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Practical Applications

It’s that time of year once again. But, even as we enjoy apple cider, crackling fires, and time with our loved ones, we should remember that we are called to live out the equality of men and women on every occasion, including Christmas. Here’s a few tips to help you live out that truth this season.  1. Tell Her Story What’s Christmas about? If you answered, “Jesus,” then you get a gold star. It is, indeed, about the baby in the manger. But it’s also about someone else who doesn’t get a lot of screen time: Mary. Jesus is the reason for the season, but I don’t think he minds sharing the spotlight with an unknown hero from Nazareth. People talk about how frightened Mary must have been, how trusting she was, and how utterly driven by h... Read more
We’re rounding the corner to summer, the perfect time to look for a new Sunday school curriculum for your kids’ ministry. As you research and compare resources, it’s important to consider how gender is communicated in the materials so that children in our midst don’t need to “unlearn” patriarchy when they grow up. Here are five tips for choosing a Sunday school curriculum rooted in gender equality. 1. Check the scope and sequence The scope and sequence is the list of lessons and Bible stories included in the curriculum, and the order in which they are presented. This is usually available on the publisher’s website—if it’s not, ask a sales representative to send you a copy. Look to see what stories are chosen. Are there Bible stori... Read more
As I noted in my previous post, the resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the inauguration of the New Covenant. Depending on which theologian you read, one might say this “inauguration” period reached its peak with Pentecost, the day when the promised Spirit was poured out on the church (Acts 2). Whatever the case, Christians today—generally since the time of Christ—are living in the age of the “New Covenant.” Being “new,” the New Covenant is different from the “Old Covenant,” which (again, depending on theology or context) may refer to the Mosaic covenant, or all of the covenantal administrations prior to Christ (e.g., Abrahamic, Davidic, etc.). For simplicity and convenience, most Christians typically refer to the “Old Co... Read more
Paul Hjellming
It’s that time of year again. Oscar season. Well, technically it’s been that time of year for a while but the beginning of February seems to be the time when awards season reaches a fever pitch. The Golden Globes, the Producers and Screen Actors Guild awards have been handed out and now it’s on to the Oscars (if you don’t count the Directors Guild Awards.) 2014 was a mixed bag (as so many recent years have been) for women in film. On one hand you have very strong performances from women in female-centric films like Julianne Moore in Still Alice and Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Patricia Arquette played a strong single parent in Boyhood, at times overshadowing the titular plot about a boy growing up. The president of the Academy since 2013, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, is a wom... Read more
“Men and women are different.” This is an obvious enough statement, right?  After all, the divine establishment of male and female is a fundamental tenet of humanity created in the image of God. Yet, what does it mean exactly to say that men and women are different, and is there a framework that guides the way we draw implications from the difference between male and female?  On the one hand, if one develops a framework starting from an anatomical perspective and reproductive roles perspective, the gender distinction is largely binary—male and female are mutually exclusive.  This perspective lends itself to making implications that emphasize the differences between men and women—e.g. books like “Men are From Mars…,”... Read more
This post originally appeared on Scot's blog Jesus Creed on August 5, 2014: What we believe and how we behave are not quite perfectly matched, at least not this side of the kingdom, but it is not unfair to say that what one believes is seen in how one lives. If you say you believe in God but never pray, or if you say you believe in forgiveness and hold grudges, or if you say you believe God loves all but your circle of friends is restricted to folks like yourself — well, your acts reveal what you really believe or you have acted outside the bounds of your beliefs. Sometimes, however, it works another way: sometimes what we believe needs praxis to reveal what the beliefs entail. Sometimes the beliefs are... Read more
Recently I commented on a Facebook post that I disliked the word “feminist/feminism” when used to describe what I would brand an evangelical egalitarian position (that men and women may serve equally in the home, the church, and the world as God has so apportioned and enabled them). Even when adding the adjective “evangelical” in front of “feminism” (as some have done in their publication titles), negative connotations remain. Moreover, “feminist/feminism” is clearly gender-specific having to do with qualities associated with women only and hardly shows a balanced and “equal” treatment. If anything, “feminism” incites heated and rarely fruitful discussion in e... Read more
I recently watched a TED Talk by Colin Stokes called “How movies teach manhood.” The ideas expressed in this talk struck a chord in me and got me thinking about the role models—and the villains—we present to children. Far too often the villains are women—wicked witches, evil sorceresses, evil queens, and evil step mothers. And far too often, the heroes are princes or knights or at least male. Before you read further, watch this TED Talk. It’s only 12:53 minutes long. There are Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, and other classic favorites mentioned throughout. Click here to watch the video. Children’s movies do a great job of, “teaching girls how to defend against the patriarchy but aren’t showing boys how to defend against the patriar... Read more
Do you find yourself questioning your church’s perspective on gender? Are you often the one to initiate dialogue with family or friends regarding what the Bible says about women’s positions in the church and home? Do you feel alone on your egalitarian journey? At CBE we continually hear from people with very few others in their life who share their egalitarian views. They write to us from all over the world asking for prayer, fellowship and guidance on how to challenge their church leadership. They are often discouraged and long for someone to walk beside them. They turn to CBE for help. What sort of help do we provide? We pray daily for these people! We encourage them to become active in our online community - The CBE Scroll. We suggest that they consider joini... Read more
How many of us have found ourselves alone in a foreign country, faced with difficult challenges, without anyone with whom to pray or share our hearts? This is the situation many Christians in the armed services face. As our military people encounter one trial after another, they often do so without the help of trained spiritual comforters and counselors. They are often alone spiritually and emotionally, according to an article in a recent issue of Insight, published by the National Association of Evangelicals. The article suggests that the chaplaincy is: … under significant strain. There is ‘one chaplain for every 518 service members,’ according to Newsweek (May 7, 2007), a ratio deemed appropriate in peacetime, but not for war… To become a chaplain candid... Read more