Monday, January 31, 2011

Midday Connection Interview

If you missed Midday Connection on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, with Anita Lustrea and my first interview on Half the Church you can listen here

Anita is a master interviewer, and I love working with her. FYI: she will be at Synergy2011. It's a great chance to meet her!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Super Bowl Losers

The biggest losers at this year's Super Bowl will be neither the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Green Bay Packers. The biggest losers will be girls . . . and us if we remain silent.

The downside of the Super Bowl for everyone is the increase in sex trafficking that clusters around this event.

We can get upset and talk about how awful this is. Or we can act. Everyone can do something to combat what is happening. This will get you started:

If you live in the Dallas area, there are specific ways you can help. The rest of us need to spread the word and donate.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heading for The Big Apple!

It's supposed to snow again tomorrow, but I'm hoping that won't stop me from making it to New York City. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, I hope you'll drop by.  I'm speaking:

Thursday, January 27
7:00 pm

Calvary Episcopal Church 
 61 Gramercy Park North
New York City
Hosted by Sharon Denney
Contact: 646.327.1886

Monday, January 24, 2011

True Grit

Oscar buzz surrounds Jeff Bridges' portrayal of U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn, a crusty character with a reputation for true grit. The marshal lives up to that description. Grit is written all over the scene where an outnumbered Cogburn charges fearlessly on horseback into a hail of outlaw bullets with the reins gripped in his teeth and both hands firing pistols.

But true grit is also written all over 14-year-old Mattie Ross (played by Hailee Steinfeld) who is determined to avenge her father's murder and will stop at nothing to right the wrong against her family. She hires Cogburn, stubbornly insists on accompanying him on this mission, then matches his grit with plenty of her own. It's a great ezer story! And anyone watching the movie will be cheering her on.

True grit is one thing in a movie, and we like what we see of it in Mattie. But is grit a quality we want to see in ourselves? I've never heard grit mentioned in any list of suitable attributes we'd encourage Christian girls to cultivate. And grit is almost certainly missing from eHarmony's search criteria for eligible single women.

Surprisingly, in the past couple of weeks, women with grit have commanded the news. Their stories support the notion that true grit could well be one of the most important virtues an ezer can acquire—doubly important for us given what God is asking his daughters to do.  

Right now, the nation is watching and praying that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has enough true grit to fight her way back from the bullet wound to her head she suffered on January 8. Our spirits lift every time someone—her husband, the doctors, a friend—says of her, "Gabrielle is a fighter." We all hope that's true because she's fighting this battle for all of us.

Christina Taylor Green, who died tragically during the shooting, is being lauded for showing remarkable grit in her brief nine years. Embracing her family's baseball legacy, she earned a spot on the Pirates Little League baseball team where she was the only girl and a solid contributor. She recently won a spot on her school's student council. Aware of inequalities in the world, she already aspired to serve some day in government leadership. With grit like that, who knows what she might have accomplished or how many people she might have helped.

When there are battles to fight, when suffering, violence, and injustice are rampant, when opportunities present to do more for others, when Jesus' rescue efforts is underway and he summons us to help . . . nothing less than grit will do.  

At Synergy2011, we're going to take an honest look at the twenty-first century landscape for women—a globalized landscape that contains unprecedented opportunities, powerful technological resources, and unspeakable suffering. We will be viewing that landscape through image bearer eyes—as those God has called us to be his eyes and ears, his hands and feet in this world. We are his preferred method of taking care of things in his world, light bearers and grace-bringers on a darkened planet, and there is work to be done for his kingdom.  A job like this—no matter where we tackle it—will take a lot of grit from all of us.

So come to Synergy2011 if you dare, and be prepared for a major outbreak of true grit!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Reformation of Marriage

It wasn't love at first sight. Not by a mile. In fact, even after finding himself somewhat cornered and agreeing to marry her, Martin Luther said of Katharina von Bora,“I feel neither passionate love nor burning for her.” 

Not exactly what you'd call an eHarmony success story . . . at least not at first.

Happily, the story doesn't end there. Marriage to the strong renegade nun turned Protestant would bring about a second reformation in the infamous reformer's stony heart, not to mention some significant changes in his hard-held views of women. It's one of my favorite stories of the Reformation and the saga of a remarkable Blessed Alliance that was unlikely from the start.

To hear the whole story of Martin and Katie Luther, told my my favorite Reformation Historian, come hear Dr. Frank A. James on The Reformation of Marriage, Christ Church of Hamilton and Wenham, Sunday, January 23, at 10:15am

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Don't Miss The Rest of The Story!

Missing this year's Synergy conference is like watching a cliff-hanger movie and walking out before you learn how things turn out. Instead of seeing how things come together into a completed story, you're left with pieces of a puzzle.

For the past three years, we’ve been asking deep questions about our place in God's Story for the world and collecting pieces of the puzzle.

Together, we've learned that:
  • all of God's daughters have leading roles as ezers in his Story
  • when God's male and female image bearers unite as allies for God's purposes, kingdom power is unleashed in the world 
  • God reverses the destructive effects of conflict in our stories to shape us into kingdom leaders and ready us for the challenges ahead.
Synergy2011 will connect these pieces—ezers, Blessed Alliance, and conflict—into a jaw-dropping global vision that will ignite our hearts and mobilize us to engage our mission as God's image bearers and followers of Jesus in every arena of life.

GUEST SPEAKER! This year, we have the rare opportunity to hear Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and bestselling author, Sheryl WuDunn.  Sheryl is a leading expert on the global crisis impacting millions of women and girls today. Half the Sky describes this crisis as "the paramount moral challenge" of the twenty-first century. Sex trafficking, female genocide, poverty, child marriages, honor killings are some of the topics she has researched.

So when the curtain rises at Synergy2011 on the final act of this 4-part series, make sure you and your friends are buckled up with the rest of us and ready for The Rest of The Story!

NOTE:  If you’ve missed any or all of those first three conferences, we’ll bring you up to speed with our pre-conference session Friday—a don’t miss session for newcomers and a recharge session for past attendees coming back for more.

March 4-6, 2011

In SUNNY(!) Orlando, Florida

For more information and to register, go to:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Heads Up Florida!

If you're anywhere near Jacksonville, Florida, Frank is preaching Sunday, January 16 at:

  • Time: 9:30am – 10:45am
  • Location: 9794 Old St Augustine Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257
For those who have never heard Frank speak (or haven't connected him to the family spokesman on network television during the Mt. Hood Crisis in December 2006, when three climbers lost their lives, including his youngest brother Kelly James), here's a little background.

Frank A. James is Provost and Professor of Historical Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. He has two doctorates (which is a story in itself), a D.Phil. in History from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary/Pennsylvania. He has taught at Villanova University and Westmont College and was Visiting Professor at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Oxford, England.

I won't go into his publishing activities, only to say he is currently wrapping up the manuscript of a Church history volume, co-authored with John Woodbridge, Trinity Divinity School, (Zondervan), that in my opinion is earthshaking.

Lest you imagine him a stuff-shirt academic (and those who know him can feel free to chime in), he is an insanely loyal Dallas Cowboys fan and a Country Western Music buff (a quality that can be trying on the best of marriages, although I admit he has expanded my taste in music).  And the women in his lifehis students, colleagues, friends, mother, wife, and daughternever had a better champion and advocate than Frank! 

If you want to sample the flavor of his work and his heart, read: In the Shadow of Mount Hood

So if you're anywhere near Jacksonville tomorrow and want a spiritual feast, head over to Christ Church at 9:30am tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

What we can do?

Talk about human trafficking in our communities and churches and ask others to educate themselves
• Invite a speaker from a local organization to talk to our group
• Read a book, hold a documentary screening, write a blog or an editorial
• Use Google alerts to send news about trafficking and slavery to your email

Tell our legislators to take action
• Write our legislators

Get involved with a local organization
• Support, volunteer for, or spread the word about a local organization
• Donate or fund raise to ensure the work continues

Other ideas?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Missing Wives in Washington

More and more Capitol Hill lawmakers are commuting to Washington instead of moving their wives and families to DC. Besides the obvious strain on family and relationships, not to mention cases of infidelity, what fascinates me is that, believe it or not, leaving spouses and family behind is impacting bipartisan efforts in Washington, and not for good. 

NPR's The Takeaway ran an interesting report on this trend, which actually isn't new, but has historic roots.

Lisa Miller's Newsweek article that prompted this interview is:  The Commuter Congress

Yet another piece of evidence that men and women need each other. It seems a Blessed Alliance in the marriages of our leaders might make things work better in our government.

Your thoughts?

Endorsements Coming In ...

Here are three of the endorsements that are coming in for my new book—Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women (due out in March).

There are more to come!

“Carolyn Custis James has written an unusual and compelling book, mixing her personal story with the dramatic changes in today's world and her thoughtful interpretations of the scriptures and how women can respond with greater fervor to the Bible's call for change and betterment of the world.”

Sheryl WuDunn, Co-Author of Half the Sky 

Once again Carolyn Custis James calls us to radical thinking and living.  Half the Church opens our eyes to the global problems facing women, drives us to God as the only solution and refreshes our passion that we can 'do something.'   And the writer in me loves Carolyn’s exquisite phrases and vibrant images.  This book is a must-read and I will be giving it to many people.
Judy Douglass, Director of Women's Resources, 
Campus Crusade, President's Office

“Carolyn Custis James expertly weaves contemporary reality with biblical story. Reaching into the Old Testament as well as the New, Carolyn, shows that God has always been and continues to be at work through women and girls. They are, like men and boys, His image bearers. This book should open the eyes of everyone who takes Jesus seriously to the horrendous injustices against women around the world and provoke within us a serious drive to do something about it. The day is near (and I believe this book will help usher it in) when the Church will be a significant cultural catalyst for bringing equality and dignity to women and girls around the world by providing education, empowering women with microloans, and liberating them from oppressive regimes, sex trafficking circles, and secular philosophies that are ultimately degrading to them. It is time for the other half of the church, men, to be strong and courageous and do all we can with all we have to bring divine freedom to women and girls so they can be all that God created them to be.”

Mark L. Russell, Founder and CEO of Russell Media, Author and Speaker

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where You Go

This is a first for me!  Singer/songwriter, Caroline Cobb, says she was inspired by The Gospel of Ruth to translate Ruth's story into song. How cool is that?!  You can listen to her demo here:   Where You Go

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Going Soft!

Today, I received hard evidence that the soft cover version of The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules is in print when UPS delivered my advance copy. 

If you think you've already heard all there is to say about the book of Ruth, think again!  That's what I thought, until I started hearing what Old Testament scholars were uncovering as they continued to dig in this ancient book. Believe me, this is not the Ruth, Naomi, or Boaz we've always known. And all three of them have been short-changed by traditional interpretations.

Here's what I wrote in the preface:
"For a long, long time we've all been looking at the lives of Naomi and Ruth (as well as other women in the Bible) through the wrong end of the telescope.  Their lives have all too often been diminished in size, noticeably small next to the larger lives of the men in their stories. This has influenced how we see ourselves. Even when Ruth does something remarkable and brave, evangelicals have tended to turn her story in to a romance and Boaz into the hero who comes to her rescue.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

I never will forget the day someone turned the telescope around for me and I saw Naomi and Ruth in truer perspective.  I wept to think of how much more I could have (should have) done and was indeed called by God to do with my life.  Life-sized at last, Ruth became for me the most powerful and challenging role model I've yet to encounter in the Bible.

The official release date (at least on Amazon) is January 18.  If you haven't read it yet, I hope you will! There's also a Kindle edition.