Recommending: An Open Letter to Catherine Deveny by Jane Douglas
During the past year I’ve had the great privilege of coming to know and love (in a strictly NON-Biblical sense) the amazing Jane Douglas. Jane is a writer, an editor, an artist, a photographer, an ex-wife, a mother of seven (yes, seven!), a student and a gay rights campaigner. She is, quite simply, an amazing, intelligent, articulate, feisty, switched on woman.
The story of Jane’s life is both bizarre and gruelling. It will be some time before Jane is ready to tell her whole story, but, oh, I do look forward to that day!
When I first heard just a little of Jane’s history I can vividly remember saying, “Fuck me dead, Jane!”
I also recall that she wrote back to me saying, “Do you know how nice it is to have friends who say ‘fuck me dead’?”
You see, for 20 years, Jane was involved in the Quiverfull sect. It’s cultish but members attend mainstream churches so Jane’s religious life was not spent in some weirdo Waco-like compound. She has wide experience of the kinds of churches that everyday Aussie Christians attend.
As Jane explained to me, in Quiverfull, rather than the ‘church‘ being the cult, each family is its own little cult. Adhering to the kind of marriage Archbishop Jensen advocated on Q&A this week, in a Quiverfull marriage, the husband is the head of the household and the wife is submissive (hence the seven kids!)
Watching Q&A on Monday night ignited some pretty unpleasant memories for Jane and, after reading my blog post, she felt compelled to write to Catherine Deveny. Jane CC’d me in on her email to Dev and, because her letter was so powerful both Catherine and I encouraged her to share it publicly – providing she was comfortable in doing so. In fact, as soon as I read it, I rang Jane and said, “You HAVE to publish this!”
And so, last night Jane published “An Open Letter to Catherine Deveny” on her blog, Putting Her Oar In.
I note that someone who has already read Jane’s post has just tweeted: “WOW! – in the fullest appreciation & amazement that “WOW!” was invented for”
That was pretty much my own reaction.
Why? Because apart from being an excellent writer, Jane’s past experience gives her a unique perspective on the dynamics between Jensen and Deveny on Monday night. While some of us thought Jensen’s demeanor was oddly ‘creepy’ it was hard to put a finger on just what was going on between them that made (some) of us so uncomfortable. Dev has written about feeling that he was pure evil. (I must admit to having the same visceral reaction to Cardinal Pell!)
I’ll say no more, but simply recommend that you read Jane’s take on what might have been going on on Monday night. It’s certainly something that most of us would have been oblivious to but Jane makes a compelling case ….
Please read and enjoy the work of a brilliant, new, emerging writer – my friend, Jane Douglas.