The Failure of Christian “Counseling” in the Duggar Family Saga

The very language used to define Josh’s abuse as “curious about girls,” “they didn’t even know he had done it” or the defense by the victims that their brother had “made stupid mistakes” all illustrate a lack of understanding and/or stubborn refusal to fully understand severity of mental health issues Josh Duggar was struggling with as a teenager and continued to struggle with as an adult with a wife and father of soon to be seven children. Continue reading The Failure of Christian “Counseling” in the Duggar Family Saga

Who was S. Annie Grant?

At the 1890 Free Methodist General Conference the Northern Indiana Conference sent Anna Grant as a delegate. Grant, an evangelist who sent in regular ministry updates to the denominational magazine The Free Methodist, appears to primarily have been preaching in the northeast portion of the state  (Whitley, Steuben, Allen, Noble, De Kalb and Legrange Counties). While other female evangelists I’ve researched have had either spouse who was ordained elders (Clara & John Wetherald) or a well-written annual conference history that outlined their story (Ida Gage), Anna Grant so far doesn’t have that.  She and Clara Wetherald were the only two … Continue reading Who was S. Annie Grant?

As God Will: 1892 Update from Clara Wetherald

After about a 5-year break, I am returning to the topic of 19th-century women’s ordination. Currently, I’m working on tracing the stories of the Free Methodist General Conference female delegates from 1890, Anna Grant, (Northern Indiana), and 1894, Clara Sage (Wabash, Ind,), Mrs. Colemen (Wisconsin) & Mrs. Barnhart (Pittsburg). More on what I have found to come. While my dissertation traced the stories of the two women delegates who spoke up in defense of their ministry (Clara Wetherald & Ida Gage), I have begun to wonder about those who were silent. Why didn’t they speak; what did they think? Some … Continue reading As God Will: 1892 Update from Clara Wetherald

A Day with Rachel Held Evans

This week the world lost arguably one of the most important Christian feminists of the twenty-first century. Rachel Held Evans, 37, author of a Year of Biblical Womanhood, Inspired: Slaying Giants and Living on Water and Loving the Bible Again and Searching for Sunday, passed away from complications relating to the flu. In 2012, Christianity Today named her on the top 50 Women to Watch, and they were right. Evans was a force, never settling for trite Christian messages, pushing evangelical culture to change and become inclusive not only to women and the LGTQI community and ultimately having to leave Evangelical culture to … Continue reading A Day with Rachel Held Evans

Grappling with Purity Culture Regrets

I’m now 34, and like so many former evangelicals who grew up at the height of the purity movement all of my romantic choices were influenced by the guidelines of books such as I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I now realize I am damn lucky my romantic narrative didn’t turn into a horror show. Continue reading Grappling with Purity Culture Regrets

What Makes a Free Methodist Feminist

I’m re-posting this entry since I now have more readers than I did when I originally posted it in May. It’s my manifesto for what I believe and what I research. Occasionally I’m asked why I call myself a feminist. Now that my blog is getting a few readers I’m getting this question more often. The concept of a “Free Methodist Feminist” seems like an oxymoron. Yet, I stand by this term. I am a feminist.  While there are definitely some feminists who distance themselves from organized religion and view organized religion as just another way to enforce patriarchy, I … Continue reading What Makes a Free Methodist Feminist

Ida Gage’s Ministry

Information on Ida Gage and her personal life are difficult to come by. I hope as I do archival research in Wood County, Ohio, next week that I will find out more about her Bowling Green Circuit. I am also hoping that the Free Methodist Magazine archives will shed light on Ida’s personal life. The magazine certainly helped outline Clara Wetherald’s ministry and life, and I’m very hopeful that information on Ida will also be forthcoming. She was prolific in ministry, and as both her and Clara were gifted public speakers there is a record of their various places they … Continue reading Ida Gage’s Ministry

Emma Ray and Eliza Suggs Writing and Wesleyan Rhetoric

Free Methodist founder B.T. Roberts felt strongly that the antebellum Methodist Episcopal Church had forgotten the vision of John Wesley. Thus, it is not surprising that the early Free Methodist publications, including Roberts own magazine The Earnest Christian, strongly resembled Wesley’s Arminian Magazine.  In fact, Methodist conversion narratives changed little from the time of Wesley in the 18th century to the narratives of Suggs and Ray in the early 20th century.  In the 18th century preachers would receive letters from individuals they had converted and these letters were often published to encourage conversion and the faithful (Hindmarsh, 2008). The rise … Continue reading Emma Ray and Eliza Suggs Writing and Wesleyan Rhetoric