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The twenty-something man with spiky hair and trendy, too-tight jeans strummed his guitar as he spoke. “See, I’m the spiritual leader of our home, the sole provider for my wife and children…” Read more
I love the biblical story of Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives we encounter in the beginning of the book of Exodus (Exod. 1:15-20). Despite the fierce oppression the Israelites were facing under the Egyptians, their numbers were increasing and the king of Egypt was getting nervous. He summoned Shiphrah and Puah and ordered them to murder all Hebrew boys they helped deliver. Read more
As Protestants we rarely dive into the extra-biblical literature that our Orthodox and Catholic sisters and brothers read as Scripture. However, when we read these deuterocanonical books as literature we can gain more than just fascinating insight into Judaism. We enrich our own faith through the stories of Jewish women and men of faith, which help us to experience Jesus as the promised Messiah of the Jews.  Read more
The birth of Jesus was surrounded by many unique and miraculous events, accompanied by wondrous words from angels and humans, both male and female. Simeon’s statement to Mary at Jesus’ circumcision, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel” (Luke 2:34), is a lens through which we can view Jesus’ encounters with people. Jesus humbled the proud, the rich, and the powerful.  Read more
My faith in Jesus Christ was nurtured in a conservative evangelical tradition, which partly defined itself in reaction to cultural liberalism and Pentecostal enthusiasm. As a result, we did not recognize women prophets. Looking back, however, I believe they were among us. Scripture explains their enduring presence as clearly as church history explains their marginalization. Here is some of the biblical evidence.   Read more
A: Paul’s childbearing comment, infamously found in 1 Timothy 2:15, has long confounded interpreters. First, I will share my own view of this perplexing verse, but humility and honesty require me to give others’ opinions as well, for the most certain thing that can be said is that interpreters disagree on its meaning. Though Paul knew what he meant when he said, “she will be saved through childbearing,” his meaning has long eluded his readers. Read more
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, I came to the tomb. I came alone in that time before dawn, when fear and doubt get the best of us, and when God seems farthest away. I came to make closure, like so many of us have had to do in our lives. I came to say goodbye and to let go.  Read more
It first came up in my theology class. My professor read aloud 1 Timothy 2:11–12 (for some reason he failed to read the verses above or below) and claimed that there was no solid evidence that this verse was intended only for a particular cultural context. Instead, it was applicable to all churches at all times. I then asked about women who feel that preaching is their spiritual gift, women who feel a deep desire to be pastors. He nodded his head at me and asserted, “Well, that is why it is important to understand spiritual gifts as really just roles in the church we participate in. With this understanding, we can see that women simply have different roles in the church.” Read more
Few people mentioned in the New Testament have been more misrepresented than Mary Magdalene. In a 6th century sermon, Pope Gregory the Great confused her with the unnamed sinful woman, presumably a prostitute, from Luke 7:36–50. She is also often associated with the woman caught in adultery described in John 7:53–8:11, even though the text never mentions her name. Because of misunderstandings like these, Mary Magdalene is usually remembered as a woman of questionable reputation rather than as the first witness of the resurrection. As such, she has inflamed sexual fantasies of numerous artists who portrayed her naked or half-naked.  Read more
Let’s get a couple of things straight right away. First, I’m a man. I have a hairy chest. I used to be on the football team. I like Bruce Willis movies — at least, the ones in which something blows up, which is most of them. And barbecue is among my favorite cuisines. (Although, please don’t tell the guys on the football team that I used a word like “cuisines.”) Read more