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Recently, a friend asked me an unexpected question. “Do you identify first as a Christian or as a feminist?” I was surprised by but not unprepared for her question. I’d considered it before, and the answer is complicated. Stick with me here.

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Sara and I wanted to write a letter to you about something we don’t often talk about: pornography. If you are anything like me, you were introduced to pornography at a fairly young age. 

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I was raised in something of a theological echo chamber where my complementarian convictions went undisputed. All diligent Bible readers would obviously conclude that men were to lead, and even more obviously, that women were not to be pastors. What could be simpler?

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The bottom line is God did not create any woman to be a prostitute, a stripper, a porn star, or to feel like she must pursue an endless quest for physical perfection.

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What we learn from 1 Corinthians is that sometimes good actions that we are free to do can keep us from doing the first two words of chapter 14: "pursue love." Love is more important than our freedom in Christ. We have to work on our ability to love.

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By paying attention to the context and specific word usage of 1 Corinthians 14, it becomes clear that Paul was not asking anyone—tongues-speakers, prophets, or women—to be quiet permanently.

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We just saw the end of January, the month of fresh starts and new beginnings. For many Christians, it also marks the beginning of an attempt to read the Bible in its entirety, from Genesis to Revelation, in a year. In light of that, I’d like to cover a few basic egalitarian principles that can help us read and understand the Bible.

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Tragically, Bible-readers throughout most of church history haven't seen Jesus' call to give up power as essential to or even included in Christian faith. Nowhere has that omission been more costly than in the treatment of gender.

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Ultimately, the norms of male domination — expressed through pornography — are the opposite of authentic masculinity. Pornography imprisons women in the grasp of insecure and dominant men.

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Many know the story of Queen Esther from the Bible. However, often our own culture and struggles can lead us to “discover” lessons that are not part of the text, or miss important details that are. Often in churches, Esther becomes obscured to the point where this brave woman who was mightily used by God becomes passively subject to the decisions of men. For example, a marriage book released recently by a popular pastor and his wife used the story of Esther to promote obedience to one’s husband, contrasting disobedient Queen Vashti with a “submissive” Esther. Is submission to one’s husband truly the lesson of this narrative?

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