Welcome to CBE’s Library

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Mary Magdalene's life changed irrevocably. Nothing could be done to change what had happened. After finding the tomb empty in John 20, the other disciples returned to their homes. Mary could not leave.

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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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Seventeen essays explore how the biblical Miriam, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene were portrayed in the early Christian era, also touching on Jewish and Muslim interpretations.

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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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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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