Mis(sing)Understanding: Kobe, Pompeo, and a Paper Towel by Marcia Mount Shoop

My latest post on the Feminism and Religion Website: Who knows when each of us first learns that sensation—the sensation of being misunderstood.  My hunch is that it comes early on in our lives, maybe even before our brains are making narrative memory, maybe even before we have begun to understand much of anything about ourselves or the world. But it doesn’t take much for the seed to be planted in us that the world won’t always understand us. My mom has long told me a story about me as a frustrated toddler trying to be understood. I was sitting in … Read the full post

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Fallen Friend: A Poem

The mournful, eery groan of a majestic felling friend Finding the ground she had shaded and stood sentry Called me to come and be a witness. The loamy smell of secret dirt, roots Torn from their 100s of years underneath The lost height now stretching endlessly toward grey liminality. A wash of grieving tears for this mother of so many, still budding Still reaching for growth Her battle scars, her rings of ancient days beautiful and wrenching. Brother hawk sat vigil, too Both of us knowing enough To come and be. To come and be.

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History and Healing in America: Can Governor Northam Help or Hurt?

A few years after my mother was born in 1937 in Fayette, Mississippi, my grandfather, a carpenter, farmer, and contractor planted a live oak sapling in their front yard. He planted it in the center of the yard in front of the house he built for his family to grow along with my mother. Every summer while I was young we’d sit under that grand live oak in lawn chairs, you know the kind that left an imprint on the back of your legs and that you could replace the vinyl strips if they started to wear out. We’d eat … Read the full post

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Nothing But The Truth: A Word to White America After the “Recent Unpleasantness” in Washington, D.C.

When I was a Junior in High School in Danville, KY, my U.S. History teacher burst into the room shouting and loudly dropped an object on the floor.  A few people in the room (who had been prompted by him) shouted back and began running out of the room.  The whole class erupted in chaos for the following several seconds and then the teacher said, “What just happened? Write down what just happened.” We quickly figured out that we all remembered things differently. There was a lot of disagreement on what happened in those chaotic seconds in our classroom.  “That’s … Read the full post

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Not Yet the Death Rattle (Latest Feminism and Religion Post)

I have had the honor of sitting vigil with dying people. And I have prayed through the coming of the death rattle. It can be painful to witness, especially for those witnessing death for the first time. Sometimes the person can hang on, seemingly fighting the inevitable final step of their transition into death. In those times, I have encouraged families to share affirming words with their loved one, to tell them that it’s ok for them to go, that they are going to miss them, but that they will be ok. I have listened as wives tell husbands thank … Read the full post

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Sleepless in America: Awake in a Rape Culture

Then some of his promises came true—knife, speeding car, footsteps on my roof. Me belly crawling through my dark teenage room into my sister’s—“help.” Lights on. He took to the shadows—he still might be there. I can’t remember his face, only his weight bearing down. A body remembers. ~MMS, Let the Bones Dance (WJKP, 2010) I can’t sleep. In my 49 years I have had countless nights like this one. Awake in the thick quiet of the world around me sleeping. I wrote a lot of my first book in this liminal time—when I needed sleep, but couldn’t sleep. I … Read the full post

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To Dread and To Savor: Mothering in Real Time–Feminism and Religion Post

It happened in the blink of an eye. So much of how we got here is blurry. I try to parse out the moments that came together to add up to this many years. I pause to absorb fragments, moments of the past. Hunkering down to watch a spider waiting patiently on her web.  I can see his tiny hands balancing on his knees peaking out from his blue overall shorts.  Driving to baseball practice forty minutes from our house and realizing he doesn’t have his shoes twenty-five minutes into the drive. I hate the sound of my voice yelling at … Read the full post

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Weaponizing Nice

In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy. ~John C. Sawhill Former President and CEO The Nature Conservancy. If you haven’t seen the movie Beatriz at Dinner it is worth your time. It will put you in an imaginary intersectional space.  In a space where the yawning gap that is swallowing up our world is morphed into intimate space where people connect. There in that imaginary space some who benefit the most from the concentrated wealth of the global economy and one whose back that wealth has … Read the full post

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Just How Rotten Are Things in Denmark?: Feminism and Religion Blog Post

The Shakespearean quote, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” comes from a palace guard. After watching Prince Hamlet walk away with the ghost of Hamlet’s murdered father, the former King, the guard has a sinking feeling about how screwed up things are in his country. And if you remember the play at all, things were pretty rotten. By the end of the story just about everybody dies. Revenge, misunderstandings, accidents, and lust for power are just a few of the causes of death. The guard was right. Something was rotting away at his country—something that was vacating people’s … Read the full post

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Why Not Me? Feminism and Religion Blog Post

My “me too” went out for all to see way before Facebook existed, way before there were hash tags and internet pages for unveiling our secrets to the world. In all the years that have passed since I first spoke publicly and published about my experiences with sexual violence, there has been a steady stream of people (mostly, but not all, women) who have come to me with their #metoo. Survivors tend to hold lots of secrets—they become heavier with time and the more the secrets stay secret, the more power they have to distort and rupture and isolate. I … Read the full post

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