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THE STORY OF RUTH AND NAOMI
Adapted from the NRSV Biblical Story by
Rev. Kathleen Stone (writer)
DeWanda Wise (editor)
As performed with dancer, actress and voice at the
Commission on the Status of Women, 53rd Session
Ecumenical Women Opening Worship
February 28, 2009
8:30 a.m
Tillman Chapel, Church Center for the United Nations

DOWNLOAD RUTH AND NAOMI SCRIPT AS PDF

_mg_4929Story telling:

They say—those “Theys” who write books and tell us how to think about things—They say this: (sarcastically) “The quiet, idyllic mood of the book of Ruth and the charm of its gentle heroine has given it a special appeal to many generations of readers.”

But we know better. Having been schooled in the life of strong women, we know the true story; amended in wedding chapels, churches and cathedrals, told to children as bible story, is NOT idyllic, quiet, charming or gentle. This story is a tale of desperate grief. A story of survival in an unjust world. This is a story of a woman who, according to the law of the day, is a non-person. She, women, we are possessions. Objects. Burdens. Birthing, Sexing, Accessories. This story is a story of land being Mans’ and food being Mans’ and Blessings belonging to Man. A story where a woman breaks her back to birth, to bake, to sweep, to plant, to harvest, and without a man, she can buy neither land, food, shelter, nor safety. It is a story of a woman bereft. Her deprivation of NO interest to the ways things are.

This is what WE know.
We know this not only from this story,
But, we know it today.

So, let’s listen. Read the rest of this entry »

A former professor of mine, a cultural critic and a lecturer on the history of photography, loves to tell a story about an experience she had walking home one day with her stepson. It was a humid day in August in New York City and she and her stepson saw an older neighbor struggling with a heavy bag of groceries. My professor and her stepson took the groceries and helped the neighbor up the stairs of her building and made sure she recovered from the heat. As they were leaving the little boy turned to his mother and said, “Is this going to be on the news tonight?”  “No,” the professor replied. Her stepson smiled and said, “I suppose if we’d hit her and stole her groceries it would be.”

In the past week we have talked a lot about how we can work together to eliminate gender stereotypes. Employing new media can be an important way to continue this work after we leave CSW and return to our communities. How can we make sure that good, decent work is portrayed in the media? How can we use social networking technologies to change attitudes around caregiving thereby helping to eliminate its stigma?

Read the rest of this entry »

Contribution from Valli Boobal Batchelor, Australia

Recently returned from a simply awesome experience at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, I am writing to reflect on dance choreography of a controversial biblical story titled Bathsheba’s Voice which premiered at the 42nd International Choreographers Showcase -a high profile art event.

Valli Bachelor

Valli Batchelor

As the choreographer, I felt that I was able to challenge many minds (especially my own) under the creative and safe zone of artistic expression. A review from the British Theater Guide published that “Valli Boobal Batchelor’s Bathsheba’s Voice uses Australian and Indian dance forms to tell the biblical story of Bathsheba as a metaphor for violence against women. There are arresting moments, such as Bathsheba’s seduction by David which here is portrayed as rape…”

My choreography was inspired by the UN’s White Ribbon pledge “not to commit, condone or remain silent on violence against women and children” and is a dedication to the reclaimed voices of Australian victims of clergy sexual abuse. It explores a biblical story on the sexual violence and subsequent cover up by King David against Bathsheba, his loyal soldier’s wife. It symbolizes the reclaimed voices of violated survivors of gender based violence by spiritual leaders in churches. The choreography draws from traditional dance forms yet allows freedom from the constrictions of techniques to enable the expression of experiences. It consists of intricate steps in varying speeds and rhythmic measures of various counts. The dancers portrayal of emotions are communicated through the slower tempo and high melodic vocals of Rasa [experience] and Bhava [expression] adapted from the south Indian Bharata Natyam classical dance style. Read the rest of this entry »

by Sarah Strickland

As a first-time delegate to the CSW annual meetings, I can only describe my experience as “jumping into the deep-end of the pool.” I was blessed to be asked to be a delegate for the Women’s Intercultural Network by Jean Shinoda Bolen and Marilyn Fowler and I thank divine guidance for my leap of faith to say “yes!” My trade is strategic planning and co-creating “road-maps” that help people in organizations “see” where they want to go. I often find myself in a “midwife” role by helping bring an emerging idea or strategy into being. Recently, I have found myself drawing what I am seeing, hearing and understanding to be present about conversations I am in. The images flow through me and simply show up. It is my way of synthesizing and connecting many different elements into a picture-story. I was asked to share this with others. Please feel free to use it however you wish.

This picture emerged in the chapel at the Church building after I attended two days of meetings. Read the rest of this entry »

“Theology must have an expression of desire, attraction, eros.  This dimension will be combined with poetry and contemplation and also be prophetic and sapiental–a theology of play and free creation, capable of evoking God’s mystery and human justice.”

Maria Theresa Porcile

Ecumenical Women, offering delegates a space for reflection and theological dialogue on the topics gender equality and justice for women, organized three “Red Tents” throughout this year’s CSW.   EW women applied energy to Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza‘s “In Memory of Her,” spoke about the theological ramifications of women’s art from the global South, and practiced yoga that was centered around women’s prayers.

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