Friday, October 19, 2012

Velveteen Rabbi: Cheering for Anat Hoffman

Velveteen Rabbi: Cheering for Anat Hoffman

I love reading Rabbi Rachel Barenblat's blog, The Velveteen Rabbi.  Between poems and prayers and discussions, she always manages to pique my interest in spiritual things outside my normal realms.

Other times, like this morning, she provides sad reminders that the world is not at peace. People still use religion as a club, as a way of trying to control others. It saddens me, because religion and spirituality ought to be the comfort to people living in war-torn areas of the world. Instead, it's used to hurt and injure them, emotionally and physically... and worse, to wound them spiritually.

Anat Hoffman was apparently at the West Wall praying, something that Jews in Israel do quite a lot of. The difference was that she chose to do so wearing a talit. She was arrested and taken away, treated poorly, then sentenced to a 30 day period when she's not allowed to go to the Wall.

The police arrested a woman for praying... with other women... Not a reactionary prayer, or something off the top of her head, but instead a prayer central to Judaism, the Shema. They arrested her essentially for wearing a scarf.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rachel Held Evans, Author

I am incredibly honored to have been chosen to be one of the reviewers of Rachel Held Evans' newest book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I started reading Rachel's blog about three months before she completed her actual year of Biblical living, having been pointed to her as a person who was both sensible and reasonable in her arguments and dialogues. I was completely drawn in by her honesty, her willingness to address difficult questions, and her moral high ground taken when people were ready to attack or put her down.

I've been eagerly awaiting the release of this book since that time, and when the request for reviewers was made, I jumped at the chance. There were so many who applied, and only a few of us were chosen (though the number is still large!). I'm excited, bouncy, and already reading the book. I'm only a couple of pages into the first chapter and have already been laughing uproariously and scaring my children.

It's not a tiny book, so it may be a couple of weeks before you see my review. As I go through the chapters, however, I'll jot down some of my impressions as they happen. Just to leave you with a tidbit, though, I'll share one of her most recent videos, made about her "time in the tent" during her year's journey. I hope you enjoy Rachel's sense of humor as much as I do!

A bit about Rachel Held Evans:
Rachel Held Evans is an award-winning author and popular blogger from Dayton, Tennessee--home of the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town (Zondervan, 2010), explores the relationship between faith and doubt and recounts the challenges of asking tough questions about Christianity in the context of the Bible Belt. Her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood (Thomas Nelson, 2012), documents a year-long experiment in which she attempted to follow all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible.

In addition to her writing, Rachel keeps a busy speaking schedule, travelling across the country for retreats, conferences, universities and churches. She has been featured on NPR, Slate, The BBC, The Washington Post, The Times London, The Huffington Post, and, and was recently named one of Christianity Today's "50 Women to Watch."

She is happily married to Dan and is a lifelong Alabama Crimson Tide fan.

For some reviews and talk about A Year of Biblical Womanhood you might want to check out the following:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blessing of the Animals

On Sunday, October 14th, 2012, I will be presenting a Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, NH. The service will be held at the St. Francis of Assisi chapel at 3:00 p.m. All animals are welcome! If you have a cat or dog, snake, alpaca, camel, reptile, or other animal that you would like to have blessed, please bring them along for the event.

The entire day, from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. is dedicated to animals of all kinds, and the local shelter will be there with animals for adoption. This is a family friendly, interfaith celebration of our furry, scaled and winged friends. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it, and enjoy spending time with other pet lovers!