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Editor's Note: This is one of the Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! Standing in an old church with a red prayer book in my hands, the voices of the small number of worshippers seemed to magically fill the high, vaulted ceilings. I had recently moved and was visiting Episcopal churches searching for a good fit. Each week, I crossed my forehead, lips, and heart as the priest read the gospel in the middle of the sanctuary. Each week, I took communion with strangers who I recognized as spiritual siblings. And each week, we recited the Nicene Creed. ... We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, she is worshiped and glorified. (emphasis added) I felt all the breath go out of my lungs and tear... Read more
For egalitarians, the book of Judges clearly demonstrates God’s approval of women leaders. From Deborah to Jael, women lead the way in these passages. They demonstrate persistence and courage when others, including men, do not. Yet many who view women’s leadership as unbiblical dismiss the pattern of God-affirmed female authority in Judges. They attempt to dismiss Deborah and Jael as flukes or necessary concessions due to lack of available male leaders. But the text doesn’t support this erasure. In fact, the text depicts women in dynamic, authoritative roles. So, what should we say when someone dismisses women’s leadership in Judges? Let’s look at the passage: “And a woman named Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.... Read more
This August, CBE International held its third annual writing contest! We received many quality, insightful submissions, making our job of picking just fifteen winners very difficult. We’d like to thank all the gifted writers who participated. Thank you for being brave, vulnerable, and gutsy with your stories and insights. Thank you for speaking hard truths in a world where easy answers and comfort are often preferred. Thank you for being way-criers for peace, healing, justice, equality, and freedom. We honor your gifts, stories, and courage. You’ll see the contest winners published on our website in the coming months along with other amazing entries! Congratulations to our top fifteen winners (in no particular order): 1. Mikaela Bell Mikaela Bell was born and r... Read more
1 Peter 3 is a tricky passage. It’s often been twisted to pressure abused women to stay with their husbands as a sign of submission. But this passage is not meant to subject women to fear or violence. Rather, the passage is supposed to encourage primary loyalty to Christ, not to husbands. So, what should you say when someone tries to use 1 Peter 3 to suggest that wives should endure abuse to win over husbands? The Purpose of 1 Peter The situation of 1 Peter is a crisis—the persecution of the church (1 Pet 4:12). Slander and suffering are major themes in this letter. 1 Peter also teaches that Jesus is in authority over all things. Suffering can have dignity because the all-powerful Christ suffered on the cross and rose. However, human suffering doesn’t accomplish red... Read more
Colossians 3:7-17 is often misinterpreted and weaponized to keep women in submission and bolster sexist teachings in the modern church. Rather than viewing this text as a reframing of unjust social structures like patriarchy and slavery—as Paul intended—many interpret it as endorsing those oppressive systems. Women are told to submit themselves to their husbands, and the sentiment is also mirrored in Ephesians. Yet a closer look at both passages indicates that Paul did not intend to condone existing power disparities, but to reframe flawed earthly systems through a gospel lens. So, what should we say when someone says wives are to submit to husbands, and that Paul endorsed patriarchy in his letters? Let’s begin by comparing the Colossians text to its counterpart in Ephes... Read more
Summer is over and school is (or is about to be) back in session! For many moms and dads around the US, the end of summer break is something to celebrate. It means a new routine for families and exciting experiences and opportunities for students, especially first-time students. Sending our kids to school should be a joyous thing. In school, children learn positive lessons about agency, pride, respect, loyalty, creativity, independence, and friendship. But school can also be a place where children learn or experience negative things—like sexism and body shame. It's important to let go and give kids space to learn and grow, but parents should also make sure they’ve prepared their children to be safe, healthy, and successful at school. All parents—and especially egali... Read more
Several years ago, dark spots began to bloom on the second and fourth knuckles of my hands. They didn’t hurt, but looked like deep bruises, like I’d one-two punched a wall with both fists. My therapist, knowing I was struggling to parent my teen sons, wondered if I would willingly share what happened to my hands, her query suggesting that maybe I’d let my sublimated rage venture too far. Visits to separate dermatologists turned up nothing: the first did a biopsy which yielded no results; the second diagnosed the spots as “knuckle pads.” My mom, misunderstanding what I’d said about the diagnosis, told people I had contracted a case of “gorilla knuckles.” Turns out, a bad bout of gorilla knuckles can cause significant shame. I quickly learned... Read more
Some people believe that 1 Corinthians 7 means that husbands are entitled to sex and wives have an obligation to supply it. But the text, properly interpreted, doesn't support that argument. In fact, it opposes it. Let's take a look: Now concerning the matters you wrote about: 'It is good for a man not to touch a woman.'  But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his duty to the wife, and likewise the wife to the husband. The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but the husband, and likewise the husband does not exercise authority over his own body, but the wife. Do not deprive each other, unless by mutual consent—for a time, so that you might have leisu... Read more
Camden Morgante
Recently I wrote an article titled “Egalitarian From the Start: Practical Tips for Engagements and Weddings.” The article covered ideas like going ring shopping together, re-wording some traditional parts of the wedding ceremony, and making newlywed life decisions together. However, I did not address one of the biggest life changes and challenges for many couples: having children. When it comes to pregnancy and the early stages of parenting, biology works against us. Try as we might, there is no way to equally share the joys and struggles of carrying a child, giving birth, and breastfeeding. When my husband and I were ready to grow our family, I wondered how we would be able to maintain our nontraditional gender roles and split work equally. As a psychologist, I was familiar... Read more
Folks, it’s the most wonderful time of the year—CBE’s annual writing contest. This contest is designed to give those passionate about biblical gender equality/egalitarian theology/Christian feminism an opportunity to share their stories and insights. We can’t wait to hear from you! We’ve also got more great prizes this year! Winners: Get published with us Win a $20 Amazon gift card Win copy of Natasha Sistrunk Robinson’s new book with InterVarsity Press: A Sojourner’s Truth Get a free year-long subscription to CBE’s award-winning Mutuality magazine Topics: We want to hear from you on one of these seven topics! Each broad topic includes a series of bullet point prompts to help you understand the intent o... Read more