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Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 20 winners from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! In May of 2018, John Piper responded to a young woman struggling with persistent, unrelenting body hatred. In his article, he suggested that there’s a good form of body hatred because the body is the site of sin. His response quickly went viral, and many took issue with Piper’s authority to write on the topic of body hatred and mental illness in general, and in particular, with the statement that there is a right and biblical way to hate your body. Most women don’t need even the slightest encouragement to hate their bodies. We live in a culture that teaches us to do this. We starve, shave, pluck, pierce, and adorn our bodies to gain social acceptance, and we bond sociall... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 20 winners from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! The few men who have kissed me did not ask my permission first. They didn’t ask if I wanted their tongues in my mouth, or about any of the other things they’ve tried either. It seems this is the standard today—even among Christians. We wait until someone objects instead of truly gaining someone’s consent before proceeding. As “unsexy” as the topic of consent may seem, it’s something we need to talk about in the church. I’ll personally take an awkward conversation about consent over the alternative any day. I’ve gone home in tears more than once after a date made a move on me without asking. I’ve said “no” repeatedly, a... Read more
Gricel Medina
Last week, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram uncovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and affiliated institutions, across forty US states and Canada. According to the Texas-based paper, these churches covered up widespread abuse, muting victims and permitting abusers to serve as leaders and live among congregations. Sarah Smith, author of the Star-Telegram exposé, has made it her mission to uncover these systemic injustices. Because of courageous advocates and truth-tellers like her, we’re finally aware of the abusers and predators lurking in our midst. Yes, we’re finally beginning to hear a crackling, thunderous sound as injustice crumbles brick by brick. Many are shocked by this exposé. But we... Read more
I was home visiting my parents recently when I noticed a book on the coffee table: 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics. There’s something almost humorous to me in writing a book about books others should be reading, but I was intrigued to see which works the editors chose. Flipping to the table of contents, I was frustrated and saddened (though not surprised) to see that—with two thousand years and the vast world from which to choose—they included just two works written by women and none from beyond the Western canon. It should be obvious why this matters, why this is a problem. Earlier this year, blogger Sarah Thebarge responded to John Piper’s statement that women shouldn’t train pastors. She wrote: "The cr... Read more
Trigger warning: This article recounts Bible passages that contain graphic violence against women. Read with caution.   I’m a first year student in Divinity School with less money in my bank account than I’d like, so I work the occasional night shift at the college library. I return home at 4 am, traveling alone in the university’s taxi service. I’m on edge the whole time, keys and phone in hand and a potential escape route planned—just in case. History dictates that women don’t have the luxury to not do this type of mental preparation. We live with the real possibility of violence every day. And actually, that shared female experience shapes how I read and interpret the Bible, especially stories that include sexual violence. A professor in m... Read more
In 1995, economists discovered that 100 million females had vanished. Today, that number may be as high as 200 million according to Amartya Sen, a retired professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard. Sen received a Nobel Prize for his work, which prompted humanitarians and researchers to employ a gender-lens in their research and work. With one voice, they demonstrated how patriarchy is one of the most malicious and debilitating forces in history. Because of it, females are and have been abused and slaughtered on a mass scale. Amartya was the first to sound the alarm: females were suffering a genocide. But who was paying attention? Our privilege as Western Christians, and especially evangelicals, has distanced us from this crisis, and from the experiences of girls and women globally.... Read more
Gricel Medina
As a child growing up in a poor immigrant community, my dreams were limited by what I saw around me. We were survivors, but we often struggled. It was a constant battle as we tried our best to make ends meet, yet never really seemed to make it. Education was the ultimate ticket out of the poverty cycle, but no one in my family had even finished high school. When my mother realized I had an aptitude and thirst for reading, she went to a private school and convinced them to take me as a student. How she persuaded them remains a mystery to this day, but she got it done.  We walked many miles to get to school everyday. My mother worked odd jobs to pay for uniforms and shoes. I got straight A's, but it was my persistent, tenacious mother who kept me in school. She kept dreaming big o... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 20 winners from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! “Do you want a divorce?” My husband was momentarily speechless. We’d been married for more than two years. We were in our twenties, both Christians and from similar church and family backgrounds in the UK. We’d met at university, bonded by intellectual pursuits and theological contemplation. From the earliest days of our marriage, we struggled with sex. By the time I asked the question that so shocked my husband, it was apparent that we couldn’t resolve the issue by talking to each other or to our friends or by reading books. So, as we tucked ourselves into bed one evening, I finally found the courage to ask the question I felt morally obliged to offer. I d... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 20 winners from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! “Most likely to become a pastor.” I was embarrassed, really. How could I be voted that? Sure, I volunteered a lot, but out of everyone in our conservative, non-denominational high school youth group, why me? My concept of what constituted a pastor was very narrow at the time. Women weren't present or affirmed as ministers in my context, so being “most likely to become a pastor,” didn’t make any sense. I was a girl—a quiet girl with no framework for becoming a pastor. The trivial “Most likely to’s…” of high school yearbooks faded quickly from my mind as I graduated and embarked on a journey of discerning and pursuing my vocat... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 15 CBE Writing contest winners. [Sexual Assault Trigger Warning] I claimed a familiar seat in the chapel of the seminary I’d attended, one I‘d sat in many times before and for many meaningful moments. Seminary was formative for me, a place where I found a new community and a depth of spiritual learning I’d not yet experienced. I moved from my hometown to attend, which was, in part, an attempt to distance myself from an abusive relationship. My community at home was enmeshed with my abuser, and it was difficult to extract myself from their influence. Being in close proximity to my abuser prevented me from seeing what was driving his actions and how damaging they were to me. So I moved. I learned, and grew. And now, I’d co... Read more