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Evangelical women face a myriad of messages related to pastoral and teaching roles in the church and academy. Some evangelical churches open their doors to women leaders while others reject the ordination of women and endorse explicitly hierarchical models of gender relations, both in marriage relationships and also in church and church-focused institutional hierarchies. Others even extend male authority to secular arenas, excluding women from exercising leadership or authority over men that is direct and/or personal.

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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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I wonder if we in the church have allowed the “catalog itch” to infiltrate our human relationships, and whether it has not damaged our ability to love transcendency, to be “in but not of”? How useful are all of our labels and categories in light of John 15:12?

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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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Hidden behind much patriarchal thinking is a pervasive patrilineal worldview. The belief that the family line is a male line and that males own and inherit the resources, has colored nearly all our cultures in the past and still accounts for much oppression and sidelining of women. Beulah will speak from her experience in south Asian culture, recognizing that, within families, women often become the perpetrators of discrimination against females. Does that happen to some extent near all of us? The Bible culture too is patrilineal. How shall we view that?

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