Huge crowds of curious spectators had gathered at camp meetings to hear them preach. Angry clergymen had locked them out of meetinghouses. . . . Conservative critics had accused them of being jezebels or prostitutes . . . but converts had swooned at their feet. —Strangers & Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America
Sojourner Truth was a rebel, an evangelist, a teacher of faith. Her sermons were heard by small and large crowds, if not in a church, then in the fields. A former slave, Sojourner Truth traveled around the country to preach and was actually accused at one point of being a man because of her booming preacher’s voice. A fierce believer in women’s potential as religious leaders, Sojourner Truth represented a group of early bold female evangelists who preached at their own peril and were both loved and despised during their lifetime.
Questions to consider:
Have you ever been told your voice was too loud or too opinionated?
Have you ever felt you were being held to a different standard?
When have you felt inspired by the teaching of another?
When do you think you inspired someone else because of your instruction?
When has your teaching offended another? Why do you think it caused that reaction?
Tomorrow: A current example
Today we remember another bold woman: Birgitta of Sweden, renewer of the church, who died 1373. This message was adapted from the “I Am She” resource available from the Women of the ELCA website.