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Before the nineteenth century, a Chinese woman’s life was wrapped around three men: father, husband, and son. When missionaries brought the gospel to China, the destiny of Chinese women began to change.

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The newly formed Advisory Council on Violence Against Women, co-chaired by Attorney General Janet Reno and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, is seeking to maximize the impact of the Violence Against Women Act by recruiting the collaboration of national leaders from law enforcement, the media, colleges and universities, sports, health care, primary and secondary education, the corporate workplace and also from religion. On October 11, 1996, leaders from many faiths and religious groups gathered in Washington DC at an interfaith breakfast, with President Clinton as honorary chairperson of the event. The Attorney General gave the key-note address, and leaders of various faith communities were asked to respond briefly. Speaking for evangelicals, Catherine Kroeger made the following remarks:

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C. F. D. Moule wrote that the problems raised by 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 “still await a really convincing explanation.” G. B. Caird added, “It can hardly be said that the passage has yet surrendered its secret.” W. Meeks regarded it as “one of the most obscure passages in the Pauline letters.”

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What I am against is the disgusting and deceptive way that some use the Bible to oppress and manipulate faithful, honest church folks. The SBC’s recent “statement on the family,” which faculty members at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary were asked to sign, presents a case in point.

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In the search for a more inclusive understanding of God, the feminine “Sophia” has for many persons become a bridge between traditional Christianity and feminist concerns. So we ask: Who is Sophia, and where did she come from? Is she the long-awaited answer to this search?

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As I examine the interrelatedness of religion, prejudice and abuse, I am aware that abuse—whether physical, sexual or psychological—is a profoundly gendered concept. The majority of abusers are male and the majority of victims are women and children. And prejudice—the unjustifiably negative attitude toward a group and its members, with supporting beliefs, emotions and behavioral predispositions—has both cross-cultural and gender implications.

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I often hear well-meaning parents talking about improving their parenting skills. Over the years, I have attended my share of parenting seminars and read books on the subject. Since I teach educational ministry courses at a seminary, numerous churches have assumed that I know something about parenting and have asked me to speak on parenting at their churches. I, too, have participated in the improvement of parenting skills as a Christian on both the receiving and giving ends.

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“The purpose of the stories about biblical mothers falls on literary and socially deaf ears unless they mean something to twenty-first-century mothers,” Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder writes in When Momma Speaks. This is the essence of Crowder’s mission: to forge a story connection between biblical mothers of color and modern African American mothers.

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Twelve million women in the United States—a staggering 25 percent of all American women—will be abused by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, according to a recent article in the Hawaii Medical Journal. An estimated two million women in this country are assaulted by an intimate partner every year. The actual numbers are probably much higher because the victims (whom I also refer to as “survivors”) often remain silent, fearing both the stigma associated with abuse and the threat of further violence from the perpetrators. 

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Recent events in the evangelical community—particularly with the release of Todays New International Version (TNIV) Bible translation—have raised concerns over masculine language. Does Jesus ask us to be fishers of people or fishers of men (Matt. 4:19)? Is there a difference? Should we be afraid to use words like people, especially when the ancient text and context warrants this?

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