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Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 20 winners from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! I was seven years old—sitting in a hard, metal desk, staring at the hole-y paddle hanging ominously on the wall, and wearing a skirt that reached three inches from my knee—when my teacher told us God didn’t want women to be pastors. Shocked, I thought, “How can this be? Why does God like boys more than girls?” I went home that day and cried to my mom that I wanted to be a boy. I was in fifth grade, standing with my parents in the church parking lot and staring at the black asphalt beneath my feet as I listened to a grown woman weep. Her ministry had been shut down by church leadership, she told my parents. The elders had determined that even though her minis... Read more
Editor’s Note: This article is based on an interview conducted by the author. In 2016, pastor Ray Kollbocker felt convicted to examine the issue of women’s leadership in the church. Two years later, in early 2018, his church opened all of its leadership positions to women. Kollbocker has been in ministry for many years, with over twenty years as the senior pastor at a church in Glen Ellyn, IL. During his years at there, he’s guided the church through significant growth and a variety of other changes. For several years, Kollbocker knew that, at some point, he and the church would have to confront the question of whether women should be restricted from some leadership roles. So, during a sabbatical in 2016, Kollbocker dove into a study of Scripture and scholarship. As h... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 20 winners from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! In May of 2018, John Piper responded to a young woman struggling with persistent, unrelenting body hatred. In his article, he suggested that there’s a good form of body hatred because the body is the site of sin. His response quickly went viral, and many took issue with Piper’s authority to write on the topic of body hatred and mental illness in general, and in particular, with the statement that there is a right and biblical way to hate your body. Most women don’t need even the slightest encouragement to hate their bodies. We live in a culture that teaches us to do this. We starve, shave, pluck, pierce, and adorn our bodies to gain social acceptance, and we bond sociall... Read more
Gricel Medina
Last week, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram uncovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and affiliated institutions, across forty US states and Canada. According to the Texas-based paper, these churches covered up widespread abuse, muting victims and permitting abusers to serve as leaders and live among congregations. Sarah Smith, author of the Star-Telegram exposé, has made it her mission to uncover these systemic injustices. Because of courageous advocates and truth-tellers like her, we’re finally aware of the abusers and predators lurking in our midst. Yes, we’re finally beginning to hear a crackling, thunderous sound as injustice crumbles brick by brick. Many are shocked by this exposé. But we... Read more
Trigger warning: This article recounts Bible passages that contain graphic violence against women. Read with caution.   I’m a first year student in Divinity School with less money in my bank account than I’d like, so I work the occasional night shift at the college library. I return home at 4 am, traveling alone in the university’s taxi service. I’m on edge the whole time, keys and phone in hand and a potential escape route planned—just in case. History dictates that women don’t have the luxury to not do this type of mental preparation. We live with the real possibility of violence every day. And actually, that shared female experience shapes how I read and interpret the Bible, especially stories that include sexual violence. A professor in m... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 20 winners from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! I propped up the corners of my mouth in a smile when I saw the elder’s wife weaving towards me after Sunday service. Although I’d been attending the church for over a year, she’d never before attempted conversation. I was a youth leader and she had teenagers who weren’t allowed to participate, one of a few signals I’d received that she might not approve of me. Immediately, I was conscious of the new ring in my nose. We didn’t have a policy on piercings, but I’d been asked to reinforce a dress code for the girls on discipleship training school or short term mission trips in the past. Shorts must not be too short. Tank straps must not be “spagh... Read more
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
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

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