Welcome to CBE’s Library

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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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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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We need to pay attention to how we speak about female biblical characters. Are we affirming their personhood? Or are we communicating that they are extensions or property of men?

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History is, quite obviously, a story. And like any story, it at times prioritizes the experiences of certain characters over others. If we try to do too much with one story, we obstruct our own efforts. Thus, good historians are wise and fair synthesizers of data, but they accept that no one story can include everyone and everything. 

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Last night, Sarah Bessey (we’re fans!) began a conversation about the strange, sexist, abusive, and toxic things Christian women are told on a regular basis. We’ve collected some of the most powerful tweets so far in a list--follow the ongoing conversation happening on twitter under #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear.

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In the highly acclaimed bestselling A Call to Action, President Jimmy Carter addresses the world’s most serious, pervasive, and ignored violation of basic human rights: the ongoing discrimination and violence against women and girls.

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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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There is a cost to benching half the church. There is a cost to consuming porn. There is a cost to marginalizing women. There is a cost to the betraying silence of the church. And ultimately, the cost is women’s lives.

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The king was desperate. He was a God-fearing man and from his youngest age he had sought God. Now, trying to rid God’s people of idols, he had undertaken major repairs in the Lord’s temple but he had just realized that his efforts were insufficient. His secretary had just brought back a book from the temple—a lost book found by the high priest during repairs. After reading the book, the king realized that despite all his religious training, all his faith, all his attempts at doing what he thought was right, he had been wrong. His priests had been wrong. His people had been wrong. This was the book of the law of God which said “You shall have no other God before me” and warned of the curses against Israel if they did not obey the law. The king was now aware of the remaining idols in the temple and all the false gods around the country to whom Judah was making offerings. The Lord’s feasts such as Passover were barely celebrated, and the covenant was forgotten. The king was appalled. This could mean terrible disaster for his nation because, having forgotten God’s law, they were under his wrath. The king convened his highest ranking officials: his secretary, his attendant, the high priest, and a couple of others. He ordered them to inquire of God for himself and the people of Judah to find out what, if anything, could be done.

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Many, particularly women, have felt that the patriarchal overtones of Scripture exclude them from participating in God’s divine work: only men are to be the leaders, preachers, and teachers. They find the masculinity of Jesus limiting instead of liberating because they cannot relate to His male identity. 

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