By Laura Digan of Sanctuary First
Time of the Month is the latest monthly podcast from Sanctuary First. Each month myself, Laura Digan and my co-host Linda Pollack, welcome a guest to discuss the women of the Bible and current issues affecting women today.
In the podcast we aim to explore how women are treated in the Bible, focusing on the unnamed women, the voiceless women, the misunderstood women, the abused women.
I’m a Probationary Minister in the Church of Scotland and the podcast came about after about eighteen months ago I was in my last year at University studying an Old Testament course on the book of Judges. Judges is one of the books we don’t hear too often in church. Throughout the course I was reminded how shocking Judges is and how brutally the women are treated. Yes, Judges does contain the stories of heroines Deborah and Jael, but mostly within the book, women are treated like commodities and many are nameless. Achsah, a spoil of war given in marriage, Samson’s mother, Jephthah’s daughter who is sacrificed and the unnamed concubine who is gang-raped, tortured, murdered and dismembered (see Judges 19 and here on Women in the Bible).
This got me thinking and I realised that this treatment of women wasn’t unique to the Book of Judges. For example, women are important to Jesus’ ministry and the first evangelist is a woman, the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. She is the first evangelist but still she remains unnamed throughout her story, throughout the Gospel tradition. And when her story is preached in church, often the focus is on the fact she had been married five times. You have to wonder why that is and if she were a man would the gospel writer and preachers throughout the ages have treated her differently? Perhaps this unnamed Samaritan woman had been married off as a young girl of 12 or 13. Her husbands may have died. She may as Gail O’Day, says: “been like Tamar in Genesis 38 and be trapped in the custom of levirate marriage and the last male of the line has refused to marry her.”
I discussed this and other questions I had with my friend and colleague Linda Pollack and we both felt that God was calling us to explore women in the Bible and women in society today further. And so, the Time of the Month podcast was born! In Episode One we discuss Hagar from the Old Testament and the pressure of home schooling during the lockdown. In Episode Two we re-evaluate Delilah, a woman who I think is misunderstood, though you might not agree with me! Episode Three goes live later this week. In this episode we talk about Mary Magdalene and women in ministry.
The podcast might be about women, but it isn’t just for women.
We try to be inclusive to all and hope all listeners enjoy the conversation. We want to ensure all voices are heard and upcoming episodes will feature male guests as well as female.
You can find the podcast on the Sanctuary First website
From the Editor:
This podcast really got me thinking again how we need to rethink what is going on in the Bible. Laura raises one of my favourite passages from my favourite Gospel - the story of Sam meeting Jesus at the well in Sychar. Here are a couple of further resources about this story which reinforce what Laura's mentions briefly above. Watch the video if you can!
More about the Samaritan woman's (Sam?) and her encounter with Jesus at the well at Sychar here from the Bible Project:
And a great video here from the Student Creative Movement voiced by Reidland Tucker: