From the Archives: Why Isn’t Easter Marketable? By Anjeanette LeBoeuf

This as originally posted on March 25, 2018.

A few months ago, a friend and I were having one of our many hundreds of random conversations when we started to talk about the differences in the commercialization of the two major Christian holidays: Christmas and Easter. We started really getting invested it this question and what factors lead to Christmas become the juggernaut that it currently is.

Both holidays are given official status. Christmas is a designated federal holiday due to it being permanently celebrated in the Western Christian community on December 25th. Whereas Easter shifts due to seasonal and lunar changes but is always celebrated on a Sunday, meaning it did not need to be given a designated status as Sundays are recognized by the State as a non-work day. Schools across the globe used to call it Christmas and Easter breaks. In the last 10 years, all schools have adopted the politically correct terms of Winter and Spring Breaks. Yet, they still function around the religious observances.

Christmas, it seems comes more and more early in shops. Decorations, candy, gifts, and marketing can be seen as early as September. Christmas music can start to play on radio stations and coffee houses as soon as early November.

Continue reading “From the Archives: Why Isn’t Easter Marketable? By Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Feminist Holy Week Vaginal Christology Daily Devotional — Part 2 by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

See here to read Part I of the Devotional.


Thought for the day:

The Roman authorities executed Jesus for sedition because he posed a threat to their hegemony: their wealth and their oppressive, imperial domination system of exploiting others for profit. Jesus spoke out against their injustice, and his message resonated with the 99%. People were beginning to listen; momentum was growing. So the Empire snuffed out that “Rebel Scum” in their most excruciating, punishing, degrading form of execution. According to the logic of imperial domination, Jesus’ death should have been a humiliating, final defeat.

Instead, his movement lived on and on, grew and grew. The symbol of Imperial execution — the cross — should have symbolized the wrongness, the lack of Divine sanction, the complete Divine rejection of Jesus’ ideas, according to Empire. Instead, the Jesus Movement reclaimed the cross from an Imperial symbol of shame and turned it into a symbol of victory. Paul, the feminist liberationist prophet most responsible for the survival and spread of the Jesus Movement, repeatedly wrote that the Jesus Movement follows Christ Crucified. Paul’s message seemed scandalous and confusing— lifting up a symbol of horror, death, and defeat as proof of victory? Why? How?

Continue reading “Feminist Holy Week Vaginal Christology Daily Devotional — Part 2 by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

When the Tomb Feels Safer than the Garden by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee

I have always loved Lent and Holy Week. When I was young, I enjoyed the challenge of fasting. Holy Week was the powerful culmination of it all, so I would try to make the fast even harder then, like a sprint at the end of a marathon. Chocolate quickly got boring, so once I gave up all desserts. Another year, I gave up lying. (I’m a PK – Preacher’s Kid; enough said.) And then there’s the famous year sometime in my 20s when I decided I’d better give up swearing. (PK, remember?) Both my sister Trelawney and my husband just love to remind me of how I literally swore while walking out of the Ash Wednesday service. And didn’t even notice. And when they finally explained why they were laughing at me, I, of course, immediately cursed again. Sigh. Well, I respond each time, that’s why I decided to give it up in the first place!

My kids and I have also had a lot of fun observing Lent and Holy Week. Each year, it teaches us something new about abundance – especially amid the wealth of intensity and ritual during the last week. We are not legalistic about it; we just want to learn and grow together. One year, we limited plastic as much as possible. And I’ll never forget the year we gave up paper products. That was the first year we didn’t get sore noses, because we used handkerchiefs instead of tissues. As Trelawney likes to say, we finally stopped blowing our noses on a tree. Continue reading “When the Tomb Feels Safer than the Garden by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee”

Why Isn’t Easter Marketable? By Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteA few months ago, a friend and I were having one of our many hundreds of random conversations when we started to talk about the differences in the commercialization of the two major Christian holidays: Christmas and Easter. We started really getting invested it this question and what factors lead to Christmas become the juggernaut that it currently is.

Continue reading “Why Isn’t Easter Marketable? By Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

A Lenten Reflection by Natalie Weaver

Natalie editedA friend recently asked me whether I believed in sin.  It was a strange question for me to consider because the concept of “belief” as applied to “sin” already suggests that sin itself is not a self-evident or manifest reality.  Considering the question, I had to answer that I didn’t actually believe in sin as an objective ontic something.  Hurt, wounds, violence, injustice, suffering – these are objective realities that I have no trouble identifying.  It was in naming the contrast or painful human experiences as sin with which I had the difficulty, since sin connotes moral, spiritual, intellectual, or volitional defect or evil.  My intuition pushes back against this reading of the suffering the world reflects, at least in the microcosm, the imperfection of creatures, or perhaps better put, animals, and in a best case scenario, animals in process.

As I considered this question, I discerned that what is typically identified as sin is a byproduct of the natural limit of animal or creaturely life.  This is to say, we are developmental, process-dependent, works of complex animal life.  We are imperfect in the truest sense – that is, we are not completed beings but ongoing verbs with past tense helping verbs and “ing” endings.   I have been trying; you have been growing; they have been seeking.  In Christian language the term we use is “eschatological,” which connotes that the process has an end or a purpose.  But, I am inclined to think this is just a more confident way of acknowledging the inevitable nature of worldly imperfection. Continue reading “A Lenten Reflection by Natalie Weaver”

Seasons in Church and Life in the Company of Women by Elise M. Edwards

TElise Edwardshis week, the Christian season of Lent began. Ugh. Lent can be so somber and serious and gloomy. Last year, I didn’t want to place myself in that frame of mind. I was experiencing grief and self-doubt and loneliness, and felt that an extended period of reflection about self-denial, Christ’s suffering, and the sinful condition of humanity might pull me into an unhealthy depression. Also, I questioned why I should seek silence and solitude when I was already experiencing too much of it. I felt isolated.

This year is different for me. Once again, I’m entering the season with a grieving heart. I’m mourning the death of my cousin. But I do not feel isolated. I am not self-doubting. This January, I spent four continuous days with mentors and peers in academia who poured love and wisdom and inspiration into me. The women in our group sought each other out and had honest and authentic conversations about the successes and struggles in our lives. We affirmed self-care. We affirmed milestone birthdays. We affirmed our bodies, despite the physical limitations we sometimes feel. We affirmed the tough decisions some had made, the transformations some were pursuing, and the exciting opportunities that had developed for others since we last met over the summer.

It was a powerful experience, but there was pain, too. We confronted fear, rejection, anxiety, exhaustion, and frustration. I felt blessed—divinely gifted—to have an opportunity to speak honestly with my sisters in the spirit about the people and issues on our hearts: challenges with students, systemic racism and sexism, menopause, children, research questions, financial decisions, romance, and health.

I was on an emotional high from the power that comes from being truly known and loved and I was reveling in the power of that love. Continue reading “Seasons in Church and Life in the Company of Women by Elise M. Edwards”

Ashes, Sacrifice, and Abundance by Melissa Browning

Melissa BrowningLast year I got my ashes at the airport. As I sat in that airport chapel, I halfheartedly listened to a (mostly terrible) litany that was proclaimed in between announcements for gate changes. I was leaving for another campus interview after having been home for only 24 hours since the previous one. The Christian season of Lent came during a time of stress and chaos in my life. That year, when I contemplated what I might give up for Lent, I could think of nothing. So much had been taken away that I had nothing left to give.

The season of Lent is often linked with the idea of sacrifice. Some people fast, others give up a favorite vice or a favorite food. As a feminist theologian, I spend a great deal of time thinking about the idea of sacrifice. I wonder how women who consider themselves part of Christian churches can be asked to sacrifice when we have already given away too much. Too often, our labor is welcomed but our voices are silenced. As a Baptist theologian and ordained minister who has sojourned in Catholic universities, I’ve felt this in my own tradition and in traditions that are not my own. Continue reading “Ashes, Sacrifice, and Abundance by Melissa Browning”

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