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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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I know that lack of sex and consent education harmed my husband’s and my sex life in the early years of our marriage. But as I look back, I realize that’s only one side of the coin. The other was biblical illiteracy.

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I have been ashamed for so long. I have been afraid. I have felt like no matter what I do, I will always and forever be man’s demise. My body will always be a threat to someone else.

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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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Before we get too far into this sermon, I need to say one thing: my brother had it coming. So none of this is my fault. Well, not entirely my fault. It might be his fault. Or my parents’ fault, even, for the whole thing started because they had the audacity to sell their house. The one we had was fine. I had my own space there, away from my brothers—a nice reading spot, a shelf full of books, and plenty of room for my favorite pastime: minding my own business.

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In this workshop, Jussi Suutari will discuss some verses (e.g. Eph. 5) that were important to him during over his own personal struggle with the Bible. The conflict grew out of hierarchical teachings he was hearing on some verses in Paul's letters, since through his own Bible reading he was seeing the overall egalitarian message of the Bible.

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