Arise: the official blog of CBE International. Mobilizing Christians for biblical gender equality

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Sarah Rodriguez
This is the third installment in CBE’s celebratory series: Women’s History Wednesday. In our first installment, Rachel Asproth explored four strategies that patriarchal history has used to erase women. In our second installment and in our upcoming installments, Sarah Rodriguez, a former CBE intern, will profile three subversive egalitarian women who bucked gender expectations to make history.  In shining a light on these women’s stories, we will defy patriarchy’s attempts to marginalize the historical contributions of women. Instead, we will unashamedly celebrate their courage and persistence. Last week, we told the inspiring story of Shannon Lucid, a woman who persevered against the prevailing biases of her day in order to become part of the first class... Read more
Recently, a friend asked me an unexpected question. “Do you identify first as a Christian or as a feminist?” I was surprised by but not unprepared for her question. I’d considered it before, and the answer is complicated. Stick with me here. Many Christians believe that Christianity and feminism are incompatible. But this assumption is drawn from biased definitions of both feminism and Christianity. Some Christians have an extremely negative perception of feminism. Feminism conjures up images of angry, man-hating, bra-burning women fighting for unnecessary ends. After all, they argue, what more do women need when they can work outside the home and vote? They believe that women are already equal, but need to accept their different roles. With this skewed definition of f... Read more
Sarah Rodriguez
Today is the second Wednesday in Women’s History Month as well as International Women’s Day, a global event where we celebrate women’s social, economic, and cultural achievements. This is the second installment in CBE’s celebratory series: Women’s History Wednesday. In our first installment, Rachel Asproth explored four strategies that patriarchal history has used to erase women. The following three articles by Sarah Rodriguez, a former CBE intern, will profile three subversive egalitarian women who bucked gender expectations to make history.  In shining a light on these women’s stories, we will defy patriarchy’s attempts to marginalize the historical contributions of women. Instead, we will unashamedly celebrate their courage and persistenc... Read more
Today is the first day of Women’s History Month and the first entry in CBE’s Women’s History Wednesday series. We’ll begin our series by zooming out to analyze how history has sought to erase the experiences and contributions of women. Then, we’ll profile three living women who have made or are currently making history. We’ll end our series and our celebration by proclaiming that women’s stories endure. Against the long odds of patriarchal repression, women’s voices could not and will not be subdued. But first, let’s talk about the historical erasure of women. History is, quite obviously, a story. And like any story, it at times prioritizes the experiences of certain characters over others. If we try to do too much with one story, we... Read more
Recently, my husband wrote about his own journey in realizing that sexual aggression toward women is not about his own moral purity (not all men!), but about the worth and value of women. He was responding to a colleague’s story of a man’s verbal sexual aggression toward her just two weeks ago–in church. My husband writes: “It took me years to realize that such aggression is embedded in the male culture in which I participated daily at school, work, and church. I cannot begin here to unravel that culture but I know that we very much need to do it. We need men to own their culture and the actions it helps to create. We need to call sexism what it is–abhorrent.” Sexism is multi-layered, but we can start unraveling it by acknowledging the simple inte... Read more
Almost every time I read an article or social media post on masculinity and the church, I am struck by the narrowness of the popular Christian prescription for “biblical manhood.” Many articles on the subject conclude that “men stay away from church” because worship music, services, and messages have been “feminized” and do not appeal to the majority of men. We have “stopped relating to and speaking to real men,” one post stated. I disagree, and I’d like to share my thoughts on men, worship, and the church. Statistics do show that only one out of five husbands attend church with their wives, so this is a real concern. But whose definition of ‘real men’ are we talking about? And, should we change the church to make it more... Read more
I periodically hear the accusation that the church is too feminine, and I always find this claim bewildering. As many have quipped, how is it possible for the Bride of Christ to be too feminine? More seriously, only about 10% of churches in America have women as senior pastors, which means that for most church-goers the dominant voice on any Sunday morning is male. Yet the claim persists that the church, and indeed American society more broadly, is too feminine. A recent survey found that among white evangelicals, 53% agree that society is “too soft and feminine.” This number is higher than any other group; 42% of all Americans agree that society is too feminine, while only 30% of religiously unaffiliated Americans agree.[1] And while this survey addressed American society mor... Read more
On January 24, The Gospel Coalition posted a piece by Kyle Strobel and Jamin Goggin entitled, “How Our Ministry Method Warps Our Souls.” The article probes questions about the nature of power and what it can look like in Christian ministry settings. “We’ve all embraced a certain form of power. The question is not if we’ve embraced power, but what kind of power we’ve embraced.” This, Strobel and Goggin claim, “is perhaps the most pressing question in the church today, because it defines everything we do in ministry.” And the use of power has undoubtedly gone wrong in evangelical churches. “We’d have to be either naïve or simply uninformed,” the authors continue, “to be unaware of power being employed to... Read more
When I was a young sprout and a budding Christian feminist, I had a lot of love for the American suffragettes. Blind love, as it turned out. Years of conversations with women of color and some harsh lessons on intersectional feminism (as well as womanism, mujerista theology, native feminism, etc.) revealed that my feminist history was narrow and exclusive and likewise, so was my feminism. Some of my early feminist heroes, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, were not allies to women of color, particularly the black women we honor in February (Black History Month in the US). And in fact, some of those feminist heroes actively held racist beliefs about black people and, in some cases, even deliberately excluded black women from the fight for suffrage. I am grateful for the rig... Read more
Please note that this is a satirical/humorous approach to the topic. In a profound about face, large numbers of evangelical women are turning their backs on male-centered laws and leadership hierarchy. Evidently, they are confused because gender-based roles aren’t as clear as some proclaim. Zooey (name changed), a pianist and vocalist, explains the doubts and questions that began forming in her mind a couple years ago: “One Sunday, while offering a solo of the hymn, "Transcendent God,'" she explains, “I started to worry, and confusion has rocked my faith ever since.” Zooey describes feeling unsettled while singing the words: Transcendent God, Creator Lord— (I know this is a theological statement.) To most a myth, denied, ignored (Doe... Read more

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