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Editor’s Note: Trigger Warning. Descriptions of domestic violence appear in this article. International Women’s Day arrives every year on March 8, but has anything changed for women since last year’s International Women’s Day? I ask this question because in Australia we are reeling under the shock of the horrific murders of Hannah Clarke (31) and her three young children, Aaliyah (6), Laianah (4), and Trey (3). They were killed on February 19, 2020, by her husband and the children’s father, Rowan Baxter. He doused them with gasoline and set them on fire in the family car. They appeared to the world as a glamorous couple with three beautiful children, but in the home, Rowan was, as his sister-in-law said, “a monster.” He always wanted his own way a... Read more
Editor's Note: This is one of our Top 20 winners from the 2018 CBE Writing Contest. Enjoy! In May of 2018, John Piper responded to a young woman struggling with persistent, unrelenting body hatred. In his article, he suggested that there’s a good form of body hatred because the body is the site of sin. His response quickly went viral, and many took issue with Piper’s authority to write on the topic of body hatred and mental illness in general, and in particular, with the statement that there is a right and biblical way to hate your body. Most women don’t need even the slightest encouragement to hate their bodies. We live in a culture that teaches us to do this. We starve, shave, pluck, pierce, and adorn our bodies to gain social acceptance, and we bond sociall... Read more
During Women’s History Month, and especially on International Women’s Day, we have a unique opportunity to correct the marginalization of women’s accomplishments and influence. Those blindspots exist in the church too, especially when it comes to women pastors. Women pastors are not a new phenomenon, but many Christians aren't aware that there is a long tradition of women pastors in the church.  Women in history were faithful to their pastoral callings—against all odds. Many pursued ministry against the cultural tide of patriarchy in the church. These tenacious women are a vital part of our Christian legacy. But also, when we celebrate women pastors in history, we open doors wide for women in ministry today. With that in mind, here are ten awesom... Read more
Until I was thirty-three and conceived my child, my body was slender and straight—no curves (a relative once jokingly called me “figure eleven,” which was her way of saying that I had no curves). For twenty-six of those thirty-three years, I lived in Nigeria, where thin meant “sickly” or “emaciated.” My mother was always frustrated with my figure, because she feared that people might think she didn't take care of me! For years, one of my naturally thin sisters tried to “fatten” herself. She would often pad her clothing so that she looked like she had a fat stomach, hips, and butt! My people would joke that a Nigerian man could date a slender/thin girl, but he would marry a plump or “fat” one. They were more comfort... Read more
In a fantastic Her.meneutics article, the ever astute Rachel Marie Stone explores the question of why her sons, despite being brought up by an egalitarian mom, display certain stereotypically (for lack of a better word) boyish proclivities. She writes: “As an egalitarian mom, I have to admit I beamed with pride during the short times when my sons loved baby dolls or favored the color pink. Then, when they were big enough to play together, I found my boys tying dolls to stakes, or trapping and jailing them as if they were enemy combatants. I never saw them use a doll as a weapon. But their hobbyhorses and plenty of other objects were turned into rifles and swords for play fighting. There goes my attempt to raise pacifist, nurturing sons, I thought as they grew to embody man... Read more
Proponents of the “battle of the sexes” often argue that that what ultimately divides and defines men and women is their physical bodies. These vessels that “house” our souls, our divine connection to God, have somehow distorted our visual acuity to see each other as “flesh of my flesh,” or having a common origin, the way that that Adam saw Eve in Gen. 2:23. As a former anatomy major plowing her way toward becoming a medical doctor, I revel in the design and workings of the human body. However, in my four years of studying the structure and workings of the human body, I never identified any universal differences between men and women other than the reproductive organs and their corresponding hormones. It would seem that our bodies are much the same ex... Read more
It's undeniable that women are negatively impacted by patriarchy. I can go round after round on how patriarchy teaches women that they're peripheral and secondary in the grand human story. I can argue for days that gender roles and sexism limit and oppress women. I can write about femicide and gender-based violence, rape culture, female identity, female giftedness, mutuality in relationships, and the consequences of purity/modesty culture on women. When I write about these topics, I speak from my own experiences as a woman. I've carried a part of this burden (though not the same burden as my sisters of color). I’ve born the wounds. I know this story all too well. And because of that, I have more to say about the negative impact of patriarchy on women. But I've often... Read more
As a psychologist, I have to be perceptive. Having worked with abused women for five years, I look for the unspoken words and hidden gestures that speak to the truth behind their narratives. Recently, I’ve found myself doing the same thing with movie characters. While characters in movies are supposed to be fictional, they often point us toward real human experiences. These characters can teach us, inspire us, infuriate us, and they can also mirror us, and the lessons God is trying to solidify in our hearts. I watched the new non-animated Cinderella movie with bated breath. I was quite familiar with the story, but I confess, I hardly expected to be impressed, either by the plot or the characters, or to see any nuance or complexity in the film's interpretation. I have since wat... Read more
"So did you—uh—develop early or what?" my male friend asked me as he grabbed his books from his locker. I was crouching down to pull my Spanish book out of my own locker, which was, unfortunately, on the bottom row. I bet he's getting a perfect view of my breasts right now, I thought, quickly standing up and crossing my arms across my chest.  I didn't look my friend in the eyes. "I—um, yeah, I guess so," I answered, turning my back on him and heading down the hallway toward my class, willing myself not to cry. I was sixteen, and I hated my body.  Though my body had supposedly been beautifully and wonderfully made, it seemed to cause me a lot of trouble.  As a teenager, there were times when I had sexual feelings,... Read more
My friend’s father is a godly man. She credits him, along with her mother, with the development of her Christian faith. Yet, this amazing example of faith is often not validated or welcomed by the body of Christ. Even worse, he cannot be “at home” with himself and his gifts in the church. Here’s why: Her father is a man with creative and artistic gifts. He has expressed these through many vocations—in creative advertising, as a talented painter, and even as a wedding planner. His paint creations and wedding designs are exquisite and help tell a beautiful story. They provoke emotion and delight. I remember when I graduated from seminary, my friend gave me one of her father’s works. In the painting, a man and woman walk along a beautiful pathway through... Read more