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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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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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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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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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We are more than our bodies. We are more than what we do or don't physically "give away." We are not well-oiled machines, defined by words like "malfunction," "deterioration," and "market value." We are complex and our value is not rooted in whether we do or do not retain our virginity.

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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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The church can be a difficult environment for single people to navigate. Theologies that emphasize Christian fulfillment through marriage and parenting have caused marriage and the nuclear family to be so elevated that many singles feel like there is no place for them in Christian community.

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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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