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Personal Stories

For a seminary internship, I became involved in a non-profit organization dedicated to building peace and safety in Christian homes. Assisting Catherine Clark Kroeger, I began to see into the shadowy corners that hide the horrific treatment many women face behind closed doors. Most of us don't realize that intimate partner abuse affects Christian homes just as frequently as secular homes. A 2010 national survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have, "experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime." Sixty-five percent of children are also impacted by domestic violence. It happens to people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and cultures. At least 2... Read more
I live in an age of fearless women. I live among the fire-starters, earth-shakers, and pot-stirrers. I live among women who cannot be bought, shifted, or erased. They are powerfully present, steady on their feet, and certain of their worth. I live in an age of fearless women. It’s a story as old as time, and we’re still telling it. We’re revisiting the book of fearless womanhood, picking up the scent of sage and fire still clinging to worn pages. And we’re stitching in our own pages too. They’re crisp and white and covered in elegant script. But they’re also full of scribbles, addendums, and messy cross-outs. Because we’re still learning how to be fearless women. Our script is flawed, and our shaking fingers are hopelessly spotted with ink. We... Read more
It’s probably not good Christian decorum to admit this. But decorum isn’t really my thing anyway. For a time in my life, I genuinely thought God was the worst. There, I said it. I never doubted he was real and active in this world, but with every ounce of my angry heart I doubted his goodness. I resented God for making injustice his standard. I saw him siding with the powerful and forgetting the marginalized, and I resented him for it. I recognized inconsistency in a God who would create women to subjugate them. For much of my life, I viewed God as preferential, legalistic, and distant. But I still accepted that God, even though my place in “his” hierarchy made me feel less than. I held onto my faith through high school, just barely. I rationalized. I took deep... Read more
Christians for Biblical Equality is a resource ministry—our mission is to develop and distribute biblical resources on the shared leadership of women and men. For over forty years, CBE has been active presenting, creating, and distributing biblical resources on gender at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). ETS is perhaps the most academic and male-dominated audience we engage with on an annual basis. As an organization, CBE has a long history of engagement with ETS. While this history is often forgotten, CBE founders were among the founders and past presidents of the ETS. For years, egalitarians have served as ETS plenary speakers. They've contributed to the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS). They have also been a part of the ETS executive... Read more
Identity foreclosure is a psychological term for the phenomenon in which a person makes premature conclusions about his or her personal identity without a time of exploration and discovery. Identity foreclosure happens when a person adopts the identity of others around them or is forced to accept the identity expectations assumed or given to them. Identity foreclosure occurs for many reasons. But for me personally, patriarchy and complementarianism drove me to prematurely define myself. Early in my life, pastors, teachers, theologians, Christian books and movies, Bible studies, friends, and Western church culture in general painted a strong, confusing, and often conflicting image of “ideal” biblical womanhood. As a woman, I learned through spoken and unspoken rules that I am... Read more
How many of us have shaped our lives around the message that when we go out to proclaim the reign of God we must “take nothing for the journey” (Luke 9:3)? We are called to be free on our journey of discipleship. We aren’t meant be burdened by clutter or excess. Perhaps you, like I, have made peace with such simplicity. You feel as if your lifestyle is modest enough to be neither burden, nor distraction, and you are constantly reevaluating whether or not your possessions impede your discipleship. But perhaps, like me, you are still not free. What I have carried with me is not lucre, but worry and shame. As I grew into my relationships with God, others, and self, I shed some of the adolescent self-loathing that followed me through my twenties, while constantly battli... Read more
"No more dating, I'm just waiting/Like Sleeping Beauty, my prince will come for me/No more dating, I'm just waiting, 'cause God is writing my love story."  —Barlow Girl (Average Girl) In middle school, BarlowGirl was my jam. I bought all their CDs, of course. It was a simpler time—I could recite the lyrics to every one of their songs—easy. In fact, I'm embarrassed to say that those songs are still up there in my mind, taking up space that could otherwise be used for remembering the active years of British poets (life of an English major) or memorizing the simplest route to my favorite coffee shop. A Christian rock band consisting of three talented and passionate sisters, BarlowGirl was beloved by myself and many other Christian youn... Read more
“It’s not like she’s a radical feminist or anything.” My back stiffened at the graduate student’s description of his wife, and my eyes darted to the other side of the classroom, where my friend Rachel looked as stunned as I felt. Amir had been co-teaching our gender communication class for almost three months, and had approached every issue with a skillful blend of authoritativeness and openness. To hear him nervously give in to the common cliché was jarring. Only a few weeks before, we’d had a similar experience while sitting in a circle of lovely and wise women of valor, all sharing our stories. As more than one young woman in the circle hastily stressed that she was no “radical feminist,” I could see the passing look of frustr... Read more
This post is a testimony of a father’s experience with the pressures of male leadership as a Christian man, told through his daughter’s eyes. In light of the theme for this month, “Headship” and Father’s Day, this column provides a much-needed snapshot of the consequences of “headship” and masculinity expectations on Christian men whose gifts lie outside of leadership. Growing up, I watched both of my parents exercise their gifts, alternatively flourishing and struggling with the expectations of society and the church for husbands, wives, and parents. My mom would be considered the spiritual leader of the family—she is always quick to share what God is teaching her with the rest of us. My dad, on the other hand, is supportive, more incline... Read more
"Where are you headed," asked the man seated beside me on a plane to Philadelphia. I paused, debating whether or not to say that I was on the way to a conference on biblical equality. "Just a conference. What about you?" I felt relieved when the conversation turned to his business trip and he didn't ask anything further about the conference. Not knowing where he stood religiously, whether or not he had a relationship with Jesus, I hesitated to admit that gender equality is even an issue in Christian communities. If he didn't know God and I admitted the necessity of a conference devoted to biblical equality in the Christian community, I worried that he might think less of God. Considering the many struggles souls encounter in knowing God, I decide... Read more

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