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Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:4 constitute Scripture’s only mention of the common Greek word for “authority” (exousia) in clear reference to husbands and wives in marriage. This radical denouncement of either spouse insisting on personal “authority” over her or his own body in marital intimacy is a stunning reversal of the cultural norm of Paul’s day—as well as throughout the majority of church history. What does his bold statement mean in its biblical context, and what does it say about Christian mutuality in both marriage and singleness today?

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In her book, Worthy: Finding Yourself in a World Expecting Someone Else, Melanie Springer Mock critiques the Christian culture which labels people and puts them into boxes. She then affirms God’s heart for every individual by emphasizing how much he loves them, regardless of what the world might think. She shares many experiences from her own life, both painful and positive, that helped challenge her thinking.

 

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Throughout history, charismatic men and women of God have risen up, almost out of nowhere, to lead spiritual movements and shape theological discourse. These leaders often build churches and large followings before the institutional church pulls them in for a chat. The air is tense, awkward. At some point in the conversation someone asks a deceptively simple question: “Who gives you the authority to do the work you are doing?”

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Sisters in ministry, I hope you will take these words to heart as you continue in the good work to which God has called you. Let’s reclaim our time together!

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Jesus’s encounter with the Syrophoenician woman of Mark 7 changed the minds of the first disciples and has the power to change modern minds as well.

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As women we should be encouraged. We may be soft on the outside, but we’re strong and mighty in spirit. We are God’s secret weapons and the enemy knows it. He takes us seriously, even when others don’t. The enemy’s strategy has been to keep us quiet and in hiding. But God is doing an end run. He is going to release so many of us at once that the enemy is not going to know what hit him!

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I so wish I could have told those bright young women about the challenges they will face as they enter their careers and endeavor to find satisfaction in their work and lives. I did not want to be that person, warning optimistic young women about future obstacles—and that the odds of success are ever stacked against them. I fear, though, that if we don’t have open conversations about workplace and cultural challenges, if we don’t call out hurdles by name, we set women up for failure when they enter the workplace.

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Clearly there are complex reasons why women fail to answer or reluctantly answer God’s call to ministry. Those who do will very likely face a difficult road.

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The call for women missionaries is not often heard today. Often women are left with the feeling “we are only needed because the men fail to go.” Our American culture looks on pioneer missionary work as man’s work because the Church is infiltrated with a worldly and pagan view of women as inferior to men. 

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