Son of Man: An Updated Gospel Story of Jesus Set in South Africa by Michele Stopera Freyhauf

January 12, 2012

Son of Man is an updated story of the life of Jesus set in the fictional State of Judea that is modern day South Africa – complete with warlords and child soldiers.    It could easily be mistaken for modern day Rwanda or Darfur with its modern issues and political overtonesRoger Ebert stated, “The secret of the movie is that it doesn’t strain to draw parallels with current world events – because it doesn’t have to.”  The director draws parallels between the gospels and 21st century Africa.  According to Dartford-May, “we wanted to look at the Gospels as if they were written by spin doctors and to strip that away and look at the truth.”  The director “captures the rhythms of African life in both rural settings and sprawling townships.”  “Feather-clad young angels offer an eerie echo and reminder of Africa’s lost generations.”

The movie also sticks with what Eric Snider calls “Traditional African trial music, dance, and costumes” as a type of worship or or allusion to Jesus’ godhood.  Judea is in flux; warlords and corruption take center stage.  Poverty, violence, and oppression affect the all of the people.  The key idea is that Jesus is a freedom fighter – one that fights injustice and oppression.  The director does not emphasize “Jesus’ divinity so much as his leadership, good sense and compassion.”  Jesus is not violent and his followers, most of whom were former child soldiers, are encouraged to respond non-violently, which goes against their upbringing and training. Continue reading “Son of Man: An Updated Gospel Story of Jesus Set in South Africa by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

This information was originally distributed by WATER:

January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Human trafficking, referred to as modern-day slavery, is the fastest growing and second most profitable criminal industry in the world. More than 27 million women, men, and children have become victims of human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation. Trafficking can and does occur in all parts of the world, including the U.S. Large sporting events like the Super Bowl attract human trafficking, especially for sexual exploitation of women. Read Mary E. Hunt’s new article on human trafficking entitled “Women and Children First.”

Stories of Trafficking
Excerpted from

Amanda learned that her cousin was with a pimp who was advertising her for commercial sex on various websites.

A teacher became concerned about one of her students, a 14 year-old girl, and spoke with classmates who directed the teacher to multiple postings advertising the young girl for commercial sex on Continue reading “January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day”

Occupy Wall Street Denver and the Birth of a Lunchtime Consciousness by Cynthia Garrity-Bond

Over the post-Christmas holiday I helped move my middle daughter to a suburb outside of Denver, (releasing my 28 year old to the Universe should be a blog post in-and-of-itself.)  While exploring the downtown area of Denver, Em and I noticed an unusual number of strategically parked police cars with an equal number of unmarked police cars speeding past us. Between the two of us we arrived at the conclusion that 1) a bank-robbery/get-away was in progress; 2) Barack Obama was in downtown Denver or 3) a multiple murder/homicide had taken place very close to us (I might add Em and I both love T.V. shows focused around women as police/detectives).  As we approached our restaurant we heard what appeared to be random chanting and yelling.  As we turned the corner we discovered a group of perhaps 50+ people who were the focus of the police in 1) riot-gear and 2) police on horseback with batons at the ready.  The “dangerous” peaceful gathering turned out to be the Occupy Wall Street Denver movement. My desire to watch and engage those gathered lost out to Em’s need for food.  No worries I thought.  I’ll have time to engage the OWS participants after our lunch, which proved to be the wrong decision.  Within the hour or so it took us to eat, the peaceful gathering had vanished.  But the conversation between my daughter and her activist mother proved to be the most interesting event of that day.  Continue reading “Occupy Wall Street Denver and the Birth of a Lunchtime Consciousness by Cynthia Garrity-Bond”

(Non-Human) Animals on the Agenda by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

“[E]thical interest in nonhuman animals is flourishing.”

To my delight, the New York Times recently chronicled the growing scholarly interest in human/non-human animal interactions in a story entitled “Animal Studies Cross Campus to Lecture Hall.” There are now more than 100 courses in colleges and universities in the burgeoning field of animal studies. At least 40 U.S. law schools now routinely offer courses in animal law. A growing number of formal academic programs, book series, journals, conferences, institutes, and fellowships are also dedicated to (re)examining human-animal relations from a variety of disciplinary perspectives—“art, literature, sociology, anthropology, film, theater, philosophy, [and] religion,” to name a few.

Continue reading “(Non-Human) Animals on the Agenda by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, But Obedient Ones are Rewarded in Heaven: An Examination of the Re-Invention of the Bengali Tradition of Sati By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History is a book authored by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.  This has become a well-known phrase used by most feminists to imply a meaning of disobedience or stance against the patriarchal structure of society.  Often in error, the credit of the invention of this phrase is attributed Eleanor Roosevelt and Marilyn Monroe.  Their image, and especially the image of Monroe, will often appear with the slogan on merchandise as a means of marketing and raising revenue.  Ironically, reinvention or reuse is prevalent in history when it comes to tradition or ritual for the same reason – monetary gain.  This practice is common and the benefit of reinventing or reinterpreting an old tradition is an automatic connection to the past giving continuity, which, according to Eric Hobsbaum, instills strong “binding social practice,” (p. 10) including loyalty and duty in the members of the group.  This is especially effective in manipulating the poor and uneducated who usually display strict obedience and blind acceptance of tradition. The Bengali reinvented tradition of satî is an example of this. Continue reading “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, But Obedient Ones are Rewarded in Heaven: An Examination of the Re-Invention of the Bengali Tradition of Sati By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

Sex as a Weapon of Sustenance By Cynthia Garrity-Bond

In a recent news post, Filipino women went on a sex-strike in order to bring peace to their rural village. “If you keep fighting,” warned Aninon E. Kamanza, of the Dado Village Sewing Cooperative, “you’ll be cut off.”  It seems their cottage business of sewing made delivery of goods impossible due to road closures brought on by the violence.  Dado, the small village of 102 families mostly affected, is a town caught in the middle of conflict involving clan feuds and land disputes. The ultimatum worked. Vis-a-vie the threat of no sex, the violence has stopped, the roads are open, the women can transport their goods and the men can breath a sigh of relief.  What I find so compelling about this story is the resourcefulness of the women. Understanding the nature of their men, they used the withholding of sex to accomplish their goal of making money in order to care for their families.  But what about the reverse? What about women who also use sex to care for their families but as sex workers?  Can we applaud their resourcefulness and commitment to family as well?   Continue reading “Sex as a Weapon of Sustenance By Cynthia Garrity-Bond”

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