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An unfortunate history of misinterpretation and abuse has surrounded 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. It has been taken out of context and used to suppress women’s involvement in the ministry of the church. The egalitarian interpretation, however, finally perceives this verse, not as a tool of oppression, but as one with a helpful cross-cultural message. 

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I’d be the first to acknowledge the importance of strong family life, but I fear that by extolling the virtues of the traditional unit, the church alienates those who don’t have ready-made families.

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Home. What does it mean to someone who lives alone? Countless sermons, seminars, and songs, which define the word in terms of people, make one’s own rooms and furnishings seem less than adequate, less than deserving of the warm word. 

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I flushed with embarrassment. Desire for a soul-mate was something I felt all too keenly, but something I talked about with only a few close friends. Although I looked for him, the man of my dreams had not ridden – on a horse or in a sports car – over the horizon. For my emotional survival, desire was, then and for several years, something to repress.

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In a faith centered on love and inclusion, are single people and their God-given gifts truly being welcomed in our churches? According to theologian Christina Hitchcock, definitely not. Instead, she argues, American evangelical churches suffer from a fear of single people. 

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Christian tradition is sometimes remarkable for the liberties it takes with the reputations of its saints, and in this regard no example springs so readily to mind as that of Mary Magdalene. Tradition has had its field day with the reputation of this once deeply troubled woman. 

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The church’s outreach to the world is enhanced when the gifts given to all God’s people, including laity, women and youth, are affirmed and utilized. Ministry needs to be based on gifting not gender, on witnessing not categories, on biblical teaching not status. When gifting is denied because of gender, status, or age, kingdom ministry is diminished.

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For many people today, singleness feels like an embarrassment, a reason for apology, a motivation for therapy. We are asked if we are “called” to singleness, but no one ever asks if one is “called” to marriage. We have to “deal with” singleness. No one ever talks about “dealing with” marriage, although all marriages are sometimes stressful experiences. We may be asked “Why are you single?” but no one would ever think to ask “Why are you married?”

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In his new book, How God Sees Women, author and pastor, Terran Williams gives an extensive guide to navigating complementarian arguments against the inclusion of women.

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First Corinthians presents Christian women with a time to speak, not a time to be silent.

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