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Josiane Ngongang
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winner. Enjoy! “Healthy” is not exactly the adjective I would match with the word “sexuality,” especially when it comes to the ways the church and Christians have portrayed and lived out what we believe about sex these past few centuries. According to Scripture, I believe God’s desire for a healthy sexuality means that sex is reserved for a woman and a man within the safe boundary of marriage. Healthy sexuality is also chaste, for both single and married people. The church has called all Christians to faithfulness, and in relation to sexuality this means abstinence for singles and fidelity for those in marriage. God’s plan for healthy sexuality also requires that sex in marriage is a mutual and rec... Read more
Lauren Gross Blanco
I was a teenager when I first heard my male pastor preach about the woman “subject to bleeding,” as she is often called by various Bible translations. Her story wasn’t new to me, but I still remember my face growing hot and how I shifted nervously on the pew when my pastor announced that this woman had her period—he euphemistically called it her “womanly issues.” It was a sudden revelation to me to realize this story I had heard several times before was speaking about the unmentionable Aunt Flo. A person, in the Bible of all places, was “on the rag,” and I felt extremely awkward about that. Probably because my pastor was uncomfortable talking about it. Probably because my culture had conditioned me not to talk to men about my own “woman... Read more
Sarah Lindsay
March is Women’s History Month, which means it’s time for my fellow history nerds to get excited about some of our favorite women of the past. One of my (many) favorites is Hild (or Hilda) of Whitby, an abbess in seventh-century England whose reputation for wisdom and piety still shines through the centuries. Hild was born in 614 in the court of her great-uncle, Edwin, who ruled the kingdom of Northumbria (in modern-day northern England and southern Scotland). In 625, when Hild was about eleven, Edwin married Æthelburh, a Christian princess from Kent (southeast England). Northumbria was as yet unconverted to Christianity, but Æthelburh was allowed to keep her faith and bring along her chaplain, a man named Paulinus. Paulinus, no doubt aided by Æthelburh, set... Read more
Young Thecla sat in her dark jail cell with rats as her only company. She was startled when the jailer suddenly appeared with his burning torch and fumbled with the keys that hung from his belt. He unlocked her cell door and led her down several corridors with large cages containing lions, bulls, and other fearsome animals, which would eventually be released to kill their victims in the arena. When they finally turned the corner and arrived at the last passageway, the woman could see a bright light shining ahead. The sound of a roaring crowd grew louder as she and the guard stepped closer to a rusty iron gate at the end of the tunnel. As soon as the gate opened, she felt the guard push her outside into the arena. She winced as the glaring Roman sunlight burned her face. In Thecla’s... Read more
Editor’s Note: Trigger Warning. Descriptions of domestic violence appear in this article. International Women’s Day arrives every year on March 8, but has anything changed for women since last year’s International Women’s Day? I ask this question because in Australia we are reeling under the shock of the horrific murders of Hannah Clarke (31) and her three young children, Aaliyah (6), Laianah (4), and Trey (3). They were killed on February 19, 2020, by her husband and the children’s father, Rowan Baxter. He doused them with gasoline and set them on fire in the family car. They appeared to the world as a glamorous couple with three beautiful children, but in the home, Rowan was, as his sister-in-law said, “a monster.” He always wanted his own way a... Read more
Ellen Richard Vosburg
As we begin Women’s History Month this year, I can’t stop thinking about the fact that 90 percent of the books most men read are written by male authors. Women’s reading habits show much more gender parity; women tend to read books written by men at a 54 percent rate and books by female authors at a rate of 46 percent. When novelist Lauren Groff was interviewed by the New York Times in 2018 in their “By the Book” column, she only named female authors among the latest and favorite books she had read, and this was notable. She made this pointed statement about male writers and their influences specifically:    When male writers list books they love or have been influenced by—as in t... Read more
Photo of David Hart
Mary always knew her son’s life would end this way. She always had ominous nightmares about her son that would all begin differently. Sometimes her son would be a different age—fourteen, nineteen, thirty, thirty-three. Sometimes he would have a beard, and sometimes he would be clean shaven. Sometimes he would have dreadlocks or braids, and sometimes his hair would be like everyone else’s on his block—a well-manicured Afro. In some dreams, Mary’s son would be a doctor or a lawyer. In others, he would be a student, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a teacher. In some dreams, he would be a precocious child, sprinting around the neighborhood challenging other children, and even adults, to a game of twenty questions, trivia, or truth or dare. In her nightmares,... Read more
A few years ago, I was a workshop presenter at a popular women’s conference. The other presenters and I had gathered to pray at the beginning of the conference. We’d exchanged greetings, participated in a cute little ice breaker, and had a wonderful time of prayer. I was the only woman of color, but this wasn’t new for me. I’ve become accustomed to occupying spaces like these. During one of the general sessions, there was a panel discussion about women in ministry. I wasn’t a panelist and didn’t particularly care to be because I was exhausted from the breakout session I led. I’d just completed a workshop on racial reconciliation among clergywomen, and it was ninety minutes of really deep, honest, and rewarding dialogue. On the heels of that sessio... Read more
For the past two weeks, allegations of sexual harassment and assault by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian have appeared on blogs and in news reports. These circumstances require a response from CBE, given Dr. Bilezikian was an early egalitarian thought leader not only in CBE’s circle of influence, but he was also a prominent theologian at Wheaton College and a lead teacher at Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC). If you’ve been involved in the early egalitarian movement, then you probably know that his work emerged early on and gave significant momentum to CBE’s mission. Because of this, we believe it is necessary to provide some history on his relationship with CBE, past and present. During my seminary studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS), I was privileged to meet... Read more
Cory Driver
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winner. Enjoy! My family moved to a new place last year, so we are relatively new to our current church. I am still in that awkward phase of introducing myself to others only for them to say that we’ve already met and vice versa. Recently, a man whom I’ve met several times introduced himself to me. His wife leaned over to him and said, “Honey, you know him. He’s the one who is always wearing a baby.” It is rare, indeed, for me not to have one of my children strapped to me on Sunday mornings, or any time that I am out of the house with my brood. Wearing my baby gives me two hands free to try to keep the older one safe and out of trouble, or help my wife carry all our children’s accoutrements. I hav... Read more

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