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There is no love in patriarchy. There is no respect. There is only perpetual immaturity, dependency, and frustration for the man who is subjected to the most sophisticated manipulation as his wife gives over control and authority to him.

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It was a typical summer weekend service at our local church. I was perusing the bulletin announcements about our son’s upcoming youth group trip that included a water park excursion. Amidst the details for the trip was the following blurb instructing students what to bring:

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It was not until I was well into my thirties that I started to see that some of my uniquely female experiences are beautiful and poignant pictures within the redemption story. Consider the motif of new life born of blood and water, pain and sacrifice.

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Tragically, Bible-readers throughout most of church history haven't seen Jesus' call to give up power as essential to or even included in Christian faith. Nowhere has that omission been more costly than in the treatment of gender.

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As I watch my daughter mature and develop a rather alarming perceptiveness, I wonder when she will start to notice the vocational gender disparity around her, particularly in the church. Her wide-eyed five-year-old self knows nothing of a world in which her gender has something to say about how she can embody the gifts and graces given to her by God. Even as she watches her mom ascend the platform each week to preach, when will she notice that most of the other preachers in our tradition are men? Will that precious gift of presumption be stripped from her hands by the incongruence between her hopes and the reality she encounters? And will she even notice when it’s gone?

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I am fortunate to belong to a global denomination that affirms and supports women in ministry. Since its official formation in 1908, the Church of the Nazarene has ordained women right alongside their male colleagues. I’ve often heard it remarked that Nazarene women could preach twelve years before they could vote in US elections!

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My sister, Becky, was seven years older than me, and trying to prove myself as smart and beautiful as she was would capture my attention well into my twenties. Becky was a wonderful older sister.

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Enter the CBE Writing Contest! Get published; win a copy of Tara Beth Leach’s new book: Emboldened; and get a free CBE subscription!

 

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The lack of women’s ordination in the Mar Thoma Church cannot be viewed as an isolated issue but must be seen within the greater religious and cultural context of India.

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I wondered if something was wrong with me, a woman, or with my female body. Did I dress too provocatively? I began to hide behind loose clothes and old thrift finds. I diminished myself, listening to the messages of shame and fear. Bowing to the voice that whispered that I was dust—unclean.

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