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Marriage and Family

When my brother and his wife announced their unexpected pregnancy, my family was shocked. My brother and his now wife have been together for fourteen years, got engaged in January, and married in June. A whole two months later, the couple announced that they were expecting a baby. Timing is a strange thing in their world, and given that they are both almost forty years old, we were rightly shocked. But after the shock wore off, excitement settled in. I immediately felt a strong protectiveness over this new life. I began to think about the sex of the baby and how that might affect the baby's life and experiences. A month later, I received a phone call from my parents, brother, and sister-in-law, all screaming into the telephone, "it's a girl!" I was convinced that... Read more
Recently, Pastor Peter Jones wrote the following tweet: “Conservative mothers whether biological or ‘mothers’ in the church are often a great hindrance to the cultivation of true masculinity.” He then decided to clarify the tweet with this blog post, which I find incredibly insulting to both men and women. His argument should signal a red flag to anyone who follows church leaders who hold these opinions.  In it, he claims that conservative women, while appearing to do everything “right,” are primarily responsible for the stunted masculinity of their sons. In his view, the submission of wives and their seeming respect for their husbands is simply a show for outsiders. Their husbands go along with this charade, knowing they are being manipulated by... Read more
“He’s kicking.” Few words can elicit as much excitement from me these days. A few times a day, my sister rests her hand on her stomach and proclaims my new favorite phrase, “He’s kicking.” I try to wait patiently, hoping she’ll grab my hand and place it over the offending limb. Sure enough, when she does, the baby is kicking away. Or dancing. Or boxing. Or finishing up a tough session of power yoga. It’s a strong kick, sure and steady. To me, it feels a bit like a warning. It’s like the siren before a tornado. Here I come, people. I’m a force of nature. It’s going to be beautiful, and a little bit scary, and you can be sure that I’m going to make a mess. Can’t wait, little one. My sister usuall... Read more
Before I met my husband, I was adamantly opposed to marriage. Much of my aversion to marriage stemmed from the lack of positive earthly examples of it. Because of the brokenness around me, marriage simply did not appeal to me. As a college student, I was indoctrinated with complementarian theology and surrounded by relationships that reflected it. In my Christian community, men were eager to enforce their so-called God-ordained leadership, and women filled their patriarchal (but ambiguously defined) “biblical role.” I saw power struggles, manipulation, passive-aggressiveness, gender jokes, and abuse in the relationships around me and that skewed my perception of marriage. I thought to myself—if what I have been taught is true, and if this is what marriage is suppose... Read more
There we were. My friend and I were drinking coffee, talking about our days, enjoying each other’s company—and then she used a phrase that makes me cringe. My friend, a bright, assertive, and strong leader in our church, referred to her husband as the "priest of the home." In the Old Testament, the Levites served as priests, and their job was threefold—to carry the presence of God with them, to worship God, and to pronounce blessing on their people. They were the spiritual elite. They went into the presence of God on behalf of those deemed unworthy. But Jesus turned the system upside down with his death on the cross. When he breathed his last, the veil separating common man and God’s presence tore from top to bottom, giving everyone equal access and... Read more
Complementarians confidently assert that husbands are the God-ordained leaders of their families. As leaders, they have the right and responsibility to make final decisions in the home. I will refer to this husbandly right as the "last word clause." The "last word clause" is usually derived from verses naming the husband as the head of the wife or verses that command the wife to submit to her husband. But interpreting these passages as granting husbands greater authority in marriage than wives undermines the basic equality of all believers found in Scripture. In the New Testament, husbands are clearly told to love their wives. By contrast, they are never told to lead their wives. With this in mind, let’s consider what 1 Corinthians 13, perhaps the most speci... Read more
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” –Jesus I can almost hear the irritation in Jesus’ voice and see it in his face when I read this passage. In today’s language, we might say that he “face palmed” when the disciples shooed away the little children who wanted to play with him, kids who wanted a kind word or funny story from the famous rabbi.  How would it look for the rabbi, the prophet, the up-and-coming teacher from Nazareth, to have a bunch of dirty kids running around him, hanging on his legs, and making silly faces? Simply improper. Unprofessional. Undignified. The disciples cared about appearances. They couldn’t have this image of Jesus’ min... Read more
Editor's Note: This ongoing series of articles entitled, "My Awesome Egalitarian Husband: #LoveGrowsMutuality" was inspired by blogger Rachel Heston Davis, who shared her and her husband's story here and invited other egalitarian women to do the same. As I wrote this article, I was en route to a conference for Air Force Reserve chaplains. Only three hours before, I received a call from my baby's pre-school. They informed me that my daughter was running a fever and needed to go home. I rushed to pick her up, take her to the pediatrician, and drop her and her antibiotics prescription off with my husband so I could get to the airport in time to catch my flight.  I had one foot out the door when my husband, Ryan, stopped me and reminded me to calm dow... Read more
Once in a while it makes me cringe. Occasionally, I argue the point in the rather limited space of a comment box on Facebook. As you can tell, most recently, it has prompted me to write this article for the Scroll. Maybe I should quit taking it so seriously, but it bothers me when people state, as if it were an indisputable fact, that mothers “just have an instinct” when it comes to caring for their children. It’s not that there is no instinct. There might be. I admit I don’t know a lot about the biology that underlies instinctive behavior. But I do know that instinct is too often assumed to be the reason women “just know” what to do for a crying infant or a fussy preschooler when, more times than not, we women don’t have a clue the first sev... Read more
A recent blog post on the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's website titled, "Soap Bubbles Submission," caught my attention for a number of reasons. I want to respond to the author's understanding of submission as expressed in the article. The author, Martha Peace, recounts her struggle to submit to her husband in the small, daily tasks of marriage (specifically in rinsing soap completely out of glasses—the bubbles referred to in the title). But before I look at the question of submission in marriage, I want to address Peace's opening paragraphs on the sovereignty of God. Peace describes her struggles as a new, adult Christian with issues like the problem of evil and Ephesians' command for wives to submit. Her solution to these theological is... Read more

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