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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
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month or DVAM. Domestic violence is a pressing problem every day and month of the year. But in October, we set aside time to discuss how widespread and pervasive domestic abuse is in our world and in our churches (including physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse) and what we can do to set wrong to right. Have you experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, emotional abuse, or any kind of intimate partner trauma? Are you looking for healing, resources, and qualified help but don’t know where to start? Are you a pastor or spiritual leader who wants to help and not hurt? Is your church ready to study the link between theology and domestic violence? Are you a believer who wants to become more educated on domestic violence and how to... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our six honorable mentions from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! Jesus' fulfillment of the Law is the climax of Israel’s messianic Scriptures. In fulfilling that Law, he declared that his humble example of service would constitute a “new command” for the people of God (John 13:14, 34). The old Law was made obsolete (Gal. 3:24-25) and Jesus’ example of relinquishing power would be the new moral foundation, the “law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Jesus explicitly prohibited his disciples from imitating the world’s system of power: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! Eight years ago, my family and I spent an afternoon on a beach in Barcelona. Aware that parts of the beach were “clothing optional,” we opted for the first crescent—the one deemed “safe for the whole family.” My husband, my three daughters, and I learned quickly that tops were optional everywhere. This was our first exposure to cultural norms in Spain and it was a bit of a shock. We saw a lot of women’s bodies, the five of us un-sun-kissed Americans. We saw families playing frisbee, couples swimming together, and women and men lying in the sun letting it do its golden sun thing. Do you know what we didn’t see? We didn’t see a single man on that beach assaultin... Read more