In Passionate and Pious Monique Moultrie explores the impact of faith-based sexual ministries on black women's sexual agency to trace how these women navigate sexuality, religious authority, and their spiritual walk with God. Providing churchwomen a space to candidly discuss these issues, these popular ministries exist largely beyond the traditional church, with dialogues about sex taking place in chat rooms and through text messages, social media, email, and other media. Moultrie foregrounds televangelist Juanita Bynum's construction of the black Christian sexual identity these ministries promote while emphasizing how churchwomen reconcile these prescriptive identities with their individual experiences. What does it mean for senior women to exercise sexual agency when their church standing could be questioned? What does celibacy mean for women who experience same-sex desire while believing that such desire goes against God's will? Advancing a womanist sexual ethics, Moultrie reframes biblical interpretations and conceptions of what constitutes a healthy relationship to provide a basis for sexual decision making that does not privilege monogamy or deny female pleasure, thereby calling on black churchwomen to experience responsible and life-enhancing sex.
Almost from the beginning, the women’s movement has been divided into two factions–those wanting full equality with men (Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul) and those seeking legal protections for women’s particular needs (Julia Ward Howe, Eleanor Roosevelt). Early Utah leaders such as Relief Society President Emmeline B. Wells walked hand-in-hand with Anthony and other controversial reformers. However, by the 1970s, Mormons had undergone a significant ideological turn to the mainstream, championing women’s unique roles in home and church, and joined other conservatives in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment.
Looking back to the nineteenth century, how committed were Latter-day Saints of their day to women’s rights? LDS President Joseph F. Smith was particularly critical of women who “glory in their enthralled condition and who caress and fondle the very chains and manacles which fetter and enslave them!” The masthead of the church’s female Relief Society periodical,
Woman’s Exponent, proudly proclaimed “The Rights of the Women of Zion and the Rights of Women of All Nations!” In leading the LDS sisterhood, Wells said she gleaned inspiration from The Revolution,published by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Fast-forward a century to 1972 and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) by the United States Congress. Within a few years, the LDS Church, allied with Phyllis Schlafly, joined a coalition of the Religious Right and embarked on a campaign against ratification. This was a mostly grassroots campaign waged by thousands of men and women who believed they were engaged in a moral war and that the enemy was feminism itself.
Conjuring up images of unisex bathrooms, homosexuality, the dangers of women in the military, and the divine calling of stay-at-home motherhood—none of which were directly related to equal rights—the LDS campaign began in Utah at church headquarters but importantly was fought across the country in states that had not yet ratified the proposed amendment. In contrast to the enthusiastic partnership of Mormon women and suffragists of an earlier era, fourteen thousand women, the majority of them obedient, determined LDS foot soldiers responding to a call from their Relief Society leaders, attended the 1977 Utah International Women’s Year Conference in Salt Lake City. Their intent was to commandeer the proceedings if necessary to defeat the pro-ERA agenda of the National Commission on the International Women’s Year. Ironically, the conference organizers were mostly LDS women, who were nevertheless branded by their sisters as feminists.
In practice, the church risked much by standing up political action committees around the country and waging a seemingly all-or-nothing campaign. Its strategists, beginning with the dean of the church’s law school at BYU, feared the worst—some going so far as to suggest that the ERA might seriously compromise the church’s legal status and sovereignty of its all-male priesthood. In the wake of such horrors, a take-no-prisoners war of rhetoric and leafleteering raged across the country. In the end, the church exerted a significant, perhaps decisive, impact on the ERA’’s unexpected defeat.
This book’s six essays pertain to the “piercing of the clouds,” or the experience of heavenly mysteries, which characterizes lectio divina practiced well. Moreover, these peer-reviewed essays give special attention to the practice of lectio divina during preparation for ministry, especially the ministry of Catholic priests. That being said, any current or prospective Bible-reader may profit from this book; most of its content applies to Catholic seminarians and literate Christians alike.
Here follow brief descriptions of each chapter. Laurence Kriegshauser, OSB, begins the book with a chapter on the Western monastic tradition of lectio divina and seminary formation, including an historical survey of lectio divina, a description of its characteristics, and reflections on its practice in seminaries. Michael Magee reflects upon the implications of exegetical method for lectio divina, with a comparison and critique of three commentaries’ treatments of John 6. Konrad Schaefer, OSB, advocates for fostering growth and formation through lectio divina, beginning his chapter with a description of its theological underpinnings and then taking up some practical considerations for students. Marcin Kowalski focuses on meditatio of lectio divina following upon exegesis-informed lectio, with an examination of Romans 7:7–25 as a test case. Daniel Keating examines oratio and contemplatio (and actio) of lectio divina, giving attention to theologians from twelfth-century Carthusian Prior Guigo II to Pope Benedict XVI. Anthony Giambrone, OP, contributes the final essay, on searching the Scriptures and the mystery of preaching. For him, exquisitio (intellectual engagement) leads to supplicatio (prayerful supplication), which culminates in praedicatio (preaching).
Arranged as a twenty-four week retreat in four phases, this edition is a guide to The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. It incorporates "centering" exercises of awareness patterned on Eastern or Buddhist meditation practices and devotional exercises similar to or drawn from those found in Sadhana, by the late Anthony de Mello, SJ. Poems and prayers by Rainer Maria Rilke, Rabindranath Tagore, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Edith Sitwell, and others are also included, as well as materials from Teilhard de Chardin's Divine Milieu.
The Power of Religious Societies in Shaping Early Modern Society and Identities studies the value system of the French Catholic community the Filles de la Charité, or the Daughters of Charity, in the first half of the seventeenth century. An analysis of the activities aimed at edifying morality in the different strata of society revealed a Christian anthropology with strong links to medieval traditions. The book argues that this was an important survival strategy for the Company with a disconcerting religious identity: the non-cloistered lifestyle of its members engaged in charity work had been made unlawful in the Council of Trent. Moreover, the directors Louise de Marillac and Vincent de Paul also had to find ways to curtail internal resistance as the sisters rebelled in quest of a more contemplative and enclosed vocation.
Powerful Devices studies spiritual warfare performances as an apparatus for disestablishing structures of power and knowledge, and establishing righteousness in their stead. Drawing on performance studies’ emphasis on radicality and breaking of social norms as devices of social transformation, the book demonstrates how Christian groups with dominant cultural power but who perceive themselves as embattled wield the ideas of performance activism. Combining religious studies with ethnography, Powerful Devices explores Nigerian Pentecostals and US Evangelicals’ praxis of transnational spiritual warfare. By closely studying spiritual warfare prayers as a “device,” Powerful Devices shows how the rituals of prayer enable an apprehension of time, paradigms of self-enhancement, and the subversion of politics and authority. A critical intervention, Powerful Devices explores charismatic Christianity’s relationship to science and secular authority, technology and temporality, neoliberalism, and reactionary ideology.
A hundred years ago Catholic believers young and old, rich and poor, would fill churches on holy days, drawn together in prayer and in the conviction that they, the laypeople, needed the clergy and patron saints to mediate between them and their God. Today a Catholic believer in America is as likely as not to find God for herself.
This book traces dramatic changes in the practice of faith among American Catholics through evolving ideas about prayer. Where so many have seen the movement of American Catholics away from traditional devotional practices as a symptom of encroaching secularism, author James P. McCartin shows how the changing practice of prayer itself was the primary catalyst behind Catholics' growing sense of spiritual independence.
Prayers of the Faithful reveals how, over the decades, Catholics' ways of praying underwent a significant shift alongside the larger transformations of American society and culture. The book documents the novel ways of praying that transcended the formal rites of earlier generations. Whether "praying in tongues" or working on behalf of social justice or participating in public protests as outpourings of prayer, lay Catholics consistently expanded their notions of praying. And in doing so, McCartin suggests, they reshaped and redefined American Catholicism. By examining the spiritual life of prayer over the twentieth century, this book thus opens up new ways of understanding Catholics, their church, and their place in American life.
The Mormon tradition's emphasis on prophetic authority makes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unique within America's religious culture. The religion that Joseph Smith created established a kingdom of God in a land distrustful of monarchy while positioning Smith as Christ's voice on earth, with the power to form cities, establish economies, and arrange governments.
Michael Hubbard MacKay traces the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' claim to religious authority and sets it within the context of its times. Delving into the evolution of the concept of prophetic authority, MacKay shows how the Church emerged as a hierarchical democracy with power diffused among leaders Smith chose. At the same time, Smith's settled place atop the hierarchy granted him an authority that spared early Mormonism the internal conflict that doomed other religious movements. Though Smith faced challenges from other leaders, the nascent Church repeatedly turned to him to decide civic plans and define the order of both the cosmos and the priesthood.