Welcome to My Full-Time RV Living LifeStyle Blog!

I suppose I should mention that this is an RV blog. The picture of me standing beside a motorhome in the banner probably tipped you off to that fact already, but you know how it is with blogs, any body can put anything in the header.

Anyways, I was born, raised, and live in Maine, I have 12 cats, and some people would call me homeless. Nope, I have a home, I just don't have what people call a standard house. My house has wheels and her name is Rosebud. My backyard stretches on for thousands and thousands of miles all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Once upon a time I had a "regular home" but a flood came and took it away. Me and my cats spent the next 3 years living under a 8x6 tarp and survived through 3 blizzards and Maine's coldest winter on record when the temps hit -48F. After that me and the cats moved in a Volvo. As hard as it is to live in a tent with 12 cats, it's even harder to live in a Volvo with 12 cats, and a motorhome named No Hurry was the answer. No Hurry: my home, my office, my RV.

I plan to use this blog to share my thoughts, ideas, adventures, and advice on being self-employed, living and working a full-time RV LifeStyle with an army of cats, while boondocking in the wonderful (and sometimes sub-zero) state of Maine.

I hope to write a post a day featuring random thoughts as they pop into my head, and hopefully 2 or 3 posts per week will focus on something helpful to those seeking to live in an RV full time. If you've any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on what sort of posts you'd like to see me write, please comment and let me know.

I hope you all have as much fun reading this blog as I know I'll have writing it.

~Wendy

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Should women be priests, pastors, ministers, and rabbis?


Should women be priests, pastors, ministers, and rabbis?

Perhaps it is not an issue most people ever stop to think about. Many may not even be aware they have strong feelings about the issue until you ask them directly: "Would you continue to attend your church, should it's minister retire and a female minister take over?" I've asked quite a lot of people this question, and found that the most common response is to ignore the subject by saying: "Oh that'll never happen."

Well, okay, maybe it won't happen, maybe your pastor will beat the odds and live to the ripe old age of 360 years and you won't ever have to be troubled with his retirement and replacement, because heck, he's hell bent on outliving God. Hard fact of the matter is, more than likely your minister will retire soon after turning 70 and leave your congregation high and dry. Than what will you do? When I placed this question before them, they then respond with something along the lines of: "Oh, well, The Church would take care of it, so I don't have to worry, because they'll never let a woman lead our congregation."

Ah! Now we are getting somewhere. "Do you see what you said?" I asked.

"No, what did I say?"

"You said you did not think a woman should be in the ministry."

"I did?"

"Yes."

"When did I say that?"

"When you said, 'I don't have to worry, because they'll never let a woman lead our congregation,' you displayed your distaste for and prejudices against women ministers."

I next proceed to challenge them, by asking WHY they feel this way. What makes a woman any less effective as a minister, than a man? Why is a man prefered as the leader of their congregation? How strongly do they feel displeasure at entertaining a woman preacher? If a woman pastor did take over their church, would they stay on, or would they leave and find a new congregation or even denomination to attend? After much thought on the matter, not surprisingly, most tell me that they would not feel comfortable in a church lead by a woman, and would in fact leave it. Curious, I ask why they feel this way, and often the answer is "Well God was a man. God is the head of the church. Man is head of the woman, and besides, doesn't it say somewhere in the Bible that women can't be church leaders?"

My answer to this, is no where are we told God is or is not a man, it is simply assumed; God may or may not be the head of the Church, chances are that he isn't seeing as he said NOT to attend church and NOT to follow doctrines of man (not woman, mind you; if men and women are created equal, than neither can be the head of the other, and the Bible does not say for woman not to be church leaders, what it says is they can not be teachers, meaning every woman teacher in public or private schools, grade schools, high schools, colleges, and universities is on a one way road to hell if you actually want to believe that verse as it was intended. By this point of the conversation I will have started adding Bible verses into the conversation and be dissertations on their meanings as they were written in their original Greek, along with telling how and why and when verses were changed, usually by Medieval men with anti-women agendas.

Around this time they will stop me, say that they don't know that much about the Bible or Medieval history so can not comment on it, and then jokingly add: "Damn, you know so much about the Bible, you could be a minister yourself! Ha, ha, ha,..."

"I am," I responded dryly.

"...ha, ha... eh? What? Seriously? But... but... but, you're a woman, you can't be a minister."

And then things change. Fast. No longer are they friendly and joking. Suddenly they turn into a snub nosed holier than thou self righteous pompous jackass, fully entitled to tell me I am on a road straight to hell. The words "abomination", "sacrilegious", and "apostasy" escape their tongues. They then proceed to inform me that it their "God given right" to do everything in their power, to see to it that I mend my "wicked ways" and "repent". Strange really. A few moments ago they were laughing, joking, and considered me a good Christian friend. As soon as they learned I was a female minister, all that changed and suddenly I was fit to be used for a door mat. What changed from one second to the next? Only their perspective.

Clearly these good dutiful little church members tell these conversations with me, to their congregational leaders, because the following week they always come back to me, beaming proudly gloating of victory triumph as they say: "My pastor talked in women in the ministry this Sunday, he gave a sermon firmly denouncing women ministers, here are the reasons he says it's wrong..." Next thing I know he pulls out a list (I wonder if he always takes such detailed notes of his pastor's sermons?) and starts babbling on the reasons why women are not allowed to be ministers. His list included such things as:
  • -women are the weaker sex
  • -women were made only in the image of man, while man was made in the image of God
  • -women were created to be the helpmate of man
  • -man is the head of woman and she must obey
  • -women shed and waste precious blood (menstrual cycles)
  • -men were created first
  • -a woman's place is in the home
  • -a woman should be seen and not heard
  • -women are prone to believing silly superstitions
  • -God says: your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you
  • -women can never be truly saved, it's only through marriage to a saved man that she can get into heaven, because of Eve's deception of Adam
  • -where will it end? give them an inch and they'll take a mile, first the church and then the country, you wouldn't want a woman for president would you?

He ends his list with verses from Timothy and a long rants explaining all the things God really meant when he said: "Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness . . . I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men: she is to keep silent." Notice how he not only misquoted the verse, he removed large sections of it, and reworded it into modern English to make it fit his meaning. Nothing on his list is anything more than illogical irrational male centered paranoia of women, and he thinks I've never heard any of this before. The problem is, it's human nature to "fit" scripture into the mold that will be used to support a particular position, and everything he said, scripture wise, was taken out of context and is utterly meaningless on its own. In every case, the scripture was speaking to a specific couple, not to men and women on a whole, and had he actually read the Bible, he would have known that. Rather than read the scriptures in their original context, he simply did random keyword searches to pull fragments of verses out of his ass and string them together with other random fragments, some written as many as 6,000 years apart from each other, and create totally new verses, with newly created meanings created by him, to serve his own agenda.

I simply smile and wait and listen. Than I start listing off names of ministers, priests, and pastors and ask what he thinks of them and their sermons. He tells me how wonderful they are, how they are truly preaching God's word. I pop open a computer and show him my website, where I sell sermons to ministers. Sermons I wrote. Me. A woman. I wrote every word those men said at the pulpit. I use a pen name when dealing with these ministers so they have no idea if they are hiring a man or a woman to write their sermons for them. I've been writing sermons since about 1987. I don't preach on a pulpit, and I never will, it's not my style. I do own a church, but it has no congregation. Heck, one might correctly say I started my own religion, many have said I did, I don't believe I did, or at least, I did not intend to. It's not like I ever went out and said "this is my new religion and I'm going to call it..." Nothing like that ever happened. I just wasn't allowed to go to the church I wanted to go to, so, I set up private meetings in my garden shed. My overreacting Bishop blew the whole thing out of proportion from there. He ran around jumping to conclusions, spreading false rumors and lies about me, and before I knew it I had reporters in my yard asking questions and snapping pictures, with me utterly clueless as to what they were talking about. Me? Start a religion? I did? When? What the heck are you talking about? By 2001 there were several local church groups marching around my lawn, carrying signs. *sigh* Well, at least I can say my life has been eventful.

I have meet with prejudices against my being a minister, for nigh on 20 years. For starters, I'm a Mormon, and if you know anything about the Mormon church, it's that woman are seen and not heard, heck, they are not often even seen. The men lead, the church, the men lead the house, the men lead the family, and any woman who knows what's good for her will keep her mouth shut and her eyes averted to the ground lest she risk a wallop upside the head. For a woman to dare speak at all, she risks at best a black eye, and if she dares strive to preach, she'll be met with broken limbs. A fact I know, because I had myself had a broken hip, followed a year later by a broken wrist.

I attended Calvinist Bible Seminary from 1984 till 1996. What I learned there was that women are free to study the Bible and ministry field all they want, so long as they do not expect to be ordained ministers along with the male students. Three years of further study through The Seventh Day Adventist church, taught me more of the same thing. Every religion wants you to learn, every religion is willing to teach you, regardless of gender, but when it comes time for ordination, tough luck finding one who'll ordain a woman. At every turn women were being denied equality in the career of religion. I would continue to study for a career in the ministry at various places, through various religions (most of them Christian, though a few non Christian ones as well - 15 of them denominations in total) all the way into the 2009, before I finally came across a religion willing to ordain women as ministers.

Now you might be thinking: But there are plenty of religions who ordain women. True, but with conditions. Conditions being that you must renounce your faith, be rebaptized to become a member of their denominations, be a "member in good standing" for a certain amount of years, and then once you are ordained you must preach ONLY what they tell you to preach, when they tell you to preach it, where they tell you to preach it, for as long as they tell you to preach it. You are not allowed the freedom to believe what you want, you must believe what you are told. This is particularly true of Baptists, Methodists, Unitarians, and Christian Scientists.

I thought, for a while, that it was just a problem with Christian religions. A friend suggested I look into the Pagan traditions instead, stating "they are very pro-female, they even worship goddesses instead of god!" The problem with that suggestion was that the Pagan faiths are as varied as the Christian faiths, and while some are pro-female, others forbid females members let alone female leaders. They also failed to consider that as a practitioner of Scottish Hoodoo and Welsh Faerie Faith, I was already in fact what they termed "Pagan". No matter. I looked into their suggestion. Wicca, Golden Dawn, Enochian, Druids, Gardnerians, and others, but nope, they were no different than the Christian denominations when it came to religious snobbery. In fact, in many cases, they were far worse, and had demanding step by step rituals they required, in addition to weekly "coven fees" which so many of them charged. I guess you know where I DIDN'T go. Why the heck would I pay to attend a church meeting, Christian, Pagan or otherwise? Several of the Pagan groups, charged high fees for ordinations, others required you attend several years of their (alarmingly expensive) so-called "magic schools" prior to be "considered for possible inclusion" into their coven. The attitude I found in most Pagan groups was "We don't worship god, because heck, we are the biggest king shit god of all gods ourselves, so bow down and worship us, kiss our glorious gold plated goddess blessed asses, then be sure to give us all your cash on the way out." If they hadn't told me they were Wiccans, I would have sworn they were Catholics. What with the flowing robes, ruling order of leaders with pointy hats, bowing before statues of a blue robed white veiled woman, kissing rings, and begging for money, how was I supposed to tell them apart? They looked like Catholics acting out "Charmed" fantasies to me. On top of all of that, I was shocked to find that, in spite of all the pro-female talk and goddess worship, most of the leaders were in fact men, and the only way for a women to become a leader in a coven was to be the "Lady" (wife) of the "Lord" (group leader), and her only role is to say "Yes sir" and "No sir" and agree with everything he says. How Mormon of them. And so once again, I find that even in pro-female religions, females had few and limited rights of leadership. This is strange given the history of Pagan faiths and the fact that prior to the 1950's men where not allowed leadership positions in several of the ones now now allowing female leaders.

I've had plenty of opportunity to talk with dozens of members of dozens of religions, on their reasons why they hate, loath, and protest against women ministers. It's easy to have access to these people when they are protesting in your driveway, after all. The protesting died down after 2010, when for the first time, people were allowed to see for themselves, just exactly what it was they were protesting against. You remember that hysterical Mormon Bishop of 1991? The one who started all of this with his outlandish rumors of my founding a new and in his words "anti-Mormon apostate religion". Over the years he riled up a more Bishops, a total of 16 Bishops, several high priests, and a few stake presidents. He went so far as to contact the Prophet in Salt Lake City and request my excommunication. In that time just under 2,000 Mormon church members have shown up in my yard to tell me they hated me and me "new religion". On October 18, 2006, just a few months after Hurricane Katrina took my house, a mob of crazed religious fanatics burned down its replacement. I was asleep inside. I used to have hair down to my knees. The firemen said I was lucky to be alive. The protests reached their height in 2010, when in April 2 of my cats were killed and their heads left in the driveway, than in May my car was cut in half, by a Mormon member who claimed there was a demon living in the car, and that said demon was controlling my life, and to kill the demon, she had to kill the car. And they were calling me crazy? That same week, my FaceBook page saw an onslaught of comments (20,000 of them - behold the power of FaceBook!) from Mormons all over the world, accusing me of witchcraft, animal sacrifices, and uses curses to kill some Mormon boy I'd never heard of before. (Whom I later learned drowned in a bathtub in Salt Lake City. And me never having set foot outside of Maine? The judge dropped the whole case and told the freaking out members to see a psychiatrist.) The fear and histeria of my being a female minister, clearly had gone beyond the point of lunicey. Police were called in to assist, and restaining orders became being issued to get these people off my land and out of my life.

The question remained however: what the heck were these people getting so upset about? And where the hell where they coming up with their wild accusations? Demons? Animal sacrifice? founding new religions? What the hell? Than in 2010, I did something I had never done before: I let them see the "church". What they saw, stunned and baffled them. I don't know what they expected to see, but clearly a 3 foot wide by 5 foot long by 6 foot high garden shed, painted white, with a 10 foot wooden cross standing in front of it, was not what they expected. Nor did they expect to see that my "animal sacrificing alter" (as they called it) was nothing more than a moss covered rotted tree stump. They likewise did not expect to have to walk through many acres of swamp to get to my garden where this so called "church and altar" sat. They were flabbergasted.

"This is it?" asked one.

"You call this a church?" asked another.

"No. I don't." I said. "I never did. You’re the only ones saying I've got a church out here. You are the ones saying I started a religion. You are the ones saying all of it. I have Autism. I don't talk. I never said a word."

"Where's your congregation?"

"What congregation?"

"Where's do you hold your meetings?"

"What meetings?"

"What do you do here?"

"I grow roses. I feed the birds. I pray for people. I light candles and hang their prayer requests on the wall in the shed. I read cards for people, I lay them out on that tree stump. This is where I do my writing. It's a meditation garden. In 31 years I have written 30+ books, 200+ short stories, 2,000+ articles, 5,000+ sermons, a few comic books, and a few dozen plays. This is where I do all of that. I'm a full time professional writer. I'm a Scottish Traveler Spiritual Advisor, what you would call a Gypsy Fortune Teller. This is where I do everything. This is where I do my readings for folks, this is where I get my writing done. That there, that is the tent I have lived in for the past 6 years, since you burned down the house I was rebuilding after the flood took the first one. There is no church, there is no religion, there is no congregation, it's me and my cats, in a tent, in a rose garden in the swamp, doing a heck of a lot of writing. You know my books, you know what I write, of course you know my books, heck I have to listen to you people spend every day griping about how much you hate my books, because Mormons shouldn't be writing horror. How can you call me a Mormon in one breath than say I've started an anti-Mormon religion in the other?! It's bad enough, my books got famous and I have to deal with screaming fan girls chasing me down in WalMart, I don't need you anti-women-preacher female-hating nutjobs in my life as well! Do you have any idea what you have done? You burned down my house, you killed my cats, you chopped up my car, you broke my hip, and for what? Because you listened to some fantasy prone jackass Bishop who didn't have his head screwed on straight, and had nothing better to do than run around flapping his mouth off and making up nasty rumors about me, just because I was a woman who tried to get ordained into the ministry some 20 odd years ago! I've never bothered any of you, heck I don't even know most of you. I've spent most of my life struggling with agoraphobia, I hadn't even set foot outside of this garden in 27 years! I only started wandering around in public in 2006, after the fire, that you started. Who the hell do you think you are? How dare you judge me. How dare you call me evil. You want to see evil? Take a good long look in the mirror."

But can they take a hint? No. Of course not. They still go out of their way to cross paths with me, so that they can remind me how much they hate me, hate my books, hate my life, hate my race, hate my culture, hate everything about me, but at least, they have stopped accusing me of running a church or having founded a new religion. But still, it begs the question: What the heck is the big deal? Why is it such a big deal if a woman strives to become a minister?

Some people, now realizing the error of their huge misjudgements about who I am and what I do, have come to me with the sheepish question: "I've got to ask you, if you didn't start a new religion and you are not running a church, why the heck did you become an ordained minister. It makes no sense to me. You fought for this for over 20 years, and when you finally get it you don't use it? Why?"

These questions are, to me, quite idiotic, or at least I thought they were, when they first started being presented to me. Me with my Autism and my brain functioning at an IQ level far above and beyond that of the general population, I often forget that most of the world is, for a lack of a better word, stupid and incapable of thinking on their own. And once again I find myself explain simple logic. Why become a legally ordained minister? Why? The keyword here is legal, something I noted was not in the question asked. For example did you know it was illegal to publicly express any opinion which could be construed as "religious" in public, unless you are a legally ordained minister? It is illegal to accept prayer requests and pray over them, without being a legally ordained minister? It is illegal to speak at a wedding or funeral, if not legally ordained; not officiate, but just stand up and speak. It is illegal to officiate a wedding or funeral, if not legally ordained AND carrying both a license to preach and a permit to officiate, one of each, issued both from your home town, and from the town where the event is held, and from the state department as well. It is illegal to accept offering of tithing unless you have a church building which remains unlocked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is lead by a counsel of 3 non-related members, and has a congregation of no less than 14 active members in attendance at minimum to weekly meetings. Once eligable to accept tithes, they are also eligible to be tax exempt, but how many churches do you know without locks on their doors? Strange, but if the IRS ever started making house calls, I can think of an awful lot of churches that are going to be owning one hell of a lot of millions in back taxes, just because they put locks on the front doors of their church building, but that's a topic for another day.

Well, those things are all well and good, but they do indicate that an ordained minister has a church and runs a congregation, two things I have not got, and what this person wanted to know was, why did I, myself need a legally recognized ordination, if I've not got a church. In addition to the things mentioned above, it is also illegal to be a life coach, a reiki practitioner, a lightworker, a spirit channeler, a medium, a spirit healer, a witch doctor, a spell caster, a practicing witch, a shaman, or a psychic reader, without a legal ordination. In years passed this was not the case, but it is today, sad but true. Those of us who are older and were "practicing the magic arts" prior to the induction of these laws got grandfathered through, and were allowed to continue our practice, fines waived, providing we sought ordination to comply with the law.

Here is where the law now applies to me and why I require the need to be a legally ordained minister, even though I have no church to run. I am a Hoodoo Hedgewalker. Fourteenth century Scottish/Welsh Hoodoo is not to be confused with 18th century African Hoodoo (now known as New Orleans Voodoo). While one was based on the other, they are not the same thing. Hoodoo is a Scottish word meaning "spirit" or "ghost". Hoodooed, means "haunted". "The Hedge of Life" refers to the misty plains of twilight which separates the spirit world from the physical world. A Hedgewalker, is a person who communicates with the spirit world on behalf of someone from the physical world. In other words a Hoodoo Hedgewalker is a psychic medium, who communicates with angels, faeries, and the spirit of dead loved ones. By race I am a Scottish Traveller, aka a Gypsy. While I am correctly called a Scottish Hoodoo Hedgewalker, most people refer to me by the more common slang term of Gypsy Fortune Teller. This career was passed down to me, by both of my grandmothers, and one of my grandfathers. It is a tradition my family can trace through family diaries all the way back to the 1600's. For us, this is not a religion, it is, quite simply, a way of life. But in today's world there exist laws regarding what is and is not religious practice, and who can and can not lead such practices. The law considers me to be the leader of a religious movement, and the spiritual leader of my people, and as such, requires me to become a legally ordained minister, with a legally recognized church, even though by religion, I am a Mormon and am not running a church of any sort at all.   

All I ever tried to do was comply with the laws of the land. I had no idea, it was so difficult for a female to become an ordained minister, or that there was so much hatred and animosity towards those women who took this path. I was forced to study religions I had no interest in, attend Bible seminary classes that bored the hell out of me, only to be told well, heck we can't ordain you unless you jump through all these hoops and be an active member of a religion you don't believe in, and oh, wait, you're a female, anyways, whoops, we forgot to mention we don't ordain women, sorry. In the end what it all boils down to is men seeking to control women. Simple as that. Look at the laws of any religion: women must cover their hair, but what about men? And no, this is not just a Muslim belief, more than 7,000 of 15,000 Christian denominations teach this, along with most Pagan denominations, Catholics and Mormons both have the law, though few practice it, and Judean faiths command it as well. It's ridiculous. Freedom of religion? Separation of state and church? What freedom? Where? What separation? If the government is so separated from the church, than why the heck are there twenty million and one laws church leaders are required to comply with? And why is the government telling me I'm a church leader, for reading cards and lighting prayer candles, when I don't have a church to run or a congregation to lead? Separation of church and state? I wish! I've been put through hell at the hands of the local church I attend, simply because I'm a female trying to obey the laws of the land.  



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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat



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