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What Is Her.meneutics?

The Christianity Today women’s blog provides news and analysis from the perspective of evangelical women. We cover news stories and books related to international justice and evangelism, pregnancy and sexual ethics, marriage, parenting, and celibacy, pop culture, health and body image, raising girls, and women in the church and parachurch.

Her.meneutics was co-founded by Katelyn Beaty and Sarah Pulliam Bailey.

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All posts from “health”

The Unnoticed Merits of Having a Midwife During Pregnancy

July 13, 2012 8:29 AM

In the classic novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which takes place in early-20th-century New York, a midwife attends the birth of the desperately poor Francie Nolan. Later, Francie's aunt insists on having a doctor at her birth, evidence that...

Choosing Life, When Cancer Fears Are Everywhere

June 21, 2012 8:47 AM

The World Health Organization reported last week that Diesel engine fumes may cause cancer—the latest educated guess at what kills over 7.5 million people each year. While I’ve always paid attention to findings such as this one, these days I...

Why Women Today Are Eating Their Own Placentas

June 13, 2012 8:34 AM

January Jones ate hers, so why shouldn’t you? In the crunchy-mama circles I happily move in, for years I’ve heard of women who eat their own placenta--the blood-rich organ that connects an unborn baby to its mother’s blood supply--after giving...

Why Stay-at-Home Moms Are More Depressed Than Working Moms

June 4, 2012 8:38 AM

Stay-at-home parenting is harder than I thought. Maybe it’s the fact that my child was colicky for the first six months of his life, and that even at eight months old, he—and, consequently, I—have yet to sleep through the night....

The Dark Side of Healthy Eating: Diagnosing ‘Orthorexia’ Eating Disorders

May 31, 2012 11:46 AM

When people find out that I write about food, they frequently assume that I’m either about to pronounce judgment on what they eat, or that I’m about to dispense dietary wisdom. In fact I’m a bit of a dietary antinomian....

How God Can Use Your Anxiety for Good

May 22, 2012 8:24 AM

Change of any significance has always been hard for me. Every year growing up I dreaded the first day of school, far beyond what felt like the “normal” mourning that summer was over. Going away to college was physically wrenching—I...

Shaming Children for Eating Snacks: How Not to Fight Childhood Obesity

April 4, 2012 8:47 AM

Manhattan socialite Dara-Lynn Weiss’s essay in the April issue of Vogue touched off yet another Internet skirmish, part mommy war, part diet war, with cries of child abuse, accusations involving recipes for eating disorders, and of course, the inevitable book...

Want to Follow God? Go to Sleep

February 21, 2012 8:27 AM

I’m fanatical about a lot of things: coffee, books, clothes, work, running—not necessarily in that order (in case my employers are reading this). But more than any of these activities, I’m fanatical about sleep. Like Brooke Shields and her Calvin...

Scared to Death of Death: Facing More Than Gramma’s Mortality

February 7, 2012 8:58 AM

And Gramma makes three. Almost. Over a year ago, my mother and father moved across the country to live with my husband and me. My grandmother, my mother’s mother, was supposed to come with them. But Gramma fell and broke...

Why the New Planned Parenthood Controversy Raises Old Questions

February 3, 2012 4:52 PM

If you’ve been paying attention to recent events involving Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, you probably have whiplash by now. First, Komen—the world’s best-known breast-cancer-fighting organization—decided to stop giving funds to Planned Parenthood. Two reasons were...

Should Christians Take Antidepressants?: A Response

December 6, 2011 9:17 AM

I’m surprised that I’ve never heard a Christian argument against epidurals. After all, the pain of childbirth is, according to Genesis, a result of sin. And one could probably argue that the extreme pain of giving birth brings one closer...

Holy Hot Flashes! A Spiritual Take on Menopause

October 28, 2011 11:34 AM

Belly fat? Check. Hot flashes? Check. Sleep problems, mental fog, AWOL menstrual cycles? Oh yes. The desire to nurture others? Pfffft. Gone. Current thinking on menopause tells us that the caretaking “instinct” is nothing more than a relic of a...

Grumble Hallelujah on the Kitchen Floor

October 10, 2011 10:07 AM

As I lay on the kitchen floor — my body rocking with sobs, my mouth telling my husband, “I hate my life”— it never occurred to me to pick up the phone and call a friend. To tell someone that...

Taking a Break from Your Spouse

October 6, 2011 12:25 PM

If the mathematics of marriage is two becoming one, how do you factor in couples that have decided that some temporary division improves the odds of their relationship’s longevity? A recent Slate piece highlighted one of the findings from Iris...

When a Midlife Crisis Becomes Serious

October 3, 2011 10:58 AM

A recent study found that there has been an alarming spike in suicides among midlife women. I am neither scientist nor statistician, but I am 52. Some have called mid-life “Prime Time.” but few midlife women in my circles are...

Inviting Christ to the Dinner Table

September 14, 2011 9:40 AM

While eating for optimal health and weight loss has been an American obsession for at least 100 years, the past decade has seen growth of a different kind of awareness; a food movement comprising culinary, agricultural, ethical, and environmental concerns....

Inside the Heart of an Animal Hoarder

September 7, 2011 8:20 AM

Cruelty, like love, takes many forms. Perhaps the most sinister form of cruelty comes in the guise of love. One need not look far within the human family to find this kind of brokenness. But such brokenness extends to the...

Maggie Goes on a Diet: A Story for Children?

September 1, 2011 8:40 AM

With a title like Maggie Goes on a Diet, it’s hard to believe author and publisher Paul Kramer did not anticipate the criticism he and his publishing house would receive when the book recently appeared on Amazon for pre-order. Not...

Kids' Diets: Why We Need Immovable Love, Not ‘Let’s Move’

August 10, 2011 9:25 AM

The first time my daughter grabbed a box of cookies out of the pantry, flipped the package round and round, and asked me how many calories were in each one, I laughed it off.   “I don’t know,” I said....

Being Loved through Breast Cancer

July 27, 2011 9:55 AM

I met Kristin during my first shift in an urban E.R. in Portland 3 years ago. I was working in Fast Track as a physician assistant, and she was the assigned nurse for the day. She was strong and outspoken...

Taste and Smell That the Lord Is Good

June 14, 2011 9:25 AM

Chances are you know of someone who has lost their sight or hearing wholly or in part. Helen Keller could neither hear nor see but found brilliant ways to articulate her experience. Countless other writers and artists have made...

A Horror Film about Childbirth

May 24, 2011 11:19 AM

You could say I'm passionate about birth. I delivered both my children without medication (the second was a water birth) and am trained as a doula. While I'm aware that situations arise that require intervention, even surgery, to keep mother...

A Sketchy Ad from Skechers Shape-Ups

May 20, 2011 11:05 AM

A new ad campaign by Skechers takes its popular Shape-Up sneaker and markets it to girls. Skechers' line of “Shape-Up” sneakers was originally targeted solely to women but now includes men’s and girls' versions. It promises to burn calories, improve...

Food Cleanses and the Integrated Self

May 13, 2011 10:54 AM

We live in a culture obsessed with food. Eating disorders, once the exclusive terrain of adolescent girls, plague populations as diverse as older adults, Orthodox Jewish women, and young men. On the other hand, the nation as a whole is...

Obese and Beautiful

April 14, 2011 11:42 AM

The New York Times recently reported that the West is exporting its ideals of beauty and body size to developing nations, including our stigma against overweight people. We are, it is said, globalizing the “fat stigma.” It appears that...

Keeping Kids Junk-Food Free

April 1, 2011 10:30 AM

Amelia Brown, principal of the William D. Kelley School in Philadelphia, recently called on parents and Operation Town Watch Integrated Services (which helps neighborhoods fight crime and drug deals) to position themselves strategically around corner stores around the school. Their...

Prayers for Japan's Unborn Children

March 21, 2011 9:20 AM

I was a fairly relaxed mother-to-be during each of my three pregnancies. I didn’t even try to follow the overwrought “Best-Odds Diet” popularized by the blockbuster What to Expect When You’re Expecting, for example, preferring my normal, reasonably healthy...

'Mother Teresa of Our Age' Talks to Her.meneutics

March 16, 2011 9:48 AM

Vesicovaginal fistulas (VVFs) and the people who champion their eradication are fascinating. For Dr. L. Lewis Wall’s Christianity Today piece “Jesus and the Unclean Woman,” I spent a lot of time learning about VVFs for the accompanying news article, and...

The Gospel of Grace for Women Who Self-Injure

February 28, 2011 11:00 AM

Self-harm — clinically defined as the deliberate destruction of one's body tissue without suicidal intent, such as cutting, burning, and hair-pulling — is not new. What is new is the proliferation of images and messages through social media that may...

Why Your Church Needs a Dr. Oz

February 15, 2011 4:52 PM

Where do you exercise? Your basement? Your backyard? Your gym? Your church? Browsing the list of weekly programs offered at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, fitness classes and weight-loss support groups are now listed alongside baptism and leadership training classes. Warren...

Blessed Are Those with Alzheimer's

January 14, 2011 10:39 AM

Americans are living longer and longer. For many individuals, this comes as good news, and yet for the larger culture, it brings social change, significant increases in health-care costs, and a higher prevalence of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. According to...

Don't Think Pink

November 22, 2010 11:30 AM

“Why are the comics pink?” my mother wanted to know a few weeks ago, glancing at the Sunday funnies lying on the kitchen table. “Breast cancer,” I explained. Enough said. Anyone who hasn’t been living on Neptune for the past...

Actually, It Takes Much More Than a Village

October 28, 2010 9:49 AM

I picked up Time with trepidation. I’m nearly six months pregnant, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what Annie Murphy Paul had to tell me in her cover story, “How the first nine months shape the rest of...

Mildred Jefferson: 'A Physician, a Citizen, and a Woman'

October 22, 2010 9:43 AM

There are few who can discuss abortion from as many perspectives as those held by Mildred Jefferson — the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and a lifelong pro-life activist, who passed away on October 15 at...

Is Pain Relief a Human Right?

September 23, 2010 6:59 AM

The International Association for the Study of Pain issued a declaration saying it is. People have a right to receive pain relief, without discrimination, via medications and non-medication techniques; to have pain assessed as a vital sign; to be treated...

My Encounter with Mental Illness

August 26, 2010 8:43 AM

My freshman year, I spiraled into a clinical depression triggered by an off-campus move. That semester, my lack of finances required moving from the dorms into an apartment across the street from the university. There, I lived rent-free with a...

Before the Next After-Sex Pill

June 24, 2010 9:55 AM

Medical experts, pro-life advocates, and women’s groups are once again debating the moral questions raised by so-called “morning-after” pills. On June 17, an advisory panel recommended that the FDA approve an emergency contraceptive known as “ella” for prescription use. Ella differs from Plan B,...

When a Daughter Must Parent Her Parents

June 11, 2010 9:29 AM

A few minutes ago I got the news that my daughter’s mother-in-law has stage 4 cancer. I was still staring at the computer screen, trying to digest the information, when a friend forwarded me a report on a Canadian study...

Problems with Do-It-Yourself DNA Tests

May 14, 2010 9:28 AM

After the FDA intervened this week, Walgreens has decided to postpone selling do-it-yourself DNA testing kits in 6,000 of its stores nationwide. The drugstore chain had arranged to sell kits made by Pathway Genomics that promised to reveal your risk...

Yoga: An Exercise in Discernment

April 22, 2010 8:30 AM

About 16 million adults in the United States practice yoga — an increase of 85 percent from 2004 to 2008 — and the Los Angeles Times reports that both Christian and Jewish groups are incorporating the Eastern meditation practice into...

Breastfeed for the Health of the Nation?

April 21, 2010 9:45 AM

A new study published in Pediatrics journal concluded that breastfeeding has major life- and money-saving benefits. The study found that “if 90 percent of U.S. families could comply with the medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, the United...

Joni Eareckson Tada: Health Care Bill Concerns

March 17, 2010 2:08 PM

A few years ago, I helped write a book, How to Be a Christian in a Brave New World, about the bioethical challenges in the 21st century. Today, one of our foremost ethical challenges is how to accomplish health care...

'Femivores' and Food Ethics

March 16, 2010 2:20 PM

If a daily trip to the vegetable patch to harvest vegetables and to the chicken coop to gather eggs means a woman is a femivore, then so be it, though I think the term is rather silly. Historically speaking, folks...

Michelle Obama Tackles Childhood Obesity

March 2, 2010 10:26 AM

As President Obama presided over a seven-hour cross-party debate on health care last week, First Lady Michelle Obama continued to make headlines in the advancement of her latest cause: childhood obesity. In an historic appearance at the annual winter meeting...

Lead in Your Lipstick, Carcinogens in Your Hair Color

March 1, 2010 9:28 AM

My story begins on a plane. All I did was ask the woman next to me for some lotion. Eyes wide, she looked at me like I’d asked for rat poison. She told me she did not use lotion anymore...

A New Frontier in Pro-Life Stem-Cell Research

February 18, 2010 9:24 AM

A team of researchers at Georgia’s health science university, the Medical College of Georgia (MCG), announced last week that they are conducting a clinical trial using stem cells from umbilical-cord blood as a treatment for cerebral palsy. The trial will...

Why I'm Giving Up Counting Calories for Lent

February 17, 2010 9:44 AM

As one of the 40 percent of Americans who makes New Year’s resolutions, in January I started going to a local gym three times a week. Wanting to stay active during Chicago’s long winter, I soon saw those lectures about...

A Walk to Beautiful: A Must-See Film

January 29, 2010 10:44 AM

When a woman endures prolonged labor while giving birth, her bladder or rectal tissue rips or tears, forming a fistula, a hole between her birth passage and internal organs. A simple surgery costing $300 can fix the problem, but...

Facebook and the Amazing Technicolor Bra Update

January 12, 2010 1:33 PM

If you logged on to Facebook last weekend, you might have noticed a barrage of updates naming colors: Blue. Black. Leopard print. None. (Cue sound effects: “Eww, gross!”) The barrage of colors was part of an effort to “spread the...

When Stem Cell Research Isn’t Embryonic

December 22, 2009 10:04 AM

At the conclusion of another year, perhaps we should take a moment to take note of progress in adult stem cell research. Two compelling stories that caught my eye in just the past month took most of 2009 to make...

The Joys of a False Positive

December 8, 2009 11:38 AM

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released recommendations on breast cancer screenings November 16, stating that too many women were given unnecessary tests based on an initial “false positive” mammogram. The task force discouraged women ages 40 to 49 from...

The Day We Let Our Son Live

November 2, 2009 4:28 PM

When it comes to the chance for those with genetic defects to live, the news has not been good on either side of the Atlantic. Last week’s Telegraph reported that of all women in the U.K. who find out through...

Cancer’s Mercies

October 21, 2009 8:20 AM

435 days ago there were meteor showers over Cincinnati. My world was rocked that night, but it had nothing to do with the meteors that my teenage son, Mikey, and I were watching in the wee hours of a sleepy...

U.K. Christian Says Yes to Abstinence, No to Gardasil

September 18, 2009 9:12 AM

Simone Davis, a 17-year-old British immigrant and devout Christian, will be denied U.S. citizenship unless she agrees to a new immigration requirement that she be vaccinated with Gardasil, a compound that targets human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer...

The Case for Male Circumcision

September 10, 2009 10:04 AM

What mother hasn’t, in the halcyon days after the birth of a son, felt her ferocious she-wolf instincts kick in when it comes time for her boy to be circumcised? Having perhaps suffered violence to her genitals during the birth,...

Running in the Shadow of 9/11

August 21, 2009 9:07 AM

I have loved New York City my whole life. By that I mean since I was a preschooler living across the Hudson in North Bergen, New Jersey. Even from the relative distance of the Jersey Shore, where my family moved...

The Urban Chicks Movement

July 24, 2009 9:03 AM

"What are you building?" the cashier asked as we paid for several sheets of plywood and some 2×4s. When we told her she said, "a lot of people are building chicken coops this summer." City ordinances are changing to allow...

Journalists Link Rising Teen Pregnancy Rates to Bush Administration

July 23, 2009 10:02 AM

The rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. rose steadily during the Bush administration, U.K. newspaper The Guardian reported earlier this week. The Centers for Disease Control press release mentions three statistics as "signs that progress...

Breast Cancer and the Bible

July 15, 2009 9:15 AM

Gone are the days when personalizing your Bible meant choosing between a leather or patterned Bible cover. The wide variety of Bibles currently on the market allows for customization based on age, sex, and interest. There are Bibles for teenage...

Top Clothing Lines Downsize Plus-Size Offerings

June 19, 2009 10:26 AM

Women in the market for plus-size clothing may have a harder time finding what they're looking for, according to a recent article at Crain's New York. Several clothing manufactures have trimmed or even eliminated their plus-size offerings, while many have...

The Friendship Boost

June 18, 2009 4:23 PM

"What Makes Us Happy?" It's an eternal mystery, and the title of a fascinating article by Joshua Wolf Shenk in the June Atlantic. Shenk was given access to archives of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which has been...

Is it a Sin to Nip and Tuck?

June 2, 2009 9:33 AM

"Beauty often wins love. It just does," write Karen Lee-Thorp and Cynthia Hicks in Why Beauty Matters. No wonder women and, increasingly, men are willing to endure the pain and risk of elective cosmetic surgery to attain it. New York...

Sonia Sotomayor: 'I Feel Your Pain'

June 1, 2009 9:03 AM

Women: Imagine you've been having problems with pre-menstrual depression or unpleasant menopausal symptoms. Men: Imagine you're having problems that are probably prostate-related, or maybe you're having trouble getting it up. All else being equal (though of course it never is),...

Introducing Julia Duin

May 27, 2009 1:52 PM

I'm very grateful to have been asked to join the list of contributors to Her.meneutics. I have worked as a full-time religion reporter, but I also veer off into related topics, such as a piece I did for Mother's...

What to Do with Smoking Moms

May 27, 2009 9:09 AM

The other day, a friend of mine was telling me about a recent trip she took to the park with her preschoolers. "Two women were sitting on the bench by the slide, chain-smoking," she complained. "They must've gone through an...

When Childbirth Means Risking Your Life

May 26, 2009 8:48 AM

"Pregnancy and childbirth kill more than 536,000 women a year, more than half of them in Africa," writes Denise Grady from Tanzania in the May 24, 2009, New York Times. Her article, "Where Life's Start Is a Deadly Risk," contrasts...

A Weighty Issue

May 15, 2009 11:35 AM

Years of women being taught to develop a positive body image may actually be hurting them. A recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology surveyed 81 Philadelphia-area women who fell along all points on the body mass...

Women Benefit from Health-Care Overhaul

May 6, 2009 8:56 AM

In an attempt to stave off a major federal overhaul of the $2.5 trillion health-care industry, health-insurance companies agreed yesterday to stop insuring women at higher premium rates than they do men. Karen Ignagni, president of the trade group America's...

Nutrition for Nascent Human Life

May 4, 2009 8:43 AM

This is going to sound odd, but I have fond memories of receiving WIC benefits as a young mother. For about two years, I gratefully took advantage of both Medicaid and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants...

Why Melissa Rogers Signed the Health Care Workers Document

April 13, 2009 9:19 AM

Dozens of religious leaders met in Washington with members of Obama's administration last week to go over policy issues. Right before the meetings began, the White House also announced the full Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. One...

Christians Urge Obama to Keep Conscience Clause

April 9, 2009 9:29 AM

Several media are reporting that today's the last day the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will hear arguments against President Obama's intention to rescind the "conscience clause" regulation that former President Bush put into place weeks before...

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