Monday, February 18, 2013

Blog Review: The Velveteen Rabbi

So, it's about time that I expand my Monday posts a bit (especially while most of my library is still packed away until I have a call).  So, this week, instead of a book review, I'll be doing a blog review.

The blog I want to talk about today is called the Velveteen Rabbi, written by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat.  I was wondering which of the many blogs I enjoy I should talk about today until I saw her post from this morning, Every body is a reflection of God, and knew that this was where I should begin.

Rabbi Barenblat has been blogging since 2003, began her rabbinical studies in 2005, and was named one of Time's top 25 blogs in 2008.  I enjoy reading her writing for a number of reasons- her poetry is very moving, the way she speaks of her work with her synagogue is the way I look forward to talking about my own ministry, and each post is heartfelt and often funny.  But that post I just linked you to is an example of the strongest reason.

Modern media gives us very few examples of competent, benevolent clergy (all the fictional ones on TV tend to be incompetent, evil, or both), and far fewer examples of female clergy of any type.  In fact, the Vicar of Dibley is the only one I can think of offhand.  And yet we exist, across faiths, denominations, and the globe.  And we're telling our stories, but it is still sometimes difficult to be heard, and sometimes it seems even more difficult to be able to listen.  I have learned a lot about faith and being clergy from men, and I value their experience, education and wisdom, but sometimes, frankly, I just want to listen to someone who is like me.  Not someone I have to translate in my head.

I am not Jewish, a mother, an East-Coaster, or a native Texan.  And yet very often I feel more at home reading her blog than reading one by a Midwestern ELCA male pastor (gentleman pastor?).  Her post this morning illustrates one reason why- I have been there, I have had that conversation with myself, I have fought that fight against American mass media in my own head. We both speak "clergy" and "woman" fluently, no translation necessary.

Certainly I have had the same feeling of "home" on men's blogs, as well.  But this is the kind of "home" I don't get to feel very often, so I value it even more.  We come from different backgrounds- ones that have fairly ugly history together, in fact.  But she's right- every body is a reflection of God.  Hers, mine, yours.

Thanks be to God.


  1. Thank you so much for this incredibly kind and generous review of my blog! I'm delighted that this post speaks to you, and that you enjoy VR enough want to review it here. And I absolutely know what you mean about the gift of being able to listen to, and connect with, others who are like ourselves in this central way. Blessings to you in your journey!