From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George




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The Bible Cause at 200

By Timothy George
June 14, 2016

Two hundred years ago this Spring, on May 11, 1816, representatives from local Bible societies around the country gathered in New York City to establish the American Bible Society (ABS). Elias Boudinot was chosen as the first president. He had previously served as president of the Continental Congress and director of the U.S. Mint. In 1821 he was succeeded by Supreme Court Justice John Jay. Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner,” was also among the founders.

These deeply patriotic citizens, with strong leanings toward the Federalist vision of America, held high hopes that the Bible would have a shaping influence on the development of the country they loved, and they were determined to put it in the hands of every person in the United States. The 1816 founding address of ABS reflected the confidence of a new nation that had defeated its mother country twice in a single generation, most recently in the War of 1812. The statement also reflected the evangelical activism of the Second Great Awakening, presenting an almost postmillennial vision of the future:

We shall set forward a system of happiness which will go on with accelerated motion and augmented vigour, after we shall have finished our career; and confer upon our children, and our children’s children, the delight of seeing the wilderness turned into a fruitful field, by the blessing of God upon that seed which their father sowed, and themselves watered. In fine, we shall do our part toward that expansion and intensity of light divine, which shall visit, in its progress, the palaces of the great, and the hamlets of the small, until the whole “earth be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea!”

Those last words are a quotation from Isaiah 11:9 (cf. Hab. 2:14), and they can be read today on the wall of the American Bible Society, which last year moved from New York to Philadelphia. Located in an impressive suite of offices overlooking Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, ABS continues to pursue its mission “to make the Bible available to every person in the language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message.” ABS once supplied special leather-bound Bibles to every rider and station agent on the Pony Express; it is ironic that ABS is now located in the Wells Fargo Bank.

The early leaders of ABS referred to their movement as “the Bible cause,” a phrase historian John Fea has chosen as the title for his new bicentennial history, The Bible Cause: A History of the American Bible Society (Oxford University Press, 2016). In 1816, and for many years afterward, the Bible in question was the King James Version. Contrary to popular opinion, the KJV was not the Bible brought over by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower—those Puritan Separatists preferred the more Calvinistic Geneva Bible—but by the time ABS was founded, the KJV prevailed as the Bible of choice throughout the English-speaking world. Read the rest at First Things.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Tuesday, June 14, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: What Went Wrong in the Fight for Women's Rights?

By Judy Landrieu Klein
June 9, 2016

As I watched the excellent movie Suffragette, which documents the history of women’s struggle for the right to vote in England, this past weekend, two things really struck me: 1) The women’s rights movement was rightly spawned by the need for women to escape the unjust, dehumanizing and often brutal treatment suffered at the hands of men. 2) It took less than 100 years after gaining the right to vote for women to begin to use the same force, violence and dehumanizing domination they had sought to escape—most tragically, by exerting themselves against their unborn children.

While the movie did not place the struggle for women’s rights into a Christian context, I couldn’t help but think about Saint John Paul II’s words in Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), which I recently reread to prepare for a talk at a women’s conference. The great pope wrote forcefully and with striking clarity about the effects of Original Sin, particularly upon women. His words are more relevant today than when he wrote the Apostolic Exhortation nearly 30 years ago:

“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16) … Domination takes the place of “being a sincere gift” and therefore living “for” the other… This “domination” indicates the disturbance of and loss of stability of that fundamental equality which the man and woman possess in the “unity of the two”: and this is especially to the disadvantage of the woman. (Mulieris Dignitatem, par. 10)

In other words, the fundamental equality God intended between men and women was ruptured through sin; sin that has played itself out historically in disunity between the sexes, most often at the expense of women. As Suffragette accurately depicts, women have fought hard to gain a voice in a world ruled by lopsided patriarchal attitudes and customs, sometimes at the expense of their own lives. Their goal was threefold—the right to vote, the right to education and the right to employment, rights for which women in various areas of the world are still fighting today.

- See more at: http://aleteia.org/2016/06/09/what-went-wrong-in-the-fight-for-womens-rights/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en-Jun%2009,%202016%2006:00%20am#sthash.iil6aT9d.dpuf

As I watched the excellent movie Suffragette, which documents the history of women’s struggle for the right to vote in England, this past weekend, two things really struck me: 1) The women’s rights movement was rightly spawned by the need for women to escape the unjust, dehumanizing and often brutal treatment suffered at the hands of men. 2) It took less than 100 years after gaining the right to vote for women to begin to use the same force, violence and dehumanizing domination they had sought to escape—most tragically, by exerting themselves against their unborn children.

While the movie did not place the struggle for women’s rights into a Christian context, I couldn’t help but think about Saint John Paul II’s words in Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), which I recently reread to prepare for a talk at a women’s conference. The great pope wrote forcefully and with striking clarity about the effects of Original Sin, particularly upon women. His words are more relevant today than when he wrote the Apostolic Exhortation nearly 30 years ago:

“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16) … Domination takes the place of “being a sincere gift” and therefore living “for” the other… This “domination” indicates the disturbance of and loss of stability of that fundamental equality which the man and woman possess in the “unity of the two”: and this is especially to the disadvantage of the woman. (Mulieris Dignitatem, par. 10)

In other words, the fundamental equality God intended between men and women was ruptured through sin; sin that has played itself out historically in disunity between the sexes, most often at the expense of women. As Suffragette accurately depicts, women have fought hard to gain a voice in a world ruled by lopsided patriarchal attitudes and customs, sometimes at the expense of their own lives. Their goal was threefold—the right to vote, the right to education and the right to employment, rights for which women in various areas of the world are still fighting today.

- See more at: http://aleteia.org/2016/06/09/what-went-wrong-in-the-fight-for-womens-rights/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en-Jun%2009,%202016%2006:00%20am#sthash.iil6aT9d.dpuf

As I watched the excellent movie Suffragette, which documents the history of women’s struggle for the right to vote in England, this past weekend, two things really struck me: 1) The women’s rights movement was rightly spawned by the need for women to escape the unjust, dehumanizing and often brutal treatment suffered at the hands of men. 2) It took less than 100 years after gaining the right to vote for women to begin to use the same force, violence and dehumanizing domination they had sought to escape—most tragically, by exerting themselves against their unborn children.

While the movie did not place the struggle for women’s rights into a Christian context, I couldn’t help but think about Saint John Paul II’s words in Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), which I recently reread to prepare for a talk at a women’s conference. The great pope wrote forcefully and with striking clarity about the effects of Original Sin, particularly upon women. His words are more relevant today than when he wrote the Apostolic Exhortation nearly 30 years ago:

“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16) … Domination takes the place of “being a sincere gift” and therefore living “for” the other… This “domination” indicates the disturbance of and loss of stability of that fundamental equality which the man and woman possess in the “unity of the two”: and this is especially to the disadvantage of the woman. (Mulieris Dignitatem, par. 10)

In other words, the fundamental equality God intended between men and women was ruptured through sin; sin that has played itself out historically in disunity between the sexes, most often at the expense of women. As Suffragette accurately depicts, women have fought hard to gain a voice in a world ruled by lopsided patriarchal attitudes and customs, sometimes at the expense of their own lives. Their goal was threefold—the right to vote, the right to education and the right to employment, rights for which women in various areas of the world are still fighting today.

- See more at: http://aleteia.org/2016/06/09/what-went-wrong-in-the-fight-for-womens-rights/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en-Jun%2009,%202016%2006:00%20am#sthash.iil6aT9d.dpuf

As I watched the excellent movie Suffragette, which documents the history of women’s struggle for the right to vote in England, this past weekend, two things really struck me: 1) The women’s rights movement was rightly spawned by the need for women to escape the unjust, dehumanizing and often brutal treatment suffered at the hands of men. 2) It took less than 100 years after gaining the right to vote for women to begin to use the same force, violence and dehumanizing domination they had sought to escape—most tragically, by exerting themselves against their unborn children.

While the movie did not place the struggle for women’s rights into a Christian context, I couldn’t help but think about Saint John Paul II’s words in Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), which I recently reread to prepare for a talk at a women’s conference. The great pope wrote forcefully and with striking clarity about the effects of Original Sin, particularly upon women. His words are more relevant today than when he wrote the Apostolic Exhortation nearly 30 years ago:

“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16) … Domination takes the place of “being a sincere gift” and therefore living “for” the other… This “domination” indicates the disturbance of and loss of stability of that fundamental equality which the man and woman possess in the “unity of the two”: and this is especially to the disadvantage of the woman. (Mulieris Dignitatem, par. 10)

In other words, the fundamental equality God intended between men and women was ruptured through sin; sin that has played itself out historically in disunity between the sexes, most often at the expense of women. As Suffragette accurately depicts, women have fought hard to gain a voice in a world ruled by lopsided patriarchal attitudes and customs, sometimes at the expense of their own lives. Their goal was threefold—the right to vote, the right to education and the right to employment, rights for which women in various areas of the world are still fighting today. Read the rest at Aleteia.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Friday, June 10, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: The High and Holy Calling of Being a Wife

By Frederica Mathewes-Green
June 8, 2016

[June 8, 2016: “Glory and Honor: Orthodox Christian Resources on Marriage,” edited by David and Mary Ford, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press]

Like elementary school students, writers are regularly asked to supply an essay to fit an assigned title. When I learned that the title of this essay would be “The High and Holy Calling of Being a Wife,” I did what any sensible person would do: I tried to get out of it.

My husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary last spring, so I have extensive experience in being a wife. But whatever I’ve been doing around here for the last 40 years, “high” and “holy” aren’t terms that immediately spring to mind. For most of us, married life is something we make up as we go along. We learn some deep truths along the way, but usually immediately after it would have been really useful to have known said truth. Whatever height or holiness might have resulted would be entirely the Lord’s doing, not our own.

But that’s true of everything we undertake, isn’t it? We don’t know what we’re doing a lot of the time. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. We don’t know whether what we just did (or said) was the right thing to do (or say). And yet grace still emerges, sometimes at the most unexpected places.

***

My sweetie and I got married May 18, 1974, under a big oak tree. The wedding party, which included a black lab wearing a red bandana around its neck, processed through the clearing, with our hippie friends standing on one side and astonished family members on the other. When we reached the tree, we turned to the gathering and recited the “God is Alive, Magic is Afoot” passage from Leonard Cohen’s novel, Beautiful Losers. (Everyone calls him “Fr. Gregory,” but I still call him by the name he had when we met. In these pages I’ll call him “G.”)

We had asked our friend, an Episcopal priest, to conduct the service, and were disappointed when he told us that we could not write our own vows. So instead we selected the coolest option from that church’s book of experimental services. We were hardly Christians at that point, and could have been better described as all-religions-are-equal syncretists. We considered Christianity less profound than some religions further East, but endearing in its own little way. About halfway through the service I read a Hindu prayer.

My dress was a simple shift of unbleached muslin. Instead of a bouquet, I wore a circle of flowers in my hair. (I meant this to be rebellious, but the joke was on me: crowns are essential to the Orthodox wedding service, and an ancient emblem of marriage.) After the service, the puzzled caterer set out the requested vegetarian reception. And then, as a string quartet played, we joined hands with our hippie friends and danced in circles under the trees.

This seems the place to say “I guess you had to be there,” but you actually didn’t have to be there. You’re picturing it just fine. When archeologists unearth our wedding photos hundreds of years from now, they’ll be able to place the date within five years. Read the rest at Frederica.com.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Thursday, June 9, 2016
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