may wound us, but God can create beauty out of brokenness. I hope you’ll click over there and read them. Each one is brief! If they speak to you, please pass them along to someone else who might benefit.

Come With Me to Israel/Palestine!

I'm excited to be co-leading a pilgrimage March 5-16, 2018

Ever since I went on a Holy Land pilgrimage and wrote a book about it, I have wanted to return to Israel/Palestine. That dream is coming true next March! 

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Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became humanHaving become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Eugene Peterson
Philippians 2:5-8, The Message

Why I’m Glad I Wrote a Rape Memoir

Sexual Assault Awareness Month -- You Are Not Alone

There are times when I feel sorry for myself. You too? I hate having the particular story I have. I hate that I spent years writing it down. Why did I go through all that agony? Then I get a letter like this one, and my self-pity washes away, like sidewalk chalk after a rain. What’s left behind are the stories that need to be told — in print and in pixels — words which will never completely disappear.

Dear Ruth — Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m still sobbing after reading it straight through the last 3 days. Thank you for pouring out so much of your agony and fury onto the pages of your book. It is a perfect document.  I found myself, while reading, getting lost for moments as if I were reading journal entries of my own describing the pains, confusions, and piercing cries of “WHY” to God.  Thank you for not resisting God’s love, and for being willing to be used in people’s lives such as mine… used to offer a ray of hope to hang on.  Reading your words was the first time I knew I wasn’t alone.

You found me and I found you. We are not alone.

Speak it. Speak the truth of our stories.

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“Thirsty? A sermon on the Samaritan Woman at the Well”
by Rev. Ruth Everhart

 

The text is John 4:5-42, the story of Jesus’ encounter with a woman at the well in Sychar.

Thirst is real, and water is a justice issue. When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, he implicitly challenged every cultural assumption about who is worthy of his time and conversation. But this shift has been slow to percolate through the cultural layers of church and society. Rev. Ruth Everhart considers the Samaritan woman’s story in tandem with her own, because gender still shapes a woman’s world. How did living water trickle through the layers of an oppressive church system and the horror of rape at gunpoint? Because the living water is still available, and still ever-fresh. (Year A, Lent 3)

If you’re looking for video resources for Holy Week, either for personal use or to share with others, you may be interested in this video about the Via Dolorosa. I’ve been in correspondence with the videographer, Eran Frenkel, since 2013, and look forward to meeting him in March 2018 when I return to Jerusalem.

Not everyone is able to make a physical pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which was one of the things that compelled me to write Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land. I used words to set the scenes, share my experiences, and unpack what the pilgrimage meant for me. But if it’s possible, I encourage you to also watch images and video like these — filmed on location in Jerusalem — to add texture and immediacy to your armchair pilgrimage.

Here are links to three other videos I’ve featured in the past. If you go to The Jerusalem Experience website you will find many more videos. I’d love to hear your reactions to all of these resources, or perhaps suggestions for others!

Silence & Snow

March 2017 at Holy Cross Abbey

Do you enjoy silence? My spirit is happier when I have the chance to immerse myself in the quiet of a prayerful place.

This week I was on silent retreat at Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia, about an hour’s drive from my home. I used to come here regularly — during the decade I served Poolesville Presbyterian Church (2002-11). I used my continuing education funds and time. But instead of working on another degree, I would simply occupy a quiet room in a place fueled by the rhythm of monastic prayer.

More than five years ago, I quit my job as pastor in order to focus all my energies on writing. I found it challenging not to be employed. I created some sources of income: becoming an Air BnB host, supply preaching, and doing administrative work. Some of that activity was in response to financial need, but some was my strict sense of needing to pay my own way, even in our marriage.

One of the “extras” I cut from my life were retreats at the monastery. I told myself I could write in my own study and indulge in silence all day long if I liked. Still, it’s not exactly the same. There is something unique about coming to a place set apart and saturated in prayer. That sense of consecration is what draws people like myself, who come to make a retreat.

Last September I began as the pastor at Hermon Presbyterian Church. With continuing education funds once again available, I was happy to return to the Abbey. As always, I had a list of projects to work on and a stack of books to read. But I also spent hours each day wandering in beauty, sitting in chapel, or simply staring out the window. As a bonus — I happened to be here for the one significant snowfall of the year. There is no prettier place to be when the world is hushed by snow.

(more…)

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Review of RUINED at the Christian Century

So happy to share Bromleigh McCleneghan’s very thorough review of my memoir at the Christian Century. I especially appreciate how she puts my experience into a larger cultural context: Though the context of Everhart’s rape and its racial dynamics are unusual, the fact of it is not. Approximately one in five American women will be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted in their lifetime; the risk is even higher within some demographics. This reality is reason enough for clergy to read this book.  Read the whole review here.

Ask the Matriarch: A Church Visitor at a Small Church

I’m a member of the RevGalBlogPals, an online community that supports clergywoman. Because I’ve been in ministry for more than a decade (more than two decades, shhh) I bear the esteemed title of “matriarch.” Which I wear with pride! Today’s feature was an advice column that asked an interesting question about a church visitor. Any member or leader of a small church knows how exciting visitors can be! Click over to read the question and three answers. The answers vary tremendously. What would your response be? This one is tagged Leading the Small Church.