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Academic

Is there a way forward beyond the dominant complementarian discourse at this nexus where a predominantly white North American evangelical Christianity has met racial and ethnic others, especially East Asians in the contemporary milieu?

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Much has been written about “sonship” and being “adopted as sons” as descriptions of being brought into and belonging to God’s family. Focus is often on the privileges of adoption in Paul’s letters, noting the love, honour, and freedom that follow. In light of this masculine language, we should ask whether women and girls experience daughterhood as bringing privileges and rights in the way men and boys experience sonship? More broadly, do we have a theology of daughterhood?

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The God presented by the biblical authors and worshipped in the Church today cannot be regarded as having gender, any more than God can be regarded as having race or color. In recognizing this truth, we will be more free to use inclusive metaphors for God.

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Being married to her is the greatest happiness a man could feel. I could never love anyone more. My only desire is to love her and provide for her. I have made sacrifices for her, but she is worth every single one. I always want to be there for her. I want to save and protect her. I want to shield her from worldly dangers. She is my woman, and I want to be her man.

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I don’t really like reading the creation story. This is partly because I skip ahead to what is often described as the “sin story.” I don’t like being told that “the man shall rule over” me (Gen 3:16). To Christians who do not ascribe to gender equality, this verse is prescriptive. It’s used to explain and justify the hierarchy of patriarchy. It is used to support male headship, and deny women their full inclusion as people of God.

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Recently, a friend of mine was asked why she chose to work, and not stay home full-time with her child, even though her husband makes enough money to support their family. The question is unsurprising given the ongoing pressure on Christian women to prioritize home and family over career and calling. It seems that Christian women are still expected to choose between the public and the private.

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One God with
Three Faces:
Yauh, Jesu,Great Spirit;

hear my prayer
for my daughter,

 

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God of ages has called me to the Second Mile,

To walk with my sisters through the Valley.

I pray for the strength and the good courage to continue the walk.

To be there in the darkness, to be there in the light,

The Second Mile is to be there.

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There are many others more qualified than I to represent a theological and philosophical apologetic for an “egalitarian” or “mutuality” point of view regarding women in the church. As someone who a decade ago experienced my first wife leave me, leading to divorce, I realize my personal life could also be seen as a less than-convincing egalitarian argument. If anyone talked with Carol, my wife, who loves me despite my blindness and insensitiveness, I would be further exposed as a very imperfect example of an egalitarian husband.

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This story, from the point of view of a young girl, is about the collective responsibility of the church—male and female alike—to examine the type of environment we create not only through our theological stances, but also through our daily actions and interactions, so that we may make the church a safe and healthy place for girls and women.

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