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It was my first year of seminary. I looked over the worksheet our spiritual development professor had just handed out. “Place the amount of time you spend on each activity in the blank beside it.” Quickly, I scanned the listed activities. Sermon prep. Check. Studying. Check. Visitation. Well, I didn’t really do that. No check. I kept scanning, then slowly raised my hand. “Ah, where are the blanks for making dinner? Cleaning the house? Childcare?” Silence. “Shopping?” A couple clear—if immediately checked—snorts rose from the men in class. They had been busily filling out their forms. To ask that question had never occurred to them. Most clearly didn’t want it to occur to them. “Well, I guess, maybe you could put that under... Read more
Constance Phelps
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:4–7, NIV) There isn’t a better or more beautiful explanation of what I wanted to both give and receive in my marriage. I had spent my life aching, consciously and unconsciously, for the relationship that could follow this North Star of decency and dependability—note how “always” is repeated in the passage. So, how did I end up in a marriage that was the exact opposite? The traditional, passive Christian and... Read more
Welcomed with handclapping and glee, the demeaning of women and people of color was celebrated on the platform and by attendees at the recent Truth Matters Conference. Leading the way was John MacArthur, a mega-church pastor, radio personality, and seminary teacher. His diatribe against women began as MacArthur offered two words that came to mind when he thought of Beth Moore. With impunity he said, “Go home!” His remarks provoked not silence from the audience but laughter and applause. The African American theologian, professor, and author, Dr. Voddie Baucham, was also criticized. In explaining Baucham’s absence on the panel, the moderator said he was too exhausted to participate, that “he’s not here because... he’s weak, is what it is. He’s weak.... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of the Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winners. [Domestic violence and spiritual abuse trigger warning] “I want you to come into the church and have a meeting with me and the elders, so we can tell you God’s plan for your marriage,” said the pastor as we spoke on the phone. Did I hear him right? He was going to tell me God’s plan? God and I had already discussed it. I knew what I had to do. Let me go back. I suffered over eighteen years in a marriage to an abusive man. I had experienced every form of abuse there was: psychological, emotional, physical, sexual, and more. The abuse started even before we were married, but I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Constantly wanting to know where I was and who I was with was not... Read more
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

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