March 2002 by Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Web Explorations – Women’s History
- The World Wide Web and You
- Resources for Christian Living
- Theme of the Month: Women’s History
- Topics of Current Interest
Each month, I begin this feature by reminding all of us of two things: First, clicking on the links supplied (words underlined in a contrasting color) will take you outside the EEWC site. You can always come back by clicking on the back button on the toolbar.
Second, EEWC cannot be responsible for the content of these external sites. They’re just places that I think you’ll be interested in visiting. Their inclusion in this column (or “Weblog”) does not mean that any or all material contained on a particular external site is necessarily endorsed by our organization. They are listed simply as sites to explore.
If this is your first visit to “Web Explorations for Christian Feminists,” you might want to click on the “previous issues” link (at the top of this page on the right side) and read the introductory material for the January and February, 2002 issues and the tips provided there.
Each month, in talking about “The World Wide Web and You,” I like to introduce some general sites and information related to the Internet — treasures you can find on the Web in addition to those of our main topics in Parts 2, 3, and 4 below. This month, I thought I’d introduce you to some valuable reference tools.
Merriam-Webster OnLine provides a way to look up definitions or synonyms by keying in a word and clicking on a “Look it up” button in either the dictionary or the thesaurus category. If you want to know how a word is pronounced, click on one of the little audio speaker icons accompanying the definition and you’ll hear it as well as see it.
Specialized dictionaries are also available to help you find words in particular areas of interest. One site that points viewers to dictionaries for special categories is the Librarians’ Index to the Internetfrom the Library of California.
An exceedingly comprehensive list of specialty dictionaries is found at yourDictionary.com. This site is considered a state-of-the-art resource with links to hundreds of dictionaries and other word helps, in addition to providing links to online language dictionaries of more than 260 languages and an Endangered Language Repository.
A one-stop site for general information may be found at refdesk.com. Here you’ll find links to information on just about anything you can think of. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean!
I think you’ll be moved and challenged by Joan Chittister’s thoughts on discipleship. You can read online the full text of her address, “Discipleship for a Priestly People in a Priestless Period,” given at the Women’s Ordination Worldwide Conference held in Dublin in the summer of 2001.
You might also want to think about the meaning behind each letter in “The Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy” by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.
And take a look at Marcus Borg’s article, “What Would Jesus Think of King’s Protests?” for a different way of understanding what it means to “turn the other cheek,” based on the research of New Testament scholar Walter Wink.
Along with the article above, read Jim Wallis’s interview with Walter Wink from Sojourners Magazine
And as we all continue to struggle with the questions and issues surrounding terrorism and our response to it, consider this uplifting statement from Mariane Pearl, widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl, after the announcement that the kidnappers had brutally murdered her husband in Pakistan, as published on cnn.com.
Then, stretch your mind and heart with a thought-provoking article about the “Table Manners” of Jesus by Barbara Brown Taylor from the Christian Century and reprinted by permission on Religion Online.
And since both Jews and Christians observe important holy days in late March, visit these pages from About.com to learn more about all that is involved in the Passover observance and how the dating of Easter and Passover were decided. Then, be inspired by visiting the annual Easter page from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Just click on “Enter” and you’ll find a menu on the left side which will take you to beautiful classic art, Scripture, and meditations for Lent and Easter.
Since March is observed as National Women’s History Month in the United States, I thought it would be a good time to look back at our past.
I could give you a number of sites to visit, but the best links are already found in a thorough compilation by Jone Johnson Lewis, a Unitarian Universalist minister, educator, and women’s history researcher who serves as guide at the excellent women’s history section of about.com. You could spend many hours and days clicking on all the links she lists there. They cover many aspects of women’s history, both in the U.S. and globally. You can click on the topics that interest you from the site’s main Women’s History page or from the categories on the left menu.
Canadian Women’s History Month, incidentally, is celebrated in October because of “Persons Day,” which is remembered on October 18. On that date in 1929, after long debates and court battles, women were declared legally to be persons, and thus eligible for appointments in the Canadian Senate. To learn about notable Canadian women in various fields of endeavor, visit the National Library of Canada’s “Celebrating Women’s Achievements” exhibition and click on one of the pictures there.
You can also learn about the history of women in different groups, such Asian American women’s history, African American women’s history, and Native American Indian women’s history. Or you might want to visit the Lesbian History Project or the Lesbian Herstory Archives.
If you’re interested in ancient or medieval studies, as well as other periods of history, check out Professor Paul Halsall’s comprehensive Internet History Sourcebooks Project which includes public domain documents and copyright permitted reprints in many fields of history, including women’s history.
Useful links are also found in the Women and Religion Resources section of the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, CA, which is described on the site as “a consortium of interdependent theological schools, affiliated centers, and program units joined in a venture of faith in God, one another, and the future.”
And last, you might want to check out “American Women in Church Denominational History” compiled by Beverly Whitaker, a professional genealogist with a background in both public and religious education. This is a brief but useful overview. The site includes a summary of Susannah Wesley’s life, written by the author as though Susannah herself were telling it. Beverly Whitaker sometimes gives oral presentations of this kind to highlight the lives of historical figures. She includes some information here that I haven’t seen elsewhere, such as a summary of what happened to the other children of Susannah Wesley who survived into adulthood, besides her two famous sons, John and Charles.
Besides being Women’s History Month and the month in which Passover and Easter occur this year, March is Oscar month at the movies. So I thought we might want to explore some sites that help us relate our faith to what we see on the big screen.
I’ll begin with three articles by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. The first, “Spirituality and Film,” asks, “How do you find spirituality in today’s films? How can you make watching a film into a spiritual experience?”
The second article, “Befriending Films,” is about the attitudes we take into a theater. It provides 12 ideas to help us approach movie watching. (Number 9, for example, urges us to “watch for epiphanies” those places in a film that provide “a sudden or surprising aha! experience that washes over you like a gift from God.”)
The Brussats also provide guidelines for starting a film discussion group. (I can vouch for the value of such a group, having been enrolled in a film forum at a local theater for the last couple of years. The group sees foreign, art, and independent films before they are more widely distributed and then discusses them together, led by a professor of film. Today, for example, we saw Kandahar: Journey into the Heart of Afghanistan, with two guest professors from Iran to help lead the discussion afterwards. The film touched me deeply, both as a Christian and as a feminist. It’s well worth seeing.)
The third of Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat’s articles that I want to recommend here is their list of the 35 “Most spiritually literate films of 2001,” including foreign films and documentaries. The list will give you some ideas about videos or DVDs to rent if you missed them on the big screen.
Another website, Hollywood Jesus looks as flashy as its name, but it’s worth checking out. It was created and is maintained by David Bruce, a graduate of North Park University/Seminary in Chicago (the campus where several of our EEWC biennial conferences have been held). He has also been an Evangelical Covenant Church pastor. The link provided here will take you to the part of the site that introduces you to David Bruce and the other reviewers, and you can then use the menu to explore other parts of the site. (Be forewarned that this site is full of lively graphics that may take a while to download if you have a slow modem.)
Still other sites you might want to check out are the Journal of Religion and Film, where you’ll find scholarly articles on topics related to motion pictures and religion, and the Journal of Religion & Society, where you can read a review of Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue, a book by Robert K. Johnston, professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA (another campus where EEWC has held a biennial conference).
And in view of the spectacular success of the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which received more Oscar nominations than any other film this year (thirteen, including best picture), you might want to check out “Lord of the Megaplex” an article by Steve Rabey in Christianity Today. This online article also has links to related sites, including the film’s official site. In addition, you might want to read an article about Tolkien’s writings, “Tolkien: Archetype and Word” from Cross Currents.
That’s all for this time. See you again in April.
Your Web Explorations tour guide,
Letha Dawson Scanzoni
© 2002 Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus