I took some time to respond to the #MeToo movement. I decided to focus on contempt and gender inequality in the church. You can read it over at Sojourners: I Am a Pastor and Rape Survivor. #MeToo Is an Opportunity for the Church.
Last weekend I led a workshop called Shame: Hope & Healing in Vancouver, BC. What timing! The topic of sexual assault has been all over the news lately — stories of powerful men held to account for past behaviors. Women have been emboldened by the #MeToo campaign and are coming forward with their stories of abuse.
Allegations may have begun with Harvey Weinstein, but they have extended beyond Hollywood. In politics, in business — and in churches — there are powerful men who have abused and assaulted women — and others who have colluded and enabled that abuse. The media saturation of #MeToo made for extra tenderness around the subject of our workshop, but it also brought immediacy to our work. One thing we did was wrestle with a scripture story about sexual assault by powerful men. Five intrepid volunteers performed a reader’s theater version of the story of Tamar (2 Samuel 13).
(To download the Readers Theater manuscript, click on the “Free Resources” button.)
Perhaps you remember the characters in Tamar’s story: Jonadab (the crafty colluder), Amnon (the rapist, a half-brother), and Absalom (the revengeful brother). All three of the men abuse Tamar: by setting up the abuse, by actively raping, or by silencing her afterward. Absalom uses Tamar’s trauma as an excuse for revenge in order to enlarge his own holdings. Certainly the legacy of David’s abuse of Bathsheba lives on through his sons.
Meanwhile, Tamar’s plea echoes: Where can I carry my shame? (more…)
Susan’s Kidney Donation — Article in The Banner
Remember my sister Susan’s kidney donation a year ago? Here is an article in The Banner, which is the denominational magazine of the Christian Reformed Church.
This weekend I’m celebrating my anniversary of ordination, a significant date that goes unremarked by anyone but myself. On a whim I searched through a few old photos, and thought I’d share this one with you.
In this photo I’m wearing a stole that my mother (left) and my aunt (right) embroidered for my graduation from seminary. The picture was snapped at our house in Minneapolis right after the May 1989 graduation. (Geeky Trivia: Guess whose framed portrait is watching over the proceedings from behind.)
I was especially surprised by the gift of the stole since the ordination of women was a controversial subject in my world. I wasn’t entirely sure that my mother and aunt approved. Actually, I don’t think they were sure either. Perhaps they stitched their way into approval with that stole.
Don’t I look young? I was so excited to have finished seminary and be on the cusp of everything wonderful! I was pregnant in this picture. Clara, our second daughter, was born in December and by the following fall, we moved to upstate New York for my first call. I was ordained in Penfield, NY on October 14, 1990, a ceremony I muse about here as a Kodak moment.
This is a guest post by my sister, the Rev. Susan Joy Huizenga, who donated her kidney to Buddi on September 12, 2016. Related posts are archived here.
I visited my new sister Buddi yesterday. We enjoyed ourselves. Her grandson, Samar, 18 months old, acts as if he likes me. Buddi says “He loves you. He senses our connection.”
A year ago Buddi and I were just beginning to bond after dual major surgeries that dramatically changed both our lives. I donated my left kidney to her, and Buddi went from a dreary existence on dialysis to the picture of health you see here. The exposed scars on her arm are from dialysis. (more…)
Calvin Chimes Article: Ruth Everhart speaks on “ruined” purity
Last week I spoke about my book at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and also preached at Shawnee Park Christian Reformed Church. Three Calvin seniors attended both events, and spoke to me as well. One of them, Rae Gernant, wrote an excellent article for the Calvin Chimes.
When I talk to groups about my memoir, one of the topics I address is the role of outrage in the Christian life. After I was raped at gunpoint I was nearly crippled by fear, terror, and fury. The world I lived in seemed outrageous to me. It’s not surprising that most Christians shy away from experiencing, or expressing, outrage and other strong emotions. After all, these emotions are painful to experience and dangerous to express. (more…)
Everyone has to leave home eventually (although I do know one fella who never did, he just outlived his parents!). Perhaps what differs is the manner in which we leave.
What was it like when you left home? Did you launch happily, feeling supported and connected, or did you burn rubber on your way out? In my case, an unfortunate event — or yes, a series of them — catapulted me into the ether and sent me into free-fall.
Perhaps some of you have a story similar to mine — you found yourself loving Jesus, but not the church that introduced you to him, and you had to escape. (more…)