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Practical Applications

This post was previously published at www.missioalliance.org and was re-posted with permission.  There are many male leaders in the church who want to empower women leaders, but they’re stuck. They want to empower, but don’t know how to go about doing it. As a male leader, I have a strong conviction of the need to empower women in their God-given talents, passions, and leadership. Over the past several years, I’ve moved from passive agreement with the idea of women leaders to active engagement and advocacy in order to serve and encourage our sisters for the sake of Christ and his church. I long for other male leaders to do the same. But, there have been many times where I’ve wanted to encourage and empower, but I didn’t exactly know—on t... Read more
Gricel Medina
Does egalitarian theology have anything to say to people of color? It’s a simple question with a complicated answer. The myth that egalitarian theology has nothing to say to people of color is reinforced by the movement’s tendency to centralize white people. Many women of color have accused the woman's rights movement as a whole of being a white movement. Indeed, the feminist movement has often demonstrated a disregard for the needs of women of color. Although feminism and egalitarianism are distinct ideologies in many ways, both have struggled to affirm, include, and empower people of color. In an article called “Race and Feminism: Women's March Recalls the Touchy History,” Karen Grigsby writes: “The fact that the feminist movement was so white for... Read more
Becky Castle Miller
Abuse is an abstract concept for many people, and it’s a word heavy with cultural misconceptions. When talking about abuse, I’ve learned to bridge the communication gap by defining and describing it: abuse is a pattern of coercive control based in an abuser's feeling of entitlement to power over another person. An abuser gains and maintains control through various tactics that can be physical, emotional, verbal, financial, sexual, or spiritual. Abusers actually target churches to find victims and to move into positions of power, so church leaders must be prepared to prevent abuse, to deal with it in their congregations, and to provide healing for abuse survivors. The first step in addressing abuse is to grasp how prevalent it is. Half of... Read more
Gricel Medina
Genesis 1 perfectly illustrates God’s mutual design for men and women: Then God said, "Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be master over all life—the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals” (NLT). We were meant to reign together and yet, the world subjugates women of all colors to men, stripping them of their authority, power, and influence. And it can all be traced back to a misinterpretation of God’s good vision for humanity after the fall. God's original design was mutual; it gave male and female shared dominion over the earth, not over each other. God commanded the first humans to co-exercise their power—to responsibly rule and care for creation. The... Read more
My first lesson on the dangerous pitfalls of sexual sin and subsequent public scandal came one ordinary day in 1988. I arrived home from church to witness my dad sitting in his comfy chair, mesmerized by something on the television. Popular televangelist Jimmy Swaggart was confessing that he had sinned against God with a prostitute as millions of people watched. He knelt at the podium with tears streaming down his face and beseeched God to forgive him. Years later in my US government class in high school, I watched Bill Clinton stand trial for lying about his numerous sexual interactions with Monica Lewinsky. Both of these men marked my youth, shaping the way I perceived men in positions of power. I first learned of the “Billy Graham Rule” in college. The rule was simple: Bil... Read more
Almost every time I read an article or social media post on masculinity and the church, I am struck by the narrowness of the popular Christian prescription for “biblical manhood.” Many articles on the subject conclude that “men stay away from church” because worship music, services, and messages have been “feminized” and do not appeal to the majority of men. We have “stopped relating to and speaking to real men,” one post stated. I disagree, and I’d like to share my thoughts on men, worship, and the church. Statistics do show that only one out of five husbands attend church with their wives, so this is a real concern. But whose definition of ‘real men’ are we talking about? And, should we change the church to make it more... Read more
“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” –JK Rowling I can think of few quotes more relevant to men who believe in gender equality. Men, you too face a choice between what is right and what is easy. A choice between risk and comfort, between painful knowledge and willful ignorance. Though you stand at the mouth of a tempting shortcut, you must choose the narrow, trial-heavy road up the mountain. We do not necessarily have to choose the hard thing. That is the simultaneous beauty and ugliness of free will. We can choose privilege, align with the powerful, and discard stories that threaten our worldview. We can worship at the altar of ease, safety, and comfort. We can embrace a risk-free life. But that... Read more
Recently, I received a couple of e-mails from a few well-meaning friends suggesting that I tone it down with social media posts advocating for women in ministry. These friends suggested that my posts cause tension, make the church look bad, and turn people away from attending church. I took their words to heart, prayed, and pondered them for some time. I asked myself, do these posts truly have a negative effect on the church, or do some Christians mistakenly believe that advocating for women in ministry disrupts church unity? As a former lead pastor and a fairly new advocate for women in ministry, I hear many unfounded myths like this about the inclusion of women in church leadership. Let’s explore some of those myths. Myth #1: Advocating for women in ministry will turn people a... Read more
A few months ago, a guest speaker at my church spoke on the Christian obligation to fight and end human trafficking. And his conclusion was right. Christians should be the loudest voices against human trafficking. I happily lend mine to the fight to eradicate the global slave trade. And yet, in his sermon on fighting human trafficking, the well-intentioned male speaker used the following flawed biblical example to illustrate his point. The man explained that just as Uriah lost Bathsheba to the whims of a powerful king, so female victims of trafficking lose their freedom to men. Perhaps you also see the problem and inconsistency of this comparison. The male speaker, in seeking to correct a global injustice against women, reinforced an age-old patriarchal concept—that crimes a... Read more
For a class project, I once spent a semester studying people I disagree with. Initially, I planned to report on atheists because their beliefs differ dramatically from my Christian faith. I approached my professor with the idea, and he shook his head. “No, you need to choose people who frustrate you. Who don’t you get along with? Who is hard to like?” Truthfully, I had the least warm and fuzzy feelings toward those who oppose women in ministry leadership. I’d become weary of repeating myself to young men who ignored me in seminary study groups. It was awkward to question when they edited my words out of group papers without discussion. I wrestled over a male professor explaining to my class that, “men do ministry with a capital-M and women do ministry... Read more

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