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Paul’s words in 1 Cor 7:4 constitute Scripture’s only mention of the common Greek word for “authority” (exousia) in clear reference to husbands and wives. What does his bold statement mean in its biblical context, and what does it say about Christian mutuality in marriage and singleness today?

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Sadly, those who cite Paul as an opponent of women's equality overlook the many examples of women leaders building the church beside the apostle. This workshop will show how 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 are eddies off the stream of Paul’s egalitarian teachings and practices.

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When Minneapolis-based calligrapher and graphic designer Diane von Arx Anderson was invited to work on The Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten illuminated Bible in 500 years, it did not ever cross her mind to refuse.

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This lecture examines all the major passages that address women and their roles in the church and in society.

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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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Biblical feminists, as opposed to other feminists outside and within the church, accept the full authority of all Scripture for all the people of God. But they recognize, with all modern people, that we do not absorb Scripture in its pure form into our understanding. Like anything else we read, reading Scripture is an interpretive process. 

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Evangelical tradition places a high value on the biblical text, which is a good thing. But too often, we buy into a myth that our favorite translation is God’s true Word, pure and untainted by bias. Changes are seen as a threat to God’s truth, motivated by a social or political agenda.

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Language matters. It impacts our ideas. It reflects our biases. It influences those we speak to. As I sang on Christmas Eve that all men are to employ their songs, the picture in my head was of men singing praises to God. Not one woman was among “all men” in my own imagination! It’s crucial that women see ourselves in what we sing, in what we read, and in what we hear.

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Too often the patriarchy of Bible culture has been confused with the moral teachings of Scripture. This workshop will explore how Christians working to end slavery challenged power, dominance, and self-interest in interpreting Scripture so that the church might become more effective agents of reconciliation in the world. What might egalitarians today learn from the interpretative methods of the abolitionists in their work as agents of gender justice?

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The workshop offers participants an opportunity to discuss themes according to their interests relating to the details of the passage, its meaning, the culture of Paul’s time, and even Paul’s theology.

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