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Q:  My church is unwilling to address the gender debate, feeling that it is too divisive. I have tried many times to advocate for women, but I am labeled as a trouble-maker and a radical. How do I, in a non-threatening way, encourage my church to examine the issue? A: This is a familiar dilemma and there are no easy answers. Perhaps some of the following suggestions will be helpful: Read more
When we were first married, we both sensed a call to full-time ministry, and this calling did not disappear when we had our child. We wrestled with questions like “How does a called couple organize its life to fulfill both callings to minister without costing it its family?” and “How exactly does such a couple balance familial and professional responsibilities?” For some Christians, the answer is that God always calls only the husband to work; wives are to be homemakers and stay-at-home mothers. For egalitarians attempting to pursue God’s call on both spouses’ lives with equal diligence, the solutions may not be so simple. Read more
Imagine a medium-sized room filled with high school boys and girls. You sit with your friends laughing and joking, discussing the week while the band sets up their equipment. Welcome to high school youth group. Tonight’s message: modesty. The boys are escorted off to another room for this conversation—modesty is an issue for women. This captive audience of young women listens as their youth pastor outlines why and how a girl should be modest. Read more
When Bob Dylan sang “the times they are a-changin’,” he wasn’t kidding. Recently I glanced over at my seventeen-year-old son doing his homework. While he was online doing research for a paper, he was also instant messaging four of his friends-all of this while listening to his iPod and typing words into his research paper. He explained to me that he’s able to work better when he has a lot of stuff going on. It helps his concentration. What a contrast from the time I got irritated at the librarian at the University of Northern Iowa for whispering too loudly while I worked on a research paper. The times they are a-changin’. Read more
I am a fervent patron of the “chick flick;” don’t get me wrong. These films offer a specific promise that my sensibilities won’t be rocked, that the experience will be safe. Before settling into my sunken movie seat, with compressed popcorn blooms held fast, I know how it’s going to end: gratifyingly gushy. Yet at the same time, I know it is going to reiterate the fixed roles that men and women supposedly ought to play in finding true love. I know it is going to showcase the specific gender identities for which the chick flick genre is known. Typically, the man is the one to realize his failings, atone for his sins, and recoup the relationship before it’s too late. Ideally, the woman indulges his appeals, quickly mounts his contemporary stallion, and rides off into dusk to be with him forever. Read more
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you. Therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18 Read more

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