Welcome to CBE’s Library

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My conference workshop, "A Question Mark Over My Head: Learning From the Narratives of Female Theologians in the Evangelical Academy," presented the voices of evangelical women theologians--the struggles and the triumphs, the creative ways in which they are following God's call, and their insight on the state of the church and the evangelical academy.

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Recently I was told the story of a 55-year-old woman currently attending an evangelical seminary. This story, and others like it, drive my upcoming research at the Evangelical Theological Society conference.

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“Perhaps it’s time to rethink the evangelical sound byte we call the Christian family,” says Robert M. Hicks in The Christian Family in Changing Times.

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In the past few years, numerous people have asked me why I make such a big deal about gender equality. Have I experienced such extreme inequality? What traumatic experience drives my activism? Why am I so passionate and outspoken about this issue? People often assume that a tragic event in my personal life led to this behavior.

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“Do you want a divorce?” My husband was momentarily speechless. From the earliest days of our marriage, we struggled with sex. By the time I asked the question that so shocked my husband, it was apparent that we couldn’t resolve the issue by talking to each other or to our friends or by reading books. 

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Christians are used to hearing about Joseph and Mary, usually around Christmas. Then, they’re the supporting cast, and Jesus is the focus. They certainly don’t often come up in conversations about Christian marriage. Perhaps they should. 

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Who would think we would find important truths about marriage from the ancient agricultural implements found along the highways and byways of South India?

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Growing up in a complementarian, Baptist church environment, I thought I knew exactly what God expected a Christian wife to be. I was confident that a good Christian wife keeps her house clean and orderly; it is to be her hard-working husband’s haven. She ensures that her husband comes home to a homemade meal every evening. She stays out of the financial affairs of the home because her husband is the breadwinner. She obeys him without question. She supports him no matter what. She does not complain. She does not rebel. She is her husband’s faithful (albeit often silent and invisible) helper.

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No one says the word “failure” out loud, of course. No one would dare. But when marriage is the ideal that everyone is working toward, anything that falls short feels like you did something wrong.

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Christians around the world agree that Jesus is fully God and fully human. Jesus’ humanity makes it possible for him to liberate us from the bonds of sin. At first glance, this central tenet of our faith might seem quite unrelated to many other important concerns, such as the role of gender in the Christian community. But is this the case?

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