It is not an easy thing to convince a woman who has disassociated from body, compartmentalized her self and skin, dismissed her better nature to do things unspeakable in the light, to help her know she is loved of God.
The club is often the last place, the bottom rung, the lowest tier, where women come when they find there is nowhere else to go, believe there is nowhere left to turn and are convinced they must rely upon their flesh to pull them through the darkness...
The women whom I’ve met in the clubs are like the people in the receiving line at a funeral, they are preoccupied with the end. Like people who are facing their own mortality, women in the sex trade are focused on the final judgment, what happens after this life, it seems for them there is no care for today, only fear for tomorrow. There is no connection to the abundance of the kingdom, only the death grip of scarcity so they lunge and grasp for grace like the last hand of help before falling off the cliff, they know nothing of deliverance, only fear of the flames.
What of God’s love, what of freedom in Christ, power of the Spirit? This is all long gone, wrestled out of their clinched fist the first time the family member held them down in the dark and went too far, stolen away with their innocence when their mothers overdosed on Oxycontin and the foster care system dealt host dads with scotch soaked breath sneaking into their bedrooms at night.
They sell their bodies to those same busted up characters who come in night after night and toss out a $20 bill for a table top dance and then these women go home to the men whom they love who can never seem to find work while she holds down a shift at Walgreen's during the day and rushes back to change into her ten inch silicone stilettos by 8 pm. They sit, these men the dancers love, and play Halo and Grand Theft Auto with teenagers online, they drink cheap beer while children play quietly in the yard.
The above is an excerpt from my book, and my prayer is that it gives you some insight into the lives of the women, and the work to which I have been called. It is the sacred work of saying and living “God loves you right here, right now, no matter what” that gives my life purpose and fire and was the impetus of the Butterflies of Hope Outreach ministry. Every once in a while, a woman is ready, is open, has decided to take our hand and jump, to trust God far enough to get her out, to help her find another path, and in these miraculous, universe altering moments we need places like Dove Harbor to stand ready and able to help her transition into a new way of life.
In these final days of July, I am working to raise money to underwrite a time of transition for dancers who want to find a new way. $150 will cover living expenses for a month for women in crisis; my goal is to raise 3 months of expenses during the Great Give. Will you consider giving $5 to our cause???
Two ways to give:
If you don't have Paypal account, click here for direct link. You'll be asked if your gift is in response to a particular story, click "yes" and add "Kimberly Majeski" so that SisterFitness will know these funds are towards the BOHO goal.
Or Paypal users:
How much are you able to give to change the lives of women in desperation?
As most of you know, I lead a ministry team, Butterflies of Hope Outreach that exists to make the love and hope of Jesus known to women in sex trade industry. We visit local strip clubs, share meals, celebrate life, pray and build intentional relationships with women in difficult situations.
Over the years it has become apparent that women who decide to leave the industry need help to transition. Financial resources, safe housing, job training and mentoring are essential for women to be able to establish a new path. Dove Harbor provides all this and more and that's why I'm partnering with SisterFitness this month to raise funds for this tremendous ministry in our community.
The Great Give lasts from now until July 30, please consider donating $5 or more to help women help women. You'll find the Donate button below. It is simple and easy to give and a little goes a long way if we are in this together! Thanks in advance for your loving support!!
To learn more about the Great Give click here. All monies donated from now until July 30 will be given to Dove Harbor to help provide transitional services to women and children in need.
Since community is necessary for the study of Scripture, the sharing, the insight, the process incumbent on sorting through difficult texts, the hard work of exegesis and interpretation, teaching Bible in an online format presents a significant challenge.
After a few years of resistance, owed to my purist approach and poor student evaluations I was referred to a course through the Wabash Institute on Teaching Online.
While the course was not specifically designed for professors of Biblical Studies, I met more than a few who were as frustrated as I was with the prospect. Through the process, I learned some tips and tools and was able to adjust these for teaching my online Bible courses. What follows are a few things that have proved useful to me and my students, things I wish I had known in the beginning. I offer this with gratitude to my students who have offered helpful feedback and have been patient and receptive through change.
1. Group Study-Facilitating a sense of connection is important in any classroom but it is crucial for online students who are separated by distance and schedules and life stations. To help facilitate community, I assigned groups of 4-5 students each. These groups would then serve as a cohort, so that it would be within this group that students would share weekly postings and reflect together.
2. Group Work-As a student, I hated this myself, I wanted to be graded on my own merit but there is nothing that can bond you together like a common project. The first assignment in my course is an identification project where students must identify people, places and events from the Greco-Roman era. Each group is assigned 75 items and are allowed to divide the work as they wish, and they post this exercise in a Moodle activity called “Glossary.”
3. Distinction from Group- Though students post weekly within their group and work on the initial assignment as a group, each person is assigned a color. This makes grading easy as I am able to see how much “red” has added to the project and how little “blue” has contributed. Students know that they are graded only on their own work.
4. Weekly Interaction-One of the most difficult parts of teaching online, in my opinion was managing the many forums and responses to forums each week. I simply didn’t have time to go through them all and make meaningful comments or offer helpful feedback. As a result, students felt as though they had no interaction with their instructor. Since my university uses Moodle as our online platform, I decided to link to an outside wiki to create an easier format for weekly conversation.
In my wiki I create a page for each group and each week upload a discussion question and a table where each student in the group is assigned a column and reminded of his/her assigned color. Students post in their color and column initially and also must reflect and engage with at least two other students in those students’ columns but in their own color. This is helpful in that I visit the wiki frequently each week, look at the pages, and all in one place I’m able to offer feedback in my color so that we have a common conversation. Additionally, students are able to keep the questions, insights and feedback from the course for their own use moving forward.
5.Coming Together- At the end of each unit I offer a synchronous online chat, so that there are three per semester. Students are required to attend at least one, but typically most students attend each session. This is an opportunity for us to gather at the same time and be online together so that we can share questions, comments and insights and feedback is immediate.
6. Content- In the online format content CAN NOT depend solely on the lecture. Since we are delivering the course through the web it is necessary to understand and use technology as a resource not a hindrance. This can be especially difficult if your students have varying technological skills and abilities. I recommend that a basic review of these skills and capabilities, (i.e., basic understanding of online media, web surfing, you tube video posting, email, online chat) be introduced and evaluated in the application process of the online program. Use video, reading and activities as your primary teaching tools and supplement with weekly video postings that are succinct and created for your online students.
7. Questions and Comments- There is nothing so frustrating as answering the same question thirty times or more which is what I did when online students contacted me via email. This year I added a “comment” block on my Moodle course home page and instructed students to post any and all questions that were suitable for the entire class. I explained this was the space where we “raise our hands” and ask questions or make comments for which all might find beneficial and asked them to send me messages through Moodle only for those questions that needed to be sent to me personally. I was able to check the Moodle home page regularly and respond in one place and keep students informed.
I hope these changes I have made can be helpful for you too. Please feel free to share your ideas and insights here too!
My beautiful and brilliant niece with hair the color of summer strawberries was five years old the first time I heard her recount the story of Lydia, “the lady with the purple cloths.” Blue eyes dancing, freckles sprinkled across her nose, she knew, she was aware that women were part of the story of God and she knew the story was her own. “Wise beyond her years , this one” we always said of her.
I was thinking of my niece Lylah, dreaming of home while in a summer intensive on Wisdom Literature at the University of Notre Dame; it was then and there that I first began to see her take form. I caught a glimpse of her silhouette as I read through the apocryphal books, those early writings that informed the evangelists as they wrote the gospels, undergirded Paul as he shepherded the fledgling congregations, and inspired the early church for centuries until they were removed in 1790 at the formation of the Protestant Canon. Books of poetry and prose, ancient literature, windows into the world of theocentric faith prior to the revelation of Jesus, in many instances the missing pieces of the so called “four hundred years of silence” that literally thundered with Persians and Greeks and Romans.
Wisdom protected the first-formed father of the world, when he alone had been created;
she delivered him from his transgression,
and gave him strength to rule all things.
But when an unrighteous man departed from her in his anger,
he perished because in rage he killed his brother.
When the earth was flooded because of him, wisdom again saved it,
steering the righteous man by a paltry piece of wood…
There it was, staring back at me, the stories of the beginning, tales of the patriarchs but this time Wisdom saved, healed, rescued. Here Wisdom personified as in Proverbs, “she.”
She gave to holy people the reward of their labors;
she guided them along a marvelous way,
and became a shelter to them by day,
and a starry flame through the night.
She brought them over the Red Sea,
and led them through deep waters;
but she drowned their enemies,
and cast them up from the depths of the sea (Wisdom of Solomon10).
The word for wisdom in both Hebrew hokmah and Greek sophia are feminine such that the ancients then wrote of the Wisdom of God as a female. This is the Wisdom that emanates from the mouth of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel, the Wisdom that is Paul’s banner and proclamation in Corinthians, it is this Wisdom in John’s prologue that is God come to us in Jesus.
As you trace the lines, follow the grace filled pathways to discover Lady Wisdom you will find God is not always nor completely “He” rather there is a long biblical tradition that stretches from Old Testament to New, wherein the Wisdom of God is female, you will begin to see our story written right into the text.
Our little wisdom teacher turns 15 in a few days and for all the gift she has been to us, I thank God for the gift of the Wisdom Lady standing tall and serene guiding us, reminding us we are God's own.
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