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Could it be that the complementarian notion of “biblical womanhood” (especially the claim that women’s distinct personhood makes no room for women as teachers and leaders of men) is a recent, Western perspective?

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The one hundred and ninety-seventh letter of Gregory of Nazianzus, addressed to Gregory of Nyssa, contains a message of consolation over the death of Theosebeia, who has apparently been his colleague in the Gospel ministry. “Theosebeia, actually the priestess and colleague of a priest and equally honored and equally worthy of the Great Sacraments.”

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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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Every time discouragement sets in because of the slow progress of egalitarian ideas, we ought to be able to reach over our shoulders and pull from the shelf a book such as Sapinsley's. The story of Mrs. Packard (1816-1897), set in the American midwest, should remind all of us how much has been accomplished by our forebears.

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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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A prolific British hymn writer, Frances Ridley Havergal created poetic texts for the glory of God, but she also saw writing as her profession and livelihood.

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Two hundred years before Martin Luther’s reformation, a woman now known as St. Bridget of Sweden (1302-1373) challenged wayward kings, priests, and popes, calling them to repentance. 

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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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Forbes now is in secular academia, teaching rhetoric in writing, and she's turned her research attention to selected women who have unwittingly wielded a great deal of influence if not power, particularly in the twentieth century: devotional writers or compilers.

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