In my interview about writing Forgotten Followers from Broken to Bold with The Local Churchology Podcast I discuss women in the first century and my biblical fiction about what may have made them doubt, worry, or feel forgotten.
Doubting means you are like the disciples! And not just Doubting Thomas. There were many times when the disciples doubted Jesus. Their doubt sometimes prevented him from doing miracles. They urged him not to go to Jerusalem, because of the threats on his life. They doubted that he had risen, believing instead that someone had stolen his body. Jesus rebuked the men for doubting the women who reported he had risen:
Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. Mark 16:14 NIV
In my novel, Mara has been hurt by religious authorities and she doubts Jesus. If you are overcoming trauma or have doubts about God or the church, you will relate to Mara. Do you feel sidelined, hurt or forgotten?
As we look at what Mara has experienced and learned, and how it resulted in her fear of speaking, moving, taking a risk, or attracting attention. Still today, authoritarian or dominant silencing of women can lead them to be inclined to doubt, to lack confidence, or to be afraid. I hope that my novel, Forgotten Followers, will bring love, healing, and hope.
The Bible warns us against harmful behaviours: mocking, insulting, blaming, ignoring people, using people, telling them they are not worthy of respect, abusing power, lying, coveting, anger, and sexual abuse. The church should not be hiding or covering up these behaviours. Allowing violence to harm women makes women feel silenced, shamed, and guilty. My novel shows how these behaviours lead Mara to have low self-worth, feel helpless and afraid.
My other main character, Joanna, is hiding her mixed-race heritage. The Jewish community ostracized her Greek father, and if her secret is revealed, they could likewise take away her son. Can she find acceptance for being who she is, or will the racism of others continue to imprison her from being herself?
While these women are broken, they follow the rebel teacher who promises to overturn existing power structures. Will following the revolutionary leader mean losing their families or their lives? Will they find that Jesus fulfils his mother's prophecy and lifts up the lowly? Will they hear the angels say "Fear Not"? Will they experience being loved as children of God?
I was thrilled to have a conversation on the Local Churchology Podcast, Episode 1 in their series on women in ministry.
In it, we discuss how fiction can introduce the topic of gender and theology and make difficult concepts accessible. Stories demonstrate truth, just as a parable speaks straight to the heart. Listen to the whole conversation on my Youtube Playlist.
The Local Churchology Podcast examines women in ministry and in church office.
This is Episode 1, duscussing story as an accessible way to introduce ideas. The Local Churchology interviewed me to discuss my novel #ForgottenFollowers from Broken to Bold as a parable, showing how Jesus lifted up women.
On Episode 2, Dr Lynn Cohick discusses how God shows no favouritism and the impact of Ephesians and Colossians on women.
On Episode 3, Dr. Beth Felker Jones provides a framework to navigate gender and theology discussions.
Episode 4 interviews Old Testament scholar Dr. Lee Beach about his journey from complementarian to egalitarian.
Episode 5 of the Local Churchology, shows Dr. Cynthia Long Westfall discussing the meaning of 1 Corinthians 11 and 14 and 1 Peter 3.
Episode 6 interviews Dr. David Fitch and discusses being led by the Holy Spirit.
Episode 7 interviews Tom Barker about 1 Timothy.
Check out my blog summary of each episode. Original interviews are available on YouTube.