Hagar

Katey Zeh 10-22-2015
Stokkete / Shutterstock.com

Photo via Stokkete / Shutterstock.com

When the abuse escalates, Hagar escapes into the wilderness and heads back to her home in Egypt. Even though she is pregnant and vulnerable to any number of dangers, Hagar risks everything in search of freedom. While on her journey home, an angel of the Lord appears to her and asks where she is going. When she explains her situation, the angel tells her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her” (Genesis 16:9).These words baffle me. Return? Isn't this the part when God is supposed to bring deliverance? What sense can be made of this?  

How do we cope with a story in our sacred text in which God instructs a woman to go back to a situation of abuse? 

Magdalene is a residential program that helps women who have survived lives of violence and prostitution.

The 2013 Global Slavery Index reports that nearly 30 million women, children, and men are enslaved around the world today. Their slavery has many forms. For millions, especially women and girls, it is prostitution, forced marriage, or other sexual and reproductive exploitation. Others - an estimated 16.4 million - are forced into labor in spheres ranging from domestic work and agriculture to construction and manufacturing. Others are tricked, kidnapped, and/or sold for illegal adoption, forced begging, armed combat, forced crime, and organ harvesting. As globalization continues to increase demand for cheap labor and movement across borders, human trafficking - sale and movement of people for forced labor, including prostitution - has become the “fastest growing international crime.” It nets traffickers billions of dollars in profit each year.

Tony Campolo 05-19-2010

I recently returned from a speaking engagement at the Bethlehem Bible College; and what I witnessed firsthand sent chills up my back. Listening to the horror stories told to me by oppressed Palestinians elicited feelings ranging from indignation to compassion.

Crissy Brooks 04-28-2010
When I was in second grade handball was all the rage. We played it with big red rubber balls against backboards on the playground.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow 10-26-2009

For the next few days in Washington, D.C., 1,200 people are gathering in the name of a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" U.S. policy. Because of my broken leg, I can't be physically there. But my mind and spirit and 40 years of my work are there today.

Julie Clawson 03-09-2009
Shortly after I took a position as Children's Ministry Director at a small Baptist church, I sat down with the kids under my care and asked them what questions they would like to ask God.

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