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Christian Relationships

Some readers of The CBE Scroll will be surprised to learn of the variety of strongly-held opinions regarding who has the right of way when hiking. Hikers with an opinion are evenly divided between two primary points of view. First, many believe that when two hikers meet, the person hiking uphill has the right of way. Why? Because the uphill hiker shouldn’t have to lose and then regain momentum. Others believe the opposite, that the descending hiker has the right of way. Why? Because the huffing and puffing ascender would presumably appreciate a break! Throw in various complicating factors—lone hiker meets large group, woman meets man, walker meets runner, day hiker meets backpacker—and you’ve got fuel for a lengthy campfire discussion. My practice is si... Read more
From time to time we hear of the responsibilities outlined in Ephesians 5 verses 22 - 33 concerning husbands and wives respectively. Often the language gets reduced to a catch phrase like, "women want to be loved and men need respect." It is as if this phrase defines all women and all men for all time. It is as if this phrase sums up all that is required by all women and all men. It is assumed that for men, love is not an issue, all that they require to be completed as men is respect. Equally, for women it is suggested that love, of the emotional, 'touchy feely' variety is all that women crave. While this may be true for some men and women it does not hold that it is true for all, as many writers would have us believe. Indeed most writers who claim such are of the opini... Read more
There are so many great posts around the web proclaiming biblical equality. Here are some we noticed: 5 Ways Married Men Can Act Like Adults Around Women (Single or Not), by Luke Harms (Living the Tension) It is possible to maintain eye contact without being skeezy. If you lack the self-control to do so, it’s because you sir, are a creeper. But what’s more, you have so devalued women in your own mind that they don’t exist outside of the parts of their body that you find attractive. The Many Female Followers of Jesus, by Marg Mowczko (The Junia Project) Many women were dedicated followers of Jesus during his ministry on earth.  Many of these women seem to have been independent of fathers and husbands, and some were independently wealthy.... Read more
Margaret Mowczko
This post originally appeared on Margaret Mowczko's blog "newlife" on June 21, 2014: newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/how-to-keep-friends-and-influence-people/. I’ve been asked several times for advice about how to maintain good relationships with Christian family and friends who hold to different and even opposing views on so-called “gender roles”.  This is a real concern for some.  Here are a few things I’ve learnt through having many discussions with people, in real life and online, on the sometimes sensitive issues surrounding the “roles” of men and women in Christian marriage and ministry. Family  My family (mother, husband, two sons, and, more recently, my daughter-in-law) have simply come with me... Read more
“The guys just don’t feel like they would be able to lead you spiritually,” Ryan, one of my best friends at my small Christian college, turned and said to me gently. It was January of sophomore year, and on a late night drive the conversation had turned to me, and whether or not I was the object of anyone in our larger friend group’s affections. Ryan quickly spoke up, explaining how my relationship with the Lord intimidated any potential suitors, convincing them they wouldn’t be able to fulfill their God-given responsibility to lead me spiritually. Nineteen at the time, I was just beginning to wrestle with issues of gender theology, and had yet to question the rhetoric of “spiritual leadership” I had grown up hearing on the lips of countless Chr... Read more
The idea of submission is neither a cultural norm nor an accepted virtue. The human heart, untouched by God’s grace in salvation, naturally wants things its way and the voice of culture screams to us at every turn that getting what we want is most important. Scripture, however, tells us that we live in a kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36) and this other-worldly kingdom is set into motion by Jesus’ example of submission, starting with the Incarnation of God. Jesus willingly submitted to flogging, public humiliation, and death, all of which are part of a greater submission to his Father’s will (Matt 26:42). At its core, submission is the willing alignment of one’s own will under the will of another. And believers do it for the sake of living aft... Read more
So-called “traditional gender norms” within a marriage create an imbalance of power, and the less equality between intimates, the less intimacy. It is difficult to experience intimacy with someone who is in a position to make decisions about your life. When social structures allow the other person to control your life, you normally protect your innermost-self from being known by that person. Unequal power makes full reciprocal self-disclosure less likely, and therefore traditional marriages are less intimate. One fears engulfment; the other fears invasion. Perhaps it is power that explains the paradox of the stereotypically expressive yet inaccessible and unfathomable female on one hand, and the inexpressive male on the other. She tries to get him to talk so as to monitor... Read more
“I don’t believe God loves me—not really.” These words erupted from my wife in a season of personal crisis. One of the deep roots of the crisis—not the immediate trigger—was the traditional teaching of the church that women must be subordinate to men and are not qualified for certain offices of leadership. This lie had rooted itself in Debbie’s heart from her childhood years growing up in church. At the very same time as these words came forth from my wife’s lips, a sliver of glass, the result of a moving accident when a mirror slipped and crashed on my head early in our marriage, made its way to the surface of my forehead. I picked out this irritating sliver that had been working its way to the surface for some time. I thought at the time... Read more
I met Brian six or more years ago when he was attending our local Christian seminary.  From the beginning our conversations were important: Calvinism, gender roles, human trafficking and Harry Potter, with Brian generally on the more conservative side of the issues we discussed.  When we met he was a 5-point Calvinist with stringent complementarian views. You can imagine my incredulity recently when he informed me he’d become an egalitarian.  His “conversion” happening in the space of an hour, he compared his experience to Saul on the road to Damascus.  That same day he began discussing it with his complementarian friend Kevin (not his real name), citing me as an example of someone with whom he’d debated gender issues.  Kevin, asked:... Read more
There are still church pastors and church leaders worldwide who believe women have no authority to pastor and should remain silent in the church. It is further exacerbated by the misinterpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Saint Paul wrote these scriptures to guide a troubled, first century church, not to create a discriminatory church policy against women in the 21st century. Yet, the reality is women are being discriminated against. It is a silent and stifling church policy that must come to an end! Sacred scriptures are misused to silence women and some stop them from pastoring because there is no biblical model. The truth is some men use sacred scriptures to limit competition for pastoral jobs, church management, and remain in power. There are some churches founded by women, bu... Read more

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