Practical Applications | CBE International

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Practical Applications

Lauren Gross Blanco
I was a teenager when I first heard my male pastor preach about the woman “subject to bleeding,” as she is often called by various Bible translations. Her story wasn’t new to me, but I still remember my face growing hot and how I shifted nervously on the pew when my pastor announced that this woman had her period—he euphemistically called it her “womanly issues.” It was a sudden revelation to me to realize this story I had heard several times before was speaking about the unmentionable Aunt Flo. A person, in the Bible of all places, was “on the rag,” and I felt extremely awkward about that. Probably because my pastor was uncomfortable talking about it. Probably because my culture had conditioned me not to talk to men about my own “woman... Read more
Photo of David Hart
Mary always knew her son’s life would end this way. She always had ominous nightmares about her son that would all begin differently. Sometimes her son would be a different age—fourteen, nineteen, thirty, thirty-three. Sometimes he would have a beard, and sometimes he would be clean shaven. Sometimes he would have dreadlocks or braids, and sometimes his hair would be like everyone else’s on his block—a well-manicured Afro. In some dreams, Mary’s son would be a doctor or a lawyer. In others, he would be a student, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a teacher. In some dreams, he would be a precocious child, sprinting around the neighborhood challenging other children, and even adults, to a game of twenty questions, trivia, or truth or dare. In her nightmares,... Read more
A few years ago, I was a workshop presenter at a popular women’s conference. The other presenters and I had gathered to pray at the beginning of the conference. We’d exchanged greetings, participated in a cute little ice breaker, and had a wonderful time of prayer. I was the only woman of color, but this wasn’t new for me. I’ve become accustomed to occupying spaces like these. During one of the general sessions, there was a panel discussion about women in ministry. I wasn’t a panelist and didn’t particularly care to be because I was exhausted from the breakout session I led. I’d just completed a workshop on racial reconciliation among clergywomen, and it was ninety minutes of really deep, honest, and rewarding dialogue. On the heels of that sessio... Read more
Cory Driver
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winner. Enjoy! My family moved to a new place last year, so we are relatively new to our current church. I am still in that awkward phase of introducing myself to others only for them to say that we’ve already met and vice versa. Recently, a man whom I’ve met several times introduced himself to me. His wife leaned over to him and said, “Honey, you know him. He’s the one who is always wearing a baby.” It is rare, indeed, for me not to have one of my children strapped to me on Sunday mornings, or any time that I am out of the house with my brood. Wearing my baby gives me two hands free to try to keep the older one safe and out of trouble, or help my wife carry all our children’s accoutrements. I hav... Read more
Leanne Weber
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winner. Enjoy! I am at the weekly prayer meeting that all church staff are required to attend. The leaders like it when spouses come too, but they understand that work and family obligations sometimes do not allow this. I am the only woman on staff whose spouse does not also work at the church. We are a one-car family, and my husband works at a group home forty-five minutes away from the church. I take a deep breath and scan the room, hoping to see another woman or a couple that I can catch a ride home with after the meeting. Otherwise I must sit in my office until almost midnight waiting for my husband to pick me up because, although it is not official policy, church culture dictates that a man and a woman who are not married to ea... Read more
Graham Joseph Hill
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winner. Enjoy! The masculinity movement is now an entire industry with books, seminars, and speakers. The movement has grown up around notions of “biblical manhood,” but in reality, it reinforces worldly ideas of masculinity and femininity. A whole generation of boys and men today are looking for guidance on how to live as men, and the Christian masculinity industry feeds on their feelings of longing and insecurity. Sadly, the solutions it offers cause further damage. Additionally, a lot of the energy behind complementarianism and the search for “clear gender roles” comes from a crisis of masculinity. Instead of digging deeper into Scripture for guidance about how women and men can live as disciples who confor... Read more
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest Winner. Imagine this scenario with me: A husband in his sixties hurls physical threats and curses at his wife daily. She walks a fine line to avoid aggravating him to the point of violence. The empathy and thoughtfulness that had long been natural between them evaporated. She celebrates important dates without his acknowledgment. He is demanding and seldom shows appreciation; he never says, “thank you,” nor considers the stress he creates. He regularly threatens divorce. He called 911 to have them “take care of her.” This situation escalates over ten years. Would you stay in this marriage? This is my story, but the man I describe is not the same man I married, even though he appears the same and recognizes t... Read more
Sarah Lindsay
This week, many of us in the US will celebrate Thanksgiving. This holiday asks us to be thankful for the good things we have in our lives, giving us a good reminder to practice gratitude for what we have. Yet this holiday can also make us feel obligated to be thankful, and particularly in the context of women in the church and society, to be thankful that life isn’t as hard for us as it was for our mothers and grandmothers. This type of gratitude can all too easily be weaponized: can’t we women just be thankful that we can vote and own property? Why do we keep bringing up the effects of patriarchy and sexism instead of being grateful because our lives aren’t worse? And so the call to gratitude, however well meant, can carry the implication that we need to stop asking for... Read more
Holly Fletcher
Editor's Note: This is one of the Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! Here’s a hypothetical situation to consider: You and your spouse and family move to a new town. You find a church and decide to place membership there. A few years down the road, you learn you have a strong disagreement with the church’s position on women’s roles. Additionally, the church’s views on women’s roles are having a negative impact not only on you but also on your children—specifically your daughters. However, your spouse really likes this church, especially the senior minister’s preaching style. But you want to leave and find another church. Who decides whether you stay or go? During my growing up years, I spent many hours sitting in a church pew. In thos... Read more
Summer is over and school is (or is about to be) back in session! For many moms and dads around the US, the end of summer break is something to celebrate. It means a new routine for families and exciting experiences and opportunities for students, especially first-time students. Sending our kids to school should be a joyous thing. In school, children learn positive lessons about agency, pride, respect, loyalty, creativity, independence, and friendship. But school can also be a place where children learn or experience negative things—like sexism and body shame. It's important to let go and give kids space to learn and grow, but parents should also make sure they’ve prepared their children to be safe, healthy, and successful at school. All parents—and especially egali... Read more

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