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“Joy to the world, the Savior reigns. Let men their songs employ!” We sang these words a month ago on Christmas Eve. I quietly sang “all” instead of “men” to myself and wondered how many other people found the use of a masculine noun for a mixed-gender group strange. Our church is normally very careful about using gender-accurate language in our songs and in the pulpit, but at Christmas-time this year, several gender-inaccurate songs slipped in. Granted, these are old songs and reflect an old way of speaking. But still, language matters. It impacts our ideas. It reflects our biases. It influences those we speak to. As I sang on Christmas Eve that all men are to employ their songs, the picture in my head was of men singing praises to God. Not one woman... Read more
If you’ve spent any time in church (or studying the New Testament text), you’ve heard of the famous couple, Priscilla and Aquila. Biblical narratives centered on co-laboring couples like Priscilla and Aquila have always excited me. Long before I met my husband, I envisioned a marriage of mutuality and shared ministry. Most of the marriages around me didn’t function that way. I was used to the Pinterest standard for ministry wives—dresses cute; does arts-and-crafts; bakes cookies from scratch; makes parenting look easy; and has dinner ready when the husband comes home hungry and tired from a day of ministry. While I genuinely think that’s a beautiful reality for women who feel fulfilled by it, it just isn’t me or my reality. I’ve never done a seri... Read more
I grew up in a traditional, warm, and well-meaning suburban Baptist church in Western Canada. No one who looked like me ever brought a word, prayer, sermon, or exhortation from the chestnut pulpit that elevated speakers to near-heavenly status. Certainly not on Sunday mornings or at Sunday evening services. Not on Wednesday nights either, unless they were visiting missionaries from a “far-away land” and even then, they “shared” their experiences. They never preached. In time, my own curiosity about Scripture and church life took deeper root, and I began to study and search for answers on my own. Soon, I was invited to teach Bible studies and lead Sunday school classes; join the deacon team and various committees; and take on more leadership from the sidelines... Read more
In December, TIME magazine named the “Silence Breakers,” the women who broke their silence on abuse last year, their “Person[s] of the Year.” The pervasiveness of abuse was made evident with the #MeToo movement this year and awareness swelled as Christians added their voices with #ChurchToo and the more recent #SilenceIsNotSpiritual—a statement calling the church to end silence on gender-based violence. As an early editor of the #SilenceIsNotSpiritual statement, I added data about the 200 million girls and women missing to expose the gender-holocaust distorting humanity. These countless victims are the result of a confederacy of abuse that spans the globe and every demographic. Given the betrayal of humanity these numbers signify, exposing the abuse, though c... Read more
This past Friday, The Wartburg Watch exposed megachurch pastor Andy Savage for sexually assaulting a teenage girl, Jules Woodsen, who has now come forward to share her story. Twenty years ago, Savage drove then-seventeen year-old Woodson down a secluded road and sexually assaulted her. At the time, Savage was an adult college student and serving as a youth pastor at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas. After the assault, Savage reportedly begged her to keep the abuse a secret, as most abusers do. Despite his insistence, Woodson could not keep silent. “I couldn’t concentrate at school. I couldn’t think about anything else. The fear, shame, anger and hurt consumed me.” She continued, “As embarrassing as it would be for me to tell all the ‘dirty... Read more
At the beginning of 2017, I wrote a blog calling women to speak out and use our voices like never before. And did we ever! 2017 began with the largest single-day protest in US history: The Women’s March. As the year progressed, women of all political, religious, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds broke their silence about their experiences with sexual assault and harassment. And because of their courage, many powerful and influential men who were once untouchable are now being held accountable. The year culminated with TIME magazine deeming “The Silence Breakers” their “Person(s) of the Year” and Webster Dictionary announcing “feminism” as their top-searched term and 2017 “Word of the Year.” Women persisted in 2017. Women resisted... Read more
In mid-December, an article was published on the Desiring God website titled “Husbands, Get Her Ready for Jesus.” Written by a Philadelphia pastor named Bryan Stoudt, this piece argues that husbands have a responsibility to challenge and correct their wives in order to keep them on course through the path of sanctification. For Stoudt, husbands have a unique responsibility for their wives’ sanctification, a responsibility that wives do not share for their husbands. He describes this responsibility as “the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband.” This is indeed a staggering responsibility to lay on the shoulders of husbands. Indeed, we might call it a staggering burden, much like the ones Jesus accuses the Pharisees of l... Read more
Imagine a four-day road trip and a diverse group of thirty-four evangelical leaders from eighteen states. Imagine a collection of prophetic women who have the ear of ten million social media followers traveling from Seneca Falls to Washington DC. Picture a bus of female authors, activists, and pastors immersing themselves in the historical struggle for women's rights. This was the #RubyWooPiligrimage. CBE was invited to sponsor the pilgrimage (founded by activist and author Lisa Sharon Harper), and sent along two representatives. We (myself and Rev. Tega Swann) joined leading evangelical thinkers on an experiential sojourn through the sites and stories central to our foremothers’ monumental struggle for women’s equality. As pilgrims gathered in Syracuse and prepared to em... Read more
This submission is one of our top ten CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! Editor's Note: We’d like to see all churches embrace egalitarian theology, but in the event that a church is not yet prepared to do so, we offer these four ways they can move closer to being a safer and more positive space for women. Many complementarians want to respect women’s needs and stories and benefit more concretely from their insights, but are not sure how to begin moving in that direction. I used to leave church in frustration every week because of the implicit marginalization on display in services. A childhood, or lifetime, of watching women pushed further to the edges of leadership and visibility has an immense impact on a woman’s self-worth. So, if your church of choice is firm... Read more
This is a reflection from CBE's president, Dr. Mimi Haddad, on the #MeToo and #ChurchToo conversations around sexual abuse and harassment.  My husband and I begin most weekends at our local coffee shop, enjoying breakfast with neighbors. Recently, one neighbor—a renowned poet—recalled his experiences studying poetry at Columbia University. Students were asked to submit a recent poem they’d written. These were returned the following day with the name of each student’s favorite authors scribbled at the end. The professor could discern, with 100% accuracy, who they had been reading. Students were stunned! They’d unknowingly expressed in their work what they’d absorbed in their imaginations. This same reality—we express what our im... Read more