In the media

Ons Streekblad, Waterland 07-010-’04
…Now Miek has recorded her struggle and feelings in her book ‘My Heaven on Earth’. It is a very personal story of the experiences and the emotions of the family, the members of which can scarcely keep up with Miek’s pace.
Miek: ‘In the book I describe how I grew from a very religious Roman Catholic life to a non-believing existance. Or: from a life with heaven in prospect, to a life in which I have to find my heaven on earth. Against my own better judgement I still hope that the church will understand and accept women better in the near future, and that women’s role in the church will improve. I have become allergic to the thesis the man being the radiation of God and the woman being the radiation of the man.’ Jaap Tol

Prettig Weekend, 14-10-’04
…It must have been about 1985 that Miek Olsthoorn-van Rest read a book, titled Sexism and God-Talk, written by the American theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether. This work turned her life completely topsy-turvy… ‘You could almost say that this book became my new bible. A number of things that had been veiled in mysterious darkness, so far, became clear to me at once. Thanks to that American woman it struck me very quickly that in the bible almost exclusively men occur. It also turns out the bible is written by men. The role of a woman in it is absolutely minimal. Priestesses do not occur in the bible, though they positively did occur in prehistoric times. Why is their role ignored so completely?. I even fell ill of it. The ground sank from beneath my Roman Catholic foundation.’ Boudewijn Weehuizen

Noord-Hollands Dagblad, 22-10-’04
…Church and belief revolt her more and more and on a Sunday, when she hears addressing Paul again to men only in his epistle, then she cuts the Gordian knot: the woman, once having been more Roman Catholic than the pope, pushes off her belief.
‘In that period I was liable of sleeplessness and I had been ailing for it almost a year.’
And now, fifteen years later there is the book. In the first instance it was meant for Dirk only, and not for publication. ‘But after having finished it I spoke about it with a lot of people, and they told me I should find a publisher. And I should not mind doing it either. I wanted to disseminate that the role of a woman in the Roman Catholic Church is not equivalent to the man. The man decides on the woman in the name of God? I can’t and I won’t believe that.’ Paul Gutter

Dagblad van het Noorden, 20-11- ’04
…It was not till she came in touch with feminism that she really got loose from God. She learnt then that in the beginning of human existence the Goddess and the woman were paramount. ‘But in times of the ten commandments of Moses it changed. The man came more into the picture, self-styled himself a king and decided that God was a man. The woman was exiled from the temple. So it still is. And worse than that: very recently the pope called feminism a big danger to the church.’
She complained to God of men who wanted to have more and more power, but soon she blamed God for it: ‘Why didn’t God create the human beings better than he did; more perfect? If God can manage that in heaven is a place where everybody is happy and immortal, why doesn’t he take care of it on earth?’ Olsthoorn-van Rest arrived at the conclusion that there could not exist a God who had done his job so badly. Gerton Albers

Coevorden Huis Aan Huis, 22-10-’04
…It was a heavy decision with sweeping consequences. Also in her family a new role model was effected after a lot of struggle. In the end, husband Nico, the ex Franciscan father, also distanced himself from his faith. Daughter Hester did not. She has Down Syndrome and is still very religious. ‘Understandable, for she had drunk it with her mother’s milk. We just have to find the right way to deal with it. Hester loves Jesus so much. We are not going to deprive her of it.’
Her son Dirk (teacher at a Secondary School), who did not frequent the church from his fourteenth, had surprisingly a lot of trouble with his parents’ transformation. Miek promised him to put on paper all her considerations, so that he would be able to read and digest it quietly. In the end that promise has lead to her book, which she dedicated to Dirk. Michiel Commandeur

Het Nieuwe Stadsblad, Schiedam, 06-04-’05
…Author Miek Olsthoorn-van Rest arrived at the conclusion, as time went by, that God does not exist. ‘He doesn’t exist!” it roared in my head.’ At the same time Miek realised that she would lose her faith if she admitted to that thought. ‘Here I stand, I can’t do otherwise.’ she thought. And then she came at peace. For if there is no God, then you can’t blame him for anything, you need not be angry with him, then he can’t be blamed for misery, injustice and torture.
In My Heaven on Earth Miek Olsthoorn-van Rest does not spare herself, nor her husband (patriarchal traits), nor her son Dirk (macho behaviour).
The book also contains inserts of her dairy notes, as well as the notes of ex-priest Olsthoorn. Nans Wolters

Fier , periodical for women, religion, spirituality, October ’05
… From a feministic point of view, the 2nd part, ‘It cries to Heaven’, comes to a head on the complaint that the Creator gave women painful, bodily characteristics. Miek and her husband find liberation, among others, in the history of the big bang and of the evolution.
…What makes it worth while in particular is the originality of the questions and answers, as a motor to reconsider one’s own answers. Joanne Seldenrath