Jael killing Sisera in Western Art History

I love the biblical story of Jael and Sisera and you should too.   It goes something like this: The prophetess Deborah has told one of the Israelite tribal leaders that now would be an excellent time to mobilize against a local king who has been oppressing them. The leader, Barak, hesitates. He will only go to war, he says, if Deborah joins him. Deborah agrees to accompany the army, but she also warns Barak that because of his hesitation a woman will get to kill the general leading the foreign king’s army.   After a messy battle, the leader…

Genesis 29 by Jane Austen

Chapter 1 It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man on the run from his kin must be in want of a couple of wives.   “My dear Mr Laban,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that the shepherd shed is let at last?” Mr Laban made no answer. This was encouragement enough for Mrs Laban to inform him that a young man of large fortune from the region of Canaan had come up last week to see the shed and had been so much delighted with it that he was to take possession of…

Everything I learned about Friedrich Schleiermacher as an undergraduate theology student

Schleiermacher is that 12th grade boy who smiled at you once in the cafeteria and ten years later you still don’t know how you feel about it.   Schleiermacher was thrown out of a community centre meeting about recycling for shouting at the speaker.   Schleiermacher is so sensitive he starts crying every year in the spring the first time he sees the new lambs.   Schleiermacher has three brown suits, all identical, with softly worn leather patches on the elbows.   Schleiermacher believes you can do it, because he used to be pretty much where you are now.  …

A conventual drag

Last night, I had an epiphany: I suddenly noticed just how well the names of female, medieval saints double as drag names, and I knew I had to share that important insight with you as soon as possible.   “Sure,” you might say, “You were unable to fall asleep yesterday, weren’t you? At some point you hit the critical mass of insomnia-induced grogginess and that’s when this started seeming like a good idea.”   Well, yes.   Still – hear me out. Cast your mind towards the hallowed halls of your local gay club. (Actually, that probably closed down recently. It’s…

You May Have Worn The Prom Dress With Him, But I Get To Tear Out His Liver With My Own Two Hands And Burn It As A Pleasant Sacrifice To The Gods

High school feels like the best time of your life while you’re there. It’s easy to think that whatever you experience during those magical years will last forever. When you finally meet your true love in your senior year, it seems meant-to-be. You are entirely sure that this is the man you will spend your life with.   I don’t blame you for having felt like that, but for most people such dreams just don’t last. They certainly didn’t last for you. Eventually, you broke up with him and now you get to watch as another woman ties the man…

It is the future and feminism has gone too far

  It is the not-so-distant future and feminism has gone too far.   Men are no longer allowed to work outside the home without a woman’s permission. They may still drive, but they are forbidden from ever talking about cars, except when commenting on their colours.   All women have organized themselves in militant communes. There are no more marriages and no more romance.   Men have to carry a notebook on them at all times and write down everything they say and do. In the evening, they hand the book over to a woman who grades them on their…

Getting the girl: six strategies from the playbook of a biblical pickup artist

1. Never even say a word to her She’s probably married anyway. Still, there’s no denying that she looks pretty hot. I can’t think of any reason whatsoever why the two of you shouldn’t enjoy some sexy time together. “Late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, ‘This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ So David sent messengers to get her, and she…

If Wolfhart Pannenberg had been my friend at university

If Wolfhart Pannenberg had been my friend at university, nobody would be able to remember exactly how he had become part of our social group. He just did, gradually, and now it seemed like he had always been there.   Pannenberg would not drink alcohol at all, but occasionally he would smoke pot. He would roll the neatest joints I had ever seen. Most of the time they would make him pensive and quiet, but every so often he would get talkative instead – stubbornly insistent about explaining a new philosophical idea that had slowly, but inexorably worked its way into…

The Book of Jonah by Herman Melville

Chapter 1: The Command Call me Jonah. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having had little or nothing to do with the Lord, I found myself appointed prophet. The Lord commanded me to go to the city of Nineveh, a desolate place, cursed by God and condemned to fiery doom, to call them to repentance. He gave me the task of stilling the rebellious heart of their king. It seemed an absurdly hopeless mission, and as I had money in my purse, and nothing else to interest me on shore, I thought I would flee from the face of the…

#UsToo: A letter from a mogul

Recently, I have been accused of sexual misconduct. I write this letter to apologize to everybody who considers themselves affected by my actions. I am sorry that this has become such a media storm. I am sorry that new standards of behavior have sprung up that contrast so markedly with the world I, and countless others, had grown accustomed to.   You would struggle to find a more adamant defender of women’s rights than me. I love and respect women. My organization employs women of all ages – though mostly young women, because it is my experience that younger women…