A Brief Response

Still thinking about V is for Venite . . .

The Women’s Center-sponsored performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues that capped the week’s (February 9-13) events, and which raised approximately $1,800 for the Center for Women and Families and for the V-Day organization’s 2009 spotlight campaign, received a number of favorable comments from members of the 200-person audience. It also drew a bit of criticism, in the form of a March 3 article in the Presbyterian Layman online.

The article, as I read it, invites dismay at the Louisville Seminary’s association with the performance. In light of that, it seems worth pointing out that The Women’s Center at LPTS, which sponsored the week of events and the performance of Ensler’s work, does not receive ongoing support from the denomination (PCUSA). The Center does receive in-kind support from the Seminary, like our space — WE LOVE IT! — and the benefits of some (gratefully appreciated!) Seminary services. The Center, in turn, apprises the administration of the Seminary about its activities, which we believe are beneficial to and supportive of the overall educational mission of the Seminary. However, the Seminary is not responsible for, and does not necessarily endorse, the program of the Women’s Center.

Leaving aside a couple of other points, I’ll admit I was a little sad that some of my own remarks about the church in relation to events taking place on the campus on Thursday, February 12 failed to appear in the Layman article; the full remarks are available in Toya Richards Hill’s article “Acknowledging the church’s hurtful depictions of women is focus of worship and panel discussion”. That article reports on the events of one day during the week, which focused particular attention on the church’s role in the problem of violence against women.

While I’m reasonably sure that there are a number of matters on which the Presbyterian Layman and the Women’s Center at LPTS are unlikely to see eye to eye, I’m also reasonably sure that readers of the Layman would agree that

. . . the church also stands in a tradition of Scripture, story, and relationship with God, who is known as liberator, doer of justice, savior of the oppressed, comforter, compassionate one, and we could go on. The tradition of the community of faith, precisely for this reason, is also what can empower people to call for an end to violence. It is the church that can encourage survival after violence, bind up and heal wounds, proclaim the injustice of violence, and work for a world in which violence is no more.


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