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Women pastors are not a new phenomenon, but many Christians aren't aware of the long history of women pastors in the church. 

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Snow falls gently
like little promises accumulating over the years,
piling into great mounds of failed commitment.
Too large to ignore,
it stands grim sentinel in the chill of resentment,
but it slowly melts away under the sunshine of mercy.

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There are more than a few women in the Bible and in church history who risked their lives for a godly cause. In this post, I look at three brave women who are not in the Protestant Bible. These women were, most likely, not even real people. They are legendary women with enduring and inspiring stories—stories that give us insight into the religious thoughts and aspirations of past generations—stories that deserve to be better known.

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“Healthy” is not exactly the adjective I would match with the word “sexuality,” especially when it comes to the ways the church and Christians have portrayed and lived out what we believe about sex these past few centuries.

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We’ve all heard them. Stupid jokes and thoughtless comments. Sexist sayings and caricatures. From the pulpit, at the altar, in school, from boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, parents, and friends. People pass off myths as facts and case-by-case examples as universal truth. Women are like this and men are like that. Women are obnoxious. Men are arrogant. Women are needy and men are emotionally unavailable. These statements are infused with cultural and gendered assumptions. They have no basis in the gospel and what’s more—they are rooted heavily in socialization. And yet, despite Christians’ pledge to reject unhealthy and sinful cultural messages, these painful and divisive gender jokes and ideologies have infiltrated the church. And it’s not no big deal, people. It’s a really big deal. Here’s why.

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There were some spaces in the medieval Western church where women were free to write theology and have spiritual influence. Yes, patriarchy and misogyny barred women from the priesthood and the great universities that produced scholastic theology. But many women became well-known, admired, and influential in monastic life and through mystic theology.

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Here are just some of the lies purity culture teaches women and girls that we as the church must work to undo.

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My mama allows it could've been rape
and it might've, you know, unsettled her mind.

Grandma, who's lived with us since grandpa died,
declares she's just a little whore,
probably with some low-ranking Roman,
who's trying to hide her dirty skirts behind blasphemy.

Either way, my mama says, I should watch and remember
how easy a girl becomes trash and has to leave town,
probably for good,
and you can bet her little bastard won't be around
to take care of her when she's old.

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I later learned that common conceptions of ‘evangelical’ were shaped by memories of fire and brimstone pre-millennial tent revivals, or perpetuated by negative caricatures of tele-evangelists or mega-church sales gimmicks asking for money.

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