The Hyphen

Marriage. Feminism. Theology. Culture.

Featured Image -- 461

Leave a comment

God’s Feminine Side Is Plain to See

The Hyphen:

Just a perspective. I usually have reservations about “cherry picking” of verses, but I think the references are decent places to start when we talk about the nature of God.

Originally posted on TIME:

Any halfway decent theologian will tell you that God is decidedly not an old man on a throne in the sky. That this image of God persists somehow in the popular imagination, most likely has to do with some language we find in the Bible and the layers and layers of patriarchy involved in the whole shebang. It takes some effort and imagination to dislodge this monolithic HE, but if you are willing to dig around a little or look at things from a different angle in the text, you can find many glimpses of a God not defined by patriarchy–a god that is larger (or perhaps smaller), or just altogether different from the Almighty Father.

The writers of the Bible are well aware of the insufficiency of the words available to them to speak of the divine him/her/it, because they reach so wildly. God is a lily, a rose…

View original 763 more words

Leave a comment

Love Wins

I had another post planned for today. Something deeply theological. About free will and equality in the eyes of God.
I’ll get to that post, but today I just want to say, “Love wins.”
There’s a book out there by that title. I haven’t read it, but I know the idea is true.

It’s easy in a world devastated loss, whether at home or abroad, to forget. In fact, it’s near impossible. In my feeble tries at empathy, I can never so much as feel the flames of pain for the families of the missing plane. Or the hellish reality of mothers losing their children in Syria.

It would be vain, self-serving, and just plain wrong to say, “Love wins!” that to a grieving mother, in an effort to make her feel better. But all the while, love is winning. In the warmth of that mothers arms as she carries him, the tears that fall from her cheeks, her prayers for his safe passage. Until the day we cease to care, cease to empathize, cease to feel, love wins.

As long as there are hearts who stand against hatred, who care for the hated, who carry on in endless grief for the loss of one who has been created, love wins.

So, I challenged myself to care. To boldly follow my baptismal vows: to seek and serve Christ, loving my neighbor as myself, to strive for justice and peace, and respect the dignity of all human beings.

This is radical, and scary. All: even the ones who belittle and disagree with me, who say really offensive things, who I find vapid, ignorant, and unintelligent, who are entitled, who are overbearing and clingy, and who upset me.
Those are the most difficult for me to love. And, you know, even though they may not know me as well as they think they do, some of them love me already. Since I was born.
I have to love them too. And sometimes I suck at it. A lot. I challenge myself to let love win.

Leave a comment

What is Marriage: developing world edition

A friend posted in her own blog a few times about her experiences as a new wife. She called the series of posts, “What Is Marriage?.” She described moments in her relationship that shaped who she and her husband were as a couple.  Their marriage is a happy one. It’s modern, Western, feminist? (if one can be), and unique when one looks at marriage with a wider lens.

I enjoy these posts, and I have similar feelings about my marriage. Yet it is hard for me to see the global state of marriage as an altogether happy one. For so many women and girls (yes, I’m going there with this) marriage is brutal. At best it is an escape from familial scorn of spinsterhood. At worse, it’s a death sentence.

A truthful magazine cover

This week, a news story ran on CNN about an Afghan man who killed his wife because she “failed” to have a son. This, as many people know, is nothing new. In the ancient Western world this happened even among the monarchs. (I’m looking at you Henry.) In the modern, developing world this still  happens. We rarely hear about it on the nightly news.

Violence against women, especially by their spouses, will never make the nightly news unless it involves a privileged American woman. It just doesn’t. We hear about Chris Brown and Rihanna, but it’s a miracle we heard about Storay Mohammed.

Despite the lack of attention to the subject in the media, the part the burns my bottom the most is that in many places, other women are sanctioning and participating in brutal acts against their own gender. The mother-in-law in this story defends and protects her son. She claims that Storay killed herself. These women aid the abusive patriarchy in attempting to diminish the lives of women and girls.

In communities that practice female genital mutilation (FGM) it is well-documented that the matriarchs are active, encouraging participants of the practice. For an in-depth look at the practice and the role of women aiding in the further oppression of women, spend some time with Eve Ensler’s “Until the Violence Stops” and PBS series “Half the Sky.”

I don’t intend to neglect spousal abuse here in the United States. I know it happens, but that’s not the focus on this post. There are good marriages in the developing world. There will always be beautiful, happy, loving couples. But, for many women, it’s a nightmare. They don’t have a chance to sit at the computer and muse about those bits of warm sunshine and homemade cocktails. It’s good to savor those moments, couples like us, and like my friend. We should be grateful for the privilege of equality and respect. 

Photo from:

Leave a comment

Lent Madness

It’s here! Lent. And I have many thoughts. Instead of giving up a thing, I’m giving up sloth. I’m going to try to establish a routine daily that includes writing every day. Either here,  or in my book, or thank you notes, etc.


Ashes, ashes! I’ve already fallen down. Not choosing something to give up until today makes me feel like I’m already falling down on the job. But today’s sermon at our Ash Wednesday service reminded me, that I’m ok whether I beat myself up or not. God loves me and forgives me anything. I need to not worry about trying so hard.

So here I am. Writing. I’m doing it. I’m going to spend most of this time updating my page. It’s going to be better than ever.

Leave a comment

Stop Screaming!

I said months ago that I was back, and that I would start writing again on a regular basis. I think it’s obvious at this point I haven’t done that. In the meantime there has been a lot I’ve wanted to say.

Without many details, what I want to say is this:

When it comes to right or wrong, I want to err on the side of love.

Of course you say, “But, Marybeth, what about all those evil abortionists, and heathen homos, and all those devil-worshipping Atheists, murderous Muslims, slutty women, and those greedy bums on the street that don’t work? How could you believe that those people are good? How could you love them? Why would you not stand against the evil in this world? It’s in the Bible! Thou shalt not murder! Thou shalt not commit adultery! Thou shalt have no other gods before me! If a man lies with a man it is an abomination! Aren’t you a Christian?!?!? You are against conservative values. You should have been raised better than that.”

That is what I hear every time I peruse Facebook or turn on network news. People screaming at the world to condemn homosexuals to a life of second class citizens because the Bible says so, to turn a blind eye to the homeless and destitute because they’re lazy (and we all know sloth is a deadly sin!). All I see is people who I love dearly calling me a baby murderer. Hearing or reading those words directed towards women just like me feels like being punched in the gut so hard you can’t breathe. The ignorance of it is intolerable. I’m tired of hearing people screaming that women who are raped must in some way have deserved it or asked for it, that women give consent simply by being female (more on that later). I’m tired of hearing love ones think that the undoing of the world is going to be the offering of medical care to those who can’t afford it because they think they’re lazy bums. Stop screaming that as a Christian the secular world is out to get you. Just because you can’t pray in school out loud or place the 10 commandments outside your city hall doesn’t mean that you are under attack. You’re not. You have it better than most religions in the world. Trust me. If you’d, for one minute, try to put yourself into the shoes of another person who isn’t a white American Christian, you would understand. You are blessed beyond measure and you have nothing to complain about.

I love my friends and family, but you’ve got to stop screaming.

Leave a comment

Why men still need wives: and a heavy dose of sarcasm.

Over the past several decades, America has witnessed a profound change in the way men view women and marriage. It began with the baby boomer adage “never trust a feminist.”

This message resulted in a generation of men who turned their attention away from the home and to the workforce. They did what their father told them to do: they became financially independent so they’d never have to marry a feminist woman.

In time, “never marry a feminist woman” turned into the full-blown belief that women are superfluous. In 2010 George Clooney claimed men needn’t “fiddle with a woman” to be successful.

This may strike you as an isolated case of stupidity, but Clooney’s willingness to put it out there speaks volumes about modern cultural attitudes. No actor would have said such a thing in the 70s, 80s, or even early 90s.

Fortunately, most men come to the realization that they do, in fact, need a woman—at least if they want to make partner at their firm.

A family is a great thing, but you can’t take your child to the bank. And there’s nothing empowering about being beholden to your child when what you really want is to have an employer. That’s dependency of a different sort.

This is the conclusion to which most men have come. Research shows that what men want more than anything else is not to have balanced lives. They work full-time and year-round so they can avoid doing housework and changing diapers.

How will they do it? That’s the number-one conversation among men today.

‘Round and ’round we go, asking how men can gain more control over their lives. How can they avoid spending more time with their children? How can they make time for exercise or even a social life? How can they keep their houses in order and still have time to cook? The answer is obvious.

Lean on your wife.

According to Pew Research, “Dads are much more likely than moms to say they want to work full-time. And when it comes to what they value most in a job, working fathers place more importance on having a high-paying job, while working mothers are more concerned with having a flexible schedule.”

And there’s only one way to get it: rely on a woman to live her life barefoot and pregnant. Unlike men, a woman identity is inextricably linked to how clean her kitchen is. That’s how most women feel a sense of purpose. Indeed, research shows women see it as their duty to rely on their husband’s money so they can perfect the perfect cupcake recipe and sew the trendiest adorable clothes for their toddlers!

Perhaps that’s because women can’t produce work the way men can—let’s face it: those are some serious shoes to fill—but they can produce as many children as God wants them to because they would never touch birth control. As a nation, we dismiss this part of femininity. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

So why not let women do cook the bulk of the bacon so men can have the overworked lives they seek? There’s no way to be a husband, a father and a full-time employee and still create balance. But you can stare at cubicle walls and submit TPS reports til midnight by depending on a wife who works full-time and year-round to run your house and take care of your kids for you.

I know what you’re going to say. Where are these wives on whom men can depend? And you’re right: there are fewer women these days who seem eager to be primary homemakers.

But ask yourself why, and I bet you know the answer.

*if you made it this far I hope you realize the sarcasm.

See original article:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 864 other followers