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BROAD 2014-15 ISSUES September

#feminism October part 1

What’s Your LGBT-IQ? October part 2

In g/God(s) We Trust November

Sentence: Criminal? December

BROAD Love January part 1

c(age)s January part 2

Dis(sed)-abilities February

Living In Color March spring break issue

Body Talk March issue

Broads & Babes O the Places You’ll Go May

In Labor

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adjective: 1 having an ample distance from side to side; wide | 2 covering a large number and wide scope of subjects or areas: a broad range of experience | 3 having or incorporating a wide range of meanings | 4 including or coming from many people of many kinds | 5 general without detail | 6 (of a regional accent) very noticeable and strong | 7 full, complete, clear, bright; she was attacked in broad daylight noun: (informal) woman. slang: a promiscuous woman phrases: broad in the beam: with wide hips or large buttocks | in broad daylight: during the day, when it is light, and surprising for this reason | have broad shoulders: ability to cope with unpleasant responsibilities or to accept criticism | City of broad shoulders: Chicago synonyms: see: wide, extensive, ample, vast, liberal, open, all-embracing antonyms: see: narrow, constricted, limited, subtle, slight, closed see also: broadside (n.) historical: a common form of printed material, especially for poetry

BROAD Sylvia Bennett

Diversity & Assessment Editor

Meaghan Cook

Website & Archives Editor

Ellie Diaz

Content & Section Editor, Art Director

Patrick Fina

Layout & Design Editor

Mandy Keelor Editor-in-Chief

Kait M

Content & S

In g/God(s) We Trust quotes:

“A person who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”

~Malcolm X

“I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else’s. But behind all of them there is ~Flannery O.Connor only one truth and that is that there’s no truth.”

Section Editor



J. Curtis Main

Advisor, Consulting Editor

Mario Mason

Publicity & Social Media Coordinator

Broad’s mission is to connect the WSGS program with communities of students, faculty, and staff at Loyola and beyond, continuing and extending the program’s mission. We provide space and support for a variety of voices while bridging communities of scholars, artists, and activists. Our editorial mission is to provoke thought and debate in an open forum characterized by respect and civility. Founded in 1979, Loyola’s Women’s Studies Program is the first women’s studies program at a Jesuit institution and has served as a model for women’s studies programs at other Jesuit and Catholic universities. Our mission is to introduce students to feminist scholarship across the disciplines and the professional schools; to provide innovative, challenging, and thoughtful approaches to learning; and to promote social justice.

Gaby Ortiz Flores Consulting Editor

Maggie Sullivan Publicity & Social Media Coordinator

Elishah Virani

Diversity & Assessment Editor

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In g/God(s) We Trust

We are thrilled to release the fifth annual BROAD Magazine themed around religion, spirituality, faith, beliefs, and challenges/ celebrations to these. We hope that in these pages you find both commitment to and questioning of belief systems with an emphasis on fairness and justice.


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The Da Vinci Code

What’s Your LGBT IQ? Issue 73

She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Theological Feminist Discourse Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

Insight o

“My God: ... Mad

who to follow

words are useless


Simply Divine Series This World and That His Image Kristina Johnson Keep Your Ovaries off Our Ovaries Tricia Robinson Liturgy Leopold Stübner S.J. LA. W. Tozer Pope Francis, Joan of Arc, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Mother Teresa Joan Trinh Pham Carl Sagan Tribal Talavera Goddesses Sandra Silberzweig Yasmin Mogahed Crucified Tricia Robinson Christopher Hitchens Joy in the Universe / Deity of Worship Rohini Nirgude Transgender God Mike Geno International Society for Human Rights Awakening Sam Raycraft Rolling Stone “Terrorist” Cover The Brain Pope Amanda Grace The Hartford Courant Cartoon Ghandi Anwesha Kundu Call Toward Aphrodite Baraka Robin Berger Zen Mátyás Kovács New Zealand God Ads Robert Mendoza

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“The Kiss of D


“How are Atheists dis


Status Qu

“Gender Segre



message me

faith/religion help how? women in leadership? are females obligated to raise families? should religions have opinions on sex?


“The Lack Thereof” How Islam Made me a Feminist A Shift to the Feminine “This is My Context: Stephen Fry: How Can I Be Happy And it was Jesus Too” Dr. Monica Corsaro Transmorman “Forty Days of Daily Bread” RevJenny Phillips Venerable Yifa: Spiritual Activism


God Loves Uganda Sentence Criminal Theme, Mission, & Team Navigating BROAD’s Design Annual Theme Schedule Letter from BROAD: Mario Visiting Editor: Andrew Kletzien Visiting Editor: Monica Corsaro Visiting Editor: Romario Mason Contributor Guidelines


artic AJ Schwartz

“Sacred Choice” Irene DeMaris “The Theology of Jazz ...like life, it’s all about engagement” Dr. Monia Corsaro “RuPaul and Jesus: Comments on the Theology of Jazz” Susan Haarman “Journey to Joy” Kareigh Tieppo


on In(Justice)

Middle Eastern Musings

dsen Family Values” Kait Madsen

“HAn Angry Lesbian in the Middle East” Abeer Allan


The Pink Paperbacks “How I Found my Religion at Hogwarts” Ellie Diaz

Death” X. Cathexis



“The Power of Your Words” Sabrina Minhas

scriminated against?”

o Mason

uo Combustion

“Converted to Feminism”

Sanity Optional “If God were real, he wouldn’t be mean” Peach Stephan

Meagan Cook

Lubna Baig


“The only thing my Mother and I have fought about is going to church.” Mo Fowler


“Re-Imagining God’s Gender” Karen R. Larson “Jesu” A. J. De Gala “Why Atheists Matter” Andrew Kletzien “One Set of Tefillin at a Time”

Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Catholic Nun

Career Call Karen R. Larson, Teaching Elder, Presbyterian Church

WLA (Re)Animated Immaculata High School

microaggresSHUNS You are what?

Talia Sobel

“Call the Midwives: Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality” Rev. Barbara Lund & Anne Basye

Liberation Leaders

BROADer Perspective

Thoughts on Body Hair Claudia Victoroff

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egation in Islam”

XX Marks the Spot

Letter from BROAD State of the Magazine, October 2014 Romario Mason

11 Year Old Atheist I want to welcome you all to our Religion issue for the 2014-2015 school year. As the Social Media and Outreach Coordinator for BROAD I am super pumped for this issue and all it’s contributions. Before we jump in though, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Mario and I identify as a straight, Atheist, Jamaican male. I was born and raised in Jamaica for the first 11 years of my life. When I moved to Chicago I lived in Rogers Park, the diverse part of Rogers Park and I believe that aided me in being the person I am today. I am currently pursuing a degree in Health Systems Management and I hope to obtain my Masters in Business Admin-

istration. I’m currently involved in several things on campus, I won’t list them because that would take up too much space. In thinking about this months issue, I kept thinking about my brief spiritual journey (I pronounced my atheism at 11 years old). I often think about how if people had that God conversation with me as if I was an adult and not a child, would things be different right now? Often times others view my atheism as a sign that I hate religion and all things related.

Coming from a religious family I can see how religion can be a source of comfort and strength for when things go south. I have seen people with the ability to remain positive and hopeful when things have gone extremely wrong with no hope of improvement. Attending a Jesuit university, I can see how faith leads one to do service and to be ‘men and women’ for others. Many of my peers, including myself have undergone a sort of transformation. My freshman year my only criteria for a job was to have lots of money but if you’d ask me now you’d have that but also something along the lines of “I want to make a difference or feel like I’m making a difference.” As a SJ Intern at Catholic Charities I can see how religious leaders are able to uplift their communities and rally them behind a common cause, especially the vulnerable populations. As a human I have seen how important it is to have multi faith dialogue in order to prevent ignorance but also to strengthen ones own religious beliefs by understanding the beliefs of others. I often joke that I hope my future wife is in touch with her spirituality so we can have heated debates about religion. It’s funny because it’s true, I appreciate discussing my faith (or lack thereof ) to others and I also like hearing stories of why people are so strong in their spiritual beliefs. I’m proud to say that in my small (very small) circle of friends that not one person is Atheist, we have several Christians, Jews and Muslims and one practicing Buddhist. This is good for all of us because whenever we have a conversation we all come from different perspectives with our ideas.

My freshman year my only criteria for a job was to have lots of money but if you’d ask me now you’d have that but also something along the lines of “I want to make a difference or feel like I’m making a difference.”

With a lot of my past friends and just strangers in general, fear becomes a huge factor. I don’t know why but as humans we fear what we don’t understand and just roll with the stereotypes or misconceptions about the particular group in question.

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Despite whether we consider ourselves spiritual or not, Religion impacts our life in one way or another.

[This is an icon, a simple image that v represents the column/section/issue

[Column/Section Title]

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BROAD Navigation:

The key to understanding our Approach

BROAD 2014-2015 Colors:

• Each year, the new team chooses 4 colors • These 4 are used along with white, gray, and black • We hope they are pleasing and work together!



BROAD 2014-2015 Fonts: •

• We have three main fonts • Alido, our “BROAD” font, never changes Alido is used in the BROAD logo and in headings • Heuristica is this year’s body/text font • Titles have a graffiti font approacheach is different and is tied to the topic

Alido: Logo, Headings tomato




Pull Quotes:

• The text is in graphite • The frames and highlighted word(s) are from that section/column’s color motif We do our best to choose wisely from the text

Heuristica: Text

Various/Artistic: Titles

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visually e theme]


• Media: Black background • Non-media: White background • 2 BROAD colors as motif • Mostly generated by BROAD team • Elaborates issue them in various ways

• Columns:

• Steel background • Tomato accents • All BROAD colors • Tied to issue’s theme Be a columnist via BROAD team’s blessing


• Steel background • Tomato accents • All BROAD colors • Tied to issue’s theme • Anyone can contribute

• BROAD Spectrum:

A sound spectrograph of saying “BROAD” • Represents diversity working together • Celebrates spectrums of people • All BROAD colors

• Interactive PDF:

• Each issue is like a website • From the BROAD contents page, you can click any titlle to jump right to it! • Thus, we removed page numbers • And, click the bottom right corner of any page, then “click for contents” to jump back to the contents page [This marks the end of an article, section, or column that has text]

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Visiting Editor Join BROAD’s team for Your Issue Andrew Kletzien

My name is Andrew Kletzien and I am a Loyola Chicago senior majoring in Political Science and Philosophy and minoring in Women’s & Gender Studies. I graduated from Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, a Jesuit institution, in 2011 and plan to pursue either a master’s or doctoral degree in political theory upon graduating in 2015. I served as a high school and middle school tutor at several on- and off-campus locations throughout my undergraduate career, and began my time here as a copy editor for the alternative, on-campus publication LUChameleon during its first year on campus. I went on to found Loyola’s first student organization run by and for atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, and other non-religious students (LUC Secular Student Alliance). I serve on the 2014-15 Maroon & Gold Society and was inducted into the Jesuit Honor Society Alpha Sigma Nu in October 2014.

In founding the Secular Student Alliance, I aimed to create a space on campus where non-religious students could feel safe to express their opinions and their values and benefit from the input of other, like-minded individuals. In attending a Jesuit high school, I became rather comfortable in being one of the few or even the only secular individual in many classes and discussions, so coming to Loyola I felt the need to try to provide the same level of comfort and openness for others, of course with the added camaraderie. As with my high school experience, I and the rest of the organization are nothing if not grateful for the warm and accepting way in which we’ve been welcomed by the administration, faculty, staff, and other student organizations.

Visiting Editor Join BROAD’s team for Your Issue Reverend Dr. Monica Corsaro

crimination law and the Domestic Partnership Bill and finally marriage in the state of Washington. With her humor and energy, Rev. Corsaro is a frequent guest on radio shows hosted by Dori Monson, Dave Ross, Erin Hart, as well as NPR. Rev. Corsaro has earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Illinois State University and a Master’s of Divinity degree from the Iliff School of Theology, and her doctorate at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC Specialties: Humor, bridge builder, leader, political are all words used to describe Rev Corsaro. While she is very clear about what she thinks and why she thinks it she is always open to hearing all voices and finding ways to find common ground, especially in hard topics everyone argues about but no one really wants to talk about and with, sexuality, religion, and the unequal distribution of power.

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The Reverend Monica K. Corsaro’s eloquence as a speaker and strong activism have made her a soughtout preacher in Seattle and across the nation. Rev. Corsaro has worked to defend clinics as far away Wichita, KS and Charlotte, NC, and her advocacy of full inclusion for gay lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered people in the United Methodist Church has taken her to Pittsburgh, PA, Cleveland, OH, Estes Park, CO, and Phoenix, AZ just to name a few. Currently Rev. Corsaro serves at Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, the most diverse zip code in the country, where she and her church took on the Boy Scouts of America supporting their openly gay scoutmaster. She has served in Seattle with Trinity United Methodist Church, University Temple United Methodist Church, and as the first ever chaplain in the Planned Parenthood organization. As the co-convener for the Religious Coalition for Equality this young organization, RCE helped to pass the anti-dis-

Visiting Editor Join BROAD’s team for Your Issue Romario Mason

Hello, my name is Romario Mason and I am a Junior at Loyola University Chicago. In my free time I enjoy playing video games and walking dog. I am currently the Social Media and Outreach Coordinator for BROAD and I am excited to be the VE for this issue.


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just words? just speeches? A. W. Tozer

Christians are sent to bless the world, but never are we told to compromise with it. Sometimes when we get overwhelmed, we forget how big God is.

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Faith in God is to be demonstrated, not defined.

Those rare Christians whose very presence incites others to be better Christians. I want to be that rare Christian.

Angry Atheist Angry. Godless. Opinionated. Mario Mason

How are Atheists discriminated against? This question is usually said a sort of “yeah right tone” and it never fails to get me riled up. The most common case of discrimination I’ve faced that I can think of is the fact that when I reveal to close friends that I don’t have a religion or I don’t believe in a God/Gods it is usually followed by one of the following “Sooooo you praise the Devil then?” or “Don’t worry I will pray for you” or my personal favorite “Oh you just have searched hard enough/This is just a phase.” Because I can definitely praise the devil I do not believe in and I totally need you to pray for me and I am just so glad that my Atheism doesn’t seem like something serious and is reduced to just being a phase. I just woke up one day and decided I was Atheist without even giving it a second though and I have no idea what it really is, soooo thank you. Anyway, enough about me, let’s go onto the statistics. Why does my lack of faith bother the faithful so much? Why is it that 49% of Americans would be unhappy if a family member married an atheist as opposed to a gun owner or someone without a college education? Why is it that 53% of Americans would elect someone who has had an extramarital affair over and Atheist? Why is it that in America, the land of the free and the home of the

So much of my childhood was spent in Jamaica, which is a predominantly Christian state and by predominantly Christian I mean you were either Christian or you were shunned and in some cases executed.

The next time you say “Atheists aren’t discriminated against� I want you to stop and think about Alber Saber, the 27 year old who was sent to prison for his Atheism. I want you to think about how the guards let the inmates know his religion and how he was attacked for it. I want you to think about how he was then sentenced to 3 years in prison. In 2012, people are being arrested for not believing in God.

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brace, 7 states still have laws prohibiting Atheists from holding public office? Does it not bother you that there are 13 countries where I can legally be killed for my lack of religion?

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WLA (Re)Animated Reimagine and Relive our Pasts Immaculata High School

Immaculata High School opened in 1921 and was run by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). The BVMs taught thousands of female students how to be “women of faith, household managers, mothers, college students, and career women.” The above picture shows the BVMs at a celebratory Silver Jubilee banquet in 1946 before the school closed its doors in the 1980s due to education expenses and declining enrollment. Chicagoans can still visit the campus building, deemed a Chicago landmark in 1983, on Irving Park Road and Marine Drive.

WLA Mission Statement:

Established in 1994, the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) collects, preserves, and makes available materials of enduring value to researchers studying women’s contributions to society.

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words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Robert Mendoza

Yemaya is an Orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American and Latin religions. Africans brought Yemaya and a host of other deities, and energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. Yemaya is the mother of all living things, as well as the owner of all waters. She is the vast ocean, the essence of motherhood, a protector of children, and a goddess of magic and witches.

Words from the Artist:


I’ve always been inspired by fairy tales, and the ancient myths of gods and goddesses, muses, nymphs, dryads, angels, mermaids, and all the many lovely things that go bump in the night. My “Simply Divine” series is an art nouveau collection of multicultural Gods and Goddesses who have been modernized into fierce fashionistas while still incorporating their recognizable mythological origins. The concept for the series evolved shortly after completing a similar collection representing the signs of the Zodiac.

Quan Yin



Isis was a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship would later be adopted by many other ancient cultures. She was worshiped as the ideal mother and wife, as a patron of nature and magic, as well as a compassionate friend to all who call upon her, be they slaves, sinners, artisans or wealthy aristocrats. Isis is also known as the goddess of simplicity, from whom all beginnings arose, and was the Lady of bread, of beer, and of green fields. In later myths, Ancient Egyptians believed that the Nile River flooded every year because of her tears of sorrow for her dead husband, Osiris. This occurrence of his death and rebirth was relived each year through rituals.

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Quan Yin is one of the most universally beloved of deities in the Buddhist tradition. She is the embodiment of compassionate loving kindness. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, she hears the cries of all beings. As a true Enlightened One, Quan Yin has vowed to remain in the earthly realms, and not enter the heavenly worlds until all other living things have completed their own journey of enlightenment, and thus become liberated from the pain-filled cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

Gaea (Gaia) or Mother Earth, was the great goddess of the early Greeks. She represented the fertile Earth and was worshiped as the omnipotent Universal Mother. In Greek mythology, she created the universe and gave birth to both the first race of gods, known as the Titans, and the first humans.

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Reverend Jenny Phillips

Forty Days of Daily Bread “Give us this day our daily bread…” this is the line in the Lord’s Prayer that I most take for granted. In my household, when there is a bread shortage, it is because someone forgot to pick it up at the grocery store. But despite my access to bread, last year, I decided to bake my own bread six days each week for the season of Lent. And on the Sabbath, I rested. It is easy to forget that the gift of daily bread is dependent on sustainable agriculture, abundant water, and healthy people. It takes an ecosystem to make bread. I trust that the sun will shine and the rain (and irrigation waters) will fall on the wheat fields that provide grain. I have an abiding faith in the industrial bakeries that produce thousands of loaves each day, and in the interstate highway and local road systems that ensure fresh bread as well as ingredients like flour, yeast, salt and oil will be delivered regularly to the half-dozen grocery stores near my house. I expect to have the money I need to buy this staple. And

I don’t have any of the allergies or medical conditions that can make wheat bread dangerous. It is because bread comes so easily to me that I took up the practice of breadmaking for forty days. In the process of sourcing ingredients, kneading

Most days, I made a basic recipe for whole wheat buns that required a few minutes of kneading in the evening, a long rise overnight, and 20 minutes in the oven in the morning. I found myself looking forward to working the dough as the sky went dark each evening. For me, kneading creates space for quiet reflection. It is a way of praying with my hands. That’s not to say it was easy. Making this 40-day commitment was a big deal. My life (probably like yours) is generally busy and complicated. And there were a couple of days when, due to travel and sick kids, it just didn’t happen. On those days, I did my best to translate my anxiety over not getting it done into a deeper appreciation for the challenges of those for whom daily bread is not a given. I focused on giving myself some grace as a reminder to share grace with others during that Lenten season. My basic recipe is below. I like this one because it is flexible--even if you don’t get it exactly right, it still usually turns out okay. Not a bad metaphor for life. Basic Bread for Lent 1 cup warm water 1 tablespoon honey ¼-½ teaspoon active dry yeast (I use less if I can let the bread rise for 4 hours or more, and more if I only have an hour or two) 2 cups flour (I use a mix of King Arthur white bread flour and locally-grown wheat flour. All-purpose flour works too. This particular recipe works best with at least 50% white or white whole wheat flour) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon salt In a mixing bowl, stir one cup warm water with one tablespoon honey. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, go for around 110-degrees. If you don’t have one, just go for warm.) Sprinkle the yeast over the honey water. While yeast becomes active, measure the flour.

On those days, I did my best to translate my anxiety over not getting it done into a deeper appreciation for the challenges of those for whom daily bread is not a given. Stir the olive oil, salt, and half the flour into the honey-yeast water. Work in the remaining flour with a spoon, and later, with your hands. Add more flour as needed. The dough should feel soft, springy, and not too sticky. Knead for several minutes. Allow the dough to rise in a bowl covered with a towel, at least one hour or up to 12 hours. The longer the rise, the better the flavor. Punch down the dough. Form rolls or a loaf. Let it rise again while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for about 20 minutes, a loaf for about 45 minutes. The top will be brown and the internal temperature will be around 200 degrees (but you don’t have to check it unless you’re fussy like that.) Eat warm with lots of butter. Share with someone who is hungry for food and/or love. A version of this article was previously published on the Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church News Blog.

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them together, trusting in the miracle of fermentation, and sharing the results, I found myself coming closer to the Creator who breathes life into the earth that nourishes and sustains us.

madads busted advertising, bustling economy International Society for Human Rights

Consider: The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) and its national branches are independent non-governmental human rights organisations (NGOs) which base their work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations on 10 December 1948. 1. What is the purpose of this ad? 2. Is it stereotyping a specific group of people? 3. Is it helpful? Harmful? Distracting? On point?

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Tricia Robinson

Words from the Artist:

I created this piece because I find myself often shocked by the amount of control and influence religion has on the bodies of women. Women should be in charge of their reproductive rights and health as well as fair access to both. I refuse to have my body and my body’s rights controlled and influenced by the blind faith of others because when it comes down to it, it’s incredibly irrational and illogical. And this piece was my way of screaming that out.

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Keep Your Rosaries Off Our Overies

message me we asked. you answered. BROAD people

October 2014


message me we asked. you answered. BROAD people

October 2014

Should religious faiths have opinions about sex? Why or why not?

As long as they aren’t harmful or overpower other people’s voices. Maybe... if their opinions

They should encourage lots of consensual sex. No... yes... religion should since it could provide guidance but shouldn’t if it will overpower people.

not unless they hope... they’ll never accept everyone and encourage real health and well-being.


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Sure, like the Kama Sutra?

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Dr. Monica Corsaro

This is My Context: and it was Jesus too Context, it is all about context. The years that I have served, the more profound this concept is for me. This is my context. The congregation I serve is an incredibly diverse place. We have various racial and ethnic groups. Our people come from various economic strata. We have gay and straight people. We serve immigrants, refugees and folks who have been in the neighborhood for two generations. Beyond just having the diversity, we are a place that values every person that God has placed here within our church walls and the larger community we serve, including our city, our state, our country and our planet. Because our church sits in the heart of our diverse neighborhood and has become somewhat of a community center, we knew that it was the right time to charter a Boy Scout troop within the congregation. In envisioning this troop we wanted it reflect

who the congregation is, and to welcome who the community around us is with authenticity. We didn’t choose our openly gay scout master Geoff McGrath as a political statement. We chose Geoff because he was the perfect person for the

Geoff was quite willing to serve as scoutmaster but was also nervous that his being gay would pose a problem for me and for the congregation. I assured him that putting him in the leadership of this troop would reflect and live out the values of our congregation, and that we would not have a troop at Rainier Beach United Methodist Church unless it was fully inclusive because that is who we are. That is the context of our neighborhood we serve in. When we say God loves all we mean God loves all! And so now, the Boy Scouts of America have a problem with us, being who we are. Even though we are a religious institution, the Boy Scouts of America, a secular organization (that supposedly honors all religious institutions, no matter what their beliefs), says we cannot be a chartering partner with them because we have honored our beliefs. I know, confusing right!? This past Good Friday because of our inclusive stance the Boy Scouts of America dechartered our membership and told us in we were no longer part of the Boy Scouts of America. However last year, the Boy Scouts voted to remove the ban on gay youth from Scouting, with a caveat, that openly gay men could not serve as scoutmasters. We found this inexcusable at our church. Dear Boy Scouts of America, you cannot turn off the ”gay” at eighteen. And we here at Rainier Beach United Methodist Church do not believe putting someone in a closet and not letting them be honest about who they are. We do not think that is “morally straight, “ to use a Boy Scout term. Our congregation was the chartering organization for the troop, (meaning full partner and taking all liability and responsibility) and yet when the Boy Scouts of America “found out” that Geoffrey was gay they unilaterally “shut us down.” I use the quotes because we never shut down and I refused to be bullied by the Boy Scouts of America! So we

This past Good Friday because of our inclusive stance the Boy Scouts of America dechartered our membership. continued to meet every week since then without a break. And since then we have joined with a fully inclusive organization called the Baden-Powell Service Association, they are international, welcome boys and girls, gay/straight, women and men as leaders and follow more closely with the original philosophy of Scouting. Our group has been thriving ever since. You see here in my context of Seattle, many families refused to have their families join a BSA troop because of their exclusive policy. It also needs to be noted that the BSA asked me and our a congregation to violate our conscious and our religious beliefs by removing Geoff as a leader of the Boy Scout troop. Again that is not a way a partner does business with a partner. Boy Scouts of America, I ask you to rescind your discriminatory policy and to recognize we churches and our beliefs that when we say all means all, we mean, all means all. Our congregation is committed to serving the youth of our community. We hope that someday the Boy Scouts will support our congregation, as it has supported so many that have gone before us. It is all about context. My context is to serve the immigrant, the refugee, the middle class person, the mixed race person, the single parent, the elderly, the young, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered person, the lonely, the least and the lost. We will keep serving all those persons because that is my context. And I would not want my context to be any other.

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job, an eagle scout himself, and someone who has a Master’s degree in Social Work. Knowing that some of our kids would have special needs, our church thought his special gifts and talents would be the best for our setting. He has mentoring and leadership skills that someone taking on this role would need to have.

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Kristina Johnson

His Image Words from the Artist:

“His Image” is inspired by God’s word, promise, and love for all. We as human beings are created in His image, no matter what gender, religion or ethnicity each of us identify ourselves as. The LGBT community has broadened the rainbow to shut out the stereotypes and to do as Jesus has taught “above all, to love one another.” Man or woman, lesbian, gay or straight, black, white, brown, yellow or red, we all are His creation and we are in “His Image.”


Consider: Rolling Stone almost always features musicians and artists on their covers. What’s with this feature story? 1. What is the purpose of this magazine cover? 2. What are your thoughts in Rolling Stone’s decision to use this cover? 3. Is it stereotyping a specific group of people?

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busted advertising, bustling economy Rolling Stong Magazine

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities AJ Schwartz

The Lack Thereof My father was actually on the research team that conclusively determined the existence of a higher power. The question they solved was solidified in 2106 as Wellmont’s Higher Power Conundrum—a long, philosophical question about the possibility of some sort of deity. The conundrum, notably, was able to inquire about every possibile form of divine existence or non-existence by not mentioning any of them specifically, only creating general criteria. One of my earliest memories is sitting with my father in the kitchen eating peanut butter and jelly as he explained the conundrum and how it related to what he did for a living. He was a metaphysicist, studying the existence of a God or gods. While his analytical mind wouldn’t have been able to contribute to early philosophical metaphysics, this was a time when the discipline was finally becoming a quantifiable science. He and his research team were focused on experimentation back then: trying to find God (through His omnipresence) from the comfort of their own lab. But that strategy didn’t last. I was about eleven when my parents told me the news. I remember being

surprised to see my father home so late at night, when he usually worked. He and my mom sat me down in the living room and told me that my father had to go on a trip “for his research,” as my mom said. “My team found a lead,” he said, “and we have to follow it before it vanishes again.” “Your father’s leaving tomorrow morning,” my mom told me.

About five months into his absence, something changed; a switch flipped and I rededicated myself to my schooling. I was never the same as I was before my father left, but I became very busy with my education. I didn’t have any free time. I think I wanted it that way. The only real breaks I took from studying were for church. It’s probably not surprising that my father, as a metaphysicist, was a devout Christian. My mom and I were too. I began to combine my beliefs with my studies. I focused not on metaphysics, which I had clearly not taken to, but on philosophy. I was finished with my required education by 13, and began honing my studies into my preferred area: theology. I was hoping to join the clergy eventually, and I was very diligent in my work. So of course I was studying when the incident happened. The incident is difficult to describe, considering there’s never been anything like it before or since. Basically, some event occured which permeated throughout the universe. Most people described it as a wave of light washing over everything, or a deep boom. Sometimes a tingling they felt or a smell or taste. But any of these ideas would have denoted a physical change, and that’s not what the incident

About five months into his absence, something changed; a switch flipped and I rededicated myself to my schooling. was. The incident was some sort of pulse which every sentient creature, maybe even every living creature, felt through our souls. It didn’t affect our senses, but we all knew it happened, and nobody could figure out why. Many churches believed it was the heralding of the second coming, and they redoubled their efforts of faith. My church wasn’t so optimistic. Our clergy theorized that it was a rare spiritual event, one that was rare enough to never get recorded, but still as mundane as a miracle could be. Nevertheless, like every faith, we began to focus much of our doctrine on explaining it. Because of the incident and its response, I had the pleasure of studying religion during one of the greatest periods of theological debate in history. This was a new golden age for spirituality. Decades ago, metaphysics had reopened the concrete possibility of a higher power, and now the incident had brought forth thousands of new perspectives on its nature. Best of all, since the debate began and ended in academia, our differences of spiritual opinion brought about no wars, possibly a historical first. We felt we were at the height of civilization. I was two years into my religious studies when a ship was spotted. It was old and banged-up, but farther out in the galaxy than any ship had been known to travel. The communications system was unresponsive when authorities tried to hail it, but I recognized it immediately. It was my father’s research ship. As soon as I saw it on the news, I requested a sabbatical. I needed to be there when my father landed. I traveled back home, and my mom and I went together to the port where the ship would land.

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I can’t remember how I felt seeing him go. I’m sure I was sad, but I also let life go on. I was young. I had a whole world of my own to explore. But after a few days without sitting together at the kitchen table, bonding over peanut butter and jellies, I began to feel his absence. I shut myself off from the world. I stopped talking to my friends and family. I didn’t leave the house if I could avoid it, and didn’t do much at home either. At one point I took some of my father’s metaphysics books from his shelf and began reading them. I went through the stack about five times, but the more I read, the less I understood. The concepts were complicated to begin with, but by the end even the simplest sentences were just words on a page. Every time I read, there were less footholds between the indecipherable metaphysical concepts. I grew more and more frustrated, until I was throwing every book I finished against the wall. My mom had to take them away from me. She bought a safe and locked them up, and my father’s other books with them. I don’t think I ever tried to open the safe, but I remember that it was constantly in my thoughts, taunting me. I was barely talking. I wasn’t leaving the house.

The crowds around the landing port were immense, but as family members we were able to bypass them and stand with the other families to greet our “returning explorers.” The ship’s landing gear sputtered and sparked as it descended, the most ominous fireworks in history. The news had been covering my father’s research in as much detail as the public could handle ever since the ship was first identified, but nobody knew where they’d been or why they had gone. Nobody even knew what state they’d be in when they came out of the ship. Slowly, almost melodramatically, the door opened. Out stepped my father and the whole crew—all alive! My mom and I rushed over to him but he barely had a chance to embrace us before government officials pulled him away. I didn’t see him a lot in the weeks that followed; he was too busy debriefing. I first learned what my father’s team had discovered while I was packing to go back to the church. A breaking news segment came on as I picked up a shirt to fold. As I glanced up at the screen, I saw my father standing at a podium. He looked nervous, but started talking almost immediately, clearly anxious to get his announcement over with. I didn’t remember him being so uncomfortable with public speaking before. “Having discovered the, um, higher power is not omnipresent like we once thought,” he stammered, “we set out to follow a fleeting cosmological lead to its, or their, location.” I had stopped folding the shirt. “Only too late did we discover that the deities, whatever they were, were by nature unobservable. This meant that as soon as we, well, observed them, they were destroyed. The effects of this destruction rippled through the cosmos faster than light in what I’ve been told you call the ‘incident.’” I dropped the shirt. I slowly closed my suitcase and sat down, the image of my father at the podium burned into my brain. “They were destroyed.” Whatever higher power was once out there, it was gone. If there was no longer a god, or gods as it turned out, there was no need for me to go back to the church. There was no need for there to even be a church. The entire world had changed in a second, and I was training for the one career that no longer had a place. I never even told the church that I wouldn’t be coming back. Even that early I realized there was no point. What good is a church without a god? In the days that followed, all anyone ever talked about was my father’s revelation. Most people seemed to have the same doubts as I did.

“If there’s really no god, does life even have a point anymore?” I overheard a woman say as I was buying food. The fact that I wasn’t alone in my crisis of faith should have made me feel better, but it didn’t. I kept hoping somebody would show up and give me the answers, and how could that happen if all anybody did was ask questions. My father was no help either. He didn’t want to talk about his expedition, and we didn’t want to push him. He wasn’t as unfazed by his deicidal experience as he seemed on the news. At first we didn’t notice, because we were so happy to have him back, but it was apparent in his one-word answers to every question, the fact that he only left the house when he had to, the lack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or any bonding time between us. My mom began sleeping separately from him, and I could hear her crying herself to sleep most nights. He wasn’t the same man who hugged me goodbye all those years ago, and it hurt to live with this ghost of who he used to be. Then the flashbacks started. The first one happened late at night, after we had all gone to sleep. He must have gotten up to go to the bathroom, but something triggered him and the next thing we knew, we were woken up by him wailing on his bedroom floor. He didn’t notice us in front of him, and we were just barely able to usher him to bed. When he finally calmed down, he still didn’t acknowledge us. He just fell asleep. His flashbacks got worse after that, and I stayed with him all the time while my mom worked. We didn’t go out if we could avoid it, because it was impossible to tell what would trigger him. The only definite triggers were his old metaphysics books, so we had to keep them in the safe. Eventually the flashbacks went away, but as they did, they took his memory. Doctors couldn’t find a source for his problems and his brain registered as completely neurotypical. One neurologist theorized that the problem was not with his mind or brain, but with his soul, “after, you know, the Incident.” We didn’t see him a second time. The memory loss was especially hard on my mom. She was already working overtime to support us, and now the man she knew and loved was slipping away and nobody knew why. Her hair turned from black to white within a year. She was showing more signs of fatigue every day. I couldn’t help but notice how she was fading away, just like my father. She fainted at work twice before I took her to a doctor. The doctor said her body was very weak due to stress, but there wasn’t anything we could do about

I put down my stylus. There it is, my whole story on paper. Now what can I make of it? This was supposed to help me find meaning, but I’m still as lost as ever. It’s ridiculous. How can I find meaning in a world that is, by definition, meaningless?

“Jordan, I have some more account sheets for you.” My boss Tye interrupts my thoughts. Whenever I see him I can’t help but remember him walking off the ship with my father all those years ago. He’s changed a lot since then. He’s older of course, and he’s traded his lab gear for an old-fashioned suit. As a man of science, he had never struck me as the traditionalist type, but working for him I’ve learned there’s a lot going on beneath his placid features. “Ok,” I say, “just put them in my inbox. I’m still working on the sheets from this morning. Do you need these by a certain time, or just as soon as I can finish them?” “No rush. I’m actually going across town to the lab for the rest of the day, so I’ll see you tomorrow. Say

hi to your dad for me.” “Will do. Bye.” Tye’s not bad. He did give me this job. Even so, there’s nothing very fulfilling about accounting. But I guess that’s true for anything these days. I finish up my work for the day and head home. My father and I still live in the same house I grew up in. Our front door opens right onto the living room. I can see the dingy old chairs, and the kitchen light is reflecting off the old safe in the back hallway. My father is sitting in his chair while his caregiver reads next to him. I’m so used to his face that I barely notice it anymore. His surprisingly dark hair and weary face blend into my platonic ideal of who he is. “Father, I’m home. Hi, Dev. How is he?” “Hey, Jordan. Your dad’s been good today. He hasn’t moved very much, but he was actually talking earlier.” “Really? Father, were you talking before?” I say to him. He’s not talking now though. “Father, Tye says hi. Remember Tye? He was on your team and he gave me my job.” I hold onto his hand, and he squeezes ever so slightly. I’m not sure if he understands what I’m saying, but I’m always glad when he can acknowledge my voice. “Dev, could you tell what he was saying before?” “I couldn’t. He called out ‘Hey!’ but everything else was mumbled and I was across the room preparing his IV.” I was originally hesitant to hire a caretaker, but Dev’s parents had been close with mine back in the day. Dev’s mom was even my father’s mentor in school. They’re probably one of the only people I would trust with this job. Dev goes home and I take care of my father for the evening. Usually I read aloud to him for a bit, but I’m not up for it tonight. I take him upstairs—he’ll walk if you guide him, but he doesn’t usually move on his own anymore—and put him to bed. I go to my room. I take my bible off my nightstand to read. I’ve been reading a lot of religious literature since I started my job, but I can’t get through a page tonight

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it. She died young, when I was 22. I kept the funeral small. Just me and my father. Not even a priest. Her friends had a larger memorial, but I didn’t go. She had been my only support for so long, I didn’t want to let go of that when my father was still dying before me. I was the only one left to take care of him. And I have ever since.

without thinking about the futility of it all. None of this is real, and we’ve proved it. Without anything else to do, I go to sleep. The next day is my day off, so I take my father to the park. I’ve always been a believer in the benefits of fresh air, for me and for him. The park isn’t very big, but the grass and trees are a nice break from the glass and metal of the rest of the city. From our bench, I can see the old church across the street. After the “gods are dead” thing happened, a lot of churches closed. The one across the street, the Church of the Lord, is one of the few that stayed open. It’s an old stone cathedral that’s seen more denomination changes than most people know exist. I think that’s where my mentor, Pastor Marc, is working now. I sit on the bench with my father for half an hour, just watching people pass. I like to think he watches them too. When I start to get restless, I help him up so we can head home. But I start thinking about the church. “It can’t hurt to check for Pastor Marc.” I say to my father. “We have plenty of time. Besides, it would be good to catch up.” He says nothing. I usher him up the church steps and we head in. The vestibule looks like it hasn’t been renovated in decades. There are chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, but much of the light comes from dim lamps halfway up the wall. The doors to the nave are all closed. Off to one side is a newer-looking desk with a bright lamp and an older woman behind it.

“Hello, I was wondering if Pastor Marc Evans works here?” I say. “He does,” She replies curtly. “May I speak with him?” “Who should I say is asking?” “An old student of his.” “Funny, I didn’t take you for a minister.” She glances at me quizzically. “Oh no, I’m not. I ended my schooling after the…” I trail off as I watch her give my father a glare of recognition. “Pastor Marc,” she says into the intercom, ignoring me, “you have a visitor. She claims she was your student.” “Send her in. I’m in the shelter right now.” A raspy voice says over a raspier speaker. Even so, I can recognize it as Pastor Marc’s. It feels like I’m listening in on the past. A simpler time when my biggest worry was a paper on the Old Testament. The receptionist gestures at the door to the nave, giving my father and me another glare for good measure. I wheel him through, not knowing what to expect. Inside, the nave has been cleared of benches and filled with a network of low walls. The contrast between the elaborate gold-and-marble chamber and the drab cinderblock cubicles is striking and further emphasized by the simple panes where the stainedglass windows once were. As I walk down the central aisle, I notice beds in each cubicle, most of them with people on them. They’ve turned it into a homeless shelter. But even with all the people, the space is unusually quiet. Pastor Marc steps into the aisle from one of the rooms. He’s older and thinner than the hearty man I studied under, but he still has the same energy, like he’s rushing to do as much good as he can. “Jordan! How good to see you! And is this your father?” “He is. He’s not much for talking these days, but I’m sure he’s happy to meet you.” I wheel my father down the aisle towards the pastor.

“What did you decide?” Refitting the church as a homeless shelter was a nice idea, but it was hard to see how it fit into any bigger picture. “Our ultimate answer was that even without a true God to serve, we could still do good works in His name.” “Okay…” I said doubtfully. “Think of God, and the Bible, as some sort of old legend or fable. Even if we come across factual evidence that the story isn’t true, we can still heed its lessons—if they’re good ones. And I’ve studied the bible long enough to know there are some good morals we can draw from it, regardless of the factuality of the events it describes.” “But by that logic, aren’t there a lot of holy books you could draw lessons from?” Something feels wrong about his argument. I don’t know if it’s just residual emptiness, but it’s just not a satisfying conclusion for me. “There are. Follow me to the kitchen, so I can make you some tea as we chat.” He begins to head down the nave and turns into a hallway. I am following close behind. “Many of my colleagues are working to create new moral philosophies, bringing together the best ideas from all of the holy books we now feel free to study. Me, I prefer to stick to what I know.” We walk into a spartan but well-stocked kitchen. I sit down at a small table on the side. Pastor Marc heads over to the stove. “Besides, with the faith, or what have you, shrinking, we need to make sure we continue doing what is right and not just theorizing about it. How do you take your sugar again?”

“Just a spoonful, thank you.” He places the tea down for me. “I’m sorry. I’m just having trouble believing that it’s just as good to follow God’s teachings when God as we knew Him never existed.” “There’s a good chance that I’m in the minority. But I can’t help but believe that if you need to have a purpose in your life, that purpose will come to you, whatever the source.” I let myself agree to disagree with Pastor Marc on the question of a purpose without a God. We continue talking though, catching up on what we’ve both done since I left my schooling. Neither of us has led a very eventful life, which only supports my theory about the futility of a godless universe, but Pastor Marc’s been happy enough. I use a technique Dev taught me and have my father hold Pastor Marc’s hand to include him in the conversation. I’m not sure if it actually helps, but I like to imagine it makes him feel better. I go to bed early that night, and fairly happy. Seeing Pastor Marc had brightened my day, despite my continued existential dissatisfaction. He can be a little talkative—even preachy—at times, but that’s part of what I like about him. He spends his whole life thinking about these spiritual questions, and whenever you have something to ask him he’s able to provide a well-thought-out answer. Which is especially comforting now that the world has lost its meaning. I wake up early the next morning and read some of the Bible before I start my day. At work, I enter more account sheets and file some reports. My job is mundane as always, but—oddly enough—I don’t mind. For once, I feel like I’m making progress as I move from one pointless task to the next. Maybe I made progress yesterday too. I certainly didn’t find answers, but I do feel like I took a step in the right direction. I send a message to Tye asking if he wants to go to lunch with me. We eat together every so often, although he’s been too busy for that lately, so I had stopped asking. “I don’t have a lot of time, but we can grab a quick bite down the street,” he replies. We go to the old-fashioned hot dog stand on Verburg Square, an immense plaza fairly close to the office with an old fountain in the center and shiny new buildings on all sides. We sit together at one of the noisy metal tables. “It’s been a while since we’ve caught up like this,”

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“And I, he. What brings you here after all these years?” “We were in the area and I’d heard you were working here now, so I thought I’d drop by. I’ve gotten a bit curious about what the church does since, well, you know.” I unconsciously glance at my father. “That’s a question all of us here have had to ask ourselves,” Pastor Marc reassured me. “You know, many churches decided to ignore your father’s revelation, and of course many of the clergy who did believe it left their faiths.” I felt my face flush. “We don’t blame them for that though. A church without a god has a very different purpose, and a difficult one to figure out. That was the first task for those of us who stayed. This is, after all, the age of spiritual reason.”

Tye observes. “How’s your dad?” “He’s been good. I went with him to the park yesterday and then we visited an old friend at the Church of the Lord.” “I didn’t think you kept up with any of your clergy friends.” Tye looks almost displeased. “I really haven’t. But I figured it was time to rebuild those bridges. I missed the people and the guidance they used to give.” It’s hard talking with Tye sometimes. I try to confide in him, but when he’s so guarded I can’t help but keep my own walls up too. “Did your friend provide any guidance this time?” “We actually did have a pretty good discussion about the whole god thing. I’ve been struggling with that ever since, well…” “Since we killed the gods?” “Yeah. I—“ “Have I ever told you why I was hired to your father’s team?” Despite his bluntness, Tye was more pensive than mad. “Um, no?” “I was a young metaphysicist, fresh out of school. Your dad was looking for people to work in his lab, and so I applied and interviewed with him. I’ve been an atheist since I was 14, and back then I was very… outspoken with my views.” He’s clearly not used to revealing this much of himself, he just keeps letting information pour out. “You know how religious your father was, so naturally I ended up arguing with him about his beliefs. In the interview. I left certain that he wouldn’t hire me, blaming his blind fanaticism. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from him the next day. ‘If we’re going to be proving the existence of god, I want to have a good balance of naysayers on my team,’ he said. ‘And I’d say you’re outspoken enough for ten atheists.’ As we found more proof of something out there, I became more doubtful of my own views, less outspoken. Imagine my relief when the gods we found died.” “Relief?” I asked. “To me, having a higher power to answer to always meant less choice. The old existentialists used to think that a universe without meaning was a depressing place, but I never saw it that way. Without a purpose to follow, you’re free to do whatever you

want. Not that I’m advocating crime or hedonism or anything. But you have so many more choices. It might just be my science brain, but it feels like if you have one single purpose, you need to make sure your every moment is dedicated to achieving it in the most direct way possible. But with aimless freedom, you can do whatever you want. You can create art. You can research god. You can establish the largest industrial design firm based on nothing but your reputation as a scientist. That last one might just apply to me.” He chuckles. “But if there’s no specific things you have to do, what stops you from hurting people?” It feels like Pastor Marc all over again. Tye’s making insightful points, and I feel like I’m going somewhere, but there’s still no end in sight. “Me personally? I don’t want to. But in general I’d say human nature.” “How does that account for the people who—“ “Is that really the time?” Tye said, looking at his watch. “I have a meeting in less than five minute. We should get going. And I honestly haven’t figured out a good argument for the ‘what about bad people?’ side of things yet. Right now I just sorta go on faith.” He chuckles again. “Look, I’m gonna run ahead. I’ll see you later, there’s some more account sheets you need to fill.” He took off. There’s always more account sheets. The rest of the workday, I think about what Tye said. Now that I have two different answers to the same question, they don’t feel so satisfying anymore, especially since I don’t like either of them. At the end of the day I go home. Dev is sitting with my father in the living room. Today they’re both watching an old movie. I sit down with him and Dev. “If you want to stay and finish the movie, you’re welcome to,” I offer. “I can stay a little while,” they say, “but I do have a meeting to get to later.” The movie doesn’t go on that much longer. I spend the whole time watching my father. As Dev’s leaving, I ask, “What do you think the purpose in life is without god?” “Why would you think I have time for a purpose?” They say as they rush out the door. I have trouble falling asleep. I read some more of the

I rush to the kitchen, grabbing a piece of paper along the way. Once there, I start writing frantically. I’m still in a sleepy haze, so my words don’t quite make sense yet, but I keep writing, knowing something’s on the tip of my brain if I can just figure out how to express it. I’m so busy I don’t notice that my father has staggered in. He sits down next to me, takes my other hand and squeezes. It startles me, but I squeeze back. I begin writing down things I do. I shouldn’t have been focusing on people or places or objects. The lack of meaning is troubling me, so I have to focus on myself. I keep writing about who I am and what I do until I can’t think of anything else. I finally put down my pencil. There it is. Something. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it, but it feels a lot more satisfying than any of the conversations I’ve had, than any of the books I’ve read, than anything I’ve ever thought before. Somewhere in that list, I’ve made a meaning for myself. It’ll take a lot more thinking to find out what that meaning is, but I know it’s there. For once, I can see an answer on the horizon. I walk my father up to his bed. My thoughts keep racing for most of the night, but when I do fall asleep, I wake up feeling more rested than I’ve been in a long time.

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Bible, but it’s not holding my interest tonight. On a whim, I get up and go to the (now unlocked) safe and take out Foundations of Metaphysics, the first of my father’s books that I had read. I open it up to the first chapter and, to my surprise, I understand it. It’s not necessarily an easy read, but it’s far more comprehensible than I remember. The author references the philosophical aspects of the field often, which helps me find a foothold in all the hard science. I stay up half the night reading. It doesn’t get me any closer to the big answers I’ve been searching for, but right now it just feels nice to have something to fill my brain. When I’m finally too tired to keep reading, I go to sleep. I wake up for work exhausted and dissatisfied. The contentedness from last night’s reading is nowhere to be found. The same thought recurs in my head the whole day: I’ve explored both extremes, but I’m no closer to solving the problem. I fall asleep at my desk twice. Most of the rest of the week is the same way. The rest of the month too. I keep going through the motions, but my fruitless search for meaning is haunting me. I find myself writing more and more about my life. About Pastor Marc and Tye. About my father and his books. About Dev. About the bible. About the fountain in Verburg square. I try and figure out a reason for anything and everything in my life. Some purpose set forth by who-knows-what. But there’s nothing. I wake up in the middle of the night about six weeks after I visited Pastor Marc. I’d had trouble falling asleep, struggling with the purpose of everything again, but something in me woke up as I finally drifted off. I’ve been looking at this all wrong.

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Leopold Stßbner S.J.


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In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Irene DeMaris

Sacred CHoice I was 15 the first time I was called a feminist. I stuck up for a classmate which caused another to check out a feminist book from the school

library, dropped it in front of me, pretended to spit on it, and then stepped on it. I was 16 when in health class we had to split up into two groups:

A few months ago, I read an article about an abortion provider who said that he was prochoice because he was a Christian. This statement helped me to articulate something that had been percolating within me for a few years. Why am I a feminist? Why am I pro-choice? It goes deeper than the fact that I know in my bones that all people were created equal, deeper than believing that choice is a part of the freedom we should receive as citizens of the United States. I am a pro-choice feminist because I am a Christian. Some of you may be thinking, wait, a pro-choice Christian! Is that like jumbo shrimp? The fact of the matter is that we exist and over the past 30 years other Christians who read the Bible with a different lens have drowned out the progressive Christian voice.

I’m also a member of the elusive Generation Y who has yet to find our voices as feminists and advocates for reproductive justice. and woman were created. After Adam and Eve are created, they were warned by God not to eat the fruit from a certain tree in the Garden of Eden or they would die. While they were hanging out in the garden, a serpent spoke with Eve and Adam (he was there the entire time). The snake said, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5, NRSV)

As a current theology student in the progressive state of Washington, I am aware of the privilege that surrounds me. I grew up in a two parent, middle-class WASP household, and am in the position to be a full-time student in graduate school. I’m also a member of the elusive Generation Y who has yet to find our voices as feminists and advocates for reproductive justice. I believe that God’s love is boundless and that we have been given the wonderful gift of freedom, freedom that leads to choice and that’s the lens in which I see the world.

Eve made a choice to be more like God; to be made in God’s image and Adam made that decision too. He could have spoken up, or made a different decision. Or you could look at it that Adam respected Eve’s right to choose. Unfortunately, Adam threw Eve under the bus when God entered the garden and saw the makeshift clothing the pair had made when they realized they were naked. Adam told God, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12)

Recently I have been drawn to the first book in the Bible, to Genesis where Eve is in the garden and eats from the tree. This passage has long given justification to androcentric and compulsory heterosexuality thought. One that I had previously found unredeemable, but have found hope and freedom hiding within.

Adam blames Eve even though he is equally responsible for the consumption of the fruit. He is beside her side when Eve converses with the snake. They are partners in crime, but are they really committing a crime? A crime that has been used to justify the abuse of women, to treat women as inferior, to silence voices, and take away a women’s choice.

God created a human and then realized that this person needed to be in relationship with more than just nature and animals. God took a piece of the human and made another human thus man

I believe that God’s grace, God’s love, can withstand anything we do. I believe that God put the tree in the garden on purpose, to give Adam and

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pro-choice and pro-life, let’s just say there were more pro-lifers than those choosing choice. I was raised to make my own decisions, that being a female didn’t make me any less than my male classmates, and that choice was my right.

Eve a choice. I believe that God wouldn’t have given us freedom unless God wanted to give it to us. Therefore eating the fruit from the tree was not a crime and the creation story should never be used to justify the inequality of women, or to say Eve committed the original sin. God gave Adam and Eve the gift of freedom, one they picked instead of eternal life. They chose knowledge, a chance to write their own story, to make mistakes, learn, and grow. Things that wouldn’t have necessarily happened if they had not eaten the fruit from the tree. What if we read the story as Eve brings reality into the garden, that she is created as Adam’s equal, and that it is Eve that brings God’s vision into full swing? Many feminist, womanist, and regular theologians are peeling back centuries of literal readings of scriptures to find new truths and give hope to feminist, pro-choice Christians’ like myself. I never have believed that God had an explicit plan for me, I believe that God walks along side me throughout this journey that I call life. I can choose my life path. There is liberating freedom in this for me. I can eat the fruit from any tree, if I want, can make mistakes and learn from them, I can be angry at God, but I am never alone and my freedom is always intact. Some women do not have the economic resources to have a child, or another child. Some women are just not ready to have a child. A growing number of women deciding that they do not want children. Some women want children. Some women adopt or are foster parents, go through IV treatments. A woman’s right to choose her life path is sacred. It’s sacred to me and essential to my Christian life. Choice is a sacred. It is my hope and dream that pro-choice feminists of all shapes, sizes, religions, and beliefs can band together and protect this sacred choice, our freedom.

I believe that God’s grace, God’s love, can withstand anything we do. I believe that God put the tree in the garden on purpose, to give Adam and Eve a choice.

bookmark here find your next social justice text here BROAD Readers

Published: 2003


tery, Thriller

Nonfiction, Mys

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First Sentence:

“ Renowned curator Jacques Saunière stag gered through the va ulted archway of the museu m’s Grand Gallery.”

Limitations: Although Magdalene is a guiding character in the novel, feminist readers mig ht be wary of the constant emphasis of the religious figure’s womb rather than her pers onality traits. There’s no mention whether she is intelligent, kind or emotional yet many char acters reference her ability to reproduce. The ending of the book also trud ges on farther than needed. While the crime, clues and chases push the plot to the climax, the ending is lackluster and resembl es more of a Disney-inspired resolution rath er than a suspenseful interpretation.

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In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Dr. Monia Corsaro

The Theology of Jazz ...like life, it’s all about engagement I don’t listen to jazz if is too complicated, a friend said to me once. And I thought to myself, that really explains it all doesn’t it? Jazz does demand engagement. And some in life would rather not engage. Do you know anyone like that? It does not matter what era you are talking about; jazz, like life, is interactive and that is what makes it so spiritual: Dixieland, Funk, Indie, Latin, Modal, all of it demands the listener to be engaged with live, and in that engagement we the listener become the jazz artist.

It’s All about Engagement And is that not what life is about. However, we have the power to choose to be engaged or not. This same friend had such control on his life it is no wonder he could not listen to jazz. He only dated women of his race, he did not allow people to come and visit him at his house. He would sometimes disappear for days, usually to visit his mother, a very nice thing to do, but he would not tell any of his friends where he went. He kept his life in separate compartments and liked it that way. But if life is to be truly lived it must be done with engagement. The jazz players teach us this. Take the song Moanin by Charles Mingus. It opens with a solo saxophone, but that saxophone is not alone for long, soon you have trumpets intermixing with the saxophones both doing runs up and down the scale. A blast here, a blast there. The

music at moments almost seems too much, it is loud, chaotic but if you stay with it the chords soon resolve themselves, trumpets and saxophones together all undergirded with the modal piano. Yes the music is complicated and even at times uncomfortable, but is that not life? The process of thought teaches us how we can cope and live into life. Our past informs our present and our present can guide our future. But in the moment at hand -- in each here and now -- we are, to use the formal language, subjects in the act of becoming. As subjects we really cannot help creating ourselves. Every decision is an act of creation. Every response. The presence of other people and the surrounding world, moment by moment; they are the fellow musicians in the process. We are all on the

same stage, and the stage is the earth itself. Sometimes we forget this. We go through financial crisis, we go through break-ups, and we go through individual tragedies, communal tragedies. In all those instances, if we do not accept the challenge of being engaged, as process teaches, the woes could become worse. If you choose not to pay your house payment you lose your house, if you choose not to be in a relationship you cannot break-up, or feel the bliss of love and the content found in being with a partner. Life is full of struggles and just like jazz, life needs to be lived always in ensemble or in community, for in community we get to struggle together and the struggle is easier. The true tragedy is when we the artist choose to leave the jazz ensemble and go it alone or worse yet, we begin to listen to pop music. Yes! Pop Music.

Every decision is an act of creation. Every response. The presence of other people and the surrounding world, moment by moment; they are the fellow musicians in the process.

Don’t Go Pop

You took your time with the call I took no time with the fall You gave me nothing at all, but still you’re in my way I beg and borrow and steal Have first sight and it’s real I didn’t know I would feel it, but it’s in my way Your stare was holding Ripped jeans, skin was showing Hot night, wind was blowing Where you think you’re going, baby? Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy But here’s my number, so call me maybe It’s hard to look right, at you baby But here’s my number, so call me maybe

Sometimes we may need a little Pop But we can’t stay there. Life does get complicated and sometimes we need to have the comfort and the simplicity of a pop song. But we cannot stay there. It might seem comfortable for a while, but one thing that is very clear, as least if

we think in process terms. In the process of thought there is no staying in one place; you cannot live life singing the same notes over. There is a need for novelty or newness, and we ourselves are among those who create and discover that novelty. In short, we must play our songs, too. We cannot wait for that phone call; we must make that phone call. Some moments are chaotic, blaring, and loud; but stick with it jump back into the ensemble listen to the rest of Moanin it does get better. Stick with it and what was chaotic and blaring becomes a Latin beat that just makes you want to dance! Life, while complicated and with many voices, can be a Latin rythym with the instrumental voices full of fun, delight, heat, passion and dare say even bliss! Moanin, or lament, can take you to ecstasy if you stay engaged; take a chance, take it to the end of the song. If you do you will reside in the beautiful. And you got your ensemble players to back you up. You the jazz artist are never alone: that is, when you engage! Moanin, a beautiful complicated piece that was written in the past, is played, listened to and appreciated in the present and will again be played and will affect listeners and players in the future; it will carry on because the act of the jazz ensemble is kinetic, creative, collaborative, complicated and fun. Be part of the ensemble of life, start now and call someone you want to engage with. It is your life and yours to be lived as only an artist can!

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Call Me, Maybe was the most played pop song in the United States during the summer of 2012. It is a simple song where the girl meets boy, finds him attractive and then sings to him call me, maybe? Since at least 2012 the message we have been telling people is call me, maybe? We cannot even be direct to really engage? The melody is simple and repetitive; the young woman has fallen madly in lust with the guy, but cannot just get his number and call him herself? The song is the metaphor for what happens when the jazz artist has lost her groove and gone pop.




visions & revisions of our culture(s) How Islam made me a Feminist











1. What do you think of her interpretation of Islam? 2. Of feminism? MICRO 3. In what ways to various religions and feminists share values? AGRES 4. In what ways do they disagree? SHU NS















Consider: 1. What is the purpose of this cartoon? 2. Is it stereotyping a specific group of people? 3. Is a serious issue being minimized, or brought to the public in a light way?

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busted advertising, bustling economy The Hartford Courant Cartoon

XX Marks the Spot Remapping Our Destinies Meagan Cook

Converted to Feminism I didn’t grow up in a religious family, but I was always looking for something to believe in. As a kid, I would tag along with my friends to whatever service their family attended. I didn’t care if they were Methodist, Baptist, or anything in between; I wanted to go to church just to say I went to church. I could never pinpoint where exactly I got my idea of the perfect family from, but all I knew is that a good family went to church. It was something about a family that got up early on a Sunday morning, got dressed, got in the car, and got their shit together long enough to sit through a two hour service. I knew that no family was perfect, as mine continuously reminded me, but I didn’t see anything wrong with putting on a front. My dad was raised in a devout Episcopalian home and my mom had a strict Irish Catholic upbringing. For the longest time, they used my younger brother’s disability to excuse our absence in the pews. When I reached high school I realized this excuse was bullshit; but in turn, I developed my own fraudulent devotion to worship. By this point I was highly involved in my friendly neighborhood mega church: overseas mission trips, bible study, the whole nine yards. But I wasn’t going because I felt called by the holy spirit. I went because I had nothing better to do. I was a complete dork in high school, for lack of a better word that could truly describe how hopelessly unpopular I was. I went to

church to disguise my loneliness. Having to get up early on Sunday morning was my way of justifying going to sleep at 10 p.m. on Saturday night. Even though I always questioned the existence of God and never understood what the pastor meant when he said that “we’re all sinners,” the ideals of Christianity still seeped into my adolescent brain. I heard it preached that all transgressions were the same in the eyes of the lord; that it was equally bad to lie, cheat, or steal. Yet somehow premarital sex and homosexuality were the two that were always overemphasized. Even above murder and pedophilia, these were the sins that could get you a oneway ticket to the fiery depths of hell. Even before I identified as a feminist or even knew the first thing about feminism, this vision of sex and sexuality as

something so shameful just never sat right with me. I’d never had premarital sex nor did I identify as homosexual, but I hated hearing this kind of negativity from the one source that was supposed to make everyone feel accepted and loved. Despite my best efforts, the idea that I should repress any expression of sexuality pressed heavily on me. I formed the incredibly bad habit of policing the expression of others, especially slut shaming girls who I knew to be sexually active. It didn’t help that I was learning the same things from my parents, as their conservative upbringings are so deeply ingrained into who they are. I would look at kids my age who were openly gay or openly sexual, and I honestly wondered if their parents still loved them. They were damaged in the eyes of the lord, so weren’t they also damaged in the eyes of their family? And what about their own self-image? Wasn’t that beyond repair, too? Moving on into college, I continued to flail with Christianity and all its implications. My roommate freshman year was an incredibly devout non-denominational Christian. She went to church every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, which seemed a little excessive to me, but at least she had a community that she belonged to. So I picked up right where I left off in high school, going to church and studying the Bible for all the wrong reasons. Eventually, it came time for me to accept Christ

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As fate would have it, the semester I began taking Confirmation classes through campus ministry was the same semester I started taking a heavy Women Studies and Gender Studies course load.

into my heart and dedicate my life to the church, and I panicked. I froze right there on the spot. My answer to the question “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior” was “I don’t know... I have to think about it.” But I didn’t think about it more, I just moved on to the next available branch. By this time I had tried all denominations of Christianity, even denominations that claimed not to be a denomination, except for one. Now I had reached the big leagues. It was time to try my hand at Catholicism, the mother of all messes. I rationalized my last ditch attempt at claiming a religion in several ways. One: Catholicism is where it all started. I hadn’t been capture by Protestantism because it wasn’t “real” Christianity. Two: I had already been baptized Catholic as a baby, so I was already half way there. Three: All my friends were doing it. I go to a Jesuit University and many of my close friends go to mass religiously. As fate would have it, the semester I began taking Confirmation classes through campus ministry was the same semester I started taking a heavy Women Studies and Gender Studies course load. I was simultaneously learning about the tradition of the sacraments and the tradition of the patriarchy. My turning point came when my Women in Religion professor introduced me to the idea of God as a female. At first I thought this was blasphemy; I had always and only heard God referred to with male pronouns, and I prayed to my “Heavenly Father” anytime I actually got around to praying. But why? God is not human, and therefore cannot be definitively assigned to one sex. Meanwhile, in my Contemporary Issues in Feminism class, I was learning about the fluidity of sexuality and the validity of having sex for pleasure. Feminism gave me the knowledge and tools I needed to reconcile all of the conflicting ideologies I’d been passively absorbing since day one. It taught me about agency and autonomy, and how to enact them in my everyday life. It opened my eyes to concepts like intersectionality, and the idea that each individual’s lived experience is unique and important. While I may still believe in God, feminism is the belief system that guides my actions and decisions. Feminism is what holds me accountable for living a conscientious life and reminds me that everyone deserves human dignity. Feminism in all its forms is the doctrine I adhere to. Equality is my creed, and my faith is strengthened through a community of incredible people who have also converted to feminism.

message me we asked. you answered. BROAD people

BROAD October 2014

Do you believe females/women are religiously obligated to raise children?

Yes, women create people, so they are God. :) No, it takes a village. No, I don’t think any women are obligated to raise children.

No, I look at raising children as a partnership between MANY individuals. It’s not any one person’s responsibility.

Well, Jewish rabbis wrote they should so I don’t know if they are correct. How do I really know God said women should reaise women? Religion was a way to control the masses and to ensure the continuation of the population. They place a heavy importance on the purity of women so they can bring a lot of kids into the world. They are treated as tools instead of person.

message me we asked. you answered. BROAD people

BROAD October 2014

They already do. We need to expand how we think about leadership. And yes, they also should hold positional leadership positions. Everyone should have opportunity to lead.

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Yes, religions hope to help all people, so all people should have the opportunity to lead and help others, a simply have a place to participate where they want to!

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Susan Haarman

RuPaul and Jesus:

comments on the theology of drag Being given the task of talking about the Theology of Drag at a Catholic school might seem initially only marginally less precarious than walking around in 5 inch heels on Loyola’s pavers. But, just like walking in heels, our best course of action is to throw our shoulders back, stick our chests out and move forward with confident steps.

gest, is it a complex performance of roles, symbols and trappings that we take on or often have thrust upon us? Drag helps us stop and think why it is we might think a woman looks more powerful in a suit or why we might giggle at a man in dress. It points a light at the assumptions about power and beauty which we unconsciously bring to bear upon gender.

Contrary to popular belief, drag is not just about glitter, it’s not new and it’s not exclusive to the LGBTQ community. A variety of ancient cultures, especially indigenous ones, often featured a figure in society who was gender nonconforming. It was usually that figure who was revered to have a sort of holy wisdom and access to the divine. Up until the 1700’s, all theater was performed with male performers playing the female roles. Aeschylus, Marlowe, Shakespeare - all originally in drag.

So, hearing the phrase drag and theology in the same sentence might be a little strange for some folks but, the Gospel, like drag, has been subverting and challenging gender norms for centuries. Jesus himself was iconoclastic as a Middle Eastern Jew who stayed unmarried and had strong intimate friendships among both men and women. Christ defied gender norms that were ironclad, having conversations with women where he engaged them as equals. RuPaul once said that “In a patriarchal society, a man dressing in drag is an act of treason.” Well, Jesus was pioneering gender treason in the 1st century.

Drag is a performance that asks us to reconsider what we understand as gender. Is gender somehow set in stone, or as Judith Butler would sug-

Even, when we look to St. Paul, who has written

But in a world of brokenness, where the truth of the Gospel is often buried under the human sin and structural oppression, thank God for drag. Drag asks us to really consider if what we have always thought was permanent, fixed and decided about gender is perhaps far more mercurial and personal. Beyond the occasional sequins and eyeliner, a drag performance is exactly that – an intentional performance that endeavors to express the performer’s perspective and voice, while also inviting the audience to question just exactly what they are looking at – and more importantly what lens the audience is using when it looks. Drag holds a mirror up to us and dares us to be honest about exactly how and why we make judgments about people. Do we encounter them as fellow human beings or do we get stuck at the surface level – what they look like, who they associate with, who they love. Do we actually see to what is truly real and unchanging about some-

But in a world of brokenness, where the truth of the Gospel is often buried under the human sin and structural oppression, thank God for drag.

one – their God given dignity that no person, corporation, religious institution, or government can take away? St. Paul said “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As Loyola strives to be a university of justice, faith, and love, let’s work together to build a community where all are welcomed exactly as they are, no matter what they may be wearing….

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some of the bro-iest of scripture, we see him describing himself as a woman in labor as he worked to build the church in Galatia. Whether it was Joan of Arc dressing as a man and leading an army or St. Francis praying for the strength to be like a nursing mother to the poor, people of faith have been reminding us for centuries that God is not a gender conformist. Oddly, it seems it’s just we modern Christians who need safe and comfortable categories.

Joan of Arc: Courage!

Pope Francis: Who Am I to Judge?

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Joan Trinh Pham, etsy.com/shop/joantrinhpham

Mother Teresa: Small Things with Great Love I draw for play, for pleasure and for joy. Often I pretend that I am in a secluded monastery illuminating the precious wisdom shared by these foundational figures of my faith tradition. The process of filing in each panel of colour is infused with the mindfulness of an artisan piecing together a stained glass window because this is precisely the effect I desire to create. If I am honest I will confess that there is a subversive edge to my creation: I am a wholly untrained artist who is carving time out of my work days as a palliative care nurse to doodle, to explore with colour, and to express something on paper that is intended to inspire myself in dark + lost moments.

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Words from the Artist:

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Kareigh Tieppo

Journey to Joy A conference of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), JASPA was originally founded in 1954 as the Conference of Jesuit Student Personnel Administrators (CJSPA). In the Fall of 1981, JASPA became the official name of the organization and JASPA continues today, as the original members of CJSPA intended, to work to promote the mission of Jesuit higher education.







NIA 1878





While I have attended Catholic school since Kindergarten, the fact that Loyola was a Catholic university was a factor I had hardly given much attention to when I applied in 2011. I had not had the most positive experience with what I knew to be Catholicism in the previous eighteen years of my life, and growing in my faith was not something I expected to happen during college. While I did go through all of the sacraments, I had never really given much thought to what it meant to identify as a Catholic. I went to church every Sunday throughout grade school and high school simply because my parents wanted me to, and I eventually started to hate everything about going to church because my priest truly infuriated me. He was always so negative, and he never failed to tell his congregation how much of a disappointment they were to God. Every homily was more of a scolding than anything else. I never left church feeling a sense of peace, hope, or love, and God simply became the one I blamed and selfishly used as a punching bag during difficult times. It hardly mattered how many times I read the “footprints in the sand” poem hanging on my teachers’ walls, for it only became increasingly difficult for me to believe that God was “carrying” me through those tough times as that old poem claims. As much as I wanted to believe in the message of that poem, I often felt as if God was ignoring my pleas for clarity and hope, and I saw this as a form of unwarranted punishment. Once I started becoming active in my faith by participating in YNIA (Young Neighbors in Ac-

Once my time at Loyola began, I took full advantage of my newfound independence by skipping church for more than three straight months. I did not end up going to Sunday mass until mid-December of my first semester. While my studies were going just swimmingly, I knew I was not doing much to improve or care for the relationship I had/ was “supposed to have” with God, and that infamous Catholic guilt was just a’creepin’ up. A friend asked me to go to nine o’clock mass with her one Sunday night, and I agreed to go simply to alleviate my guilt. Regardless of how much I had come to love Loyola and the community it had started to create for me, I did not expect my experience of mass at Madonna Della Strada to be any different than it was in my hometown. To say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I spent most of the time before the priest gave his homily looking around at the details in the decoration of the church. I was enchanted by how beautiful it looked at that time of night. The lighting was so low and seemingly “warm,” and this warmth radiated from all of the people around me. The priest began his homily, and I realized that I was smiling. I could hardly remember the last time I had genuinely smiled at church. The priest’s friendly greeting was also genuine, and he took the time to acknowledge that it was a stressful time for all of the students that were there, it being close to finals week and all. He talked about the presence of God in our lives as students, as young men and women, as residents of the Chicago, as sons and daughters, as sisters and brothers, and as flawed, but LOVED, human beings. He talked about how God is with us through our struggles and how much love He has for us. For the first time at mass, I felt a weight being lifted off of my shoulders instead of feeling as if that weight was being thrown at me and there was nothing I could do to soften the blow. At this point, I could not get over how beautiful it was inside the chapel, and I was amazed by the fact that all of the people around me were there because they actually wanted to be. And that made me so happy. Then I realized that EVERYONE was singing the final song. I hadn’t been at a mass where there were more people singing than not singing in YEARS. But that night, no one cared if anyone was hearing them sing aloud. No one cared if others saw them really getting into the music. I was amazed. And I joined in. Everyone was singing and smiling and

The priest began his homily, and I realized that I was smiling. I could hardly remember the last time I had genuinely smiled at church. seemingly happy, and I started to CRY. I had never felt such a sense of peace. The experience I had in that moment was only the beginning of my Journey to Joy here at Loyola University Chicago. My first real attempt at becoming a part of the Loyola community was when I applied to be a part of the “Loyola Companions” at the end of freshman year. I had no idea this group was a part of Campus Ministry, and while that was surprising and a tad intimidating at first, it turned out to be a wonderful, wonderful thing. The Loyola Companions strive to build community through leadership in faith and service, and I have found that I want to make it my personal mission to help first-year students find ways to make Loyola their home away from home; their “happy” place...because once I did that for myself, I realized that I had never been so happy in my entire life. Needless to say, I quickly found my niche and an amazing community of friends.These same people challenge me to delve deeper into my understanding of the world around me, and this challenge includes discussing faith with my peers who are of other religious backgrounds. It has been incredibly rewarding to talk to my peers so intimately about our different faith traditions and the experiences of faith we have had throughout our lives. At one point last year I was asked to share my “faith journey” with a small group of Companions at a retreat. This request initially made me incredibly nervous and uncomfortable, for I had never really felt safe discussing my faith before. Regardless of my twelve years of Catholic schooling, I had never really discussed my faith in an intimate way. My peers and I had a strange habit of simply mocking

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tion) with others in my youth group, my relationship with the God I believed in became stronger, but I was still extremely uncomfortable with verbally discussing topics that had remotely anything to do with my faith life.

our faith as a way to entirely avoid a serious discussion of it. I quickly came to realize, however, that those I would be sharing my faith story with at this retreat were people who would provide a safe space for me when discussing such a topic. After about an hour or so in that room with my small group, I found that the conversation I was having was the most personal one I had ever had in my life. Discussing the religion we identified with, if any, and what that meant to us became so much more than awkward silences. Those moments were filled with stories about faith and spirituality and suffering and love and hope, and I would not have been sorry if it would have lasted for hours longer than it did. I was surrounded by people who identified with other faiths, people who are passionate about their faith beliefs, and people who had the opportunity to convert to a religion of their choice. I was especially jealous of the people who had the opportunity to convert, for they described their conversion as a “beautiful” experience, and it was an experience I could tell had obviously shaped their character and their life. I had never been able to feel that way about the experiences of my faith life, and I had never seen that as a terribly sad fact until that day. Before coming to Loyola, I didn’t know one thing about the Jesuits, and I definitely still have a lot left to learn. I know I still don’t know all there is to know about the Society of Jesus and its mission in the world, but I am in an “All Things Ignatian” class right now, and I hope to learn all I can in this short semester about such things and the history of it all. After everything a Jesuit education has done to change my life thus far, I know it has to be pretty important to know what exactly is the driving force behind all that goodness. I have learned what hard work truly is and who is doing that work in the world. I have learned what it is to truly be aware of the world around me, how to see the bigger picture, what it means to see God in all Things, how to actively seek God in all things, how to Love, how to find true Joy, how to respect the beliefs of others, how to question, how to ask questions, how to be myself, how to make time for the people who make me truly happy, how to follow my heart, and how to nourish my soul. I hope to be able to share this knowledge with the first-years through the Companions program so that they can come to know the university they have chosen and what it stands for. At the end of my sophomore year I heard the “Fall in Love” prayer by Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ, and it

After everything a Jesuit education has done to change my life thus far, I know it has to be pretty important to know what exactly is the driving force behind all that goodness. has become my guide to life. It reads, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in Love, and it will decide everything.”

I believe that I have found the Love that Father Arrupe speaks of, and in this Love, I will continue to question and love and serve and experience. Those are the actions I feel I am called to pursue at this time in my life, and doing so thus far has helped me grow so very happily in my faith life, which has essentially positively affected every other aspect of my life as well. This is the closest I have ever felt to God in my life, and I am still trying to understand what that means for me and how I am to adjust my life accordingly. I believe that I have fallen in Love. I hope to never fall from this Love. And I try my hardest to cherish the gift that it is to allow it to decide everything.

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Sam Raycraft

Awakening Currently I am not attending school and only took two art classes while in high school, (wish I had taken advantage of more.) I have been drawing since I was a kid because my mother is super artistic, although pretty much everyone drew when they were little. Most all of my art is done with pen and watercolor paints. I don’t always like to have a description for my art pieces, in fact most of the time I prefer not to. I like for people to think for themselves and take what they want from my artwork. What I will say about this piece is that I think too often people are hurt because of religion, when really those arguing have more in common than they realize.

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Words from the Artist:

Insight on (In)Justice Because sometimes justice starts with a conversation... Kait Madsen

My God

Spirituality of Love, Gratitude, and Madsen Family Values

I don’t really know how to respond when asked, “What’s your religion?” I was raised and confirmed in a Lutheran church, but don’t identity with any particular organized religion as an adult. “Atheist”

definitely doesn’t describe me; to say with certainty that I don’t believe in God is way off-base. The less definitive term “agnostic” isn’t right either; it’s not that I’m refusing to claim belief or disbelief, but rather,

My parents’ own dissatisfactions with our church’s take on religion began to show more as I got older, and they replaced it with our own Madsen-style spirituality. My mom taught Sunday School when I was really little at the church we attended with my dad’s

I started keeping a journal called “My Sin Journal,” where I wrote down every possible un-godly experience or thought I had so that I wouldn’t forget to ask for forgiveness in my prayers. whole extended family. I knew the choreographed hand motions to “Jesus Loves Me” and tolerated the occasional episode of Veggie Tales, but I never felt at home in the place that was supposed to make up the core of my identity. By the time I was in middle school, my family’s church-going was limited to two or three times each year; by high school, we made one annual trip to church each Easter to listen to my grandma sing in the choir and put up Easter lilies in memory of my great aunt Betty, and, later, my grandpa. This past Easter, instead of making our annual church trip, my dad suggested we take our dogs for a walk on a nature trail as a family instead. “It will be a more spiritual experience for us,” he said. And it was. My parents see themselves as Christians, but also see religion as deeply personal, defining their own beliefs based on family, caring for other people, standing up for the innocent, enjoying time outside in nature, and taking time to reflect on our blessings. Family dinners are the epitome of a spiritual experience in my house. My parents and grandparents are

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that what I do believe in doesn’t fit with any of the religions I’ve had experiences with. I usually go with “spiritual,” although the generality of the word leaves me without a community or congregation to share in my beliefs with. In all honesty, religion created an internal struggle in me from a young age. I remember going to church in elementary school and refusing to believe, as my church claimed, that only Christians would be allowed to go to heaven. I have a detailed memory at a particularly “only-Jesus-can-save you” oriented church service, in the wake of September 11, 2001, where I told my parents, “I don’t want to believe in a god that would make Muslim children in Afghanistan go to hell.” I also have an awful memory of a Protestant summer church camp, around 4th grade. There was a young Jewish girl named Rosie in my camp cabin who was attending with one of her Christian friends. We learned that the Rosie’s mother recently passed away, and the camp was an attempt to keep her busy after the traumatic experience. Yet in one of the most cruel, selfish interactions I’ve ever witnessed, my camp counselor told the little girl, “Your mom is in hell if she wasn’t Christian.” I couldn’t sleep for the rest of my stay at the weeklong camp, crying silently in my bed at night in confusion. I started keeping a journal called “My Sin Journal,” where I wrote down every possible un-godly experience or thought I had so that I wouldn’t forget to ask for forgiveness in my prayers. I wrote in my journal relentlessly, scribbling out my sins in a sort of introspective confessional. When I left the camp, I had nightmares where I literally thought the devil would come for me in my sleep. My dad sat up with me at night and taught me to say “The Lord’s Prayer” in an effort to ease my mind, and he brought me to church services when the rest of my family didn’t feel like going. Looking back, I think it was his way of trying to reconnect with religion after experiencing his own personal struggles with our church. Later there was a “Passport to Purity” class I took with my mom when I was in 5th grade, a pre-birds-and-bees session that was supposed to promote open dialogue about sex-related issues between my mom and me. As the title of the cassette-tape class suggests, it was more like propaganda for religious extremist views of sexuality: I was told a best practice was to avoid kissing any boys until my wedding day, and girls who lost their virginities before marriage were compared to water that had been dirtied with soil.

fantastic cooks - beef and noodles, roast and mashed potatoes, meat-filled spaghetti - and we spend hours in the kitchen eating, talking, and laughing several days a week when I’m home. We begin every meal with a prayer: God is good, God is great, let us thank Him for our food, by His hands we must be fed, give us, Lord, our daily bread… followed by: AMEN! BROTHER BEN! SHOT A GOOSE AND KILLED A HEN!

The prayer gives us a moment to reflect with gratitude on having full bellies and a full table of family; we take a minute to appreciate that we have while others have not. The second part of the prayer chanted enthusiastically - is a tribute to my grandpa, who died five years ago but lives on in our family meals. Our holidays are especially important to us, and, again, center around good food and family time. On Christmas Eve, for example, my mom’s parents who rarely go to church - fill their house with a love that Jesus would be proud of, setting an example of what unconditional love looks like. In an image of ultimate self-sacrifice reminiscent of a certain Messiah carrying a cross to his crucifixion, my 75-year-old grandma hauls her 7-foot Christmas tree up from the basement by herself each year and decorates it beautifully with a collection of ornaments she purchased after winning her battle with cancer. She does it for her family, for her two children and five grandchildren and the traditions we all share. She does it because the act of erecting her incredible tree each year is a re-creation of memories and values that define our Christmas. That is my family’s spirituality, our morality of love and care. Maybe as I get older and take the time to explore more religious experiences and practices I’ll be able to confidently state a name for my own personal religion. But for now, I take comfort in knowing that I CAN answer the question, “What do you believe?” I believe in the importance of family and the value of close friendships. I believe in fighting for buzzword concepts like social justice and equality, and believe just as much in everyday acts of care and compassion. I believe in strong coffee and dark chocolate and homemade ice cream. I believe that all people should be able to define who they are on their own terms. I believe that love is the foundation of a happy life. I believe in the power of great music and books. I believe that honesty - about who you are, what you think, what you feel - is one if the highest values. I believe in the sanctity of early mornings. I believe in

the importance of integrity, where what you think, speak, and do all align. I believe that dogs are the best people, and that people are, ultimately, good at heart. I guess at the moment I’d summarize my spirituality as follows: I think humans need to love and care for

I feel my grandpa in the sunshine when I’m at my family cabins and see him in the cardinals that nest near my window, and I know that part of him is living on. one another while on this earth, because while I’m hopeful that there’s some sort of life-existence after this one, I don’t want to bank on it; our purpose is to ease the journey for one another while we’re here, to care for all living things, to make the most of the fleeting time we have with loved ones. I adore when my mom looks at my two dogs and says, “God’s creatures,” because if there is any proof of the existence of God and unconditional love, it’s my two furry best friends. I pray to God sometimes, and I always hope it’ll be received by somebody somewhere. I feel my grandpa in the sunshine when I’m at my family cabins and see him in the cardinals that nest near my window, and I know that part of him is living on. I know that organized religion offers comfort to my grandma and solace to the poor, sick, and dying, and for that, I believe religion has a purpose. Maybe I’ll try some different religions someday - the Unitarian Universalist church sounds like a possibility - or maybe I’ll continue to practice my Madsen family spirituality.

words are useless

Words from the Artist:

Religious symbols are almost always represented by a male figure. I wanted to play around with mother nature and the lack of women support in the Christian religion. Becoming a strong, independent woman is very important and if young girls are going to be raised on religion, they need to find a way through the male dominated folklore.

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sometimes words aren’t enough Tricia Robinson

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just words? just speeches? Carl Sagan

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?

In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my point is mistaken.’ Then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again.

Every newspaper in America has a daily astrology column. How many even have a weekly science column?


tell-a-vision visions & revisions of our culture(s) Venerable Yifa: Spiritual Activism



















A Venerable Yifa is a Buddhist nun who previously practiced law and received aVPhD BRO GOTfrom Yale. E’ E W 1. What do you think about the concept of “spiritual activism?” MAIL E 2. Do spirituality and activism go hand-in-hand? ANC ADV 3. How can activists use their religion or spirituality ICRO to support social justice causes?

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Status Quo Combustion La Masculus Versus La femina Lubna Baig

Gender Segregation in Islam Lubna…that’s my name…. it means a river of milk from which the righteous drink. I was born in a Sunni Muslim family i.e. we come from a long line of direct followers of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam started as a monotheistic faith rooted in the belief that there is one true God,; Allah, and it is he who is the master of, and controls everything in the universe. Sadly, due to differences in beliefs, the pure religion of Islam got divided into different sects. Now we have Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Ismaeli Muslims, Sufi Muslims etc… But, the religion suffers a greater evil. In the name of tradition and under the guise of knowledge,; Islamic clerics/priests have enforced rules and ritual that borderline on extremism. Women have to suffer the bane of this evil largely because many of those rules involve confining women within the four corners of their houses. Man has always historically been a bread-winner. This has been the natural law since Neanderthals started devel-

oping tools. Come 21ST century and ,women began wearing the pants in the family. However, Islamic extremists frown upon such things. According to them women need to cover themselves from head to toe if they go outside. And even if they do go outside, they need to be accompanied by their father, brother, husband, or son. The life of the women starts and ends in her house where she should do only 3 things:; take care of

Granted, women during the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) time did have to cover themselves in order to avoid the lustful gazes of other men. The outer garment that women wear to cover themselves is known as Purdah. In the Holy Quran, our God Allah states that Islam accords the highest status to women by bestowing them with Purdah. When women cover themselves, it is not because she has to hide because her status is beneath that of men. It is the other way round. When women cover themselves, they reach an exalted rank. Islam even goes on to say that a pious woman without any sins or vices holds a higher rank than the husband/father she is living with. In the tenets known as Hadith taught by

The question of who wears the pants at home has always brought on gender segregation. Whether it is straight people or gay people, Muslims or Christians, women are often targeted and looked down upon by men. the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is stated that when she is a daughter, a woman holds the door of paradise for her father, when she is a wife she completes half of the Islamic knowledge of her husband and when she is a mother, paradise lies at her feet. This is the true status of women in Islam. The question of who wears the pants at home has always brought on gender segregation. Whether it is straight people or gay people, Muslims or Christians, women are often targeted and looked down upon by men. Very few men like my beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) understands the worth/value of a woman. Nevertheless, I am proud to be a woman. More than that, I am proud to be a follower of the most sophisticated, sincere, mature, understanding man sent by my God, Allah, as a mercy to all mankind. He is Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and I am proud to be a Muslim and his follower. He is the only man I will never lose faith in or lose respect for.

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the house, take care of the husband/parents, take care of her kids. She shouldn’t work and should just accept whatever her husband/father is providing for her with happiness. Even if that means she gets to eat only one square meal a day. Men, on the other hand, do not have any such restrictions. In fact, according to the so-called knowledgeable clerics, men hold a HIGHER STATUS than women. (Translation: no matter how your father/husband treats you, you are supposed to bear them, obey them, and serve them, because you are next to vermin.). And yes, in reality, many women in the Middle East and third world countries such as India are expected to remain with their husbands even if he is physically abusive. Oh dear lord….so the horror…. I have a thing or two to say to those Islamic clerics denouncing women and their rights. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) last will was “BE GOOD TO WOMEN.” This man was a mercy for all mankind. I call upon the clerics and tell them; “THIS IS MY PROPHET MUHAMMAD.” During his time, women enjoyed freedom. In fact, his own wife, the beloved Umm- Al- Muminin Bibi Ayesha Siddiqa (peace be upon her) worked as a teacher, teaching new converts the tenets of Islam. Bibi Ayesha Siddiqa (peace be upon her) was credited with knowing all the traditions, customs, and practices of Islam. She even knew all the tenets that the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught and the verses from the Holy Quran, the book of Muslims. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did have multiple wives but he treated each of them with kindness justice. In fact, he frequently took Bibi Ayesha Siddiqa (peace be upon her) on outings and even played sports such as swimming and track running with her.

broadside poetry in street lit style

This World and That In a world so big and confusing, A constant battle that you’re always losing, the bad, With the ups and the downs, the good and , With some days happy and some days sad Who do you turn to when you need to cry? high, When Mom is at work and Dad is getting r Max is too cool, When little Jane is too young, when Brothe call you a fool. When your friends start to judge you and ’t feel that ache, What about in good times? When you don a break. When Dad goes to rehab and Mom takes Max says he loves you, When little Jane grows up, and Brother finally accept you. When your friends think you’re cool and to guide, Who was there through it all? To listen and d when you cried? Who smiled when you smiled and who crie Christ, Whether Allah or Jesus, the Almighty or s entice, There’s someone up there, Whose love doe , Because it is pure, unconditional, and true can subdue. And such a thing is rare, in a world that

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Anwesha Kundu

Words from the Artist:

I was brainstorming which inspirational icon I should draw but with my spin on it. Ghandi was an obvious choice. To recreate his imagery using vivid colours and turn his glasses into sort of round steam punkish ones was fun and I hope you guys enjoy what I did with it.

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In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Mo Fowler

The only thing my mother and I have ever fought about is going to church. The only thing my mother and I have ever fought about is going to church. In essence, it was an argument about what that hour and a half of my week was worth, and whether god was worth more. So I snuck novels into church, and when those were found, I began to read the bible and memorize the songbook and study any words I could find on that wooden bench. I used the golf pencils at the end of the pews to draw elaborate maps on the handouts I was given in the side room where the children were sent from the readings through the homily.

My family is survival of the faithful. My family comes from farms where you killed the pig or starved, from suicide and poverty and husbands away at war. They have seized onto what it takes to make it to tomorrow. My grandma in LA does the rosary each morning for all six of her children, and then starts in on the grandkids, looping beads through her tired fingers until all of us are safe for one more day. My grandma in Sacramento once held a cold hand to my feverish forehead and muttered pleas to god that I would get better.

My maternal grandmother watches mass in Latin on the television in her kitchen all day. It is twenty-four hours of incense and ritual. In the other room plays CNN. The house sounds like tradition, like fear of change. My paternal grandmother sings in her church’s choir every Sunday. Sometimes they stand outside abortion clinics and hold plastic fetuses. My parents are constantly picking through the hand-me-down belief system they were given growing up and throwing pieces in the trash. The resulting figure has holes big enough for my hand to fit through, big enough to see to the other side.

I remember sitting in my bedroom in my Pepto-Bismol-Pink childhood bedroom and pushing Barbies around on my floor and being hit with the realization that this is what God is – someone playing Barbies with the human race. That image stayed with me for years, and god became this ephemeral version of myself, in the sky behind the clouds, twisting the globe in her hands and dressing a whole planet of people every morning. Nine years of Sunday School later, and I realized god wasn’t always paying attention, wasn’t always playing with us, and wasn’t supposed to look like me.

I believe in humanity. In Stephen King’s novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, the main character’s father is a drunkard whose main contribution to his daughter’s life is taking her to baseball games. When she asks him if he believes in god, he tells her that he believes in the Subaudible. This is the concept I keep returning to, my mind running over it like fidgeting fingers over a splinter. The Subaudible. The noises you get used to. The noises you forget to hear. The workings of our world that work so well we can afford not to notice them. The hum of living. Of never being alone. When I think of my faith now and what it looks like to me, I think of this summer, standing on a stack of boulders in the beginnings of a thunderstorm staring out at the expanse of universe that I have been let loose on. I think of the moment you start running. I think of fast heart beats and

It took my mother time to recognize that my rejection of the family religion was not a rejection of the family. She told me that a person needed to believe in something. leaning out over cities. I think of infinite possibilities in a finite world. I saw myself grow up in the reflection of holy water. I want to see how deep it goes.

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It took my mother time to recognize that my rejection of the family religion was not a rejection of the family. She told me that a person needed to believe in something.

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Mike Geno, mikegeno.com

Transgender God Words from the Artist:

“Transgender God” was created in 2005, and as a result of taking a quick photograph on a whim, with a smirk on my face and irreverence on my mind. There were a few other inspirational factors. At the time, I had a transgender friend at my studio building that offered me a better understanding and sensitivity of what her world was like. I had also been collecting kitsch from thrift stores and dollar stores in diverse neighborhoods where I usually found myself drawn (with some humor) to the tackiest religious items. A growing bully-like religious-right and my own experience with catholic school that long ago convinced me it was specifically designed not to relate to me, hence the “irreverence” and my spiteful smirk.

I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.

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just words? just speeches? Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Religion is like a knife: you can either use it to cut bread, or stick in someone’s back. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Until rape, and the structures – sexism, inequality, tradition – that make it possible, are part of our dinner-table conversation with the next generation, it will continue. Is it polite and comfortable to talk about it? No. Must we anyway? Yes.

Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.

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When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Karen R. Larson

Re-Imagining God’s Gender You might think, from popular Christian talk radio, social media, and church life, that God is male. In what I call Capital H theology, the words He, His and Him pop up all over the page. I once joked with the daughter of a conservative Christian family that surely her dad wouldn’t claim God actually had a penis, and she said, “Yes, I think he would.” Of course, Jewish and Christian Scriptures, written centuries ago, originate in a patriarchal world that usually (but not always, bless their hearts) attempts to describe an indescribable God with male metaphors and pronouns. The Church’s history since then has included a long string of battles over how to apply these ancient writings to a variety of new contexts—new lands, languages, peoples, cultures, times. The Biblical prophets themselves tell us that God is “about to do a new thing.” Jesus frequently turns the expectations of the religiously pious upside down, and then calls us to follow him. Therefore, a large chunk of Christianity is seeking to walk a richer, broader path of imagining the divine. This walk includes attention to the assumed masculinity of God. Most of what used to be called “mainline Christianity,” along with emerging urban churches, now employ non-gendered or gender-balanced language for God and humanity. My own denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), gives us this: “Care was

taken in the development of the Book of Common Worship that its language be inclusive, not only in reference to the people of God but also in language about God and address to God.”

“…In everlasting love, the God of Abraham and Sarah chose a covenant people to bless all families of the earth. Hearing their cry, God delivered the children of Israel from the house of bondage. Loving us still,
God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant. Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still…”

My own journey of spiritual growth has paralleled that of my church. My Presbyterian childhood in the 1960s and 1970s preceded any serious talk about gender equality in the context of faith. While my small town Minnesota church felt welcoming to me as a girl child, and had women ordained to its board of elders, God was referred to only with masculine words and the word “men” was used as a neutral noun. I did not know any female pastors. I was a budding feminist in those days and so ministry did not seem a realistic career option for me, although I knew I had academic and relational gifts and a deep love for Jesus. The male-ness of Church was a barrier to deeper faith. That changed in the late 1990s when my family and I joined a funky left-wing church in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. At St. Luke Presbyterian, I heard and saw feminine imagery of God for the first time: She, Mother and Sophia, along with He, Father and Jesus. Feminist theology influenced preaching, teaching and leadership, as well as the language of worship. There was something about true equality of gender—in which even my femaleness reflected God’s image—that invited my heart to expand into a larger calling. There was a lot more going on at St. Luke that was exciting. This politically active, spiritually alive, highly engaged congregation challenged my thinking and actions, sparked my spiritual seeking, modeled emotional maturity and healthy relationships, and spoke openly of failures and emotion. Members talked of God incarnate in the everyday world, active on behalf of the poor, calling us to economic and racial justice, and opposed to reckless consumption of resources and violence in any form. In addition to peace, justice, environmental and

That changed in the late 1990s when my family and I joined a funky left-wing church in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. LGBTQ causes, members of St. Luke were active leaders in the Re-Imagining movement, which began in 1993 with a worldwide theological conference of 2200 church leaders, almost all women, developed as part of the World Council of Churches designation of the Ecumenical Decade: Churches in Solidarity with Women. People came from 27 countries, 49 states, and 19 denominations to engage in and celebrate women doing theological work. Although conservative backlash to that first Re-Imagining conference was severe, they continued over the next 10 years to explore and celebrate the role of the feminine in Christianity and in images of the Divine. Eventually, I decided to wade deeper into whatever calling God had for me. I started my education at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, where I learned from feminist, womanist (black women’s social theory) and mujerista (Latina social theory) theologians. My syllabi included titles like Women’s Bible Commentary; Engaging the Bible in a Gendered World; Gender, Power, & Promise; Proverbs of Ashes; and The Body of God: An Ecological Theology. And I discovered that my personal journey was an old, old one. It coincided with that of Julian of Norwich, a devout Christian of the late 14th century who experienced 16 mystical encounters with Christ while on her sickbed. She wrote her experiences down in great detail, creating the first published book in English written by a woman. In her Revelations of Divine Love, she attributes these words to Christ: “It is I who am the strength and goodness of Fatherhood; I who am the wisdom of Motherhood; I who am light and grace and blessed love; I who am Trinity; I who am Unity; I who am the sovereign goodness of every single thing; I who enable you to love; I who enable you to long. It is I, the eternal satisfaction of every genuine desire.”

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For example, the “Brief Statement of Faith,” a 1983 addition to our Book of Confessions, intentionally emphasizes gender inclusiveness. An introduction to the statement says, “It underscores the role of both men and women in God’s covenant, uses feminine as well as masculine imagery of God, and affirms ordination of both women and men.” Here is an excerpt from the Brief Statement of Faith:

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Sandra Silberzweig

Tribal Talavera Goddesses

Liberation Leaders Illuminating Then & Now, Inspiring Forever Sister Joan Chittister

Inspires: ty, emphaSister Joan is an advocate for a feminist spirituali feminist sizing a deeply intertwined relationship between femiious relig values and religious values. She inspires d religious nists, secular feminists, and social justice-minde and followers who admire her emphasis on peace, love, apfaith inter justice. She also emphasizes and pluralistic, Joan said: proach to social issues. In a 2004 speech, Sister , blazing “The real religious knows that God is radiant light net of our fire, a sexual spirit, colorless wind. God is the mag lives. our of stuff souls, the breath of our hearts, the very one’s no God is no one’s figure meant, no ones flag, and ” er. gend

Major Acc omplishe


: Sister Jean is an advo cate for hu rights, and m women’s p osition in th an rights, women’s on the Inte e church. rnational P She is acti eace Coun ve cil and a v o cal justice a ctivist. •Heart of F lesh: Fem inist Spirit uality for W omen and M •“Women, Power, and en (1998) Peac Power Con e” (Speech at the Wo men and ference, Se •The Story pt. 2004) of Ruth: Tw elve Mom ents in Eve ry Woman Life (2006) •Scarred b ’s y Struggle , Transform e •The Radic al Christian d by Hope(2005) Life (2011)

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Bio: Sister Joan a Ben Chitt gist, a edictine C ister of Eri e outsp uthor, and atholic nu , Pennsyl va n o le , PhD i ken social cturer. S social psy nia, is he n c ju has p speech p stice acti is a femi holonist a athol vist. ublis o S h n She i s co-C ed over 5 gy from P he receive d 0 boo enn S da hair o tive o t k Reso f Women f the UN’s s and 700 ate and urce and R and foun Global Pe articles. d esear a ch Ce er of Bene ce Initian t v ter isi Spirit uality for Conte on, “A mpor .” ary

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities A. J. De. Gala

Jesu A/N: Hey everyone. I would like to leave a little disclaimer for this story: in writing this piece, I mean not to disparage Christians, Christianity, or any religion, really. I may not be as holy as our resident Jesuits, but I consider myself to be a Christian. What I would like to address, however, is the hypocrisy and zealotry that can be present in religion, such as I specify here with Christianity. I’m not attacking religion- I’m attacking those factors that pervert it. Long ago, in the annals of history, Spanish explorers “discovered” the Philippines- which had, of course, already been discovered and settled by other foreigners closer to the archipelago years earlier. These Spaniards conquered the islands and brought “culture” and converted the native populace to their own religion: Christianity. Filipinos are a devout and loyal people. Once converted, they stuck to their religion and held true to it. Mostly unwavering in their faith, they did everything in their power to be good Christians and earn the promise of eternal salvation in the loving arms of God in Heaven. Though the majority of the Philippines’ third and southernmost main island, Mindanao, is mostly

They would talk, laugh, and have fun. They would exchange news, stories, and gossip. And one day, they heard an interesting tidbit of news... newcomer’s house they returned to Emilio’s home to discuss certain matters. Something had to be done about… him. -X A week later, someone rang the doorbell of 221 Xavier Street. John “Wolfe” San Miguel opened the door to find a man standing there. “Can I help you?” Wolfe asked with curiosity. “Yes, I heard from some people that a detective lives here?” the man began. “Could you please tell him that I need some help?” “Actually sir, that detective would be me,” Wolfe responded. “My name is John San Miguel, but professionally I’m called ‘Wolfe.’” The man looked taken aback. “You? You’re the detective that everyone’s talking about?” “Well, it would be either myself or my father, but he’s an inspector for the RCPD, so I doubt he’s whom the neighbors are referring to,” Wolfe pondered. “But you’re just a teenager! You can’t possibly be-” Wolfe let out a sigh and then quickly interjected, “Despite the fact that you are a Filipino, you are not native at all. In fact, I’d say you moved here recently from Chicago in the United States. You’re a single parent with a fussy cat whose scratched

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Islamic, the rest of the Philippines is devoutly Christian. As such, it would not be surprising to any to find that Rizal City, of the nation’s first and northernmost main island, Luzon, was a very Christian city indeed. Praises and salutations to God permeated the streets, from road signs to messages at the end of television dramas broadcasting the words “To God be the Glory!” They held mass at the various different churches and cathedrals at multiple times throughout the day, and prayer was incorporated at the beginning of breakfast, before the work/school day, before lunch, after lunch, at the end of the work/school day, before dinner, after dinner, and before bed. People prayed for everything, from the important to the mundane. They also wore crosses, hung crucifixes in their homes, regularly prayed the rosary, and you’d be hard pressed to find a household with neither a painting of the Last Supper nor at least one Bible. Rizal City was very Christian indeed. Within Rizal City was an organization- or rather, it was a brotherhood. It was founded by Emilio Arturo, a junior at Aguinaldo High, and the star of its basketball team. The other members of the brotherhood included Pedro Rodriguez, head of Aguinaldo High’s debate team; Mike Pablo, leader of their math team; and Selena Magreyes, captain of the cheerleading squad, amongst others. They united under common values, and though they weren’t technically an official organization, they were unofficially recognized as a major voice in the community. Once a week this brotherhood would gather at someone’s house. They would talk, laugh, and have fun. They would exchange news, stories, and gossip. And one day, they heard an interesting tidbit of news: a new neighbor was going to move into the residential district, Rizal Grove. At once the brotherhood was excited, and decided to welcome the new neighbor. On the day of their arrival, they dressed in their best casual Sunday clothes and proceeded to the new arrival’s household. Emilio knocked on the door- he wondered what the person would look like?- and in a few moments the door was opened by a single man. He greeted the brotherhood warmly and let them in. They talked for an hour, and then the brotherhood left with fake smiles on their faces. From the

you recently, though that’s nothing alarming as the cat has scratched you multiple times in the past. Your lawn has also been freshly watered, which to me is a waste as it will probably rain within the next day or so. Am I wrong?” Flabbergasted, the man stood back in stunned silence. Who was this young man? “How did you do that? How did you know all that?” the man demanded. “Simple. You have the appearance of a Filipino, but your skin is too light to be native to this country. That, in addition to the fact that you have a Chicago accent, leads me to believe that you’ve moved here from there. You’re not wearing a wedding ring nor do you have a ring tan on your hand, but you do have a few barely noticeable but still perceptible stains on your clothes from a baby’s spit. Jutting out of the right sleeve of your shirt is a fresh cat scratch, but jutting out of the left sleeve of your shirt, as well as the collar around your neck, are two older cat scratches. Finally, though the weather is overcast, there has been no rainfall in recent days. This is important as your shoes are slightly muddy, which most likely would have come from your own lawn being freshly watered. Am I wrong?” The man was dumbfounded, shocked into a stunned silence. He had heard of this young man’s abilities and exploits, but he had written them off. But after that little deduction show… perhaps he would be able to help after all. “No, not at all. Not at all!” the man responded. “That was amazing!” “That was nothing,” Wolfe responded with modesty in his voice. “Anyway, can I help you with anything?” “Yes please. My name is Derek Del Rios, and I would like you to help me put a stop to something.” Wolfe ushered the man into his living room. It was a common and comfortable living space: on one wall was a TV, while opposite that was a couch flanked by armchairs. Photographs in picture frames adorned the walls, and there was a coffee

“Oh, shut up, you Scripture-quoting hypocrite!” Wolfe angrily retorted. “You hate him because he’s not Christian? If that’s the case, then you’re not a good Christian. table in front of the couch. While the client took to the couch, Wolfe sat down on one of the armchairs. “Please, tell me what your case is,” Wolfe said. “Last week, I moved here from the United States,” Mr. Del Rios began. “The first few days were finethe neighbors were all friendly, I was adjusting well to the new atmosphere… but then two days ago I woke up to find my house covered in eggs and toilet paper. And then last night I received a letter.” “Did you bring this letter?” Wolfe inquired. “Yes, I thought it would help,” Mr. Del Rios replied. He dug out of his pocket a partially folded letter and handed it to Wolfe, who quickly analyzed the letter’s contents, his eyes darting this way and that. “Whomever sent this letter attacked my house yesterday and wants to continue harassing me. I’d like you to find out who is doing this and stop them. I’m a nice person- I haven’t bothered anyone!” “I’m sure you haven’t, Mr. Del Rios,” Wolfe responded, his eyes closed. “I know who did this, and I will put a stop to them. Rest assured of that, Mr. Del Rios.” Mr. Del Rios thanked Wolfe once more and then left the detective’s residence. Wolfe let out a sigh

-X There was a knock on the front door of Emilio Arturo’s home. The Aguinaldo High junior opened up the door to find Wolfe standing there with a grave face. “Ah, John San Miguel!” Emilio greeted him. “How are you? To what do I owe the pleasure of-” “Drop the act, Emilio,” Wolfe responded. He raised a letter to face level, a letter which bore the message: NONBELIEVER! YOU DON’T BELONG IN A CITY OF GOD LIKE RIZAL CITY! CONVERT OR LEAVE, HEATHEN! “I always knew that your Pure Brotherhood had the zealotry to be ugly, but this…” “How… how did you know that came from us?” Emilio asked, his tone now matching Wolfe’s. “Simple, but never mind that,” Wolfe replied. “Stop harassing Mr. Del Rios. He’s done nothing wrong to anyone- by his neighbor’s testimonies he’s a good man. Leave him alone, or I will get the police involved.” Wolfe began to leave then, when Emilio argued, “He isn’t a Christian! He’s a nonbeliever! He shuns the grace of God, and in Jeremiah-”

“Oh, shut up, you Scripture-quoting hypocrite!” Wolfe angrily retorted. “You hate him because he’s not Christian? If that’s the case, then you’re not a good Christian. Not in the slightest. You’re so focused on your Old Testament rigidity, you seem to neglect Jesus and the New Testament. Did you ever read that part of the Bible?” “I did!” Emilio answered, vainly trying to defend himself. “I’ve read the Bible cover to cover! I’ve memorized all the passages of Scripture! And-” “Even the Devil can quote Scripture,” Wolfe coolly responded. “-And I’m simply carrying out Jesus’ will,” Emilio finished through gritted teeth. Wolfe let out a cynical, hollow laugh. “Have you honestly deluded yourself to believe that this is Jesus’ will? Do you really think that if we asked ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ he would threaten a man simply for not being Christian? Jesus, who spoke for Others? Jesus, who accepted Jews and Gentiles alike? Jesus, who preached compassion and forgiveness?” “But Christians are the only good-” “When a man lay injured by the roadside, who was it that helped him?” Wolfe interjected. “You wish to stone this man, but if you have no sins, feel free to cast the first stone. Though I think both you and I know you have many, MANY sins.” Emilio knew he was beat. Frustrated, he asked, “What are we supposed to do then?” Wolfe turned around and answered, “Be an actual Christian.” He walked away then, and hoped to God that Emilio and his brotherhood would turn a new leaf. Unfortunately, as he would later find out in “The Chris Thompson Affair,” this wouldn’t be the case. But without that future knowledge, Wolfe could only hope that the Pure Brotherhood would drop its hypocritical zealotry and maybe, just maybe, actually be something good.

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and then left his house himself. There was a visit he needed to make.

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Rohini Nirgude

Joy in the Universe Words from the Artist:

In this painting, Lord Radha and Krishna are playing flute. The flute has got cosmic energy which makes everyone around him dimmed. The style of the painting is contemporary and figurative. Although there are separate figures, they are originating from the same source of love. Some patches are bold done by flat brush while some places colors merged in the background. The size of the art work is 30 x 24 inches, acrylic on canvas.

Words from the Artist:

The Lord Krishna, is a unique supreme person, source of all things and form. The strokes are the texture done by holding brush 90 Degrees angle on canvas, combination of thin and bold patches. The brush was held at the top end. There’s use of knife at the head of the figure. There’s round, white colored “Bindi” on the forehead between eyebrows given by the finger. Bindi symbolizes as Radha. Krishna and Radha are not different. Blue symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, faith, truth and heaven while yellow symbolizes hope, happiness, energy and joy. The size of the artwork is 20 x 20 inches, acrylic on canvas.

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Deity of Worship

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Andrew Kletzien

Why Atheists Matter Although we are not often recognized, and although many of us would not even dare call ourselves such, atheists are everywhere. Much like when one hears someone claim that they have never met a gay or lesbian person and someone inevitably and rightfully responds “That you know of‌â€?, everyone in their life has met an atheist. You may not have known it, and indeed maybe even they did not know it (we were all at that point at one time), but you have met them, interacted with them, and perhaps even gotten to know them, became friends, or even loved them. This may seem obvious enough, but it is important to recognize. The massive strides made by the LGBTQIA community are testament to the fact that simply exposing yourself for who you are, what you believe in, and what you value cannot help but inspire those people around you (at least those good for you) to see you for these things, but yet more than these things. The core of my identity is not being an atheist, and nor is my identity as a gay man. I am a person who happens to be gay, and happens not to believe in god, but a person nonetheless. This is not a thought process that is foreign to us; a modicum of historical knowledge will show that such revisions in our conception of persons different from us have proved necessary time and again. Some might suggest that there is a lack of such need for how society views atheists and other secular individuals, but they would be wrong on two counts. First, they very well might not be looking in the right

places. The atheist community is all too aware of the influential media outlets and institutions that make a habit of shamelessly mocking and degrading those who do not believe, and even a President or two is on public record saying derogatory and often personally insulting things about atheists and non-believers. A quick Google search of public perception polls on atheists presents the stark picture easy enough. Secondly, it is important to realize that a lack of outright harassment or discrimination of atheists in our everyday lives (likely due to our lack of a visible, identifying characteristic) does not mean that atheists do not feel stigma. Atheists have been ranked among the most, if not the most, distrusted group in the United States (a state founded on separation of church and state), and such distrust and uneasiness is less incon-

I do not propose to solve theological nor metaphysical issues in my everyday life ‘as an atheist.’ This is an entertaining and fulfilling project for a classroom, but my commitment to the atheist community is not of this sort. I merely intend to show people that, put simply, there is a difference between atheism and atheist. Atheists are those people that you, knowingly or not, have met and interacted with, without detriment to either party, and often to the benefit of both of you. Atheism, I propose is something entirely different. It is rightfully an ideology, despite what unfounded negative connotations this word has acquired (I often ask, ‘What isn’t?’). But the point in it being an ideology is that it is not a person nor people. As has been a rallying cry for atheists for some time (and they are right in defending such a principle), that people deserve rights and respect, but ideologies do not, though they might earn it on an individual basis. You can hate atheism; you can rant against it on your personal blogs and in classrooms and with your friends. Atheists, in fact, welcome this (or at least should). If anyone knows anything of the modern atheist movement, they know that it is largely spearheaded by individuals who often participate in debates and public discussions. Believe me when I say that this is what we atheists live for. In fact, many of us would get bored if not confronted with individuals who think differently from us. In fact, the atheist community is much more diverse in our conceptions of what it means to be secular than is often realized, and we also very admittedly have internal conflicts and tensions just like in any other subset of like-minded ‘colleagues’ would. Our insistence, in my conception, is not or should not be that you think highly or favorably of atheism, but that you respect and attempt to appreciate atheists, if only for the fact that we think differently, and there is value in this for both atheists and religious individuals (for there is certainly not only one religion). Even if we find ourselves with people and in institutions not appreciative of this fact, atheists will be here. We have existed since the beginning of the historical record, and at least arguably since long before this (as species prior

I do not propose to solve theological nor metaphysical issues in my everyday life ‘as an atheist.’ This is an entertaining and fulfilling project for a classroom, but my commitment to the atheist community is not of this sort. to any religions), and we will continue to exist. In fact, we are finding every year that a greater and greater proportion of our population is comprised of atheists and those who are non-religious, and it is a trend not likely to subside any time soon. Those who would prefer us not to exist (not common in this country but certainly not rare enough in other regions) will simply need to make, and have needed to make, other accommodations. Those who wish that we would not speak about our atheism, not tell you that we are atheists simply because of your contempt for atheism, I leave you with this: It is a common saying that thought is free. A man can never be hindered from thinking whatever he chooses so long as he conceals what he thinks. The working of his mind is limited only by the bounds of his experience and the power of his imagination. But this natural liberty of private thinking is of little value. It is unsatisfactory and even painful to the thinker himself, if he is not permitted to communicate his thoughts to others, and it is obviously of no value to his neighbours. Moreover it is extremely difficult to hide thoughts that have any power over the mind. If a man’s thinking leads him to call in question ideas and customs which regulate the behavior of those about him, to reject beliefs which they hold, to see better ways of life than those they follow, it is almost impossible for him, if he is convinced of the truth of his own reasoning, not to betray by silence, chance words, or general attitude that he is different from them and does not share their opinions. – John Bagnell Bury

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spicuous than many who exhibit it often think. Furthermore, a brief glance at blasphemy and desecration laws around the world reveals a much more dire, even life-and-death, threat facing everyday atheists and non-believers in other countries and cultures.

words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Amanda Grace

The Brain Pope Words from the Artist:

Identifying as an atheist as I do, I don’t normally acknowledge popes, but this one has caught my attention with his apparent mission to lower the general levels of hate and intolerance in the world. Part of a series of half-random, absurdist mashups that includes a Llama with Leo DiCaprio’s head, this piece is not so much a statement, like, “This pope is really smart,” but more of a desire to straddle the boundary between the acceptable and the absurd and express the general feeling that farce is only ever one detail off from reality.



tell-a-vision visions & revisions of our culture(s) A Shift to the Feminine
















ADS Consider: BRO Vandana Shiva is a feminist and Hindu environmental activist.


E 1. According to Shiva, what is the connection between environmentalism and feminism? ANC ADV 2. How does Hinduism play a role in ecofeminism? O R IC





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In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Talia Sobel

One Set of Tefillin at a Time As an Orthodox Jew I believe that the Torah is a living, breathing being text that changes and conforms to our society. We must learn to live in the modern world while holding onto an ancient belief system, dictated by G-d and handed down to Moses, sharing all the words with those present at Mt. Sinai. The Jewish people say today that every Jew has experienced that revelation at Mt. Sinai and we collectively heard the words of G-d. The instructions handed down were altered and tailored by Rabbinic law, who interpreted the massive set of rules into concrete adherences to our daily lives. Some of these rules exempt women from a particular set of commandments- time bound positive ones. A strong example of this commandment is wearing tallit, a prayer shawl worn by men during prayer services. Men are required to wear this in every place and every time, whereas women do not practice this. There are few rabbinic commentators who allow women to do so, however, without a blessing. The complexity of our rabbinic sources adds another layer on our attempt to define women’s role in Jewish life. There is a current misconception that all Orthodox Jewish women must stay in the home and

take care of children, therefore are not allowed to do time bound positive commandments. Those who argue women should stay in that prescribed role have no Biblical ground to stand upon. If it were the Divine Will that dictated our gender roles, it would have explicitly been mentioned during revelation, as women were present to hear the words of G-d. Had the Torah intended to make females the wife, or homemaker, it would have explicitly said so just like the other commandments listed. Obligations do exist in Biblical law that defines our responsibilities as human beings

The Jewish community formed a barricade for women that did not exist during Biblical times, wishing that she prescribe to her gender role during that time. In the Kingdom of Israel, Michal (King Saul’s daughter) wore tefillin (phylacteries), another item meant exclusively for male prayer. If our gender roles are changing, and women are slowly gaining equality in all walks of life, the status of exempt from these prayer items could eventually change over time. The importance of societal norms reigns in women, keeping our gender unequal. The basis of Jewish law prohibiting women from certain activities seems to juxtapose what is actually happening in our society. It seems that our gender roles dictate the rules more than Jewish law at this point, and women are taking notice as our educations increase in Jewish law. A huge space exists in women’s life which are unregulated and untouched by Jewish law. Women are thus electing to perform these commandments on a voluntary basis, without a blessing, and hopefully being rewarded. A recent development in women’s equality in Israel, is the group called “Women of the Wall”. This is a group of women who based on their own research on Jewish law, believe that women have a fundamental right to pray equally as men. They wear prayer shawls (tallit) and tefillin, making their prayer services public and open to all women. As a community, Women of the Wall are working on their legal right to pray in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which is not allowed by the Rabbinic Courts of Israel. The debates in Jewish law lend themselves to support both sides, which results in a territorial battle over the Western Wall. Although they recognize the debate of their obligation in wearing these items, it certainly has not been proved to be forbidden. In 2012 alone, there were 50 arrests of women at the Western Wall for wearing tallit. In a historic court decision, Women of the Wall were proven to not violate any local customs, violate any rules of women’s prayer services, and did not endanger the public peace. Local customs claim to be independent of Orthodox Jewish standards, allowing a pluralistic method of prayer for everyone. Anat Hoffman, the Chair women for Women of the Wall stated: “ Today, Women of the Wall liberated the Western Wall for all Jewish

This is a group of women who based on their own research on Jewish law, believe that women have a fundamental right to pray equally as men. They wear prayer shawls (tallit) and tefillin, making their prayer services public and open to all women. people...We did it for the great diversity of Jews in the world, all of whom deserve to pray according to their own belief and custom at the Western Wall.” This symbolic movement by these women exemplifies the global struggle of women to reach equality. We all face a system that attempts to minimize women’s influence in the public sphere. For 25 years, these women have been lobbying for these rights, and stand strong in their prayer. This powerful example pushes the notion that it is G-d’s intention to liberate all people from their struggles. The Bible was not meant to exclude, discriminate, or force people into oppression. It is our duty as the new generation to free ourselves from the shackles that gender norms have forced upon us. We must practice the preferential option for the poor, those who are poor in spirit and are breaking from pressures of injustice. The Jesuit values support that intention of the Bible as well, to liberate everyone from the injustices we ensue. I personally believe in the obligation of our generation to cause rigorous social change in religious communities-one set of teffilin at a time.

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towards children and to our parents but never demands marriage or procreation for women. Jewish law thus does not define women’s roles neither as homemakers, or parents, making our religious role more puzzling than ever.

Kaleidescope Shifting Perspectives on Our Modern World Sabrina Minhas

The Power of Your Words What is the value of a word? It is possible that words create the culture within which we live. The lines of texts that linger on our tongues, tempting adjectives plastered on advertisements, teasing between friends and harsh curses fired during an argument all seep into our attitudes and beliefs. The words we hear translate into the words we tell ourselves and convey to others, becoming ingrained in our culture. It is also possible, however, that words only contain the power we choose to give them. Words are meaningless beads, empty until manipulated and strung together for a purpose. The meaning of words are illusive, changing depending upon the time and audience. They only reflect and reveal what the speaker intends or accidentally provides. Words are imbued with tradition in religion. Prayers are repeated for comfort and clarity. Stories express moral codes and ethical claims, providing examples to serve as in-

God is genderless, but we refer to god with male gender pronouns. The language used to describe God is entrenched in a patriarchal system because it was established by men in power while women were traditionally excluded from society. Johnson argues that adhering to binaries is oppressive for women and counteracts fundamental religious beliefs. Our language is sinful because it is androcentric, patriarchal and idolatrous. The use of male pronouns to describe God is androcentric because male becomes the normative gender for society. Our default pronoun is male whenever the choice is presented, demonstrating the importance of men in a subtle and significant way. This contributes to patriarchal systems because we portray men as leaders of society. God is the creator of the world and determinant of its laws for people of faith. Describing God as male elevates men in society and inherently results in women being viewed as subordinate. Women are not loved and respected as neighbors, but are seen as inferior beings. Prescribing God with a gender is idolatrous. God is limited by perceptions of gender despite God’s limitless nature. Johnson argues that the language used in religion is contradictory to its message, transforming God from a being of liberation to one of oppression. Religion is not the only space in which language is meant to empower rather than oppress. Comedy is an outlet with the ability to lift spirits, connect diverse groups, educate other through personal stories and even lighten the burden of our struggles. The debate that began two years ago regarding rape jokes, however, continues today in a space with the potential to facilitate the growth of individuals and communities. The fuel that ignited this debate is infamous. It was reported that comedian Daniel Tosh suggested that it would have been “funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now” after a woman shouted that “rape

God is genderless, but we refer to god with male gender pronouns. The language used to describe God is entrenched in a patriarchal system because it was established by men in power while women were traditionally excluded from society. jokes are never funny” (Gloria Ryan 2012). Writer, performer and activist Lindy West responded by educating the public on the negative impact of rape jokes through interviews and social media. The response was horrifying. West was overwhelmed with a barrage of comments ranging from her inability to get raped based on her weight to overt rape threats, indicative of the dangerous and sexist culture developing within comedy. The jokes are not only told by comedians; they are repeated and modified by audience members too. Not all comedians and audience members are convinced. They argue that freedom of speech within comedy is necessary. Addressing difficult topics allows the audience members to feel less tense and the humor may have a healing effect. Freedom of speech, however, is applicable to fans and critics alike. Freedom of speech is not attacked by critics of rape jokes. Individuals who make rape jokes will not be fined or incarcerated for their words. Freedom of speech does not alleviate the need for compassion and respect toward those who have experienced trauma. We have

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spirations or warnings. Language defines the highest power for people of faith, and connects them to God. Elizabeth Johnson is a feminist theologian who detached herself from her faith traditions to critically examine the use of language in religious contexts, specifically within Catholicism. The symbol of God functions. Johnson repeats this adage to explain how the language and imagery we use to portray God represents what we idealize in society. God is the embodiment of profound power and goodness to people of faith. We elevate the significance of the characteristics we equate with God.

the freedom to choose our speech. There is no definitive line for which issues are appropriate to joke about and which are exclusive toward oppressed identities. It is for each individual to contemplate and decide. The case of rape jokes is clearer. One in five women report experiencing rape at some point in their lives, and only 13.8% of perpetrators are strangers (CDC 2012). Rape is prevalent in our society and often perpetrated by those who have close relationships with the survivors. The trauma survivors experience demands compassion and respect for gravity of their situations. Rape jokes will not result in the listener attacking women. Rape jokes will, however, normalize rape, cultivate cavalier attitudes toward the crime, and increase victim blaming. Rape jokes ostracize half the population by making them feel unsafe and reminding them of a fearful reality faced by women and the 1.4% of men who reported being raped (CDC 2012). ‘ Lindy West argues that there is a proper way to make rape jokes to the surprise of critics. Jokes meant to touch on difficult realities, lighten burdens, and release tension should attack oppressors instead of the survivors who endure wrongdoings. This type of humor blames perpetrators instead of survivors, recognizes the impact of rape, and promotes a culture that is intolerant of injustices. This issue is not just about comedy. It is about becoming cognizant of how we enjoy the world and express ourselves. It is about dedicating ourselves to being more compassionate and inclusive with our actions and words. It is a difficult process that must be reevaluated with every challenge we face and piece of knowledge we gain, but it is a worthwhile journey to better the spaces we value. Words will impact others regardless of whether they possess inherent power or are tools we constantly use. Our words will elicit responses whether we are in church or having conversations with friends. Our words play a role in societal structures whether they form them or support them. Words are meaningful. We have the opportunity to make a change and take a stand with each one we choose to say or write down. That power demands critical thought and compassion.

This issue is not just about comedy. It is about becoming cognizant of how we enjoy the world and express ourselves. It is about dedicating ourselves to being more compassionate and inclusive with our actions and wordsly excluded from society.

bookmark here find your next social justice text here BROAD Readers

First Sentence:

Released: 1978


, Essays

Feminism, Myth

“VOILE, WELUM used in the distinction between femaile clothing and the male toga.”

otes: Notable Qu of as witch-

be thought ate “Women can power to cre e th g in v a be h like in ity that could c a p a c a s, g ystery.” living bein art of their m p e b to t h g thou s ill and being seen a r e h f o d a e nction”Inst er body, or fu h f o se u a c e weak b f the pain tic because o is h c so a m y regall meaning of p is th s, re u d e she en transforms th th ir b d il h c ” nancy and of femininity. g in n a e m le possib Tearing the Veil is a compilation of essays about women, by women, which audit the construction of femininity as it exists in a patriarchal culture. The essays within display that human attributes commonly accepted as ‘feminine’ are simply sociological constructs within a male dominated society. We take this patriarchal order as an organization of truth, as well as affecting our concept of power and dominance relations, which penetrates our attitude towards women at a clear conscious level and pervades into perhaps an even more dangerous subconscious level. The typology of the customs, stereotypes, and arguments explored in these essays pertain to the manner in which women are constructed and limited by the pervasive and powerful patriarchy. The essays divide women into five socially constructed types- The Mother, the Witch, the Whore, the Pure Woman, the Amazon and the Free Woman, which are widely considered as the types of women that reclaim their power. These women challenge the not-so-inherent, stereotypical feminine identity of weakness and passivity.

dation: Recommenresenting the possibilities

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addressed mininity … e F n o s y a ss l society Veil: E a patriarcha in y “Tearing the it in in m vided a tion of fe scriptive, pro re p t the construc a h w e analythough som art in a more t is in m … which alt fe ly g shifts are rare r approachin fo m ig rk o d w ra e a p m , a ty fr ali exciting, cal way. In re ve text to be o b a ical and criti e th d n ich] other ile I fou ideas, [to wh g smooth; wh in g n e ll a h ew and c ile.” presenting n initially host re e urnal, w rs e d a re irts Online Jo k ts u O s, m a -Jude Ad stralia f Western Au University o

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words are useless sometimes words aren’t enough Baraka Robin Berger, barakarobinberger.com

call toward aphrodite

Words from the Artist:

Aphrodite calls us to remember the power and the beauty within our sensuality. I paint feminine archetypes, with the intention of stimulating & reawakening our remembrance of the Feminine God ~ the Creatress. This piece is a mixed media monotype. I paint with oil washes onto a ‘plate,’ and then transfer the image onto paper, using an etching press. When the print is dry, I draw into it with technical pens and colored pencils, pulling out the form and detailing the features. yellow or red, we all are His creation and we are in “His Image.”

quote corner

just words? just speeches? Yasmin Mogahed

If we’re not merciful and we’re not forgiving, how can we expect that from Allah (SWT). When you beg of people, they hate you for it. When you beg of Allah, He loves you.

How can you be true to Allah, when you lie to yourself about who you are and what you feel?

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Keep praying, even if you have only a whisper left.

Career Call Learn about the Workplace Karen R. Larson, Teaching elder, Presbyterian Church

1) Describe your job and its duties in one paragraph. Three months ago I was called to be pastor to two Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations in rural Nebraska. One is medium-sized (about 150 members) and the least conservative option in a town of 3,700, where I am the only female clergyperson. The other is a very small, deeply connected congregation of ranchers and retired people, 20 miles from town. I was hired to inspire and comfort. My call from God is to bring change and challenge, as well. 2) Why did you get the job? It’s hard to get well-qualified clergy to take rural positions, so it may be they were tired of waiting for someone else. But I prefer to think I met their stated requirements for someone “personable, approachable, and fun.” 3) How did you get the job (online app, in person, nomination, etc.)? Our national denominational office has an online dating service that matches candidates and churches based on an indecipherable calculation. We then had a phone interview during which I fell in love with them. After I visited in person, they offered me the position, and then I told them all the reasons they might want to rethink their offer. They did, for four days. 4) Did you hear about the job through word of mouth? If so, by whom? No. 5) Did you have help getting the job by inside recommendations? I chose my references for their ability to be glowing, so I’m sure they helped. 6) Are you using or did you use some of your education for the job? My original education, as the daughter of farmers, helps make it possible for me to relate to people in a rural, agricultural economy. My original career as an advertising copywriter, primarily for agribusiness companies, gave me the writing skills and discipline I need to climb the mountain of writing a sermon every week. My seminary education and the resources I learned there, especially in internships, feed every working moment. 7) Is this a job for the long-term? Why or why not? My calling to ministry is so deeply embedded in my identity, I cannot imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life. Whether or not I stay in these two churches will depend on how much they like the change and challenge God desires for them. 8) Does the job and employer reinforce current social conditions or try to change them? How? Your thoughts? In a small town, the status quo is a powerful thing. When you work with, do business with, doctor with and go to church with the same people your children go to school with and your parents are friends with… you really can’t afford to offend anybody. So, generally, these particular congregations find it very hard to do anything but rein-

force current social conditions. The God I serve, however, does not. 9) What are the strengths of the job? People tell me things they don’t say in public—things they are ashamed or afraid of—and I consider it a great responsibility and honor to hold their thoughts and feelings. I rejoice, actually, when people are real in this way and brave enough to seek spiritual guidance for soul-deep concerns. 10) Weaknesses? My work is never done. There is always someone I should visit, a call I should make, a meeting to organize, a class to prepare for, a sermon I should be working on. Fortunately, it is not up to me. This summer, a 106-year-old man in our congregation died and my secretary told me I was pastor #18 in his lifetime. I am just one on an endless relay team. 11) Would you recommend this job to others? Absolutely, if you love God and love people and believe this world could be a better place. 12) What would you do differently with this position? I have all sorts of ideas about making a difference with immigrants locally, speaking out on the environment and climate change, exploring different ideas on gender identity and roles, but I am not the church. Especially in my denomination, the people are the church and make their own lasting decisions for themselves. From the life and teachings of Jesus, I try simply to plant seeds of justice, peace and compassion and we will see what grows. 13) Describe the people above you in terms of Socioeconomic Status. Do the same for the people below you. I am not sure what is meant by above and below. People pay me to preach to them, so it’s kind of hard to place those roles in a hierarchy. Some people in my congregation struggle to survive. Others are on the top of the local economic and social scene. We try really hard to love everyone.

15) Share your most memorable experience(s) from the position; good, bad, funny, and ugly! My small town has been very welcoming, so I was surprised one Saturday night when I took some visitors to worship with the Catholics and heard the priest call the other churches in town “the weed seeds sown among us.” Angry at the divisiveness such thinking brings to families and community, I decided the most subversive thing I could do would be to introduce myself to the priest afterwards as the new Presbyterian minister. He didn’t apologize to me directly, but I hear he did apologize to his congregation the next morning.

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14) What level of survival and comfort did/do the benefits/pay allow? I made more money working 20 hours a week as a freelance advertising copywriter than I do working 60 hours a week as a pastor. But I am immeasurably happier with a workload that feeds my soul and others. And I have enough to live on and a lovely free house.




visions & revisions of our culture(s) Stephen Fry: “How can I be happy?


















MICRO 1. Is there any practical or theoretical difference between meaning being constructed rather than discovered? AGRES 2. In what ways could a constructed meaning be, put simply, more meaningful? ADVA SHU NS






bookmark here find your next social justice text here BROAD Readers

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pecons and pers si a u rs e p l a c ti andly for all poli eventually, S e d si a e k Justice is tru ta but portraying it can’t help of equitably ly n o tives. While t o n b ut of conxcellent jo disagrees, b e h m el does an e o h w ms and those with phical syste so o il h p f the views of o ty e button ry large vari certain hotte a in m lu sidering a ve il all sy read which they mains an ea re it , n so the ways in a re day. For this nyone. issues of the for almost a le b ta la re is d n a


Released: 2009



“Hard cases may make bad law, but in Michael Sandel’s hands they produce some cool philosophy... Justice is a timely plea for us to desist from political bickering and see if we can have a sensible discussion about what sort of society we really want to live in.” -- Jonathan Ree, The Observer (London)

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Gornick, Bo

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very ability to go in s it is k o o comn for the b . Given their h it w lt a The major co e d es us different h the theori der numero si in-depth wit n co to d e ginal texts his ne re to the ori su o plexity and p x e d e it there is lim ered. viewpoints, phies consid so o il h p e th of

Sanity Optional Beyond this point Peach Stephan

I f G o d were real, h e wouldn’t b e mea n Sarah’s voice is awful. Horrible, brain-twisting squawks that only vaguely represent the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” erupt from her mouth, alas, I maintain the pleasant smile pasted on my face while humbly inspecting her. She has a frizzy pony tail piled on top of her head, circular glasses resting on a slanted nose, and a curved, toothy smile. I examine the clumsy grip she has on the microphone resting in her sweaty palm, the floral-print braces restraining her skinny legs, and the askew wheels of her chair planted in the grass. For the first time in my life I think, if there is a god, He sure has a damned sense of humor. Here He is, lounging on a cloud in Heaven, the ultimate pent-

house. He’s got His fluffy white bathrobe on and is about to hit up the all-you-can-eat fish and bread buffet. Yep, Heaven has just about everything but cable TV, so when The Big Man in the Sky gets a little bored of his posh life, what could

be more fun than contorting the fragile limbs of a little girl to resemble limp noodles, molding her face into an alien’s like a lump of clay, and braiding her vocal cords into a complicated maze similar to a tangled set of headphones? I am disgusted by the thought of a being who would inflict someone with this kind of damage and conclude that their brain is as contorted as her body. The typical justification for scenarios like this is that the unfortunate situation is “for the greater good” and “everything happens for a reason.” But there is no Cinderella ending for Sarah. Just a brief, lackluster life spent with her mother accommodating her every move. I have questioned my faith infinite times before, but never to the extent where I could confidently avow that God is a lie. This time the idea of God seems like the idea of a Santa Claus, good in theory, but ultimately unrealistic. I gather every ounce of Christianity I have ever been forced to swallow and regurgitate it. Moses, Noah, Satan, Peter and God, especially God, are all charlatans. Priests, preachers, popes, nuns, and reverends are all dope-smoking college flunkies. Praying is merely a way for insanists to justify talking to themselves. Every penny my family has graciously surrendered to the solemn cloaked man carrying the long wicker basket at Sunday service should have been donated to a

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Here He is, lounging on a cloud in Heaven, the ultimate penthouse. He’s got His fluffy white bathrobe on and is about to hit up the allyou-can-eat fish and bread buffet.

cause that actually exists, rather than germy wine glasses and stale circles of bread. When the song is over I want to lasso the silence and kiss it on the lips, yet to my dismay, she breaks out in another Taylor Swift song. This time it’s “Speak Now” unfortunately followed by “You Belong with Me” and finally concluded with “Teardrops on My Guitar.” I thank the lord, even though there isn’t one, when a kid takes the grass stage to do tricks in his wheelchair.

ad(vance) a picutre is worth 1,000 words New Zealand God Ads

Consider: Two Auckland real estate agents, Greg and Judi Gibson, are behind a billboard campaign developed on God’s behalf in Auckland, New Zealand. 1. What were your initial reactions to these ads? 2. Do you think these ads achieved their purpose or did more harm than good? 3. Is there a correlation between these Ads being manmade much like the idea of God?

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just words? just speeches? Christopher Hitchens

The noble title of ‘dissident’ must be earned rather than claimed; it connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement.

If you care about the points of agreement and civility, then, you had better be well-equipped with points of argument and combativity, because if you are not then the ‘center’ will be occupied and defined without your having helped to decide it, or determine what and where it is.

I repeat: what really matters about any individual is not what [they] think, but how [they] think.

Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.

To me, the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way, is an offer of something not worth having. I want to live my life taking the risk, all the time, that I don’t know anything like enough yet, that I haven’t understood enough, that I can’t know enough, that I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.

The Pink Paperbacks Novel reflections from a bibliophilic feminist Ellie Diaz

How I Found my Re l i g i on at Hogwarts We walked into the bookstore, full of excitement and wonder. Cloaks and large brimmed hats bounced around the store and participated in quiz competitions in the back corner. “Only one hour and 45 minutes left!” announced the Barnes & Noble employee, her voice booming across the bookstore every fifteen minutes. My sister and I huddled in the corner, stuffing Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans in our mouths and sipping fizzed vanilla sodas while pretending it was Butterbeer. It was our third time attending the Harry Potter release party at Barnes & Noble, where Potterheads anxiously gathered to await the midnight release of the next novel. This was our tradition. This was pilgrimage. This was our religion. The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997, but I didn’t begin reading the series until 2002. J.K. Rowling’s series transformed me from an active rambunctious child to feverous reader. My sister and I devoured the books like dementors devour souls, always racing each other to see who could finish first. The books became more to us than just novels; every time we opened the covers we immersed ourselves in a magical world that instilled more values and morals than any

Last summer, I started re-reading the series (I’m only on the sixth novel) and again, I’m reminded of the transformation I underwent and the lessons I learned within the pages. One of the lessons I gathered from the novels is that whether you’re a witch, wizard, houseelf or muggle, you deserve equal rights. This is demonstrated in Hermione Granger’s promotion of S.P.E.W. and the emphasis on Dobby. Dobby, a mere house-elf, is a lovable, brave and complex character. As Sirius Black once explains to Ron in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treat his inferiors, not his equals.” The Harry Potter series demonstrates that everyone (except perhaps Voldemort) should be treated with respect. As noted in the essay “Harry Potter through the Focus of Feminist Literary Theory” by Krunoslav Mikulan, the theme of equality is exhibited in Dumbledore’s speech to the houses and visiting schools in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. “Every guest in this Hall,” said Dumbledore, and his eyes lingered upon the Durmstrang students, “will be welcomed back here, at any time, should they wish to come. I say to you all, once again - in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. “Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” Mikulan explains that this excerpt “sums up Rowling’s philosophy; community, friendship, trust, without sexual, racial, national or religious differences.” The series demonstrates that it’s beneficial to contradict labels to find your own complex identity. Ron isn’t only a goofball, Hermione isn’t always bossy and yes, even Harry at times doesn’t act like a hero. Although each character is placed into a house, it doesn’t mean their identity must match those around them. When Harry questions why he was

placed in Gryffindor instead of Slytherin, Dumbledore replies, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” As a Ravenclaw, I’d like to think that I’m intelligent,

Harry Potter is more than an obsession; it’s my religion. The series has taught me more morals and values than I’ve gained in a classroom or church including lessons in love, loss, equality, war, friends, strength and identity. but also kind and brave. My personality is not limited to the label I’ve been assigned. The theme of equality is also relayed in the treatment of men and women. J.K. Rowling created one of the strongest female characters in literary history: Hermione Granger. Hermione is intelligent but also empathetic, brave and independent. When Malfoy makes fun of Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione comes to Hagrid’s defense by slapping Malfoy and pulling out her wand. No, violence isn’t cool. But in this scene, Hermione shows herself as a passionate human being who would do anything for her friends. She’s not only a bookworm, she’s also a warrior. Men and women teach lessons, play Quidditch and fight evil side by side. Imagine trying to tell Professor McGonagall that she’s going

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holy book that had been introduced to us before.

to get paid 33 percent less Galleons than her male coworkers…

might get when you look at the stars on a dark night and feel so tiny and strong at the same time.

What I also love about the series and the community of Potterheads is that anyone is welcome. Potterheads are encouraged to embrace their inner Luna Lovegood. In the London premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, J.K. Rowling said, “The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

Harry Potter is more than an obsession; it’s my religion. The series has taught me more morals and values than I’ve gained in a classroom or church including lessons in love, loss, equality, war, friends, strength and identity. I’m not pushing for the Harry Potter series to be your religion, or for you to even like the novels. What I am advocating for is the freedom for diversity in spiritual awakening. If you find solace in the Bible, that’s wonderful. If you find inspiration in the Quran, that’s fantastic. And if you find comfort and life morals in the pages of a magical series, then carry on.

The novels also touch on life after death. In the heartbreaking scene when Sirius falls through a mysterious black veil and dies, Harry tortures himself by thinking about what would have happened if he pulled back the material. In an interview with MTV, J.K. Rowling states, “On any given moment if you asked me [if] I believe in life after death, I think if you polled me regularly through the week, I think I would come down on the side of yes — that I do believe in life after death. [But] it’s something that I wrestle with a lot. It preoccupies me a lot, and I think that’s very obvious within the books.” Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban taught me that it’s normal to question religious conventions and it’s okay to not know what happens after we fall through the veil. In the religious realm, the Harry Potter series carries some controversy. While some may find the books a satanic worship in novel form, others find comforting morals within the pages. Christian Minister Greg Garrett has published numerous books on the connection between Christian faith and Harry Potter including Looking for God in Harry Potter, God, the Devil, and Harry Potter: a Christian Minister’s Defense of the Beloved Novels and The Mystery of Harry Potter: A Catholic Family Guide. Whether it’s from a Christian, Buddhist, Jewish or Atheist perspective, readers can be sure to find at least one theme from the series that resonates with them. When I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Studios, something just clicked. Yes, I understand that the theme park was created to make money, but when I walked through the Hogwarts corridors and touched the Hogwarts Express, I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself. It’s the same feeling you

One of the lessons I gathered from the novels is that whether you’re a witch, wizard, house-elf or muggle, you deserve equal rights. This is demonstrated in Hermione Granger’s promotion of S.P.E.W. and the emphasis on Dobby.

microaggreSHUNS it’s the little things that count BROAD People

you just haven’t searched hard enough for god

_______ is just a phase, you’ll come to your senses later i’ll pray for you

so do you like, worship the devil? you’re a ________? but you’re so nice!

why are you __________? | but you don’t look _______.

how can you be a _______? you’re a feminist and also a _____? but how does that work?

you’re not what I think of when I think of _____, you’re really cool! i didn’t think you’d listen to this kind of music! it’s exactly like mine!

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you can’t really discuss religion, you’re ______!

screen/play film review, justice take God Loves Uganda

Released: 2013


Roger Ross Williams

Quick Description:

God Loves Uganda is a 2013 documentary film that explores the role of modern Western evangelism in Uganda. It’s directed and produced Roger Ross Williams, a gay African American male whose interest in the role of religion in perpetuating homophobia comes from his own personal experience of growing up gay in a church where his father was the pastor. God Loves Uganda follows the experiences of missionaries from the United States as they venture to Uganda in an effort to spread Christianity and the message of the Bible. The film focuses primarily on a dire consequence of the rise in evangelism: Uganda faces widespread cultural homophobia and homophobic policies that endanger the lives of many Ugandans. The film features stories from both Americans and Ugandans as they negotiate the relationship between religion, politics, development, and identity. The passionate U.S. missionaries in the film go to Uganda to build schools, work in orphanages, and construct hospitals, but predominantly focus on evangelizing and missionary work. The missionaries explain the spiritual potential they see in Ugandans, describing America’s increasing secularism as beyond saving. In God Loves Uganda, Ugandans become experiments in fundamental Christianity, as American and Ugandan evangelicals join together to push an agenda of “sexual morality” while Ugandan political leaders are pushing an anti-homosexuality bill. The film also features an interview with Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato before his murder, and insight from excommunicated Ugandan bishop Christopher Senyonjo as he describes his fight for equality in Uganda.

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God Loves Uganda is a New York Times Critic’s Pick described as “a searing look at the role of American evangelical missionaries in the persecution of gay Africans.” It is a haunting and powerful glimpse of often-overlooked consequences of missionary work by Westerners of the Christian Right who attempt to influence African values. The film provides a critical examination of neo-colonial relations and the risks of imposing American values on other nations.

HEaRt The beating, beating, beating, of this cerebral female heart. X. Cathexis

The Kiss of Death Religion might be one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. It kidnapped my childhood, abused my body, and starved my mind. Religion made me despise the fact that I was human, fostered my eating disorder, and was complicit in my depression. Religion didn’t save me. It almost killed me. When most people are asked to think about religion as the kiss of death, they probably think of the historic and modern wars/persecution which violently killed and continue to kill many, many people. They don’t think of Moral OCD – the clinical diagnoses of what almost killed me. Fifth grade was the first year I “found God” and also the year when life circumstances began triggering my depression. I had just moved to a new state, discovered the popular kids of this school were cruel like I had probably been as the “it girl” of my elementary school, and had also just started to feel the ripple effects of my mother’s burgeoning alcoholism. By sixth grade, I was praying to God in the stairwells and meditating about talking to him in a forest to help me get through the day and not turn numb or cry when my classmates said mean things about each other or really anyone. By seventh grade, I knew in the deepest most afraid part of me that my mom had a problem and had turned to writing stories about perfect angels who are close to God as a way of coping with the stress. By eighth grade, I was suicidal and convinced that the only way I could live my life was as a nun. By ninth grade, I had buried myself so deeply into school-

work and getting confirmed that I barely had time for friends or to deal with the new triggers of high school bullying, conformity, and insecurity. By tenth grade, I barely talked to anyone, felt religiously superior to everyone, and began the habits which later turned into a full-fledged eating disorder. I wrote letters to God and had no fear of being killed at any moment because I would finally be with God, where I belonged. I started eating less because stories of children starving around the world made me feel that I couldn’t be a good Christian unless I gave up some of my food and suffered alongside them, just like Christ had suffered for me.

By the end of eleventh grade, I was hospitalized near death and diagnosed with moral OCD, depression, the eating disorder, and PTSD. I’m telling you all of this so you will understand how the disease of religion crept into my life and slowly, oh so slowly, almost killed me. I’m telling you all of this because it terrifies me to think that another sensitive, vulnerable youth is being turned into a martyr by religion. I’m terrified that another youth is internalizing the negative rhetoric of Christian sermons – that they are sinful, that a man died so that they could live, that they are not good enough and would never have been good enough without Jesus. I’m terrified that another youth wants to torture themself like the medieval flagellates or sleep naked in the snow like Martin Luther to assuage the crushing weight of guilt. I’m terrified that religion will aid another youth’s depression by praising those, like nuns and saints, who have chosen to close themselves off from the world and lead a life devoted to Christ and encourage the youth to shut themself off from the world the same way. I’m terrified that religion will enable another youth to feel superior to everyone who is not of their faith, who does not believe in God, and who does not follow the rules that they follow. I am terrified that the infallible doctrines of religion will stunt a youth’s ability to critically think. I am terrified that religion and the doctrines of the afterlife versus life here on earth will blind youth from the beauty and goodness that is human life. I am terrified that religion will make life on this earth seem pointless to another youth. I am terrified that religion will seem like enough of a help that the youth does not seek out counseling or therapy. I am terrified that the abstract and made-up idea of “God” will be manipulated by psychological disorders in a youth’s mind into voices telling them to do things contrary to their health – under the false assumption that they are God’s will. That is moral OCD. That is the danger of religion. And those fears are more than just fears. This is why I have no tolerance for the institution which supports the idea that you can only have the strength to be a ‘good’ person if you are close to a fictional being. That is why I have no tolerance for the institution which brainwashed me into thinking that being a good Christian was all there was to life and discouraged me from learning about other people before I tried to change them. This is why I have no

Religion is antitolerance. Antiopenness. Anti-love. Anti-inclusivity. Anti-life. Anti-everything I stand for. Religion stunted my growth for 17 years and nearly killed me in the process. tolerance for the predominant religious culture that has no notion of feminism or tolerance for individuals. That is why I have no tolerance for it or for all of the people – pastors, church members, religious teachers and individuals – who encouraged the psychological disorders (under the guise of ‘faith’) in me that almost took away my shot at a full life here on earth. Religion is anti-tolerance. Anti-openness. Anti-love. Anti-inclusivity. Anti-life. Anti-everything I stand for. Religion stunted my growth for 17 years and nearly killed me in the process. Do yourself a favor. Cast off the oppressive shawls and beads and food rulebook and fucking enjoy life freely and humanly. Trust yourself. Don’t think that some fictional being has to validate your existence, save you, or love you before you can love yourself. You only have one life - don’t be the idiot who hides from problems they need to face through religion, don’t be the idiot who wastes this life away waiting for the next one. I promise you, you don’t need God or any other ‘higher being’. The first day I felt happy was the day I decided I deserved to live, inherently – no Jesus, no religion, no nothing telling me that I was somehow born flawed and indebted to this historic person. The reason I am happy today is because I know my purpose is to enjoy this human life of bumps and adventure and growth as much as I can, and as I am. Realize the beauty of this life is not that a higher being is in all things but that you are here - in the moment, beautifully human and you, with the power to choose what you do and how you live your life, free from any guilt, restraint, or forms of inherent oppression - to experience everything just as you are.

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By eleventh grade, I was anorexic, regarded everyone with vitriolic hate, and so depressed that a day did not go by when I was not crippled by fits of sobbing. In my mind, a gossiper was as despicable as a rapist and every essay I wrote in English class somehow tied back to my gratefulness that Jesus had died for my lowly human sins.




visions & revisions of our culture(s) Transmormon

















SSAGE M E 1. What part of the video is most powerful to you? 2. How does Eri negotiate the complex relationships between her identity, her family, and her Mormon religion? MICRO 3. What role does Mormonism play in Eri’s life? AGRES 4. How can religious organizations provide better support to trans* individuals? ADVA SHU NS






words are useless

Words from the Artist:


I created this piece because I find myself often shocked by the amount of control and influence religion has on the bodies of womIt’s not by chance that I gave the title “Zen” to this piece. In Zen philosophy, the very moment has an important meaning. Concentrating on the present is crucial, just as in my paintings. That’s why I work with ink - it can be hardly corrected - and pastel. Every time I paint, I do it while listening to music, and my hands are describing the vibration of music, the lines are rhythms, the colors are patterns or sounds. The whole visual gesture is a dimensioned piece of the present. That’s what my painting calls Zen.

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sometimes words aren’t enough Mátyás Kovács

In g/God(s) We Trust BROAD Voice, BROAD Communities Rev. Barbara Lund & Anne Basye

Call the midwives! Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality Call the midwives! Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality Shiprah and Puah were midwives. Exiles in Egypt, they went about their work under the shadow of a king who wanted to wipe out their people. In the first chapter of Exodus, the king calls the midwives. “Kill the male sons of Israel when you serve,” he commands them. They don’t, of course. Midwives serve life, not death. When the king summons them again to find out why baby boys are surviving, they are cagey. “The Hebrew women are vigorous and are delivered before the midwife comes to them.” It’s not us…it’s nature! This is the first story of nonviolent resistance in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Threatened by the most powerful figure of their time, these women changed the story. Instead of accepting the structure that sought to intimidate and disempower them, they called on their own resources—courage, ingenuity, and a commitment to bearing life. A story of oppression became a story of resistance.

Changing the story What story are we telling one another as we face challenges like global warming and global conflict? What do our faith traditions inspire and provoke in us? How, like the midwives, can we enlist our gifts and change the story for a greater common good? At Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality in St. Paul, Minnesota, we start by gathering people of all ages and faith traditions. Together, we explore what is dying, and what is being born. We listen. We reflect. We share. We sing, pray, and make art, and form ourselves into new people. We become midwives for one another, supporting one another across thresholds of change. What is coming on the other side of the threshold? Where will it take us? How can we prepare? Like a mother or a midwife, we enter the birth process not knowing the outcome. All we know is that we will be changed. As midwives, we are committed to the process, to seeing one another every step of the way.

Guided by Wisdom as described in the book of Solomon we carry on: In every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom. Sharing Wisdom between generations, our souls and stories change. The Spirit guides us as old eras, institutions, and stories die and new ones are born. Explore, reimagine, embody: this is how a story changes. Standing within and outside power structures but drawing on the Spirit and the Spirit’s gifts, we find ways to lament loss, encourage what is emerging, and celebrate what The Holy is birthing in the world.

Sharing Wisdom between generations, our souls and stories change. The Spirit guides us as old eras, institutions, and stories die and new ones are born.

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What in you—and in our world—most wants to be born? And how will you participate in that vulnerable and messy birthing process? How can you change the story and deepen the journey of faith and life?

BROADer Perspective BROAD Voice, Beyond the Issue Theme Claudia Victoroff

Thoughts on Body Hair

I hadn’t considered myself too young to shave. I felt very mature at 8. I practiced gymnastics 18 hours a week, I left elementary school early to get to practice, and I took showers instead of baths. But I was a baby; I was in 3rd grade learning cursive for the first time. I was missing my two front teeth, and still wore metallic blue Sketchers that lit up when I walked. I was young enough to shamelessly stand naked in front of my mother, and small enough that she had to kneel in front of my. A decade later I decided to stop shaving. I despise whatever influence convinced my child self that I needed to shave my legs. I become profoundly sad when I recall the shame that I felt throughout my childhood and adolescence for having body hair. Shortly after I stopped shaving my aunt looked at my hairy ankles and asked me if this was “some kind of protest.” No, it’s not a protest. It’s a personal decision. I haven’t really pinpointed my exact motivation to stop shaving. I think primarily it was inspired by my little sister. She’s 5 years old and loves bugs, dirt, princesses, and anything with sparkles. It terrifies me that within the foreseeable future she could possibly become subconscious about her body. In 3 years she’ll be the age that I was when I first shaved my legs. Over the summer I watched her play an iPad game made for girls around her age. It was like any classic makeover game, except that in addition to putting makeup on the cartoon face you could give it bronzer, tweeze its eyebrows, and put cover up on its blemishes. I was disgusted that my sister, Lily, was already being taught that a woman should look a certain way. Maybe Lily will think I’m weird when she notices that my unshaved legs and armpits, and my untweezed upper lip and eyebrows don’t look like

I hate to feel sorry for myself, but I do. I feel so sorry for my 8 year old self who hated her leg hair, and for my 14 year old self who hated the small amount of tummy fat accumulating over her lower abs. those of the women in the shows she watches, or the games that she plays, but at least she will see it as an option. I don’t think that shaving, tweezing, and waxing is either “right” or “wrong”. But I do think that it’s a personal choice that every person has the right to make. If you love your smooth legs, and you feel beautiful controlling the hair on your body, than that’s what is right for you. I urge you however, to make that decision consciously. I hate to feel sorry for myself, but I do. I feel so sorry for my 8 year old self who hated her leg hair, and for my 14 year old self who hated the small amount of tummy fat accumulating over her lower abs. Self consciousness, I think, is almost universal to the human experience. I hope, however, that by embracing my own imperfect body, I can help encourage my little sister to

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I was 8 years old the first time I shaved my legs. It was the night before my first level 5 gymnastics meet, and I couldn’t bear the sight of the thick, dark hairs on my pail little legs. Amateur as I was, I sat in the shower trying to remove all the hair I could. After putting in my best effort, I stood naked in the bathroom of my childhood home. My mother kneeled in front of me and shaved off all the sections that I had missed.

Contributor Guidelines How to be BROAD BROAD Team

principles: i) Feminist Consciousness:

(a) recognizes all voices and experiences as important, and not in a hierarchical form. (b) takes responsibility for the self and does not assume false objectivity. (c) is not absolutist or detached, but rather, is more inclusive and sensitive to others.

ii) Accessibility:

(a) means utilizing accessible language, theory, knowledge, and structure in your writing. (b) maintains a connection with your diverse audience by not using unfamiliar/obscure words, overly long sentences, or abstraction. (c) does not assume a specific audience, for example, white 20-year-old college students.

iii) Jesuit Social Justice Education & Effort:

(a) promotes justice in openhanded and generous ways to ensure freedom of inquiry, the pursuit of truth and care for others. (b) is made possible through value-based leadership that ensures a consistent focus on personal integrity, ethical behavior, and the appropriate balance between justice and fairness. (c) focuses on global awareness by demonstrating an understanding that the world’s people and societies are interrelated and interdependent.

expectations & specifics: • You may request to identify yourself by name, alias, or as “anonymous” for publication in the digest. For reasons of accountability, the staff must know who you are, first and last name plus email address. • We promote accountability of our contributors, and prefer your real name and your preferred title (i.e., Maruka Hernandez, CTA Operations Director, 34 years old, mother of 4; or J. Curtis Main, Loyola graduate student in WSGS, white, 27 years old), but understand, in terms of safety, privacy, and controversy, if you desire limitations. We are happy to publish imagery of you along with your submission, at our discretion. • We gladly accept submission of varying length- from a quick comment to several pages. Comments may be reserved for a special “feedback” section. In order to process and include a submission for a particular issue, please send your submission at least two days prior to the desired publication date. • Please include a short statement of context when submitting imagery, audio, and video. • We appreciate various styles of scholarship; the best work reveals thoughtfulness, insight, and fresh perspectives. • Such submissions should be clear, concise, and impactful. We aim to be socially conscious and inclusive of various cultures, identities, opinions, and lifestyles. • As a product of the support and resources of Loyola University and its Women Studies and Gender Studies department, all contributors must be respectful of the origin of the magazine; this can be accomplished in part by ensuring that each article is part of an open discourse rather than an exclusive manifesto. • All articles must have some clear connection to the mission of the magazine. It may be helpful to provide a sentence or two describing how your article fits into the magazine as a whole. • The writing must be the original work of the author and may be personal, theoretical, or a combination of the two. When quoting or using the ideas of others, it must be properly quoted and annotated. Please fact-check your work and double-check any quotes, allusions and references. When referencing members of Loyola and the surrounding community, an effort should be made to allow each person to review the section of the article that involves them to allow for fairness and accuracy. • Gratuitous use of expletives and other inflammatory or degrading words and imagery may be censored if it does not fit with the overall message of the article or magazine. We do not wish to edit content, but if we feel we must insist on changes other than fixing typos and grammar, we will do so with the intent that it does not compromise the author’s original message. If no compromise can be made, the editor reserves the right not to publish an article. • All articles are assumed to be the opinion of the contributor and not necessarily a reflection of the views of Loyola University Chicago.

We very much look forward to your submissions and your contribution to our overall mission. Please send your submissions with a title and short bio to Broad People through broad.luc@gmail.com.

Profile for BROAD Magazine

Broad magazine issue 73 in gods god we trust october 2014  

Welcome to the fifth annual religion/faith/spirituality themed issue of BROAD magazine. In these many pages you'll find dozens of contribut...

Broad magazine issue 73 in gods god we trust october 2014  

Welcome to the fifth annual religion/faith/spirituality themed issue of BROAD magazine. In these many pages you'll find dozens of contribut...