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Women in Ministry

This month marks the 31st anniversary of my ordination. I have spent about 28 of those years serving congregations as a pastor. As October rolls around, officially "Pastor Appreciation Month," I'd like to share my perspective on how you might appreciate your own pastor. Recently, a younger pastor, also a woman, wrote to me:   "I find being a pastor an incredibly awesome and wonderful calling. In what other job can I study God's word, proclaim the gospel, pray, reach out to the hurting--and get paid for it? I feel blessed and privileged to be able to serve in such a position."  I feel encouraged just by reading those words--that being female has not been an impediment to the vocation this woman has received. When I was ordained in 1983, I wa... Read more
A recent blog post by Alastair Roberts, “Why a Masculine Priesthood is Essential,” has recently stirred up fresh controversy and heated debate among egalitarians and hierarchical complementarians regarding the nature of Christian ministry and leadership, due to the promotion of his unique model of “masculine priesthood” which goes beyond the usual concept of a “male priesthood” to that of a warrior priesthood.  Such is the confidence of Mr. Roberts in the arguments of his presentation that he asserts: “I believe that opposition to women in priesthood should not merely arise from the interpretation of a few isolated verses, but that it springs up from the very core of biblical anthropology, something that is reaffirmed throughout the biblical n... Read more
“Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me; O LORD, be my helper. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever” (Psalm 30: 10-12). If there was ever an embodiment of these verses, it is in the lives touched by Channels of Hope for Gender in rural Durham. From middle-school children dramatizing the importance of HIV awareness, to children mesmerized by a math teacher, to Sunday School teachers, youth and pastors who have welcomed the liberating message in Scripture, one that free males and females from bondage—newness of life danced before us these past few days. Yet, the deepest transformation seemed to... Read more
Is my pain bad enough to count? Does the injustice that I suffer meet the standard? I attend a complementarian church where I am allowed to teach men in Sunday School, but I am not allowed to preach to them in worship because I am a woman. Neither may I serve on the board of elders which leads the church. For now, I believe I am to remain a member of this church. So I suffer the injustice of being denied these privileges. But is “suffer” too strong a word? Christians in Iraq – and so many other places – are tortured, raped, and murdered for their faith. If I were to meet those Christians in person, I wouldn’t dare to mention the injustice I suffer in my church. My pain is a pinprick compared to theirs. Do I have a right to complain? Does CBE have a ri... Read more
In regard to certain passages of scripture that can serve to either empower women or subordinate them, one can sometimes identify misleading changes in translation with the use of these methods: adding of words (interpolations), removal of words, withholding of information that would alter translation decisions, and inconsistencies in translation in which identical words in similar contexts are defined differently. Other important differences may simply be gaps in translation. 1. The interpolation of “a veil, a symbol of” before “authority” in 1 Cor. 11:10: In 1 Corinthians 11:10 instead of translating the word exousia (ἐξουσία) for authority in the active sense as it has been translated throughout the letter (1 Cor. 7:37; 8:9;... Read more
This post originally appeared on Scot's blog Jesus Creed on August 5, 2014: patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/08/05/beliefs-known-by-praxis/. 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
Happy Friday! Another great week of posts speaking out against patriarchy and lifting up the biblical ideal of mutuality in marriage and leadership. Be encouraged, dear friends. Apostles, Deacons, and the Women of Romans 16, by Nicholas Quient One can only imagine the honor of hearing the stories of one of the most outstanding women God has given to the world, and what a debt we owe to her. Christian history, it seems, is built off the deeds of such women. 10 Ways Male Privilege Shows Up in the Church, by Gail Wallace (The Junia Project) I think many Christians are becoming more aware of racial and class privilege, but I don’t see the same level of awareness about male privilege in Christian circles. A Legacy for Women, by  Michelle Mosier Would... Read more
In order to better appreciate church life in this century, it is helpful and perhaps essential, that we understand how Christianity has been lived since the very beginning. Mindy & Brandon Withrow have combined their gifts for writing and a passion for history to bring us 5 easy-to-read books with the series title "History Lives" Each book covers a period in church history with different tiles describing the church at that time. So we have 'The Ancient Church', The Medieval Church', The Reformation Church, The Awakening Church and The Modern Church. One reviewer says...'This is history without the wooliness and with all the wonder'. There are some charts and statistics along with important timelines. Church councils are explained, types of music desc... Read more
What an amazing week. Because of a week-long synchroblog called Faith Feminisms, the Christian blogosphere has exploded with posts about biblical gender equality. Can faith and feminism coexist? The resounding answer: YES! Not only coexist, but feminism comes out of our faith in a Lord who breaks down the walls that divide us and limit us along gender lines. There is no hierarchy in the kingdom of God. I'll highlight some posts here, but if you want to immerse yourself in the bounty of these writings, please go to FaithFeminisms.com to check out the entire list. Here are a few of our favorites: RECORDING: Faith Without Feminism, by Emily Rice (Thirty Seconds or Less) I need feminism in my faith to challenge those lies and to remind me that all are made in the... Read more
I'm reading N.T. Wright's latest popular installment entitled Surprised by Scripture and chapter 4, "The Biblical Case for Ordaining Women", caught my attention. Having previously read his stance, I expected not to be "surprised." Though I wasn't "shocked, amazed, stupefied, or bewildered" (all synonyms of "surprise"), I did get another picture, of sorts, about Galatians 3:28 (from which my blog's theme takes it's name, by the way). This text likely means so much more than a prima facia reading suggests. For starters, "this verse is often mistranslated" (p 66). Here's Wright's take on it: "Neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female.... Read more

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