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In 1995, economists discovered that 100 million females had vanished. Today, that number may be as high as 200 million according to Amartya Sen, a retired professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard. Sen received a Nobel Prize for his work, which prompted humanitarians and researchers to employ a gender-lens in their research and work. With one voice, they demonstrated how patriarchy is one of the most malicious and debilitating forces in history. Because of it, females are and have been abused and slaughtered on a mass scale. Amartya was the first to sound the alarm: females were suffering a genocide. But who was paying attention? Our privilege as Western Christians, and especially evangelicals, has distanced us from this crisis, and from the experiences of girls and women globally.... Read more
Dorothy Greco
This is a two part series. In part one, we’ll trace the history and impact of misogyny. In part two, we’ll explore what Jesus has to say about healthy, whole, male-female relationships in a more just world. The #MeToo movement uncovered a fault line running across the entire country. Revelation after painful revelation exposed the pervasiveness of misogyny and sexual brokenness in the United States. Among the accused were Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, politicians Roy Moore and Al Franken, talk show host Matt Lauer, physician Larry Nassar, and perhaps most shocking, Willow Creek’s founder and head pastor Bill Hybels. The charges certainly didn’t come as a surprise to the 321,500 Americans who are victims of sexual assault or rape every year. After... Read more
Today, advocates and activists from around the US will gather at the For Such A Time As This Rally in Dallas, Texas. The rally—led by abuse advocates and faith leaders such as Ashley Easter, Gricel Medina, and Mary DeMuth—will lament and challenge the Southern Baptist Convention’s inadequate response to sexual abuse and poor treatment of women. Leaders are urging SBC leadership to: Honor and respect women in the church. Create an SBC clergy sex offender database. Train all pastors and seminaries on abuse and sexual assault. The gathering was certainly spurred by recent events surrounding SBC giant Paige Patterson. But for many Christian women and especially Southern Baptist women, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s a biblical response t... Read more
If I asked you to imagine the Middle Ages, what would come to mind? Most of us think of the Middle Ages as a time of ignorance and violence—the dark middle period between the glories of Rome and the light of the Renaissance. And like every historical era, the Middle Ages has its share of dark moments. But many remarkable people, including remarkable and influential women, lived during this period. There were some spaces in the medieval Western church where women were free to write theology and have spiritual influence. Women were barred from the priesthood and the great universities that produced scholastic theology. But many women became well-known, admired, and influential in monastic life and through mystic theology. For women’s history month, here are six medieval women... Read more
During Women’s History Month, and especially on International Women’s Day, we have a unique opportunity to correct the marginalization of women’s accomplishments and influence. Those blindspots exist in the church too, especially when it comes to women pastors. Women pastors are not a new phenomenon, but many Christians aren't aware that there is a long tradition of women pastors in the church.  Women in history were faithful to their pastoral callings—against all odds. Many pursued ministry against the cultural tide of patriarchy in the church. These tenacious women are a vital part of our Christian legacy. But also, when we celebrate women pastors in history, we open doors wide for women in ministry today. With that in mind, here are ten awesom... Read more
Recently on Arise, Jeff Miller wrote about the long history of women in the church, dispelling the idea that egalitarians are merely adopting current cultural ideas about women. He rightfully points out that women have served and led in the church for centuries. As a corollary to this, we should also acknowledge that patriarchy and the oppression of women have also played large roles in both culture and the church for centuries. In fact, far from being countercultural, many complementarian claims about men and women are echoed outside the church. Today, I’m looking in particular at the claim that women are biologically disposed towards emotion and relationships and thus not as well suited for fields based in logic (like science and technology) or for leadership positions. We can fi... Read more
History is, quite obviously, a story. And like any story, it at times prioritizes the experiences of certain characters over others. If we try to do too much with one story, we obstruct our own efforts. Thus, good historians are wise and fair synthesizers of data, but they accept that no one story can include everyone and everything.  And yet, some stories are more than just garden-variety incomplete. From a distance, broken things can appear whole. To the untrained eye, a sloppily-patched quilt might appear cohesive; a cracked window, smooth; and a rigged game, fair. But the quilt's pattern is disrupted, faithlessly altered. The fractured glass is no longer capable of withstanding a storm. And the outcome of the game has already been decided.  Similarly, history is comprom... Read more
For most of my life, I didn’t understand the significance of Advent. It paled next to Christmas. And I felt the same indifference for Advent that I had for every other church season. As a young girl in a strict Lutheran elementary school, the arrival of Advent meant that I was required to attend yet another school chapel service. It meant two extra hours of acute religious boredom, and it triggered the same hyper-awareness of my femaleness that I always experienced in church. The students sat in straight-back wooden pews, some of us so young that our feet barely touched the floor. A male pastor with a booming voice encouraged us to reflect on our innate depravity. Jesus’ impending birth was celebrated chiefly as the remedy to our shame. The pastor wore a spotless white robe... Read more
In recent years, we American evangelicals have struggled more than ever to manage our “image.” In 2016 alone, significant numbers of abused women and children have exposed one prominent evangelical leader after another. These evangelical leaders have betrayed the trust of thousands who invested in their theology and leadership, leaving a trail of victims in their wake.[1] And instead of denouncing this abuse and giving victims a voice, evangelicals have consistently allowed perpetrators to resume their positions of prominence as speakers and leaders on evangelical platforms. Religious patriarchy has fueled the devaluation, marginalization, and abuse of girls and women globally.[2] For too long, we evangelical Christians have colluded with the powerful and failed to challenge... Read more
She didn’t mean to be a feminist. She probably had no idea she was one. She was just focused on Jesus Christ. But in following Jesus, she defied society’s expectations for women and secured an important place in history. Vibia Perpetua was a young woman in the North African city of Carthage. Around 203 AD, a government crackdown on Christianity put the (around) twenty-one year-old Perpetua, a new mother, and four other new believers in prison. Like thousands of Christians in the Roman Empire, Perpetua and her companions were given the choice to make a sacrifice to the Roman gods or die. All five, along with their mentor who later joined them, chose to give up the temporary for the eternal. Unlike most others though, Perpetua left behind a firsthand account of her time in... Read more

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