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As children, we are unfamiliar with our voices. We don’t always know what to say, how to carry expression, and what volume to use when talking. When I was young, adults told me that there are two kinds of voices: an “outside” and “inside” one. It was not until I was older that I learned this philosophy had translated into churches and Christian culture. It seemed as if other Christians had assigned women “inside” voices—softer, less valid ones. Men were encouraged to speak, booming with authoritative tones, as if they were the only ones that had something to say worth listening to. For years, I learned a way of silence. In the churches I grew up in, there were no female leaders. Women could participate in other ways such as Sunday sch... Read more
A few months ago, I was asked to play the role of Ruth in a church drama. I was unsure about accepting the part, having a heavy academic load as I tried to finish my last year at Bethel University. But the more I thought about it, the more I was drawn to the character of Ruth and her life. And finally I accepted. In the days and weeks that followed, I found ways that Ruth’s voice and experience paralleled many of my own thoughts as I graduate and move out into the world to find the calling Christ has for me. Since I will be moving away from the Minneapolis area, my internship with CBE will end and I have found my heart’s cry to be the same as Ruth’s as she anticipated parting with Naomi, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be... Read more
Adapted from a post originally appearing on Ashleigh's personal blog, Being Redefined, May 2007. "It's ultimately about Jesus," "We want to focus on the essentials," "No reason to stir up controversy." The excuses to avoid serious questions about the issue of women in ministry are plentiful, and many sound pretty good. So why bother with an issue that's seemingly on the sidelines? Well, because it isn't! Don't get me wrong; there are certainly much more crucial elements of our faith. But the more I grow in Christ the more I understand that he desires to be Lord over everything in our lives and in this world! There is nothing that shouldn't be submitted to his leadership, including our church governing structure... Read more
If you spend time with 20 and 30 year olds, you realize one of the most important topics on their minds, understandably, is dating and marriage. Young men and women are eager to discover gender differences, awakening powerfully in them; to understand and interact with the opposite sex in ways that please God and nurture their own maturity. It is a very exciting time in life, and their questions are healthy and God-given. Yet a powerful industry has developed to address gender in ways that are at odds with the biblical account. According to Jackson Katz (author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help), secular culture depicts male action heroes as muscular, forceful and dominant, while females are imaged as frail beauties, dependent on dominant males.... Read more
2nd Timothy 2:2 (NIV) And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. (TNIV) And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Does the word "anthropos" translated as "men" in the NIV refer only to men? The TNIV translates it as "people." Reference: Online Greek Interlinear, 2 Timothy 2:2 (click to enlarge) The interlinear Greek also translates it as “people.” But note that the English translation on the right translates the word "anthropos" as "men” rather than as people. So should Bible translators be t... Read more
Many of you have heard the argument that there is no evidence in either Scripture or in church tradition that women served aspresbytera, or elders in the early church. Archaeological evidence of women leaders in the early church is available. In fact, according to scholars like Dorothy Irvin, the historical evidence of women leaders as presbyters, deacons, and priests appears abundant. The question is, why is it ignored? Unlike the biblical texts, some of which we know have been badly translated with when it concerned the leadership of women, it is much harder to obscure the evidence in beautiful mosaics, funerary inscriptions, and other such evidence carved into stone. Among these we find proof of women like Rufina, a second century president or elder in her synagogue outside... Read more
The Pikes Peak Chapter in Colorado has begun a discussion about what the “ideal” church would look like. It was unanimously felt that we have done, over these many years, the foundational reading and know why we are egalitarians. Perhaps we are a bit tired of reading solely on the egalitarian/feminist theme, and perhaps we are ready to branch out a bit in other directions. So…if we could create the exact church/church experience we want as egalitarian Christian women, what would that look like? Our suggested reading list includes Pagan Christianity, by Frank Viola and Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We asked ourselves the following questions. 1. What should this church look like? 2. How would we deal with t... Read more
Some of the most powerful words in all of Scripture directed the evangelism of women. As they discovered the empty tomb on Easter, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women heard the most important words in all of history: “…he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” (Luke 24:6-7, TNIV). Jesus told Mary Magdalene to tell the brothers that he was “returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17). And, Mary was faithful to follow Jesus’ request. She went to the male disciples with the news, that she had seen the risen Lord. Mary’s test... Read more
So often those of us who would consider it legitimate to interpret Scripture with due consideration being given to the historical culture and context, especially in the issues relating to Biblical equality, are accused of not being true to the literal text. By posing such questions of the text we are said to be resorting to logic or reason to bolster our argument and this is seen as an unacceptable principle of interpretation. It is interesting to note that in John 7:24 Jesus says, "Think this through and you will see that I am right," which meant, to the Pharisees and the crowd in this context, using their own powers of deductive reasoning. This is as it reads in the New Living Translation, while the KJV expresses it this way, "Judge not according to sight, but judge with... Read more
"I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit" (Lev. 26:4 TNIV). Is spring your favorite season? If you live in a cold climate any hint of warm weather, longer days, and the return of flowers and birds is cause for rejoicing! Regardless of where you live, spring is a season of encouragement. We are encouraged by Easter celebrations in spring, reminding us that in our Risen Lord, all things are made new. We are inspired by the accomplishments of graduates in the months of spring. And, many couples cheer us as they make vows of marriage, often in the spring. Spring is also the season when we honor our mothers—those who have sacrificed and devoted their lives to our nurture. At CBE, we begin to see the fru... Read more