Welcome to CBE’s Library

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This poem reflects on the thoughts and feelings of the Samaritan woman when she encountered Jesus on a routine visit to her town’s well, as recorded in John’s gospel (4:1–42).

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I recently saw a meme of the Virgin Mary with the words “well-behaved women make history” on it. The meme was a pushback on the pithy saying, “well-behaved women rarely make history.” 

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We have put you on a pedestal,
scattered petals at your marble feet.
Entombed now in stone,
once their warm flesh danced in Cana

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In churches where men are welcomed as priests and leaders simply because they share the male body of Jesus and the twelve male disciples, we too easily assume that women’s bodies represent, by contrast, an inferiority. 

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One Sunday, about a year ago, I was visiting a new church. It was December, and the pastor was preaching about Mary. I was surprised by how well he positioned Mary as an equal to the congregation—neither meek nor superhuman.

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God called Mary to something much greater than her social location. I find it comforting to note that she was called “highly favored” before she said yes to God. It wasn’t her obedience that made her highly favored. 

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Disruptions are inevitable in this life. We face circumstances and events in our day-to-day lives that feel like giant mountains, road blocks, and dead ends. Bad things happen to us, our families, and the people we love.

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From its earliest times, the church has struggled to be a space in which women and girls can think positively about their identities as Christians and the reality of their female bodies. 

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The story of Jesus’ birth might be the most misquoted and misunderstood story in the gospels. Luke’s gospel account of both the annunciation and the nativity are strikingly unique.

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