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Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 15 2018 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! I was sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee on the morning of my seventeenth birthday when a parcel arrived on my doorstep. Excitedly, I ripped open the box to find half a dozen Christian books on sex, dating, and relationships. It was a gift from my sister, who knew this was an area of my life I had yet to explore through the lens of my new-found faith. I consumed the books with my usual zeal and sincerity. A few weeks later, I broke off my current dating relationship, began writing letters to my future husband, and made deep and determined promises to God to save myself for marriage.  The books rightly taught what Scripture says about sex and love, explained God's original intenti... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our top 15 2018 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! “If you don’t have sex with your husband anytime he wants, he’ll find it somewhere else.” Fresh out of college and a new Christian, this was my introduction to what I thought was the “biblical” approach to marriage. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t even in a relationship. After graduation, I’d returned to my hometown to take a job and most people my age were either already married, engaged, or dating with marriage on the horizon. In the evangelical church I was attending (I would later call it fundamentalist), the college kids or recently graduated—but not yet married—were funneled to a single Sunday school class. For one lesson, the marri... Read more
Are you new to egalitarianism or rethinking your assumptions and beliefs about gender roles, authority, feminism, and the Bible? Or do you know someone who is open to reexamining these issues? There’s a lot of information out there—a lot of books, a lot of blogs, a lot of articles, and a lot of podcasts. It can all feel very overwhelming and it’s impossible to know where to start. Those of us who changed our minds on the issues of gender equality and women’s leadership in the church know it’s a tough but worthwhile process. That journey is made a lot easier with some guidance. With that in mind, here are fifteen books we recommend for searchers: 1. The Blue Parakeet (Second Edition) by Scot McKnight Scot McKnight’s work is a staple ingredient for... Read more
This August, CBE International held its second popular writing contest! We received over one hundred submissions, making our job of picking just fifteen winners very difficult. We’d like to thank all the gifted writers who participated. Thank you for being brave enough to share your stories. Thank you for embracing vulnerability when it’s sometimes easier to hide. Thank you for never wavering in your commitment to justice and freedom. Thank you for urging the church to more fully align itself with God’s redemptive vision for the world. Thank you for always being shalom people. You make us better and we honor you. With difficulty, we chose fifteen winners and six honorable mentions, which you’ll see published on our website in the coming months along with many othe... Read more
Women in the church are often pushed to the margins. Sometimes the exclusion is explicit and intentional and other times, it’s implicit and subtle. As more and more women share that they feel invisible and unwanted at church, it’s clear we need to take intentional steps to make women feel seen, invited, and empowered to use their gifts. Here are three ways we exclude women and what we can do about it. Problem 1: We Push Women to the Margins When We Exclude Great Women from the Bible in Sermons A few Sundays ago, I was assigned to teach my Sunday school class about King Josiah and the discovery of the Book of the Law. But there was no mention of Huldah whatsoever in the national curriculum we use. They completely skipped over her! For those of you who don’t know, Hul... Read more
You’ve probably heard about the tragic murder of Iowan Mollie Tibbetts by now. Tibbetts was reportedly killed by a man because she rejected his advances and he was angered by her refusal.  In a 2016 survey on street harassment, thirty percent of women respondents said they’ve been followed while on a run. Eighteen percent said they’ve been propositioned by a stranger. And according to a recent survey by an anti-harassment non-profit, eighty-one percent of women have been sexually harassed at least once and fifty-one percent of women reported being touched sexually without permission.  Being a woman in public is an uncomfortable and often dangerous assignment. I’d wager that most women know the perils of rejecting a man’s advances by the time they... Read more
The second letter of John is addressed “to the elect lady and to her children.” But who is the “elect lady” of 2 John? Is she a mother with kids, or something more? A look at the apostle John’s use of the word “children” in 1 John can help us understand who the woman’s children are. Then, we can try to solve the mystery of who the woman is. We commonly recognize that the “children” of 1 John refer to Christian converts. The “fathers,” “young men,” and “dear children” in the second chapter may refer to literal ages, or to spiritual development. Regardless of their age, the apostle John considered himself a spiritual father to these “children.” The apostle Paul also used this language... Read more
I’m blessed to be called “Nana” by four delightful grandchildren so far, two of whom are girls. Aviella is four years-old, an enthusiastic force to be reckoned with. Her cousin Helaina is one-and-a-half and more cautious, but equally sweet. They both already know about Jesus. Even as a toddler, Lainey loves to bow her head and “pray” at mealtimes. Avi makes up worship songs, complete with hand motions and twirls. God has his hand on their lives. He has given each of them unique gifts and talents. He has particular purposes in mind for each of them, just as he does for my equally precious grandsons. I pray regularly for all my grandchildren, but I find myself praying for the girls in particular because of the prejudice and exclusion they will likely face as f... Read more
Several weeks ago, my husband John and I watched The Breakfast Club with Emma and Lucas. I initially questioned whether or not the film would be good for them. The kids assured me they hear bad language in school all the time, and they know all about marijuana. Great. I feel so much better. But we decided to watch it together and then discuss it as a family. The Breakfast Club is an all-time classic from my era. I watched it over and over with friends, and thought little about the overt theme that plays out in this movie. Now, as a grown woman and a mother, I have to admit, I’m less concerned about the swearing than I am the menacing bully who takes the movie by storm. In The Breakfast Club, we've got a rebel bully with anger issues who comes from a terribly abusive f... Read more
A brutal grand jury report on clergy abuse of minors in Pennsylvania was published last week. It details a mass cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by more than three hundred priests in Pennsylvania, and outlines the procedures churches employed to protect predatory priests and conceal sexual abuse. Clergy used their positions to rape and molest and torture little ones in the name of Jesus—and then retired quietly. Or, they were shuffled to another diocese. Or their victims were hushed and discredited. Few of these men will ever answer for their crimes. Many of these abusers died with good reputations. For years, they’ve been celebrated as righteous representatives of God. What could be more horrifying? Unnamed, silenced victims suffered alone while thousands unknowingly atten... Read more