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Marriage and Family

"So, what do you do?" I never used to have a problem answering this question. "I'm a retail manager," I would respond, having been one for most of my adult life. But now, it's not so easy. I find my mind wandering when I get asked that question. What do I do? I spend a large portion of the day building with blocks, chasing my son around a couch, playing peek-a-boo, feeding him, calming him after he falls, or crawling around on my hands and knees, pretending to be a lion out to get him. "I'm a stay-at-home dad," I respond, quickly adding, "for now." Then, so the awkward silence doesn't linger—men, after all, must be defined by their careers (it's what they do)—I append, "And I'... Read more
My husband Luke and I are best friends. We love like it. We fight like it. We laugh like it. We cry like it. We make love like it. We travel like it. We watch Netflix like it. We "baby" our dog like it. We do church together like it. We decorate our home together like it. We work together like it. Things have been far from perfect, but I can say, with all honesty, that he is my world and I am his. Yet, I am not made in my husband's image. Luke is as the sand on a beach and I am as the ocean. He is consistent and I often change my mind. He is calm and I am charged. He is slow to act and I am quick to act. He is steady and I am passionate. He is wise and thrives in management. I am a risk-taker and thrive in leadership. Together, we make the perfect team. Yet, I am not... Read more
“Powerful is the lure of privilege and so long is the shadow of power.” –Curtiss DeYoung What does it look like for a father to leverage his privilege on behalf of his daughter? How should a father use his platform and privilege to advocate for women? These questions complicate the vocation of fatherhood immensely. After all, daughters are not just daughters, they are also women and women-to-be. It is impossible to erase the implication of a daughter’s womanhood on her status in the world. When your daughter is born, she joins a people group that has been marginalized and silenced for much of history. She is a woman and thus her capability and humanity are still subjects of debate. Though her worth is likely clear and incontrovertible in your eyes, it is not so i... Read more
So you're a mama raising a daughter? I'm not in the same place as you, but I do have a couple of thoughts on what it takes to raise and empower brave, intelligent, and confident women.  1. Don’t Make Assumptions About Her Interests and Goals I attended a retreat this past weekend with my dad, an annual get-away that we've participated in and enjoyed for fifteen years now. The retreat speaker was a passionate man, emotional as well as articulate. But he made a few assumptions about men and women that left me frustrated. Throughout his message, the pastor talked about how different men and women and boys and girls are. He argued that men and women were exactly the same in worth but fundamentally different in expression and function. He paired that ideology with... Read more
This is part three of a three-part series exploring the egalitarian nature of sex and intimacy as it is portrayed in Scripture. Catch up on part one and part two.  Contrary to popular Christian belief, 1 Corinthians 7—not Ephesians 5—is the longest and most substantial chapter on marriage in the New Testament. Another surprise? Marriage is presented in explicitly egalitarian and not hierarchical terms. Yet another surprise? It’s the only passage that actually talks about husbands and wives having authority over each other. It took me over twenty years as an active Christian, five readings of the entire Bible, and three degrees in theology and biblical studies just to finally find this out—and millions of others still haven’t, even at sixty... Read more
This is part two of a three-part series exploring the egalitarian nature of sex and intimacy as it is portrayed in Scripture. Catch up on part one or go on to part 3.  There’s a lot of talk about the Song of Songs in Christian evangelical circles—at least when it comes to marital love and sexuality. We talk about the “mutuality” in the interaction between the lover and beloved, the intimate “back and forth” dialogue, and how the whole book highlights the importance of sexuality in marriage. But we continually fail to realize that we are stumbling across something remarkably profound (as we will see below): an egalitarian marriage—presented biblically as ideal—in and against the backdrop of a horrifically patriarchal world. Tha... Read more
This is part one of a three-part series exploring the egalitarian nature of sex and intimacy as it is portrayed in Scripture. Go on to part two and part three. Patriarchalism in most of its forms, whether in “soft complementarianism” or in the blatant sexism of popular Christian authors such as Douglas Wilson, Mark Driscoll, and others, has always found itself in a tight corner of the bedroom. We are told that men rule over the family, have personal authority over their wives in marriage, and have “ultimate authority” before God for the marital relationship (Köstenberger, God, Marriage, and Family, 23) because of “God’s original design.” At the same time, we are told that sex and sexuality in the marriage is a central, defining... Read more
One morning, my preschool son was chattering about some of the toys and games he liked to play with when, to my everlasting surprise, he referred to a kitchen set as “the girls’ area.” The girls’ area? Where had he heard that? Not from us! My husband and I both cooked and washed dishes, and our son and daughter helped with each. We intentionally worked to keep their minds clear of such stereotypes by living out our convictions in front of them. Their room was stocked with dolls and dishes as well as trucks and balls for each of them to enjoy. I prided myself on the kitchen set and tool set which claimed a good bit of their play time. We had taught them better. Where did he get that idea? What parents often do not realize is that even as early as toddlerhood, o... Read more
"I don't know how you do it," one of my friends said to me recently. "Your house is beautiful, your nails are never chipped, you read your Bible every day, and you make the best cookies in the world. You're the perfect Proverbs 31 woman!"  "Oh, I'm nothing special," I murmured, eyes modestly downcast. "It's just because I have such a godly husband as the head of our family. Life just works perfectly when we each fulfill our roles." No need to tell her how hard I still work to take captive those rebellious, unfeminine parts of myself and force them to conform to the way I know all women are meant to be. I grew up in the Deep South, a mystical land where a woman's greatest gifts to the world are her face, figure, and home... Read more
For the past two years, I have been blogging on a variety of issues—and one specific issue I've written a lot on is the complementarian versus egalitarian marriage debate. I follow many writers across the spectrum of this discourse. Lately, there has been a flurry of activity on social media intended to defend marriage. As I scroll through Twitter, I find article after article about how marriage ought to look and I find myself growing weary. Lately, I've see a big push (yet again) for women to be submissive wives and keepers of the homes, if they want to have biblically based marriages. Titles like, "Building a Marriage Culture | Wives, Serve Your Husbands," bring up old wounds—of trying to fit this model and failing miserably. When I first met Ray, the man... Read more

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