Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened.
Sir Winston Churchill
After much detective work and research, I have come to the conclusion that we should allow the Women’s Book group to present the readings proposed for March. I also feel that they should be allowed to read these texts from the lectern. While I do not believe that any of these readings should be labeled as scripture in the bulletin, I do believe that with the exception of the piece by Hildegard of Bingen (written probably in mid-1100) they could be labeled as ancient religious texts.
The piece by Hildegard of Bingen would be the one, if any, that I would be okay with not including. While the exact text they would use was not included in the packet, I can tell you quite a bit about Hildegard of Bingen. She lived during the 12th century, and she was a German writer, composer, and philosopher, and also a Christian mystic, and Benedictine abbess. She is considered by Roman Catholics to be a saint although no formal canonization has ever taken place. I hope that this information helps you to see that the proposed reading was written by a Christian woman of good standing, however it is probably not related in any way to early Christian texts.
The readings from Sirach and Judith are Biblical Apocrypha. The word Apocrypha comes from the Greek word ἀπόκρυφος which means hidden. The term Apocrypha has been in use from around the 5th century, but it was in Martin Luther’s Bible, published in 1534, that Apocrypha was set apart in its own section which he labeled intertestamental. In general, Protestants do not recognize these books as divinely inspired.
The book of Sirach, the first of the...
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...eft her future husband to begin a life of missionary activity. She was a companion of Paul, and with him, she preached the gospel. There is a story of Thecla baptizing herself with Paul’s blessing, and later Paul commissions Thecla to return to Iconium to teach and evangelize. The story of Thecla tells us a great deal about the possible role of women in the early Christian church. Not only are these texts being read in churches today, they are being used as the texts for sermons. I think considering the position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on women in ministry that we would be wrong to not allow these texts to be read during our church services in March. In addition, I strongly encourage that they be read from the lectern. I intend to use the apocryphal writings and the non-canonical writings as the texts for my sermons on those Sundays.
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