Welcome to CBE’s Library

Tip: to find an exact phrase or title, enclose it in quotation marks.

The oppression of women spans centuries and borders. In virtually every country and culture in the world, women have less-than-equal status to men and they are often relegated to subservient and submissive roles. Women suffer from domestic violence, job barriers, lack of control over their bodies, and fewer options for healthcare. They often do not have a voice in matters as broad as politics or as narrow as what happens within their own families. 

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As one might expect, much of the research in the area of wife abuse has been done by feminists, some of whom themselves have been victims of wife beating. They speak with an understandable bitterness and anger toward a society so insensitive that it only publicly acknowledged the plight of battered women decades after having established laws to prohibit the abuse of animals. And often they have given up on the hope that change will come through social institutions such as the church. Rather than seeing the church as part of the solution to the abuse of women, they almost unanimously perceive the church as a big part of the problem.

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What the example of Deborah reveals about gender authority: As women have gained increased influence in society, and as Bible scholars offer a consistent egalitarian interpretation of Scripture, gender traditionalists have had to work harder and more creatively to justify the subordination of women within the church and family—even to themselves.

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There are cultural, psychological, and even physiological reasons why some women gravitate toward threatening “heroes” or violent sexual fantasies.

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Why the church should talk consent, appropriate touch, and respecting women's "no."

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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.

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A resolution on the “dignity and worth of women” sounds lovely. We’ve got the bones of something empowering here. But these words—women matter—have no purchase without a shift in theology. 

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We asked our supporters what concrete measures churches can take to combat abuse in Christian communities and strengthen their internal response to abuse. Some of you weighed in with some great ideas and examples, which we’ve compiled below.

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Naturally, social hierarchies are safe for those at the top. They’re designed to preserve the existing social structure, which already prioritizes the needs and perspectives of the group with power. Social hierarchies don’t make less powerful people and groups safer. Rather, they exacerbate any vulnerabilities and pose danger and harm to marginalized people.

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In stumbling after Jesus, the church has sometimes faltered. Sometimes, we’ve been the ones holding women’s bruised and bleeding hearts in our fists. And sometimes, for all our good gospel intentions, we’ve done the wounding. 

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