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Poverty and injustice discriminate. And the health and well-being of women around the world suffer because of it. Many of us who live in privilege do not worry about their daughters being raped during war or being forced into prostitution. Many of us who live in privilege do not think about injustice and inequality at all, because it doesn’t seem to be a necessary or pressing concern. We are in a place to make the choice between apathy and becoming aware. But the vast majority of people who live in poverty do not have that choice to make, because the structures that surround them or the people who are in power over them have already made another choice: to force their advantage. I do not mean to deny the agency of people living in poverty, no, far from that. What I do mean... Read more
There is an excellent article on godswordtowomen.org called, "Empirical Data in Support of Egalitarian Marriages and A Fresh Perspective on Submission and Authority," that reviews many scientific studies that all say that marriages that operate on the basis of equality are much more healthy than those that are hierarchical -- in fact that hierarchical approaches actually harm marriages. The research reviewed include studies by the following professionals who work within the fields of marriage and family therapy, sociology, and demography: A 2001 Barna Research Group survey of Christian denominations. Dr. Howard Clinebell, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Claremont School of Theology Drs. Alan Booth and Paul Amato, Penn State socio... Read more
Often the gender debate focuses narrowly on leadership and marriage, at the expense of many. But leadership and marriage are two of the highest ideals in Christian culture, right? Why would this debate be at anyone’s expense? As we live as Christians, what is the normative metaphor for relationships between men and women? Growing up in the church and then attending a Christian college taught me that marriage is a Christian “virtue.” The vast majority of my peers desired to be married and would date according to the various trends for Christian dating. In order to ensure that this virtue be at the center of their futures, my friends “courted,” they “kissed dating goodbye,” they practiced “righteous dating,” they dated with “ag... Read more
The Evangelical Christian Publishing Association (ECPA) has announced this year’s finalists for their Christian Book Awards. Normally, I do not pay attention to these types of awards, because I like to judge a book for myself rather than take somebody else’s word for it whether the book is good or not. However, a couple of entries under the category of “Best Bible” disturb me. They are The Holman CSB Minister's Bible and The ESV Reformation Study Bible. Let me explain why it bothers me that either of these would be considered the best Bible that Christians can study. To begin with, both the CSB and the ESV were created as a protest to the TNIV. How do we know this? Well, let’s take a look at the CSB first. It is published by Broadm... Read more
When the messiah comes, says the Old Testament, he will “proclaim freedom for the captives.” (Is. 61:1 TNIV) Jesus the Messiah came, but he brought something better than the expected freedom from foreign domination: instead, he was interested in making people’s spirits free. Jesus himself said, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:34-36 TNIV) Of all the authors of the Old and New Testaments, Paul speaks most often about freedom. Christ, he says, brings freedom from sin (Rom. 6:18-22; 7:14), freedom from death (Rom. 7:24-25; 8:2, 10-11) and especially freedom from the bondage of the [Jewish... Read more
Recently there was a blog post regarding preferential treatment given to men, even by those who espouse egalitarian beliefs. How can this happen ? It is very evident that the cultural mindset over such a long time is deeper than many first imagined and so it is no wonder than it keeps resurfacing in the most unlikely places. It occurs to me that something that has taken hundreds of years to become entrenched will not go away just by careful exegesis and teaching. Attitudes will change in the same way they developed - very slowly and with repeated statements and demonstrated truth. We need to find ways of "speaking the truth in love" to those who have differing beliefs about gender issues and use opportunities as they occur to encourage a better way to speak and act in compan... Read more
Ever since I was a child, I have loved writing. I love crafting good stories and entertaining people with them. Recently, it occurred to me that it might make a fascinating book if I wrote about my experiences as an American living in Britain. It's certainly been fascinating to compare the two cultures firsthand! I decided to make it a fictional book so that I could protect people's privacy. Since I have never published a story before, I thought it would be wise to do some research about the Christian writing industry . I found a website run by an editor in a Christian publishing house, one which publishes for the mainstream evangelical audience and which comprises the bulk of readers and buyers of Christian fiction. This website also features a discussion board, but in talkin... Read more
My husband lovingly calls me a “glass half empty” person. “Sometimes it’s even three-quarters empty,” he told me the other day. (It must have been a particularly rough day—sorry, honey!) It’s true. I crave order and balance, and a world corrupted by sin doesn’t offer much of either. My reactions to gender issues are often of the strong negative quality. I get angry, frustrated, depressed by the way people, including Christians, willingly oppress one another. The fact is, I’ve seen some things that would disturb the most devoted optimist. I was going to list some of them here, but based on your comments on Brandon’s recent post, you don’t need me to convince you that the church can be a downer! When I’m stari... Read more
"I would have enjoyed seminary so much more if it wasn't for the women." So were the words of a minister I was introduced to one day several years ago. Mindy and I were together, and both of us were introduced, but he looked right past her and ignored her "hello." She was invisible. He heard I was a Ph.D. student at a reformed seminary and wanted to know if I was enjoying it. "It's been challenging," I told him. "But I'm learning from the best and I'm enjoying it. Where did you go to seminary?" He told me, then added those words that have stayed with me for years. Of course my curiosity got the best of me. “What was it about the women that ruined seminary for you?” “The questions,” he replied c... Read more
I would like to generate some discussion about how to attract men to CBE. At the conference last summer there was some mention about CBE wanting to do that -- maybe it was even put in terms of a goal -- I can't remember. If any of you have been successful in doing that (signing men up), I'm sure it would be helpful to the organization if you would share it here. Personally, I don't have much hope that it can be done, at least in large numbers, due more to the nature of the way Christianity is practiced than the nature of CBE. Beyond the obvious reason that many do not agree with CBE's mission, a lot of men don't like something even more basic: going to church and other Christian organizations' meetings. In Why Men Hate Going to Church [Thomas Nelson,... Read more

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