JustChurch:  is an open and affirming worshiping community rooted in ancient practices and focused on acts of justice.
JustChurch is the ministering community of Beloved Community Initiative

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at Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College St., Iowa City.

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Worship January 19th

Twenty-fifth Week after Pentecost

Women are in the house today!
            Both in the House of Representatives and Senate in unprecedented numbers
            And in these 2 texts about widows and economic justice.
The last couple of weeks the widow of Zeraphath 
has been getting Johnny off to school 
and trying everything she can think of 
to turn around her lack-of-money issues. 
She went to her neighbor who interrupted her midsentence saying, 
“You’re so angry, it’ll be hard to get a new husband.” 
She went to a counselor who said 
he could help her work on her attitude. 
She went to the priest, who reminded her 
that the way the economic system works is that she needs to 
marry someone of means or 
wait till her son grows up—in the meantime, stop being so serious. 
She went to the magistrate, but couldn’t get a hearing because the clerks said 
she was aggressive and pushy, with a shrill voice.
Stuck in systems of propriety that don’t work for her real life
She’s got one last supper.
She’s out grabbing the kindling and
Elijah shows up asking her for food.
            Can’t you hear her mirthful laugh?
“I have nothing baked, 
only a handful of meal in a jar, 
and a little oil in a jug;
I am now gathering a couple of sticks, 
so that I may go home and 
prepare it for myself and my son, 
that we may eat it,         and die.”
The Widow of Zeraphath was assaulted by an economic system that valued men as money earners.
            The widow of zeraphath had two options—a wage-earning husband or a grown son
                        -neither were possible—her husband was gone; her son was young
            the clock was ticking—meaning, 
the jar of meal was dwindling, 
the jug of oil draining 
and no one had married her
Options are up—an oppressive system didn’t have room for her—she was making their last supper
An oppressive system, a system of assault, a harassing system that limits options has caught other women in withering webs.
The #MeToo Movement 
exposes the prevalence 
of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
In the first 2 days, 12 million comments were posted to Facebook
In the first 3 months after this hashtag appeared, 25,000 women tweeted confirming they’d been assaulted. 
The #MeToo Movement offers a major critique of culture and the imbedded abuse of women.
In 2006, it was Tarana Burke who founded the “me too” Movement. Here’s her story of how it began:

Text Box: The ‘me too’ Movement™ started in the deepest, darkest place in my soul.
As a youth worker, dealing predominately with Black children and children of color, I had seen and heard my share of heartbreaking stories—from broken homes to abusive or neglectful parents—when I met Heaven.
During an all-girl bonding session at our youth camp, several of the girls in the room shared intimate stories about their lives. …
The next day, Heaven—who had been in the previous night’s session—asked to speak with me privately. … later in the day she caught up with me and almost begged me to listen. I reluctantly conceded, and for the next several minutes this child, Heaven, struggled to tell me about her “stepdaddy”—rather, her mother’s boyfriend—who was doing all sorts of monstrous things to her developing body. I was horrified by her words, and the emotions welling inside of me ran the gamut.
I listened until I literally could not take it anymore-/which turned out to be less than 5 minutes. Then, right in the middle of her sharing her pain with me, I cut her off and immediately directed her to another female counselor who could “help her better.”
I will never forget the look on her face.
I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place. I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.
– Tarana Burke
Founder, The ‘me too.’ Movement

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