Posts Tagged Bible

The Invisible Woman –

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 4:47 am

'The Invisible Women' | Mitch Carnell, Baptists, Catholics, Women in Ministry, The Invisible Women, Sandra Makowski

Too often, we study the men [in the Bible] and ignore the women, Carnell observes.

“The Invisible Women: Naming and Proclaiming the Forgotten Women in Scripture and Church Law” is a book of great consequence.

Through Sister Sandra Makowski’s superb writing, research and scholarship, the poor treatment of women in the Bible, lectionary and local church is brought to new light.

Of course, Makowski writes from a Catholic perspective, but that does not mean there is no food for the rest of Christianity. As a Baptist, I was surprised by the number of things I did not know.

For example, I have never read a book or heard a sermon on Hagar and yet Makowski’s book helped me to see how Hagar becomes more and more important as international conflicts continue to unfold.

Similarly, I knew almost nothing about Huldah, the prophet who lived during the time of Jeremiah. I have been saturated with knowledge about Jeremiah and his teachings and that is Makowski’s point. Too often, we study the men and ignore the women.

In the beginning of the church, women and men shared equal status and roles. However, as the church became more and more structured it took on the cultural characteristics of the society around it. Women gradually were stricken from the leadership and their voices disregarded.

In the Catholic Church, this pattern continued unchallenged until after Vatican II, where no Catholic women were originally invited.

However, a major shift began that indicated that the laity share equally in being gifted with the Holy Spirit, being called to holiness and being engaged in the mission of the church.

Although women play major roles in the Bible, their importance is mainly marginalized by the male-dominated church, Makowski asserts. When women are mentioned, it is most often in relationship to the male figures.

Jesus reverses this practice; however, the church downplays the extraordinary recognition Jesus gave to women.

The role of women has often been described as the sleeping beauty fairytale. Women are simply to wait until Prince Charming arrives, awakens them and gives meaning to their lives through him.

It would be nice to think that that notion has been put to rest; however, we know that this isn’t true.

The Baptist Faith and Message statement of the Southern Baptist Convention in the year 2000 states, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

Another section states, “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”

As a result, in many Southern Baptist churches, women cannot be deacons or teach men.

One of the major new ideas to me from Makowski’s book is that there were women at the Last Supper. The Scriptures do not restrict the possibility. Yet, in my life in the church this possibility has never been remotely suggested.

At the end of each chapter, Makowski includes a short story that places the reader in a situation and then asks the reader to answer several questions. These questions are very important in helping personalize the impact of what has gone before.

The concluding paragraphs of “The Invisible Women” are powerful.

“If we fail at being our best selves, or if we are not invited to the banquet, that doesn’t mean we give up. It simply means that tomorrow is another day. And tomorrow we try again with God’s grace,” Makowski writes. “It is God who has the final answer, and in the end, it is God who does the inviting. God has already extended the invitation to women and men alike. No one is excluded from the banquet.”

She continues, “Let us remember that it is God who has the last word, and in God we trust because God loves us, God sees us, God calls us by our name. We are God’s beloved – male and female alike. And nothing and no one can take that away. What more is there to say!”

Mitch Carnell is a member of First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina. He is the author of “Our Father: Discovering Family.” His writings can also be found at and

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Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography. Harold Ivan Smith.

Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography. Harold Ivan Smith. Westminster John Knox Press. ©2017

My review is also on

This is truly an outstanding look into the spirituality of a remarkable player on the international stage. Eleanor Roosevelt discovered early that her narrow Episcopal faith could not contain her growing acceptance of the many faith traditions that she encountered. She believed that since we were all created by the same God that we should treat each other as brothers and sisters. She believed as did St. Paul, “That we are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The one glaring flaw in her spirituality was perhaps due to her strict Protestant upbringing and the aristocratic family circles in which she moved. She had a strain of anti-Semitic misgivings. She overcame them to a large extent later in life. She always regretted not doing more for the Jews.

Eleanor had a truly miserable childhood. She was forced to become her own person. She had the saying from Saint Francis of Assisi posted above her desk and she carried another copy in her purse, “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.”  Eleanor’s brand of personal Christianity won her unfaltering condemnation from the religious fundamentalists who were certain that she had not been “born again.”   According to Smith, “Eleanor took the Bible too seriously to take it literally.” Although FDR’s unfaithfulness hurt her deeply, they came to an understanding that allowed them to become the world’s most influential couple ever. Louis Howe is the one who saw Eleanor’s potential and helped her hone her skills as a leader. He was also a major player in FDR’s success.

Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography, may get a little wordy at times; however, it is an outstanding work.

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Fifty-Two Keys for Living, Loving and Working


Keep an inquisitive mind. Just because is not an answer. Just because something works doesn’t mean it couldn’t work better. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it should be discarded. Ask open ended questions continuously and listen to the answers. Approach every new experience with an inquisitive mind. Don’t settle for the obvious. Deeper insights come from exploring. I am astonished that the Bible does not say today what it did when I was ten, twenty or sixty even though the words on the page are the same. The same is true for Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s, “How Do I Love Thee?” Question your own beliefs and long held points of view. Learn to ask better and better questions. I believe that asking the right question is often more important than the answer. When I taught an adult Sunday school class, I started each New Year with this statement. “Our goal by the end of this year is to come out with better questions than we have now. If you are here seeking answers, we don’t have any.  We could spout normal Christian jargon, but that isn’t our purpose.”  Always seek to clarify, never to embarrass or ridicule.

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How Churches Can Solve the Problem of Bullying

Mitch Carnell
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 6:20 am

How Churches Can Solve the Problem of Bullying | Mitch Carnell, Kindness, Bullying

People have endured tremendous pressures during the last few years. The workplace has become an even more toxic place, Carnell writes.

Bullying is growing worse at every level. It is present in homes, schools, playgrounds, sports venues and workplaces. It assaults us on television and over radio.

How can the church respond to the growing menace?

The Bible gives ample instructions on how to defeat such poison.

“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

Unfortunately everyone doesn’t read the Bible, and those who do are often the offenders.

There is a solution. What if every church member became a role model for speech that reflects the teachings of Jesus?

When I spoke to a group of pastoral counselors about my book “Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter,” A.C. Holler, a retired chaplain and pastoral counselor, said, “Many people do not know how to pay a compliment. They need to establish a pattern in their brains. You have provided a model.”

Think about his words: “Many people do not know how to pay a compliment.” I would add that many people also do not know how to accept a compliment.

Laying down new pathways is the purpose behind Say Something Nice Day on June 1 and Say Something Nice Sunday on June 3.

We want to make it easy for people to say something nice. Just as important is to encourage people not to say anything negative about another person or any other religious group.

What would be the result if every pastor spoke on June 3 about the power of our words? What if no Christian uttered a negative comment about another person on the same date? What would happen if only uplifting words were uttered on that date? Can you imagine the change in the atmosphere?

As worshippers leave the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C., after the services on June 3, each one will be given a daisy with the instructions to give it to a stranger along with a smile and a warm greeting.

People have endured tremendous pressures during the last few years. The workplace has become an even more toxic place.

What would happen to that workplace if Christians did not add to that toxicity? What if Christian managers and supervisors offered truly constructive feedback to their employees? What if the feedback was not destructive or demeaning but truly helpful? Would it change the workplace?

What would happen if every Christian parent said to her or his child as the child left for school, “I want you to say only nice things at school today.”?

What if the parent went further? “Some children will not say nice things back to you, but don’t let that stop you from being nice.”

The situation is serious. Nothing could be further from the truth than the old folk saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

Words are powerful. They can do permanent damage. They can also be implements for tremendous good. Words have the power to build people up.

What would happen if the prayer in every Christian’s heart on June 3 were the words of the psalmist? “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

These are a lot of what-ifs, but we are in the what-if business. What if I showed you how to have a better life?

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