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Personal Stories

Two months later and I can still picture Isabella: her small arms gently rock a baby with more expertise than a fourteen year-old girl should have. Her tiny-heeled shoes and grown-up blouse seem out of place with her girlish dimples. I left Guatemala almost three months ago and still my mind brims with stories and pictures—Isabella among them. A soft-spoken, indigenous girl, she worked as a nanny for my host-mom, caring for a baby not her own instead of going to school.  But then again, she didn’t have many options. Guatemala has a prevalent machismo society. The many “rules” of culture revolve around men. Men’s wants are more important than those of their female counterparts. Discrimination and battery toward women can be commonplace. People are... Read more
My little boy started preschool this year and picked out a pink backpack with flowers. At first I was hesitant to let him have it for fear that he would be teased, but decided that if we were truly going to be egalitarians we had to take that risk. Concerned, I asked him what he would do if anyone made fun of him for having a pink backpack. He replied, “punch them in the nose”. Sexism, simply put, is the value of one sex over another. This is rampant in our culture still today. Men use “cry like a girl” or other feminine references as put-downs. It is glorified if a girl is a tom boy, but shunned if a boy is a tom girl. Colors are assigned genders and while all colors are permissible on women, some colors such as pink and purple, threaten the masculinit... Read more
The CBE Scroll presents “Learning to Thrive”, a five-part series that will feature stories from members of CBE’s “Thrive” Chapter at Biola University in Southern California. We hope this will serve as an encouragement to all of you and deepen your understanding of the true meaning of the Gospel! Today we will hear from Ronald Pierce, a member of the chapter, longtime CBE member, and editor of Discovering Biblical Equality. I grew up in a traditional Christian family in the 1950s. My father was expected to be the leader and provider, while my mother was to be the homemaker who reared the children (six of us). And, we generally assumed that men should take the lead in the small Church of the Brethren we attended in rural Pennsylvania. Years later, whe... Read more
The CBE Scroll presents “Learning to Thrive”, a five-part series that will feature stories from members of CBE’s “Thrive” Chapter at Biola University in Southern California. We hope this will serve as an encouragement to all of you and deepen your understanding of the true meaning of the Gospel! Today we will hear from Christa McKirland, who leads the chapter. I grew up in a Southern Baptist mega-church in Georgia where my dad served, and still serves, as an associate pastor. My mom, an attorney, has served alongside him my entire life. At a very young age I had a clear sense of God’s love and desired a relationship with him. I began asking questions about how to do this when I was four years old. When I was six, I decided to trust Jesus with my life as... Read more
The CBE Scroll presents “Learning to Thrive”, a five-part series that will feature stories from members of CBE’s “Thrive” Chapter at Biola University in Southern California. We hope this will serve as an encouragement to all of you and deepen your understanding of the true meaning of the Gospel! Today we will hear from Andy Motz, a member of the chapter who also wrote the award-winning Mutuality article “Have They Disappeared?“ My passion for gender equality stems from the fact that I had never heard the male-leadership perspective on marriage and ministry until I came to Biola. My father was a pastor who taught a vision of the Kingdom of God where there is neither “slave nor free, Jew nor gentile, male and female” and presented... Read more
The CBE Scroll presents “Learning to Thrive”, a five-part series that will feature stories from members of CBE’s “Thrive” Chapter at Biola University in Southern California. We hope this will serve as an encouragement to all of you and deepen your understanding of the true meaning of the Gospel! Today we will hear from Allison Quient, a member of the chapter and a former CBE intern. Upon entering Biola as a freshman Bible major I was clueless about the gender issue. At home I had never been informed my interests were considered masculine or that I was “functionally” limited by gender. At church, the possibility of a woman being a pastor was not argued for, but scripturally assumed. When I had theological questions my dad would encourage me to lo... Read more
The CBE Scroll presents “Learning to Thrive”, a five-part series that will feature stories from members of CBE’s “Thrive” Chapter at Biola University in Southern California. We hope this will serve as an encouragement to all of you and deepen your understanding of the true meaning of the Gospel! Today we will hear from Nicholas Ahern. Dancing With Deborah: My Exodus from Patriarchy to the Liberation of Women. I was born to the father of one wife in the late 8Os, in a Calvary Chapel denomination that prided itself on being as non-denominational as possible. By and large what my loving father dubbed “benevolent patriarchy” governed my household. At the time, I didn’t know much of this and I wasn’t involved in any discussion on... Read more
I must admit that if someone told me about Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) when I first came to know Christ, I would not have understood the need for such an organization. Being raised in the military, my world was already racially and ethnically integrated and diverse. The church where I came to know Christ as a teenager consisted mostly of military families and was gender-inclusive. Over the next two decades, I assumed if someone had a problem with me it was because of my personality, rather than my gender. In my second year of graduate school, I completed a practicum at a Christian college counseling center. One of my young female clients made this statement: "Patty, if I could see God as less male, I could believe he cares about me." She had been raised to believe t... Read more
Tim Krueger
 I recently heard a sermon delivered by Dr. Peter T. Vogt, a professor of Old Testament at Bethel Seminary in Saint Paul, MN. In it, he shared some insights about the story of Naomi and Ruth (Listen to the sermon here—it starts around the 40-minute mark). With his permission, I have summarized some of them here. One of the first things we learn about Israel, God’s covenant people, is that God didn’t choose them because they were particularly special; he chose them to be his instruments to bless the world. The second thing we learn about Israel is that it repeatedly failed to be a blessing. Instead, it adopted the practices of its neighbors, always wandering away from Yahweh. Naomi, however, stands in contrast to Israel’s failure to influence its neighbo... Read more
Though it’s been over 20 years, I remember with clarity a college professor’s powerful illustration about the nature of Christian ministry. This professor, also a long-time minister and volunteer hospital chaplain, had been called upon to be a pastoral presence in two contrasting yet related situations: first, as a new mother promptly parted with her newborn daughter, and then minutes later when the infant was presented to her adoptive parents. The point of the illustration was that a minister is sometimes involved in the full spectrum of emotions; in this case the pain and sadness of one mother stood in stark contrast with the joy of another. As a young ministerial student, I got the point well enough. Years later, I get it even better. But here’s what I didn’t... Read more

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