It’s refreshing to be able to read passages written by women!
I fully expected the tone of most readings this week to be about how difficult it was to be a woman in religious circles, and I was not (or was?) disappointed. It was interesting how, in the first reading, Jarena Lee spoke about how that fact had been quickly changing (in the 1800s!) and women were allowed to preach more. Was it less common for women to preach in white churches and denominations? I have never been inside of a church or heard a preacher speak, and I am not aware of much of the history of Christianity in America at all, so this is all news to me. The constant mention of suicide was also something that surprised me in her passages because I had assumed people from that time period would not speak about topics like that.
The first two readings have something very specific in common – the authors claim to have been spoken to by God (or the Lord) personally in a call to preach or do other religious activities. This claim is something that, until a couple months ago, I would have considered ridiculous, exaggerated, or a sign of an illness. I have an illness that gives me hallucinations occasionally, so I would have had a hard time believing these claims. Recently, though, I’ve been following a religion (one I’m not sure if I can name), where sometimes I feel as though I’m being led to do specific things by an outside force, and my friends who follow similar beliefs feel this also. It’s probably much easier to write off women for saying that they have been spoken to by a god than a man who claims the same thing because of how “overly sensitive” and “crazy” women are perceived to be.