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Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 15 CBE Writing contest winners. [Sexual Assault Trigger Warning] I claimed a familiar seat in the chapel of the seminary I’d attended, one I‘d sat in many times before and for many meaningful moments. Seminary was formative for me, a place where I found a new community and a depth of spiritual learning I’d not yet experienced. I moved from my hometown to attend, which was, in part, an attempt to distance myself from an abusive relationship. My community at home was enmeshed with my abuser, and it was difficult to extract myself from their influence. Being in close proximity to my abuser prevented me from seeing what was driving his actions and how damaging they were to me. So I moved. I learned, and grew. And now, I’d co... Read more
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month or DVAM. Domestic violence is a pressing problem every day and month of the year. But in October, we set aside time to discuss how widespread and pervasive domestic abuse is in our world and in our churches (including physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse) and what we can do to set wrong to right. Have you experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, emotional abuse, or any kind of intimate partner trauma? Are you looking for healing, resources, and qualified help but don’t know where to start? Are you a pastor or spiritual leader who wants to help and not hurt? Is your church ready to study the link between theology and domestic violence? Are you a believer who wants to become more educated on domestic violence and how to... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our six honorable mentions from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! Jesus' fulfillment of the Law is the climax of Israel’s messianic Scriptures. In fulfilling that Law, he declared that his humble example of service would constitute a “new command” for the people of God (John 13:14, 34). The old Law was made obsolete (Gal. 3:24-25) and Jesus’ example of relinquishing power would be the new moral foundation, the “law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Jesus explicitly prohibited his disciples from imitating the world’s system of power: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! Eight years ago, my family and I spent an afternoon on a beach in Barcelona. Aware that parts of the beach were “clothing optional,” we opted for the first crescent—the one deemed “safe for the whole family.” My husband, my three daughters, and I learned quickly that tops were optional everywhere. This was our first exposure to cultural norms in Spain and it was a bit of a shock. We saw a lot of women’s bodies, the five of us un-sun-kissed Americans. We saw families playing frisbee, couples swimming together, and women and men lying in the sun letting it do its golden sun thing. Do you know what we didn’t see? We didn’t see a single man on that beach assaultin... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 15 2018 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! I was sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee on the morning of my seventeenth birthday when a parcel arrived on my doorstep. Excitedly, I ripped open the box to find half a dozen Christian books on sex, dating, and relationships. It was a gift from my sister, who knew this was an area of my life I had yet to explore through the lens of my new-found faith. I consumed the books with my usual zeal and sincerity. A few weeks later, I broke off my current dating relationship, began writing letters to my future husband, and made deep and determined promises to God to save myself for marriage.  The books rightly taught what Scripture says about sex and love, explained God's original intenti... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our top 15 2018 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! “If you don’t have sex with your husband anytime he wants, he’ll find it somewhere else.” Fresh out of college and a new Christian, this was my introduction to what I thought was the “biblical” approach to marriage. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t even in a relationship. After graduation, I’d returned to my hometown to take a job and most people my age were either already married, engaged, or dating with marriage on the horizon. In the evangelical church I was attending (I would later call it fundamentalist), the college kids or recently graduated—but not yet married—were funneled to a single Sunday school class. For one lesson, the marri... Read more
Are you new to egalitarianism or rethinking your assumptions and beliefs about gender roles, authority, feminism, and the Bible? Or do you know someone who is open to reexamining these issues? There’s a lot of information out there—a lot of books, a lot of blogs, a lot of articles, and a lot of podcasts. It can all feel very overwhelming and it’s impossible to know where to start. Those of us who changed our minds on the issues of gender equality and women’s leadership in the church know it’s a tough but worthwhile process. That journey is made a lot easier with some guidance. With that in mind, here are fifteen books we recommend for searchers: 1. The Blue Parakeet (Second Edition) by Scot McKnight Scot McKnight’s work is a staple ingredient for... Read more
This August, CBE International held its second popular writing contest! We received over one hundred 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 enough to share your stories. Thank you for embracing vulnerability when it’s sometimes easier to hide. Thank you for never wavering in your commitment to justice and freedom. Thank you for urging the church to more fully align itself with God’s redemptive vision for the world. Thank you for always being shalom people. You make us better and we honor you. With difficulty, we chose fifteen winners and six honorable mentions, which you’ll see published on our website in the coming months along with many othe... Read more
Women in the church are often pushed to the margins. Sometimes the exclusion is explicit and intentional and other times, it’s implicit and subtle. As more and more women share that they feel invisible and unwanted at church, it’s clear we need to take intentional steps to make women feel seen, invited, and empowered to use their gifts. Here are three ways we exclude women and what we can do about it. Problem 1: We Push Women to the Margins When We Exclude Great Women from the Bible in Sermons A few Sundays ago, I was assigned to teach my Sunday school class about King Josiah and the discovery of the Book of the Law. But there was no mention of Huldah whatsoever in the national curriculum we use. They completely skipped over her! For those of you who don’t know, Hul... Read more
You’ve probably heard about the tragic murder of Iowan Mollie Tibbetts by now. Tibbetts was reportedly killed by a man because she rejected his advances and he was angered by her refusal.  In a 2016 survey on street harassment, thirty percent of women respondents said they’ve been followed while on a run. Eighteen percent said they’ve been propositioned by a stranger. And according to a recent survey by an anti-harassment non-profit, eighty-one percent of women have been sexually harassed at least once and fifty-one percent of women reported being touched sexually without permission.  Being a woman in public is an uncomfortable and often dangerous assignment. I’d wager that most women know the perils of rejecting a man’s advances by the time they... Read more