June-July 2002 by Letha Dawson Scanzoni
- The World Wide Web and You
- Resources for Christian Living
- Topic of the Month: Women’s Health
- Current Issues
Three points to keep in mind in using “Web Explorations for Christian Feminists”:
1. When you click on the links below (words underlined in a contrasting color) you’ll be taken outside the EEWC site. In most cases, you can come back to the EEWC website by clicking on the back button on the toolbar at the top of the screen. (In some cases, when you click on a link taking you to an external site, a new window opens up and the back button won’t take you back to the site you just left. In such cases, try clicking on the X in the upper right corner of the new window to close it. You’ll find yourself back at the EEWC site — which was there the whole time, but underneath the new site’s window.)
2. Since the links take you outside the EEWC website, the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus cannot be responsible for their content. The inclusion in this column of any particular external link doesn’t necessarily mean EEWC endorses all or any of the content you may find on that site. A listing under “Web Explorations” only means it’s a website that I think you’ll find of interest.
3. All of the “Web Explorations for Christian Feminists” columns are archived, so be sure to visit the archives from time to time to check out tips and links in previous columns.
Recently, while searching for something on the Web, I clicked on a site which trapped me. It disabled the back button so that I couldn’t go back to the search list, and it caused the X button to be inoperative so that I couldn’t simply close the window either. The only choice it gave me was to hit its OK button, which meant I would be consenting to download something about which I knew nothing and certainly didn’t want! There was not even a choice for more information. Worse yet, it was one of those sites that pretended to be an official announcement warning about something supposedly crucial to my computer’s health and posing as an operating system announcement. These are called “trick banners” and are marketing ploys to get more hits.
The computer user gets a desperate claustrophobic feeling at such times. I knew there was some way to escape the trap — I had read about it once — but couldn’t remember what it was. In desperation, I hit control-alt-delete and rebooted.
I then went back online and did a search. It took me a while to find the answer, but I found two good resources and decided to share them with you as my “World Wide Web and You” tip for this edition of the “Web Explorations” column.
The phenomenon is called mousetrapping, and it is making a lot of viewers very, very angry –especially in cases where the lock-in is intentional. To understand what’s going on and why — and then what to do about it — check out a USA Today article by Leslie Miller called “‘Mouse-trapping’ locks viewers in a virtual maze.“
Anne Eggebroten, a member of EEWC’s Executive Council, has written another article for the independent news service, Women’s Enews. In this article, “Gender-neutral Bible Stirs Controversy,” Anne calls attention to the strong opposition many conservatives are voicing about the new Bible translation called Today’s New International Version (TNIV). The TNIV is a gender-inclusive version of the New International Version (NIV). The NIV (minus the “T”) had over the years come to be considered a kind of “official” Bible version among conservative Christians; and many of them are upset that a gender-inclusive version has been published. To express their rejection of it, voice their displeasure, and air their grievances, they have set up a website called “no-tniv.com.”
Such controversies over Bible translations are nothing new in the history of the church. See “Christian History Corner: Translation Wars” by Elesha Coffman and Tony Lane, writing in Christianity Today.
EEWC members have long emphasized the importance of Bible translations that emphasize gender inclusivity and will be happy to know that the entire text of the New Testament in Today’s New International Version is available online at the site of its official sponsor and copyright holder, the International Bible Society (IBS). The TNIV version of the Old Testament is expected to be available in 2005.
Another gender-inclusive translation that is highly regarded among Christian feminists is the New Revised Standard Version. It is also available online (with full copyright permission). And if you click on TOC at the bottom left corner of that site, you’ll be taken to the table of contents and online text of Hope College religion professor Barry Bandstra’s 1999 book, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible.
Theme of the Month
Since I came down with two different illnesses in May and June, I’ve increased my awareness of the need we busy women have to take care of ourselves. Therefore, for this month’s special topic, I want to list some excellent and reliable sites on women’s health — and on health in general.
First, you can see your tax dollars at work by checking out a very helpful clearinghouse, the “National Women’s Health Information Center,” a service of the Office on Women’s Health under the Department of Health and Human Services.
Also under the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a section on “Women’s Health” along with a list of other special categories (such as “Men’s Health,” “Traveler’s Health,” “Older Adults’ Health,” and so on.)
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch (from the Harvard Medical School) is also worth checking out, as are these sites:
SusanLoveMD.com:The Website for Women
Surgeon and author Susan Love is one of the” founding mothers” of the breast cancer advocacy movement,
The Boston Women’s Health Collective.
This is the group that pioneered the movement encouraging women to take charge of their own health. Many of us in EEWC have the first edition of their book, Our Bodies, Ourselves on our bookshelves, and probably many later editions as well. See what this health collective is doing today, including the information they share on such current issues as body image, reproductive health activism, and more.
The Young Women’s Resource Center provides health information for adolescent girls and their families. It is a service of Children’s Hospital, Boston. Helpful guidance on menstruation, eating disorders, body piercing issues, and other matters of concern to teenagers can be found there.
You might also find that some of the commercial sites on fitness, exercise, and weight-training are worth checking out. One is maintained by Shape magazine. Another is Dr. Miriam Nelson’s website: Strong Women. Perhaps you’re familiar with some of the books Miriam Nelson, Ph.D. has written (such as Strong Women, Strong Bones and Strong Women Stay Young). Dr. Nelson is the Director of the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition and an Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. She is also a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.
General health sites for everyone
In addition to the websites directed especially toward women, there are some excellent sites for everyone. Most of them offer information on just about any health matter or condition that interests you. One of the most helpful sources is MedLine Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine under the National Institutes of Health. On that site, if you click on “Health Topics,” you can find information on just about any medical topic from A to XYZ. If you click on “Drug information,” you can research generic and brand name drugs (prescription and over the counter), recalls, warnings, and the like. Clicking on “Dictionaries” takes you to resources explaining medical terminology. The site also provides directories of doctors, dentists, and hospitals; clinical trial information; and other resources useful to the health consumer. Current medical news is also posted there.
LaurusHealth.com, is a site dedicated to “better health through information” and is associated with community-owned hospitals throughout the U.S. and the physicians affiliated with them. And the American Academy of Family Physicians maintains a site called simply familydoctor.org, which also has health topics, drug information, and healthy living tips. In addition, it has a self-care section to help you know what certain symptoms may mean, what you should do in various situations, and when you need to see a physician.
The National Institute of Mental Health, another division of the National Institutes of Health, exists “to diminish the burden of mental illness through research.” It addresses a range of topics related to mental health and has categories of information for the public and for practitioners. This site provides information on such topics as bipolar disorder, depression, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and so on. If you click on the section “for the practitioner,” you can access some very readable patient-education handouts on various topics..
To read about mental illness from a religious perspective, you might want to look at David Hilfiker’s article, “When Mental Illness Blocks the Spirit,” from the May-June, 2002 issue of The Other Side.
A cautionary note to keep in mind
If you look for health information on the Web, you need to make sure the information you find is from a reliable source. Be sure to read and heed the tips in this article, “10 Things to Know about Evaluating Medical Resources on the Web.” It’s from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (another of the 27 centers that form the National Institutes of Health, working under the Public Health Service division of the Department of Health and Human Services). These ten points are highly important and should always be kept in mind as you explore the Web for health and medical information.
Two women who have been plenary speakers for our EEWC biennial conferences and who are highly regarded by Christian feminists from many traditions are Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether and Sr. Joan Chittister. Both have recently written about the crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, and I think you’ll want to read what each has to say.
“Abuse a Consequence of History Wrong Turn” is an article by Rosemary Radford Ruether in the June 7, 2002 issue of the National Catholic Reporter. It provides a historical overview of the celibacy requirement and the “failure of celibacy as a spirituality and discipline for the clergy.”
Joan Chittister’s article in the July-August, 2002 issue of Sojourners stresses that “The Faith Will Survive, even though the institutional church “is in serious trouble.”
Also, check out the June 29, 2002 BBC news story, “Catholic Women in Unofficial Ordination,” about a group of nine women from Denmark, Germany, and the United States who were ordained as Roman Catholic priests in a secret ceremony aboard a boat on the Danube River. The women know they are risking excommunication but say their action is a protest against the Catholic Church’s discrimination against women.
However, these are not the first Roman Catholic women to be secretly ordained as priests. Read the review of Miriam Therese Winter’s book about the 1970 ordination of Ludmila Javorova in Czechoslovakia, which appeared in the summer, 2001 issue of EEWC Update and is posted on this website.
Some other news items that you might find of interest:
1. An article on women working for changes and peace in Afghanistan by broadcasting on their own radio station
2. An article about why some men aren’t interested in commitment to marriage and a brief official report from the Rutgers University researchers, Drs. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe, who are conducting the study as part of the extensive National Marriage Project.
3. An article by Seattle Times writer Jerry Large entitled, “Is there something to be learned from gay marriages?“ It’s about a recent longitudinal study from the Gottman Institute, which exists for “researching and renewing relationships.” University of Washington psychology Professor John Gottman, well-known for his books on marriage and family, co-founded the Gottman Institute with his wife, Julie Schwartz Gottman. In addition to writing and counseling, they conduct workshops on relationship issues for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. You can read more about their findings on couple relationships and parenting by clicking on the various headings at the top of the Gottman Institute website.
That’s all for this edition of “Web Explorations.”
Until next time, keep exploring!
Your Web Explorations tour guide,
Letha Dawson Scanzoni
© 2002 Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus