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I was in the lunch room with my friends. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of seven months—a big deal for a seventeen year-old. I was consumed with all the awkwardness that comes with figuring out who to sit with at the lunch table now that the relationship has ended. An annoying teenage boy voice interrupted my inner monologue: “He broke up with you, because you wouldn’t let him kiss you, didn’t he?” Tears in my eyes, I picked up my lunch tray and walked away, defeated. There was no way around it. I was the know-it-all virgin who wouldn’t give boys what they wanted, and would probably die a virgin in a house full of cats. No, not cats. Dogs. I didn’t like cats. A year later, I met the man who would eventually become my husband.... Read more
For years, the Proverbs 31 woman has been held over the heads of women in the church, a caricature of singular perfection—making them feel inadequate and less than holy. “Look at all the things this woman does!” books and Bible teachers remind women. “Why can’t you do those things, too?” they ask. Many Christian women have been hurt and diminished by stereotype-driven, culture-biased presentations of the Proverbs 31 figure. Is it any wonder, then, that many women have come to dislike this chapter so much? I believe, however, that it is possible to go beyond the stereotypes and impossible standards of "biblical" womanhood to redeem the truth of this passage—without adding an additional burden onto women’s shoulders. "An excel... Read more
My friend’s father is a godly man. She credits him, along with her mother, with the development of her Christian faith. Yet, this amazing example of faith is often not validated or welcomed by the body of Christ. Even worse, he cannot be “at home” with himself and his gifts in the church. Here’s why: Her father is a man with creative and artistic gifts. He has expressed these through many vocations—in creative advertising, as a talented painter, and even as a wedding planner. His paint creations and wedding designs are exquisite and help tell a beautiful story. They provoke emotion and delight. I remember when I graduated from seminary, my friend gave me one of her father’s works. In the painting, a man and woman walk along a beautiful pathway through... Read more