Friday, December 09, 2005

"monstrous" woman of the week

Welcome to the ninth in a series of biographical sketches that I plan to publish on Fridays. The title of “monstrous” has been given to these women as a rebuke to those who have labeled all women who do not follow their agenda for women as “monstrous.”

These entries will briefly tell about women I believe have done many things to further the cause of Christ in America, and some even around the world, and have maintained a godly femininity while doing so. They will be women whose choices in life have also disqualified them from being given the godly woman status in some of today’s hyper-patriarchal circles, though the hypocrisy certainly has escaped some of these list keepers! Hence, the title of “monstrous” has been given to these women as a rebuke to those who have labeled all women who do not follow their stifling agenda for women as “monstrous.”

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy! Oh, and feel free to emulate.

This week's "monstrous" woman is Joni Eareckson Tada, a woman who has inspired several generations through her testimony of God's faithfulness to her in the midst of overwhelming personal struggle. Not only has she been an example in her own life, but God has used her mightily to teach and instruct both men in women as the body of Christ seeks to minister to those with physical limitations.

Disabled at the age of 17 in a diving accident, Joni Eareckson Tada found the strength and courage to live as a quadriplegic by relying on the unfailing love of Jesus Christ. During two years rehabilitation, she learned to paint using a brush held between her teeth.

Today she is an internationally known mouth-artist, author, speaker and radio host. She founded 'Joni and Friends' to offer hope to hurting people by sharing her own experiences. Above all, she is an enthusiastic and highly effective advocate for those with disabilities.

Her first name is recognized in many countries of the world due to her best-selling books, including her autobiography Joni. World Wide Pictures’ full-length feature film JONI, in which Joni recreated her own life, has been translated into numerous languages and shown in scores of countries around the world.

Joni’s role as advocate for disabled persons led to a presidential appointment to the National Council on Disability for three and a half years, during which time the Americans with Disabilities Act became law.

Through her work with Joni and Friends, she records a five-minute radio program, "Joni and Friends," which is heard daily on over 700 station outlets as well as raising disability awareness. Joni is a sought-after conference speaker both in the U.S. and internationally. She is also a columnist for Moody Monthly magazine.

Joni serves on several boards, including the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization as a senior associate for evangelism among disabled persons. She also serves in an advisory capacity to the American Leprosy Mission, the National Institute on Learning Disabilities, Love and Action, Christian Blind Mission International and as a Trustee of the Riverside Foundation.

Joni was named "Churchwoman of the Year" in 1993 by the Religious Heritage Foundation. She was the first woman to be honored by the National Association of Evangelicals as their "Layperson of the Year." She has received the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award, the Courage Award of the Courage Rehabilitation Center, the Award of Excellence from the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, the Victory Award from the National Rehabilitation Hospital and the Golden Word Award from the International Bible Society. Joni holds an honorary Bachelor of Letters from Western Maryland College, an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Gordon College and in March of 1998, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Columbia University, the first honorary doctorate bestowed in their 75 year old history.

The author of 27 books, her best-selling and award-winning works cover topics ranging from disability outreach to reaching out to God. They include All God's Children, Friendship Unlimited: How to Help Your Disabled Friend, Glorious Intruder, Secret Strength, A Quiet Place in a Crazy World, Diamonds in the Dust, More Precious Than Silver, and A Christmas Longing, which includes reproductions of her best-loved Christmas paintings. The Life and Death Dilemma addresses the tough issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide. She explores the nature of Heaven in Heaven, Your Real Home. When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty, is co-authored by long-time friend and mentor, Steve Estes. Mrs. Tada has also written several well-received children's books, including two that have received awards. Tell Me The Promises received the EP Gold Medallion and a Silver Medal in the C.S. Lewis Medal Awards in 1997, and Tell Me The Truth received the EP Gold Medallion in 1998. Her most recent books include Holiness in Hidden Places, You've Got a Friend and Prayers From a Child's Heart, O Worship the King, a book and CD set done in collaboration with Dr. John MacArthur and Robert and Bobbie Wogemuth, was just released in October 2000.

Joni and her husband Ken have been married since 1982. Ken is a high school teacher and a member of the Board of Directors of Joni and Friends. The lovely Christmas cards you see displayed in this article can be purchased at Joni and Friends.


At 4:10 PM, Blogger Mark Epstein said...

I couldn't agree more with your rebuke of the "patriarchy on steroids" movement. Some of the leaders of said movement state, imply, etc., that any woman's role in the church is "non-normative." If so, then Timothy was non-normative, and we should dismiss any and all young men from the pastorate immediately. Christ liberated women, giving them protection from being divorced (literally) for what amounted to burnt toast, through the correct, God-ordained reason for divorce (infidelity). Most importantly, however, Christ returned to mankind the Father's intent on the husband-wife relationship: servant leadership by a husband who took the wise counsel of the woman God Almighty gave him as a gift. Keep on writing about these wonderful "monsters" that truly tame us "beasts"!


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