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

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We just saw the end of January, the month of fresh starts and new beginnings. For many Christians, it also marks the beginning of an attempt to read the Bible in its entirety, from Genesis to Revelation, in a year. In light of that, I’d like to cover a few basic egalitarian principles that can help us read and understand the Bible. In the past, reading Scripture was difficult for me because I was taught that Genesis established a God-ordained hierarchy between men and women in which men ruled. This complementarian understanding of Genesis led me to believe that the subsequent biblical accounts were evidence of God’s desire for strict gender roles and male leadership.  I couldn’t reconcile why God would create women in his image only to will that they be ruled by me... Read more
The recent winter issue of CBE's Mutuality magazine was themed, "New Testament Women." Its articles discuss Martha, the Samaritan woman of John 4, the "Chosen Lady" of 2 John, Anna of Luke 2, and others. The forthcoming spring 2017 issue of Priscilla Papers, CBE's academic journal, will be on the same theme and will include articles on various New Testament women. Arise, CBE's blog, has also recently featured some New Testament women (here and here). In addition, I recently purchased Cynthia Westfall's excellent new book, Paul and Gender. For these reasons and others, I've been reading and thinking a lot about New Testament women lately. There is, of course, much to be said about the women who appear in the New Testament. T... Read more
“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” –JK Rowling I can think of few quotes more relevant to men who believe in gender equality. Men, you too face a choice between what is right and what is easy. A choice between risk and comfort, between painful knowledge and willful ignorance. Though you stand at the mouth of a tempting shortcut, you must choose the narrow, trial-heavy road up the mountain. We do not necessarily have to choose the hard thing. That is the simultaneous beauty and ugliness of free will. We can choose privilege, align with the powerful, and discard stories that threaten our worldview. We can worship at the altar of ease, safety, and comfort. We can embrace a risk-free life. But that... Read more
Some Christians see logic as the only trustworthy and effective way to communicate and receive knowledge. Unfortunately, there is not enough space in one post to systematically present the origins of this idea. In general, though the topic is a complex one, we can trace this concept from Ancient Greece, which gained momentum during the Enlightenment, through present Western thought. Some critics of Ruth A. Tucker’s book, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Violence, have likewise privileged logic over emotion. For example, in their reviews of Tucker’s book, Tim Challies, Melissa Kruger, and Mary Kassian all argue against Tucker’s emotional argument, dismissing it as a weaker approach to the topic of abuse. Challies engages... Read more
If you haven’t yet read Ruth Tucker’s book, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife, you should. Full disclosure: I have been reading her work for a few decades. It challenged me to reconsider what it meant to be created in God’s image as a female. While I do not agree with all that Tucker writes in her newest book, her methodology and her argument are important to consider. Further, her personal story is invaluable in informing Christians about abuse dynamics. Tucker raises uncomfortable questions for Christians, and painfully shifts the burden of abuse from the shoulders of victims onto the church. For example, some reviewers of Tucker’s book criticize her for not reporting her husband to the authorities for the sexual assault of a minor who was staying in th... Read more
As a fourth grader at a local public school, I got into a classroom debate over the rights of women, and in particular, the right of mothers to work outside the home once they have children. The other outspoken Christian in my class, a boy hailing from an extremely conservative home, stated with deliberate clarity that a woman’s place once she had children was at home, tending to said children. “What if she doesn’t have a husband to help provide for the family?” I asked. “She should go on welfare,” he said. “She needs to stay home and take care of her family.” We were ten years old and even then, I knew his ideas were unfair and wrong. That afternoon, I demanded help from my mother. “Where does it say in the Bible that women are allo... Read more
The Co-Inheritance of Women John 15:9 affirms that God’s love for human beings is identical to God’s love for Jesus. Every child of God inherits the throne of God, the Spirit of God, holiness, and eternal life. Anyone who believes, including women, will receive equal authority with Christ. Jesus said, “As for those who emerge victorious, I will allow them to sit with me on my throne” (Revelation 3:21 CEB). Some complementarians agree that women will receive the same inheritance in heaven as men, but argue that on earth, men are to have greater authority. And yet, does not the Lord’s Prayer instruct us to pray for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven now? So, whatever will be true in heaven is what we should strive for on ear... Read more
I have never been raped or physically assaulted. That can change at any moment. We’ve all heard the stories. We’ve read the statistics. We know the pain and fear of men’s violence against women. All women live with some level of primary (first-person) and/or secondary (vicarious) trauma due to men’s violence, abuse, and sexism. Experiences of abuse and sexism are not isolated. They happen daily for so many women, sometimes multiple times in a day. That’s a painful reality. I recently did a presentation on rape culture to a church group and diverted from my usual script. I spontaneously spoke about my experience working with victims of sexual violence. I shared how that work has exposed me to the deepest level of pain I’ve ever known. I found myself... Read more
How do we get from sinner to whore in our perception of Bible women? (Note: this offensive term is used only to highlight the false dichotomy applied to Bible women, not to imply that any women should bear this label). In Luke 7:36-39, a broken, sobbing, unnamed woman enters the home where Jesus is dining. She anoints his feet with oil and tears, wiping them with her hair. The men present talk about her like she isn’t even there. They are offended by the “sinner” in their presence. In our modern context, it is easy to read “promiscuous” into the character of the mystery woman. Christians have a historical tendency to interpret Bible women’s non-specific sin as sexual sin, and often, female promiscuity is inferred with no support from the actual text. T... Read more
God of Hagar, Tamar, and Mary Magdalene Of Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel God of Ruth, Esther, and Rahab Of the Woman at the Well and the Woman They Would Have Stoned God of the unseen, unwanted, and unheard God of the silenced Of those rendered invisible God of those who wait God of those who struggle God of those who rise God of the broken Of the healing and the healed Of the hopeful and the hopeless God of the forgotten, who never forgets, we pray Remember your daughters in 2017 Remember the women who wait— the women who ache to hear the church call their names, the women who press their skin against stained glass, searching frantically for cracks Remember the women who serve in the shadows, the women who long to lead, the hungry women, the thirst... Read more

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