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Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! Eight years ago, my family and I spent an afternoon on a beach in Barcelona. Aware that parts of the beach were “clothing optional,” we opted for the first crescent—the one deemed “safe for the whole family.” My husband, my three daughters, and I learned quickly that tops were optional everywhere. This was our first exposure to cultural norms in Spain and it was a bit of a shock. We saw a lot of women’s bodies, the five of us un-sun-kissed Americans. We saw families playing frisbee, couples swimming together, and women and men lying in the sun letting it do its golden sun thing. Do you know what we didn’t see? We didn’t see a single man on that beach assaultin... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 15 2018 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! I was sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee on the morning of my seventeenth birthday when a parcel arrived on my doorstep. Excitedly, I ripped open the box to find half a dozen Christian books on sex, dating, and relationships. It was a gift from my sister, who knew this was an area of my life I had yet to explore through the lens of my new-found faith. I consumed the books with my usual zeal and sincerity. A few weeks later, I broke off my current dating relationship, began writing letters to my future husband, and made deep and determined promises to God to save myself for marriage.  The books rightly taught what Scripture says about sex and love, explained God's original intenti... Read more
You’ve probably heard about the tragic murder of Iowan Mollie Tibbetts by now. Tibbetts was reportedly killed by a man because she rejected his advances and he was angered by her refusal.  In a 2016 survey on street harassment, thirty percent of women respondents said they’ve been followed while on a run. Eighteen percent said they’ve been propositioned by a stranger. And according to a recent survey by an anti-harassment non-profit, eighty-one percent of women have been sexually harassed at least once and fifty-one percent of women reported being touched sexually without permission.  Being a woman in public is an uncomfortable and often dangerous assignment. I’d wager that most women know the perils of rejecting a man’s advances by the time they... Read more
The second letter of John is addressed “to the elect lady and to her children.” But who is the “elect lady” of 2 John? Is she a mother with kids, or something more? A look at the apostle John’s use of the word “children” in 1 John can help us understand who the woman’s children are. Then, we can try to solve the mystery of who the woman is. We commonly recognize that the “children” of 1 John refer to Christian converts. The “fathers,” “young men,” and “dear children” in the second chapter may refer to literal ages, or to spiritual development. Regardless of their age, the apostle John considered himself a spiritual father to these “children.” The apostle Paul also used this language... Read more
The news coming out of Willow Creek Community Church recently has been nothing short of tragic. It has been painful to hear the stories of the women who were victimized, and heartbreaking to know that their church and their pastors betrayed them, neglected to help them, and called them liars. Sadly, the mishandling of abuse allegations is not unique to Willow Creek. We have seen and read story after story of women reporting abuse to a pastor or church leader, only to be told that they were somehow responsible, or to have their stories ignored. We have seen pastors stand up and “confess” their sins only after they have been exposed and backed into a corner, while congregations give standing ovations. We have seen churches protect leaders over victims, and keep abusers in their... 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
Does God prefer “debt-free virgins without tattoos”? A recent viral article claims that men do, and that women should avoid college, independence, career, and the world—lest they fall into debt and sexual failure and be unattractive to Christian men. Notably, tattoos, after the title, get precious little mention! And there's our first clue that the author doesn’t support her claims well. The article says nothing further about tattoos and also says little about biblical values regarding fiscal responsibility and sex. Despite the author’s well-intentioned desire to teach young women to live biblically, she promotes a culturally-influenced view of Christian womanhood. Fundamentally, this cultural view of women assumes they’re more susceptible to world... Read more
My church recently learned the song, “Sound of Adoration,” written by Bryan Torwalt and performed by the band, Jesus Culture. It begins like this, “When we were lost ones, You were the Shepherd that carried us home. When we were prodigals, You ran to meet us with open arms.” The opening sentence refers to Jesus’s parable of the lost sheep, and the following line comes from his parable of the prodigal son. Most people understand the shepherd of the lost sheep to symbolize God. One of the most influential books on Jesus’s parables (by Joachim Jeremias) supports this claim, calling the shepherd “an image of God’s activity of love.” Bible readers, ancient and modern, have made this connection—after all, “The Lord is my shepher... Read more
Our expectations for how men should treat women are often stated in the negative—don't abuse; don’t oppress; don’t sexually assault. These are obvious, bare minimum standards for male behavior that shouldn’t have to be stated, but here we are. Sometimes, Christian men will reference their sense of responsibility for women in their lives—mothers, sisters, daughters—to support taking a strong stance against abuse. For example, in response to recently resurfaced comments concerning domestic violence by SWBTS president Paige Patterson, LifeWay president Thom Rainer wrote:  "These are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our granddaughters, and our wives. We thank God for them. And I stand with all who say 'no' to any type of abuse... Read more
Did the pastor really just say that? Mouth hanging open and holding my infant daughter, I looked over at my husband. “I know. Don’t freak out. I know,” my husband whispered. The pastor’s sermon was good—until he made some demeaning comments about his wife’s years as a stay-at-home mom. He went on to explain that now she was “working hard,” because she has a job outside of the home. I’ve heard many problematic remarks like these over the years. I usually just roll my eyes and carry on. But that morning, the pastor’s comments shattered something in my spirit. I was broken-hearted for all of the times I’ve heard male pastors demean their wives from the pulpit. I was angry for all of the times I’ve heard people say,... Read more

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