Welcome to CBE’s Library

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Sojourner Truth was a remarkable woman. This article invites us to learn about and celebrate her life, while also lamenting the oppression she experienced that meant she had to be remarkable to be remembered. 

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Many people don’t know that African American women were leading and pastoring churches from the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement in the early 1900s. Meet two of these women: Lucy Farrow and Jennie Evans Seymour. 

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Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall Wynn was a womanist theologian, pastor, mentor, and civil rights activist who developed the concept of a “freedom-faith.” She is an important figure in Black history, women’s history, church history, and American history for her work towards a church and an America where all people are considered equal, regardless of their race, ethnicity, class, or gender.  

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I offer here a history of preaching rhetoric with the hope of encouraging women whose calling is the pulpit. We will explore how women have proven their preaching authority and constructed their sermons across time.

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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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