The Blind Leading the Blind


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                                                 STILL UNDER THE TABLE

There was a time when….not all women were equal in Jesus’ eyes….when he too needed his vision corrected….and he allowed a woman to make him see his own, dare we say,  blindness.

While it is true that Pope Francis has won the hearts of the people,  perhaps  he has not won their minds.  While his leadership style is a model of mercy for all, where justice and equality is concerned he too, has a blind spot.

Like Jesus, in the story of the Syrophoenician woman, is Francis afraid or reluctant to remove the doctrinal ills that restrain the daughters of the church.  Within the catholic tradition women are viewed  as some kind of foreign refugees begging for a place at the tables   Like Jesus, Pope Francis uses patriarchal rationalizations, a kinda, “I would if I could” reasoning,….even offering a suggestion of waiting until the time is right, until the matter is thoroughly studied for theological correctness, another 2000 years perhaps?

Jesus’ followers saw the Syrophoenician woman as an intruder. They tried to dismiss her.  She would not be put off not even by Jesus’ self justifications. “It is not right to take the food of Sons and daughters and throw it to the dogs.” NAB (Mt. 15:26)   Jesus proclaimed a banquet table and a kingdom that was all-inclusive yet he compared his attention to her and Gentile people like her, to casting crumbs to dogs under the table.  She was quick to overturn his favorite divine banquet table metaphor.  She used her words like  a radical artist,  and Jesus and his followers certainly got the picture.

Did the onlookers gasp at her brazenness?  Horrified they waited for  for a solemn apology or a stern dismissal.   Jesus’ pubic chastisement of her was based on Judaism’s long held beliefs in a discriminatory status as chosen people of God.  It was a theological “put down” but it did not deter this woman’s faith and determination.

Jesus realized apologies wouldn’t cut it. He needed to correct this erroneous judgement with action   He publicly changed his mind, praised the faith and courage of the woman, and promised that her daughter would be freed of her infirmities.  Thanks to this woman,  Jesus was able to shed his blind eye.  Now he could see the Kingdom of God with a much broader view.  The story was meant to change the hearts, minds and actions of his early JudeoChristian followers who were dealing with just such challenges in their global world. Those early followers were able to include Gentiles and even women as equals in their christian communities.  If Jesus could change.  So could/must his followers.  Perhaps in our time, Francis could with lift the patch that blinds the church from seeing women as equals.

That nameless foreign woman represents all the women and their children still suffering from exclusion and barred from full participation in the divine banquet intended for all.  She reminds us of what is possible when women expect and demand more respect, and won’t take no for an answer.



Seeing is believing/believing is seeing?


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….and you expect me to believe that?

Skeptics. Seems like they are everywhere today.  Young and old, women and men…in our churches, schools, and governments.  Where did they all come from?  We’re living in an age of disbelief.  If we could develop some dogmas, doctrines and perhaps a creed or two around our disbeliefs perhaps we all would have  a religion that we could all profess together.

But aren’t some of the things we learned and believed in the past, worth holding onto?

Do people who question everything have more faith than those who are afraid to question?

What if Jesus is not the answer, but the one who left us with the greatest questions.

Can skeptics believe in themselves?


I Don’t Know You!


Ten bridesmaids came to a wedding banquet prepared and on time.

They brought lamps and oil.  Five had just enough(foolish).  Five had a surplus(wise).

The bridegroom was late and the wedding turned into a total humiliation.

Wherein does the fault lie?

The groom’s unexcused lateness?
The poor planning by the”foolish virgins, or the selfishness of the “wise” bridesmaids?
Blaming and punishing the women?
Focusing on the wrong character/s?

HERE COMES THE BRIDE  (She’s not even mentioned)

Shouldn’t she have been be consulted about her own wedding feast?                                           Why didn’t she intervene?
Bridesmaids, her best friends,  were barred from her banquet?                                           What kind of controlled life is she getting into?

Happy ending or a miserable beginning?

Surprise, we don’t like this story!   Who/what do you find unacceptable?                       Jesus is putting  women down, pitting women against one another?
He callously separates the haves and the have nots.                                                                Doesn’t the lock out strike you as offensive?

What’s going on here?

Parables were used by Jesus as mirrors to show us the distorted images we hold of God or of God’s intended kingdom.   Jesus resorts to the negative when all else fails,  to show how off base we are.

God and God’s Kingdom

Does this parable show a welcoming God?                                                                                 What happened to “knock and the door will be opened? ”                                                                                                                                                                                     The prodigal son and other banquets stories about God’s kingdom have a positive and welcoming ending, why is this one different?                                                                                      Is our God fickle, partial?

Does  looking out for oneself cut it in Gods kingdom?                                                                 Who are the people still being shut out of the banquet?                                                                     What doors are still closed to women in God’s kingdom?                                                        When you are being shut out, do you go back and demand your rightful place?                 Our spiritual torches have grown dim in this age  and for some they have gone out . Who will provide the light we need?

So, it’s not happily ever after.

Women’s stories, even biblical ones, are being resurrected and retold today so that now we can enjoy, or at least imagine, the stories from a women’s perspective…. and even perhaps, with  different endings.

How would  the story  be retold to reflect the God you now believe in?



Lost Sheep?


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Baaa, Baaaa,

       Outside the Box

Not all who wander are lost.

From the time I was born I had lived inside a pen with 99 other sheep.  I had often wondered what it would be like on the outside…was the grass greener, tastier and more abundant beyond the fence?   Sheep eat close to the ground so there were times when food was scarce yet had to be shared with the others.

Being well fed was not to a sheep’s advantage.  We were destined to be eaten by the shepherd.  The purest ones  were burned on the sacrificial altar of the temple. That  was something we tried not to think about.

One day I watched one of our flock crawl under the fence.  I wanted to follow him, as sheep are known to do, but I didn’t.  That one never came back…its whereabouts are still unknown.

Later I mustered my courage with the thought, “if one must die anyway wouldn’t having some choice as to how/why be worth a risk?”… and indeed it was.   Eventually I managed to squeeze myself through a narrow opening and before I knew it I found myself free and alone. The world before me was immense and offered endless possibilities.

I don’t know who alerted the shepherd.  Before long I could hear and recognize the sound of his voice ringing in the air.  As the sound got closer I hid in the brambles trying not to make noise.

With 99 other sheep  why on earth would that “good” shepherd leave the others unprotected just to find me?  How foolish is that?  The idea of being missed and searched for should make me feel pretty important to that shepherd. But there’s something not right with this story.

Uh oh, he’ s found me.  His relentless search is over.  I must resign myself being back into confinement. The other sheep will believe that the shepherd saved me from wild beasts and certain death…Isn’t all death certain?  Isn’t his practice of using me as reparation for his sins a matter of certain death!

As he did with other strays, he’ll break my leg and carry me back to the flock…a deterrent against future dreams of freedom.  The leg will heal but not my broken spirit.  The shepherd will celebrate his find and tell the tale over and over to all who have ears to hear.  How will they see it?

Peace Begins Within


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Many have said that they want peace at any price.  Many have given their lives for peace. But history shows us that even after the supreme sacrifices have been made we are left with unending wars and tragedies.  We cannot win, earn  or award peace.

Jesus promised peace to the world and tried to show us a way to live into peace.  Yet after 2000 years the lack of world peace is starkly evident on our nightly news channels.

It is tempting to give up any hope of peace.  But there is one place where the work toward peace can take hold.  It begins within our own soul, then shared with one other soul, and that soul to another.  A cycle of peace is created,  and before we know it,.. we are waging peace everywhere.

If women would lead

Where Are We Going?….Toward or Away?

At long last, women are on the move.  Our ranks are growing, our path is before us and we are determined to move onward. I am proud to be in this movement, though at times it is unclear if we are just walking away from the past with its many patriarchal constraints,  or toward a new and different future. Will it depend on who is leading?  Perhaps following a leader is a male construct?  How  might women differ in leadership styles?  What are we taking with us into the new and freer future?  Seeds of wisdom for future generations?

I found these migrating women by pulling colors down the page.  Revelation is random like that.

What about the Children?

This is my body, my blood.

This is my body, my blood.

War is never civilized.  Neither can it secure the future for any nation.   It seems that God no longer wants to save the children of Abraham from the violence of their father?  Has even God given up on the idea/promise of peace on this planet, earth?  Perhaps God is looking again to find one just and peace loving soul to warrant sparing the world from destruction.  What if it’s me?

Waking up to the world

Warm cup, cold world

Warm cup, cold world

No matter what the weather, my mornings begin with the same ritual.

In my recliner, gazing into the break of daylight, I sip my hot cup of coffee.  My intention is to allow no thoughts or flashing images from the previous day to creep in.  

I alot an hour for this reverie then warm up my computer, ready to face the headlines of our cold world.  What brutish news has been given world attention for today?  At least my computer  allows my critical mind to assess the meaning and impact of each story, whereas the TV ignores my existence and rants on incessantly.  Occasionally I leave comments online for my fellow world travelers.  

On the sidelines of my cyberspace newspaper, I find little niceties of life, but I must be willing to leave the front page and hope that the downloading process will not take too long.  These side-column articles are written with far less conviction and emotion.   Disappointed, I return to the detailed and salacious accounts of my cold world.  

Brutal reality  trumps any spiritual consolations that I may have had.  Media manipulates my view of the day ahead.  Ritual has become addiction.




Family Synod? I’m Cynodical.


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"Of course we know what families need!"

“Of course we know what families need!”

     There they go, old celibate men, off to discuss and decide how christian families should live.  They will argue over criteria for  belonging to the larger but rapidly shrinking Christian family.  Meanwhile modern families have struggled and broadened to include members of various faith perspectives, sexual preferences, races and nationalities, and to respect various marriage statuses.  Couples have assumed their right to procreate or not responsibly.  Women and men are redefining their roles within the family and society while patriarchal structures are fighting to regain control.  Do these elderly patriarchs have ears to hear or eyes to see more clearly, or will they just remain blind guides to the sheep who still look to them for spiritual sustenance?