“Why?” Mariet Hardy Freeland’s Defense of Women’s Ordination Part 1

by Mariet Hardy Freeland Editors note: Pay attention to how she crafts a defense of ordination that is both logical and spiritual. It is soundly grounded in Scripture and written using numerous examples to make her rhetorical points. Why should woman be ordained? or, in other words, why should woman be granted the full endorsement of the church upon her call to work for God and souls? To ordain, ecclesiastically, is to set apart for a special purpose or work. It is but the endorsement of the church of those already chosen of God for special service. In all Methodist … Continue reading “Why?” Mariet Hardy Freeland’s Defense of Women’s Ordination Part 1

Mariet Hardy Freeland: A Trailblazer for Women’s Preaching and Public Speaking

I’m beginning an exploration of the life and ministry of Mariet Hardy Freeland. While Clara Wetherald and Ida Gage were influential in the debates on ordaining women, Mariet helped pave the way for later evangelists like Wetherald and Gage. Biographical information is taken from the book Mariet Hardy Freeland: A Faithful Witness by Emma Freeland Shay. Mariet Hardy Freeland was a trailblazer for women evangelists in the Free Methodist Church. Born in New York in 1829, she was the youngest of 10 children.  While there is a vast archive of Mariet’s original writings (which I still need to dig into), … Continue reading Mariet Hardy Freeland: A Trailblazer for Women’s Preaching and Public Speaking

Who was LeGrand Buell? – The Continuing Story of Clara Wetherald

I apologize for the delay in blogging. I’m trying to finish up my dissertation this semester, so I’m afraid my posts might not be as often as I’d like. I’d also like to thank members of the  Miller family who have been amazing in helping me find information on Clara Wetherald. Who was LeGrand Buell? In the story of Clara Wetherald he was the second husband who died three years into their marriage. He was the man that Clara supposedly left John Wetherald for and caused a scandal in the community. He was the drunkard who Clara married to reform. … Continue reading Who was LeGrand Buell? – The Continuing Story of Clara Wetherald

The Roberts and Phoebe Palmer

It was through Walter and Phoebe Palmer that Ellen Stowe (later Ellen Stowe Roberts) first experienced a camp meeting revival. Ellen lived in New York City with her aunt and uncle – the same city as the Palmers. Her uncle George Lane was the editor of the Methodist Publishing House. Thus, putting her into contact with numerous prominent Methodists of the time period. The Sing Sing Camp Meeting in New York was one several life-changing experiences Ellen recounted in her writings. At this camp meeting she ran into people from the Allen Street Methodist Episcopal Church where the Palmers were … Continue reading The Roberts and Phoebe Palmer

Phoebe Palmer: A Pioneer for Women Preachers

A woman of passion, faith and a cunning rhetorical ability Phoebe Palmer is one of Methodism’s most skilled nineteenth century rhetoricians, and perhaps one of the most overlooked.  Palmer is best remembered for her Tuesday Bible studies “Meetings for the Promotion of Holiness” and her widely read religious periodical Guide to Holiness.  Her writings and preaching influenced France Willard, the long serving and influential president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army and Benjamin Titus Roberts, founder of the Free Methodist Church. Palmer was a genius at negotiating nineteenth century gender norms to main … Continue reading Phoebe Palmer: A Pioneer for Women Preachers

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

Why Rhetoric Matters: The Power of Words to Liberate or Manipulate

It’s hard to explain to people who don’t study rhetoric why it’s important or for that matter what rhetoric is.  A basic definition is that rhetoric is the art of discourse. It is the study of speech. Words are powerful tools. They support ideology, stir passion and anger, and most importantly fuel action. We study the words of the present and the past to learn from our triumphs and our failures. A society that does not learn from its mistakes is a society that is guaranteed to continue repeating the same missteps. Perhaps this why I’ve turned much of my … Continue reading Why Rhetoric Matters: The Power of Words to Liberate or Manipulate

Temperance Music and Religion through the Example of the Miller Family

It’s been awhile since I’ve written on my dissertation topic – Clara Wetherald, Ida Gage and their work as nineteenth century Free Methodist evangelists, but it’s time to get back to work. I’ve missed these women. Clara (Miller) Wetherald came from a musically gifted family. As more fragments from her life emerge it’s clear that music was something that was an important part of both who she was and her ministry. Her second husband Legrand Buell was a musician and songwriter. Even the NY Times article about Legrand’s death in 1895 noted his musical accomplishments. Clara’s brother Frank Miller was … Continue reading Temperance Music and Religion through the Example of the Miller Family

“My Own Eyes Are Not Enough:” Towards a Theory of “Christian” Art Part 2

By guest blogger Andrew Winckles Eighteenth Century Culture The Mimetic Criticism of C.S. Lewis Whereas Eliot, post conversion, seems to have been primarily concerned with making his new belief speak to his intellectual ideas of poetics and criticism, C.S. Lewis seems to have been much more contented operating in the ambiguous middle ground between poetry and belief, recognizing the importance of both and the ways in which they speak to each other, without having to come up with a cohesive, definitive system or theory of all the ways poetry and faith interact.  As he wrote in an essay on “Christianity … Continue reading “My Own Eyes Are Not Enough:” Towards a Theory of “Christian” Art Part 2

“My Own Eyes Are Not Enough:” Towards a Theory of “Christian” Art Part I

By guest blogger Andrew Winckles Eighteenth Century Culture The question of what constitutes “Christian” art or whether there is even such a thing has, within the past thirty years, become a bone of contention in evangelical Christian culture.  With the advent of the “culture wars,” there has been an increasingly loud call from some sectors of evangelicalism for Christian’s to “take back” popular culture by creating explicitly Christian art. Films like Left Behind, Fireproof, and most recently Courageous have all attempted to insert a Christian voice into the public sphere. However, this debate over “Christian” art is of relatively recent … Continue reading “My Own Eyes Are Not Enough:” Towards a Theory of “Christian” Art Part I