The Heroine’s Journey, Part Two: Identification with the Masculine and Gathering of Allies

This post is the second in what will be a series of ten exploring the kinship between the Heroine’s Journey as established by Maureen Murdock, my lived experience of ministry as a female clergy person, and a few familiar fictional characters. Each devotional will end with a blessing for the Heroine at each stage of the journey. In the  previous post, we examined the first part of the journey where the Heroine learns to distrust or belittle her own femininity because she fears it means she is weak or bad.

The Heroine’s Journey

Part Two – Identification with the Masculine and Gathering of Allies

The Heroine has shifted away from their feminine self and is now intent on constructing an identity informed by the external “other.” This is most often accomplished by aligning themselves with a father figure and/or by stepping into a traditionally masculine role.  Once the Heroine has been established with the mentor or is in the place that will cultivate them, they either gear “up to ‘fight’ an organization/role/group that is limiting [their] life options, or [enter] some masculine/dominant-identity defined sphere” through study, training, making friends, and building alliances.

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The Loneliness Epidemic

35 year-old full-time working mom with young children seeks other working moms to form tight-knit friendship group. Loves travel, good food, reading books, going to the movies/theater productions, and being outdoors—especially near water. Must enjoy iced coffee, Rosé, and have a slightly irreverent sense of humor. Must send silly texts, make time for lunches, errands, or nights out, and check-in about the ups and downs of life. Will do the same. Email if you think we could be besties!

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Women’s Wisdom

Since the leaking of Justice Alito’s draft opinion, I have been utterly worn down. Yes, there is that old ache of dread in my bones that wonders what will become of our world – one that has been nearly non-stop since March 2020. Much of it has also been from watching people spar in pro-life versus pro-choice debates – as if abortion rights were a spectator sport. But abortion is no sport, spectator or otherwise. It is medical care.

 

Like any medical care, people choose to pursue abortion for varied, complex reasons – so much so that any legislation limiting abortion access fails to account for the nuance of a decision to abort. The decision whether to terminate a pregnancy requires wisdom. And though not all those seeking abortions identify as women, I want to center women in my writing here.

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Learning from Tabitha

What do we do when our bodily autonomy is violated and the Supreme Court takes away our rights?  I read and re-read the stories of those people of faith who came before to better understand what might be required of me, and of the Church, in the months and years to come. I remembered the story of Tabitha, or Dorcas, the only woman who is directly named as a disciple in the New Testament (Acts 9:26 with the feminine mathētria). Abortion is not mentioned in Tabitha’s story, but it is a story that can direct us as we try to figure out what to do in this new reality.

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On Leaving a Call

My final Sunday at that church came as every other Sunday in my career has come: with a little anxiety and a rush of responsibilities. But this time, it felt as though more was at stake. I was leaving. Every Sunday, I wake up at 5:00 a.m. First feed the dog, make coffee, sip my coffee. For those few moments, everything is peaceful.

 

I give myself until 5:30 every Sunday. Or rather, gave. At 5:30 sharp, I’d stop mindlessly scrolling or pause my Wordle fixation for the day and get to work.

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Why I Am Reading Banned Books This Summer

 

The words of Mark Mathabane’s book Kaffir Boy jumped off the page at me. I read of sexual assault, police brutality, and generational trauma at the hands of the ruling class in South Africa’s apartheid government. “Good thing that never happens here,” I thought to myself. Now, I recognize my privilege and innocence in my fascination with this book.

 

I was reading Kaffir Boy as a part of my summer reading for 9th Grade Literature. It was paired with To Kill a Mockingbird, a classic for rising high school students. However, by the time I was halfway through Kaffir Boy, my parents received correspondence that I was no longer required to read it. A parent had complained and reported the inappropriateness of the book to the principal. I was hurt; I enjoyed the book. I didn’t know how to name my fascination with the book then, but looking back on it, I saw in Kaffir Boy a world that was so unfamiliar to me, yet a world that I needed to learn about. The pain of the author was on full display: a pain I needed to witness and would have never seen with my own eyes.

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Not So Ordinary Times

In the church calendar, Ordinary Time spans the Sunday after Pentecost through the Sunday before Advent begins. It’s the longest stretch of time in the church calendar. It is also the time when many members of the clergy are able to vacation, attend professional conferences, and reconnect with family and colleagues.

 

This year is different. These ordinary times are not so ordinary as we again hear reports of rising COVID case numbers coupled with baby formular shortages, food recalls, and rising gas prices. In these not so ordinary times, pastors and clergy are finding it more and more difficult to ward off burnout and cling to hope. There is no chance for pastors to proclaim a “return to normalcy” or to proclaim a “post-Covid” time. This is a new reality and one that isn’t in any way ordinary.

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Blessed are the Abortion Seekers

Blessed are those who seek abortions to save their lives

From ectopic pregnancies, septic uteruses, and miscarriages.

Blessed are those who seek abortions to save their lives

From domestic violence, suicide, and poverty.

Blessed are those who seek abortions for any reason at all.

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The Heroine’s Journey and A Life of Feminine Ministry Devotional

This spring will mark the ten year anniversary of my graduation from seminary. If I had had to guess what course my ministry life would have taken over these ten years, I would have been wrong. So wrong. As of the writing of this article, I have been considered by about two dozen ministries. From those, I have received one offer of call, which I accepted and from where I was ordained. I have the ignominious achievement of having been looking for a call longer than I’ve actually been in one. Heaven knows that I’ve introduced my own complexities to the situation. I own those. I just never imagined that they would be so nearly insurmountable. It has not escaped my notice that they are all rather feminine in nature – children bearing and caring and being the non-breadwinning spouse. Somedays, having persevered through so much rejection, it feels like a real miracle that I am still here, in faith.

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  A Father’s Day Litany

 

A Litany for Father’s Day

Leader: Our Lord Jesus Christ called God his heavenly Father and Joseph his earthly father. Let us come before our heavenly Father with our gratitude, praying for God’s blessing and offering up all our experiences with our earthly fathers in prayer.

Gracious God, we pray your blessing upon the fathers, step-fathers, adopted fathers, and grandfathers of our lives.

People: Good God, bless our fathers.

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