Arise: the official blog of CBE International. Mobilizing Christians for biblical gender equality

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Bitches Bunnies Chicks Heifers Vixens Shrews Women Are you offended by anything in the above list? If so, why? Is it the mention of a certain derogatory term for women that also means “female dog”? Is it the implication that women are less than human and belong in the category of animals?  Without a doubt, this list is provocative. Many of you are probably wondering how it is connected to the subject of this article: male-headship theology. Allow me to explain. Before an individual or society can effectively discriminate against, exploit, disempower, abuse, and sometimes even kill another individual or people group, the oppressor must first establish superiority over the target. Oppression is generally justified by the “confirmed” inferiority of... Read more
In recent years, we American evangelicals have struggled more than ever to manage our “image.” In 2016 alone, significant numbers of abused women and children have exposed one prominent evangelical leader after another. These evangelical leaders have betrayed the trust of thousands who invested in their theology and leadership, leaving a trail of victims in their wake.[1] And instead of denouncing this abuse and giving victims a voice, evangelicals have consistently allowed perpetrators to resume their positions of prominence as speakers and leaders on evangelical platforms. Religious patriarchy has fueled the devaluation, marginalization, and abuse of girls and women globally.[2] For too long, we evangelical Christians have colluded with the powerful and failed to challenge... Read more
Babies love contrasting colors, repetition, and music. Some brilliant people realized this attraction and created baby sensory videos. My granddaughter has a few favorites. One of them is set to classical music and begins with a black background and a bird dropping a seed. Then, a rain cloud comes and waters the seed. A tree grows, and the cycle of seasons begins: a fruitful tree becomes an autumn tree, which becomes a wintery, snow-covered tree, which becomes a springtime, blossoming tree, which becomes a fruitful tree. This repeats over and over again. One of my daughters recently commented about her niece, “You can actually see on the baby’s face when she is learning something, processing something.” And, this is true! You can see, on her face, in her eyes, and i... Read more
Recently, I received a couple of e-mails from a few well-meaning friends suggesting that I tone it down with social media posts advocating for women in ministry. These friends suggested that my posts cause tension, make the church look bad, and turn people away from attending church. I took their words to heart, prayed, and pondered them for some time. I asked myself, do these posts truly have a negative effect on the church, or do some Christians mistakenly believe that advocating for women in ministry disrupts church unity? As a former lead pastor and a fairly new advocate for women in ministry, I hear many unfounded myths like this about the inclusion of women in church leadership. Let’s explore some of those myths. Myth #1: Advocating for women in ministry will turn people... Read more
When I was a senior in high school, I engaged in a one-woman feud with the football team and school administrators after the opening night of our musical was cancelled to accommodate a conference championship football game. My brother, a sophomore on the football team, told me that the seniors were complaining about me in the locker room. He said they were insulting me and saying all kinds of awful things. To this day, almost 11 years later, he still refuses to tell me what they said—it was that bad. So when a candidate for the President of the United States dismisses the seriousness of bragging about sexually assaulting women as mere “locker room talk,” I can’t help but think back to high school. The locker room is this male-only space where (apparently) men... Read more
Have you ever been to a really great party? And have you ever found yourself, days later, replaying powerful conversations with friends and coworkers, thankful for the strong community they represent? That’s how the CBE team felt after laboring alongside colleagues in South Africa and Kenya for two weeks during the “Truth Be Told” conferences. Eight days of events made one thing clear: God intends to heal communities writhing under patriarchy and gender-based violence (GBV). I invite you to celebrate God’s faithfulness throughout our journey, beginning on our flight to Johannesburg.   We were seated near a young couple traveling with their first child—a beautiful newborn baby whose very presence enthralled both parents! Throughout our 16 hour f... Read more
A few months ago, a guest speaker at my church spoke on the Christian obligation to fight and end human trafficking. And his conclusion was right. Christians should be the loudest voices against human trafficking. I happily lend mine to the fight to eradicate the global slave trade. And yet, in his sermon on fighting human trafficking, the well-intentioned male speaker used the following flawed biblical example to illustrate his point. The man explained that just as Uriah lost Bathsheba to the whims of a powerful king, so female victims of trafficking lose their freedom to men. Perhaps you also see the problem and inconsistency of this comparison. The male speaker, in seeking to correct a global injustice against women, reinforced an age-old patriarchal concept—that crimes a... Read more
Tim Krueger
Marriage is one of the most-written about topics among Christians. Rarely is it written about well. Katherine Willis Pershey is one of the few writers up to the task. Her new book, Very Married: Field Notes on Love and Fidelity, stands out among Christian marriage books for its depth, style, and vulnerability. She wrestles with the difficulties of marriage with honesty and humor, and her love of marriage itself shines through. Cracking open Very Married, I was a bit surprised. It was not a “Christian marriage book” as I expected. It didn’t go through the different aspects and challenges of marriage with lessons, tips, and exercises, neatly tying each to a biblical principle or Bible verse. Rather, it is a memoir. Its twenty chapters do touch on many of the classically... Read more
I am a woman called to minister as a pastor in the body of Christ. My ministry journey is layered with men who called out my pastoral gifting and stoked the fire of my ministry. I find it especially sweet that the loudest voices of affirmation for my work are brothers who regularly cheer me on. They speak life to me. Their words breathe the oxygen of perseverance into my lungs when the journey seems impossible. They are my band of brothers. Here are just a few of their contributions to my ministry I think of one dear brother that I served with in my first ministry job as an intern. Pastoral ministry was not in my purview. It was a new idea to me since I had grown up in conservative churches where men did all of the leading. This brother said something to me that I never forgot. He... Read more
Sometimes sexism is harsh, blatant, and outrageous. And sometimes it’s none of those things. There are blatant forms of sexism as well as more subtle forms of sexism. The latter can make women feel a little crazy when they attempt to point it out, because people tend to minimize experiences with subtle sexism as harmless or misinterpreted. Subtle sexism is often much harder to spot than explicit discrimination, but we as the church need to get better at identifying it. Examples of subtle sexism include: A woman shares a good idea in a church meeting and it’s ignored, but a man at the table says the exact same thing and it’s suddenly celebrated as the best idea ever. A woman points out inconsistencies in how she is being treated in the church, but is told that she... Read more