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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
Dorothy Greco
In part 1 of this series, we established that sin, group think, evil spiritual forces, misuse of power, and an inadequate understanding of Scripture have led to misogyny and broken expressions of sexuality. Now that the origin and manifestations of misogyny are clearer, we can explore how the gospel offers the solution. A Biblical Hermeneutic of Gender and Sexuality Before we can experience whole and healthy relationships characterized by mutual respect and honor, we need to grasp God’s creative intent for humanity. Genesis 1 reads, Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” … So God created human beings in his own image.     In the image of God he created them;     male and female he crea... Read more
The news coming out of Willow Creek Community Church recently has been nothing short of tragic. It has been painful to hear the stories of the women who were victimized, and heartbreaking to know that their church and their pastors betrayed them, neglected to help them, and called them liars. Sadly, the mishandling of abuse allegations is not unique to Willow Creek. We have seen and read story after story of women reporting abuse to a pastor or church leader, only to be told that they were somehow responsible, or to have their stories ignored. We have seen pastors stand up and “confess” their sins only after they have been exposed and backed into a corner, while congregations give standing ovations. We have seen churches protect leaders over victims, and keep abusers in their... Read more
Dorothy Greco
This is a two part series. In part one, we’ll trace the history and impact of misogyny. In part two, we’ll explore what Jesus has to say about healthy, whole, male-female relationships in a more just world. The #MeToo movement uncovered a fault line running across the entire country. Revelation after painful revelation exposed the pervasiveness of misogyny and sexual brokenness in the United States. Among the accused were Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, politicians Roy Moore and Al Franken, talk show host Matt Lauer, physician Larry Nassar, and perhaps most shocking, Willow Creek’s founder and head pastor Bill Hybels. The charges certainly didn’t come as a surprise to the 321,500 Americans who are victims of sexual assault or rape every year. After... Read more
Last year, CBE hosted our first ever popular writing contest and it was a huge success! We’re holding the contest again this year because we’re determined to give those passionate about biblical gender equality/egalitarian theology/Christian feminism an opportunity to share their stories and insights. We’ve also got more great prizes this year: winners can get published with us; win a $20 Amazon gift card and a copy of Kathy Khang’s new book: Raise Your Voice; and get a free CBE subscription! Topics: We want to hear from you on one of these seven topics. Each broad topic includes a series of bullet point prompts to help you understand the intent of the prompt and to provoke ideas. You can mix and match the prompts we’ve provided or answer multiple p... Read more