Welcome to CBE’s Library

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Christians are used to hearing about Joseph and Mary, usually around Christmas. Then, they’re the supporting cast, and Jesus is the focus. They certainly don’t often come up in conversations about Christian marriage. Perhaps they should. If we pay attention, Joseph and Mary point us toward what makes a good marriage.

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We know that when we say “yes” to God’s call to ministry and when we persist in that ministry despite opposition and hardship, we’ll likely be hurt. We’ll be grieved by those we love and long to serve.

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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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This year, I have noticed Mary more than usual. One of the things I’ve seen is a very strong person who bucks her culture to be what God calls her to be. That resistance has a hidden cost that the Bible doesn’t record directly. On this side of history, she appears singularly submissive, but to the people around her, it was likely a very different matter.

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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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So, what does the Bible have to say in response to the issues raised by the #MeToo movement? It seems to me that the central response to this question is the name of Jesus the Messiah’s mother—Mary.

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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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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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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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