Practical Applications | CBE International

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Practical Applications

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
When women come forward about abuse—sexual, religious, emotional, physical, financial, verbal, etc.—reactions often vary widely. Some people cheer on the survivors. Some people question why the victims didn’t come forward earlier. Some people worry that people have been falsely accused. Two years ago, I posted my own story of sexual and religious abuse on YouTube. Knowing that people often respond defensively, I worried: In telling my story, who would be impacted and how? What if telling my story caused harm instead of good? I wasn’t concerned about my abusers. But I agonized over how my truth could affect the lives of those close to my abusers, people I still care about. People who had something to lose. What if they were hurt? I thought about the wives of my ab... 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
Does God prefer “debt-free virgins without tattoos”? A recent viral article claims that men do, and that women should avoid college, independence, career, and the world—lest they fall into debt and sexual failure and be unattractive to Christian men. Notably, tattoos, after the title, get precious little mention! And there's our first clue that the author doesn’t support her claims well. The article says nothing further about tattoos and also says little about biblical values regarding fiscal responsibility and sex. Despite the author’s well-intentioned desire to teach young women to live biblically, she promotes a culturally-influenced view of Christian womanhood. Fundamentally, this cultural view of women assumes they’re more susceptible to world... Read more
Gricel Medina
Christian conferences exist to serve and edify the church. They provide an opportunity for believers to have community with each other and to learn from each other’s faith and experiences. They also provide platforms to leaders and visionaries who then shape how Christians think about and practice their faith. Christian conferences are a powerful tool. They can be used to engage, include, and challenge all Christians. They can also hurt and exclude believers who are already marginalized in US society and in the Christian family. And, they can confirm the conscious or unconscious biases and attitudes of the more powerful group. As a Latina, I have been hurt by how the church excludes those who look like me from the leadership and theology of Christian conferences. And as a woman, I... Read more
In December, TIME magazine named the “Silence Breakers,” the women who broke their silence on abuse last year, their “Person[s] of the Year.” The pervasiveness of abuse was made evident with the #MeToo movement this year and awareness swelled as Christians added their voices with #ChurchToo and the more recent #SilenceIsNotSpiritual—a statement calling the church to end silence on gender-based violence. As an early editor of the #SilenceIsNotSpiritual statement, I added data about the 200 million girls and women missing to expose the gender-holocaust distorting humanity. These countless victims are the result of a confederacy of abuse that spans the globe and every demographic. Given the betrayal of humanity these numbers signify, exposing the abuse, though c... Read more

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