Babies love contrasting colors, repetition, and music. Some brilliant people realized this attraction and created baby sensory videos. My granddaughter has a few favorites.
One of them is set to classical music and begins with a black background and a bird dropping a seed. Then, a rain cloud comes and waters the seed. A tree grows, and the cycle of seasons begins: a fruitful tree becomes an autumn tree, which becomes a wintery, snow-covered tree, which becomes a springtime, blossoming tree, which becomes a fruitful tree. This repeats over and over again.
One of my daughters recently commented about her niece, “You can actually see on the baby’s face when she is learning something, processing something.” And, this is true! You can see, on her face, in her eyes, and i...Read more
Recently, I received a couple of e-mails from a few well-meaning friends suggesting that I tone it down with social media posts advocating for women in ministry. These friends suggested that my posts cause tension, make the church look bad, and turn people away from attending church.
I took their words to heart, prayed, and pondered them for some time. I asked myself, do these posts truly have a negative effect on the church, or do some Christians mistakenly believe that advocating for women in ministry disrupts church unity? As a former lead pastor and a fairly new advocate for women in ministry, I hear many unfounded myths like this about the inclusion of women in church leadership. Let’s explore some of those myths.
Myth #1: Advocating for women in ministry will turn people a...Read more
When I was a senior in high school, I engaged in a one-woman feud with the football team and school administrators after the opening night of our musical was cancelled to accommodate a conference championship football game. My brother, a sophomore on the football team, told me that the seniors were complaining about me in the locker room. He said they were insulting me and saying all kinds of awful things. To this day, almost 11 years later, he still refuses to tell me what they said—it was that bad.
So when a candidate for the President of the United States dismisses the seriousness of bragging about sexually assaulting women as mere “locker room talk,” I can’t help but think back to high school.
The locker room is this male-only space where (apparently) men can...Read more
Have you ever been to a really great party? And have you ever found yourself, days later, replaying powerful conversations with friends and coworkers, thankful for the strong community they represent? That’s how the CBE team felt after laboring alongside colleagues in South Africa and Kenya for two weeks during the “Truth Be Told” conferences.
Eight days of events made one thing clear: God intends to heal communities writhing under patriarchy and gender-based violence (GBV). I invite you to celebrate God’s faithfulness throughout our journey, beginning on our flight to Johannesburg.
We were seated near a young couple traveling with their first child—a beautiful newborn baby whose very presence enthralled both parents! Throughout our 16 hour f...Read more
A few months ago, a guest speaker at my church spoke on the Christian obligation to fight and end human trafficking. And his conclusion was right.
Christians should be the loudest voices against human trafficking. I happily lend mine to the fight to eradicate the global slave trade. And yet, in his sermon on fighting human trafficking, the well-intentioned male speaker used the following flawed biblical example to illustrate his point.
The man explained that just as Uriah lost Bathsheba to the whims of a powerful king, so female victims of trafficking lose their freedom to men. Perhaps you also see the problem and inconsistency of this comparison.
The male speaker, in seeking to correct a global injustice against women, reinforced an age-old patriarchal concept—that crimes a...Read more
Marriage is one of the most-written about topics among Christians. Rarely is it written about well. Katherine Willis Pershey is one of the few writers up to the task. Her new book, Very Married: Field Notes on Love and Fidelity, stands out among Christian marriage books for its depth, style, and vulnerability. She wrestles with the difficulties of marriage with honesty and humor, and her love of marriage itself shines through.
Cracking open Very Married, I was a bit surprised. It was not a “Christian marriage book” as I expected. It didn’t go through the different aspects and challenges of marriage with lessons, tips, and exercises, neatly tying each to a biblical principle or Bible verse. Rather, it is a memoir. Its twenty chapters do touch on many of the classically...Read more
I am a woman called to minister as a pastor in the body of Christ. My ministry journey is layered with men who called out my pastoral gifting and stoked the fire of my ministry. I find it especially sweet that the loudest voices of affirmation for my work are brothers who regularly cheer me on. They speak life to me. Their words breathe the oxygen of perseverance into my lungs when the journey seems impossible. They are my band of brothers.
Here are just a few of their contributions to my ministry
I think of one dear brother that I served with in my first ministry job as an intern. Pastoral ministry was not in my purview. It was a new idea to me since I had grown up in conservative churches where men did all of the leading.
This brother said something to me that I never forgot. He...Read more
Sometimes sexism is harsh, blatant, and outrageous. And sometimes it’s none of those things. There are blatant forms of sexism as well as more subtle forms of sexism. The latter can make women feel a little crazy when they attempt to point it out, because people tend to minimize experiences with subtle sexism as harmless or misinterpreted.
Subtle sexism is often much harder to spot than explicit discrimination, but we as the church need to get better at identifying it. Examples of subtle sexism include:
A woman shares a good idea in a church meeting and it’s ignored, but a man at the table says the exact same thing and it’s suddenly celebrated as the best idea ever.
A woman points out inconsistencies in how she is being treated in the church, but is told that she...Read more
For a class project, I once spent a semester studying people I disagree with. Initially, I planned to report on atheists because their beliefs differ dramatically from my Christian faith.
I approached my professor with the idea, and he shook his head. “No, you need to choose people who frustrate you. Who don’t you get along with? Who is hard to like?”
Truthfully, I had the least warm and fuzzy feelings toward those who oppose women in ministry leadership. I’d become weary of repeating myself to young men who ignored me in seminary study groups. It was awkward to question when they edited my words out of group papers without discussion.
I wrestled over a male professor explaining to my class that, “men do ministry with a capital-M and women do ministry...Read more
It can be very difficult to know what makes a solid male ally, so I took a stab at answering that question. I’ve created a list of 10 ways men can act on their Christian feminism, with specific emphasis on the church.
1. Ensure the leadership of your church or organization reflects your feminism/egalitarianism.
It’s easy to affirm women in leadership theoretically, because it costs you nothing as a male leader. But if you and your male teammates stand at the helm of the church alone, your feminism is meaningless. A church that has egalitarian values should walk the talk by inviting women to take the wheel.
2. Let women lead the way.
Men have been at the forefront of many social and theological movements. A cultural preference for male perspectives can exist even in...Read more