Since my first week at Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), I’ve heard stories from women who have struggled with their faith in God because they were abused by men. These women were emotionally, physically, sexually, and spiritually abused by husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, pastors, or other men close to them. Their abusers believed that Scripture (and therefore God) gave men authority to monitor, manage, and discipline women. Longing to please God, these women submitted to abusive men, regardless of the cost to themselves. Some nearly lost their lives, others went into hiding. All are deeply wounded.
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
As many of you are aware, a particular debate involving the doctrine of the Trinity is causing no little stir in American evangelicalism. This past Thursday (June 16, 2016) Christianity Today even felt it necessary to write a primer on the discussion.
Since my area and career focus is on systematic theology (and gender), I have watched with particular interest but have let others (more seasoned) do the “heavy-lifting.” I also happen to be the moderator for the Evangelicals and Gender Study Group at the annual ETS meeting this October, which is themed “the Trinity.” I did not think this topic would publicly escalate so fast in the months prior to this event, but it apparently has. (So, although I won’t be speaking there, I may be wearing a flak jacket...Read more
Check out a follow-up list of "Four More Sexist Myths That The Church Should Reject."
We’ve all heard them. Stupid jokes and thoughtless comments. Sexist sayings and caricatures. From the pulpit, at the altar, in school, from boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, parents, and friends. People pass off myths as facts and case-by-case examples as universal truth.
Women are like this and men are like that. Women are obnoxious. Men are arrogant. Women are needy and men are emotionally unavailable.
These statements are infused with cultural and gendered assumptions. They have no basis in the gospel and what’s more—they are rooted heavily in socialization. And yet, despite Christians’ pledge to reject unhealthy and sinful cultural messages, these pain...Read more
As I begin, it’s essential that I emphasize that I believe gender-inclusive Bible translation matters much more frequently than seven times. In fact, I have often made the point that the King James Version and the pre-2011 New International Versions each include more than 1,000 occurrences of the words “man” and “men” which are not found in the Greek New Testament.
When I demonstrate that vast numerical discrepancy, I am driving home the point that people who claim that the New Testament has a masculine feel, and claim that gender-inclusive translation tactics do damage to that masculine feel, are expressing a truth about certain English translations, not a truth about the Greek New Testament. That is to say, gender-inclusive translations such as the NRSV,...Read more
When I was in middle school, my favorite comic book character was The Mighty Thor. He was the muscular, hammer-wielding embodiment of strength, fertility, and healing. He was a protector of mankind and a rescuer of underdogs, and I always found that concept attractive. But there was also a measure of rebellion in choosing this particular mythological hero.
It may seem silly, but I thought his most impressive feature was his long, golden hair. I’d been taught that boys and men should not have long hair. For the first time in my young life, I found myself in opposition to a masculine myth.
Mythology is a collection of myths that usually come from cultural or sacred traditions and stories. Like mythology, modern masculinity is a compilation of learned cultural behaviors and stereo...Read more
This is a list based on Peggy McIntosh’s now famous article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” In her article, McIntosh examines how racial privilege impacts her everyday life, expectations, and experiences. Her article inspired others to create “privilege lists” of their own.
So, in this tradition, I’ve decided to create a list of the daily effects of male privilege in the context of the church and Christian community, or the knapsack (backpack) of male privilege. This list seeks to address gender privilege in the Christian sphere, not in the broader world. Based on my observations as a woman and conversations with men, I have constructed a list of conditions that a man can count on at church.
Disclaimer: Factors such as race, g...Read more
Identity foreclosure is a psychological term for the phenomenon in which a person makes premature conclusions about his or her personal identity without a time of exploration and discovery. Identity foreclosure happens when a person adopts the identity of others around them or is forced to accept the identity expectations assumed or given to them.
Identity foreclosure occurs for many reasons. But for me personally, patriarchy and complementarianism drove me to prematurely define myself. Early in my life, pastors, teachers, theologians, Christian books and movies, Bible studies, friends, and Western church culture in general painted a strong, confusing, and often conflicting image of “ideal” biblical womanhood.
As a woman, I learned through spoken and unspoken rules that I...Read more
This is Part 1 in a two-part series on the ten myths we often believe about domestic abuse and the reality checks that prove them wrong. Here are the first five myths. Check out Part 2 and the second half of the list. #DVAM (Domestic Violence Awareness Month)
Most Christians agree that abuse  is wrong. Don’t we? Rarely (it does happen) does anyone decree, at least blatantly, that a person should endure abuse by their partner, and if they do, most of us look reasonably horrified at the suggestion. The majority of Christians agree that abuse should not happen. And yet, abuse continues to happen in our neighborhoods, friendship groups, families, and churches. So, we have to conclude that our theology on abuse is often either misguided, toxic, or both.
Years ago, I se...Read more
I was recently perusing the comments on a blog post by complementarian Tim Bayly. Two female commenters were sparring over feminism’s simultaneous assertions of female strength and female subordination through socialization. The women went back and forth on the supposed contradiction of asserting that women are, by nature, capable of “standing up for themselves” and at the same time, arguing that many women don’t have the tools to do so as a result of patriarchal socialization. The complementarian commenter felt that feminists contradict themselves by saying that women are strong, but arguing at the same time that they are still victimized by patriarchy. I was sad to see this argument leveled like a feminist Catch-22—like it is the trivia question that egalita...Read more