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Sarah Lindsay
If I asked you to imagine the Middle Ages, what would come to mind? Most of us think of the Middle Ages as a time of ignorance and violence—the dark middle period between the glories of Rome and the light of the Renaissance. And like every historical era, the Middle Ages has its share of dark moments. But many remarkable people, including remarkable and influential women, lived during this period. There were some spaces in the medieval Western church where women were free to write theology and have spiritual influence. Women were barred from the priesthood and the great universities that produced scholastic theology. But many women became well-known, admired, and influential in monastic life and through mystic theology. For women’s history month, here are six medieval women... Read more
Gricel Medina
My denomination, The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), and many others have been ordaining women for decades. Yet, even churches in denominations that ordain women resist nominating or recruiting women for senior pastor positions. It’s often even more difficult for women of color to find pastoral positions. Nevertheless, women of color called to pastoral ministry have found ways to navigate treacherous waters. Many have risen to positions of authority in my and other denominations. And, beyond the good work God has already done and is currently doing for women of color, we are confident that he will raise up still more to lead churches all over the world. God has big, beautiful plans for women of color, and for all women. As a pastor and former church planter, I have met many rema... Read more
Dear Pastors, Women live in a world where violence, oppression, and marginalization are the norm. Every day, we wake up to stories of abuse and assault. It’s not contained to Hollywood. We’re seeing abuse in all spheres of societies around the globe. And tragically, we’re also seeing it in the church, where we might expect women to be safest from violence and harassment. This is the congregational context you’re preaching into, pastors. Statistically, you’re talking to an audience where at least 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence during their lifetimes. You're preaching in the age of #churchtoo.  That’s why I’m writing this letter. Because what you’re teaching about gender roles is dangerous for women, and e... Read more
During Women’s History Month, and especially on International Women’s Day, we have a unique opportunity to correct the marginalization of women’s accomplishments and influence. Those blindspots exist in the church too, especially when it comes to women pastors. Women pastors are not a new phenomenon, but many Christians aren't aware that there is a long tradition of women pastors in the church.  Women in history were faithful to their pastoral callings—against all odds. Many pursued ministry against the cultural tide of patriarchy in the church. These tenacious women are a vital part of our Christian legacy. But also, when we celebrate women pastors in history, we open doors wide for women in ministry today. With that in mind, here are ten awesom... Read more
Recently, Relevant published an article on the importance of reading books by women (which has since been taken down at the request of readers). In the article, the male author began by lamenting the absence of women authors from his bookshelf. Inspired by the #metoo movement, he resolved to correct the omission of women’s perspectives by intentionally reading women authors. At the recommendation of a bookstore clerk, he began his education with a supernatural fantasy romance novel written by a woman. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the romance genre, readers were quick to point out that stereotypically “feminine” romance novels aren’t the ideal choice to fulfill his goal—insight into women’s lives and experiences. Further, they added, wome... Read more
Every week, members of our small group Bible study share their “highs,” their “lows,” and how they’ve seen God this week. A couple of weeks ago, I co-led the group in a discussion on what it means to be both a Christian and a feminist. To begin, women in the group spoke openly about our “lows,” “highs,” and “how’s” of being a woman in the church. Unsure how receptive the men in our audience would be, we opened with personal stories to ease them into the potentially tense conversation. Women told of being overlooked and undermined—both inside and outside the church. We voiced our collective anger at the structural sin of patriarchy. We read and discussed tweets from #thingsonlychristianwomenhear, #thingsonlyblack... Read more
Black History Month is a life-giving banquet of black history, culture, literature, art, film, music, and theology. For black people in the US, it's a time of joy, pride, lament, and reflection. It's an imperative pause to honor the work, stories, and excellence of black people. Naturally, there's usually a massive surge in lists and resources highlighting the contributions of African American people in the US in February. Beyond celebration, Black History Month is also a great time for white Christians to check our historical bias and expand our lens. However, the onslaught of easy-to-access think-pieces and listicles during February is not an excuse for March-to-January apathy. We have year-round work to do! If we are serious about widening our historica... Read more
Eeva Sallinen Simard
I grew up in Finland—one of the most egalitarian societies in the world. Though no culture is perfect, Finland continuously tops UN and World Bank rankings for best place in the world to be a mother and woman, and is also home to some of the happiest people in the world. The World Economic Forum named Finland the third most gender-equal country in the world in 2017. As a young person, it seemed that my generation had moved beyond the issue of patriarchy. Due to the work of my grandmother’s generation and many generations before her, gender equality and egalitarianism were well-established cultural values in secular Finnish society.   Historically, the Finnish nation-building project didn’t start out with a feminist ethos. It was birthed by a small, northern people... Read more
Not long ago, I served on an advisory board for a Christian organization. After a morning of listening to departmental reviews from operational staff, I shared my opinion on the notable differences in the last two presentations with a male fellow board member. Sally, I’ll call her, gave a warm interpersonal overview of her journey into her new role and department yet did not provide us with much vision for where she planned to take the department. On the other hand, George, a young male director, provided clear vision for where he wanted to take the department and gave his perspective on what the CEO and founding chair needed to do differently. The two presentations were starkly different. I wondered: Was it gender? Was it an issue of the confidence? Was it a style difference? Was... Read more
Few Christians can say that their church has handled abuse, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence against women properly. Likely even fewer can say that their church has acknowledged male victims of abuse/violence. Patriarchy is bad for women. But honestly, it’s bad for men too. Egalitarian theology is good for both. I was introduced to egalitarianism, the radical notion that women are equal to men and Scripture supports that conclusion, by a former professor. It convinced me that God didn't make a mistake when he called me, a woman, to be a pastor. I am qualified to preach—not because of my gender but because of my God. But, egalitarianism doesn’t just uplift women. It shows men who don't fit stereotypes that they don't have to break themselves into pi... Read more