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Throughout American history, gender theologies have been used to signify a religious organization’s level of tension to the surrounding culture. As a result, religious organizations have changed their gender theologies in response to cultural change. This process can be illustrated by a tale of two Baptists. Invigorated by the First Great Awakening of the 1740s, a robust American tradition of female piety was born. Revivalists broke with Puritan orthodoxy that equated Christianity to a hierarchical family. The revivalists, instead, envisioned a new covenant—one that emphasized individual rebirth within a community that was related, not by biological ties, but by grace. Within the bond of spiritual fellowship, the revivalists affirmed that men and women, rich and poor, lettered and ignorant, were as capable as ordained clergy of discerning spiritual truth, leading to communities of relative egalitarianism. Read more
Evangelical women face a myriad of messages related to pastoral and teaching roles in the church and academy. Some evangelical churches open their doors to women leaders while others reject the ordination of women and endorse explicitly hierarchical models of gender relations, both in marriage relationships and also in church and church-focused institutional hierarchies.Others even extend male authority to secular arenas, excluding women from exercising leadership or authority over men that is direct and/or personal. Read more
Christians around the world agree that Jesus is fully God and fully human. Jesus’ humanity makes it possible for him to liberate us from the bonds of sin. At first glance, this central tenet of our faith might seem quite unrelated to many other important concerns, such as the role of gender in the Christian community. But is this the case? Read more
Stan Goff’s Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex, and the Church offers a fresh, if controversial perspective on the relationship between the church, war, and patriarchy. Goff’s central argument is that war loving and women hating are ultimately two sides of the same coin, driven by the same fears that allow for the rationalization of conquest and colonization. Read more
I enter the delivery room, not knowing the sex of the one I have carried in my womb for nine months of hope and fear, joy and pain, preparation and trepidation. Upon the last push, “It’s a boy!” rings out in the room, but as he lies on my chest, his sex doesn’t matter; it matters that he is a healthy baby. Read more
Eight boys and three girls played in the cul-de-sac where our family used to live in the Pacific Northwest. Add the numbers, weigh the ratios (8:3; 3:8), and imagine the drama. I’m not one to stereotype, but boys in baseball caps frequently ran around shooting homemade toy guns, and girls donning fairy wings often retaliated with glittery wands. Boys seemed prone to scuffles; girls tended to avoid them. Boys excluded girls from street hockey. Girls shut boys out of makeshift clubhouses. Read more
As a young violinist, I had to practice with recordings that helped me get the notes of the piece in my ear and fingers. Honestly, these practice recordings were uninspiring to hear. They were useful and accurately represented the notes, but they weren’t beautiful. My Suzuki practice CDs sounded nothing like a virtuoso violinist playing the same music, because the virtuoso is not simply trying to play each note accurately. She is putting herself into that concerto. In turn, an audience connects with her honesty and self-revelation and is moved by the beauty of the piece. For me, this serves as an analogy that can illuminate some aspects of the gender debate. Read more
Tim Krueger
I would settle into a comfortable slouch at my desk in the corner classroom that hosted my contextual theology class, unwrap my giant blueberry muffin, and begin to dig in when the professor would bound into the room and ask “Did Jesus have to be a man?” This happened at least a couple times a month. Each time, someone would begrudgingly offer up the same answer: “Well, because of the culture of the time, Jesus couldn’t have accomplished what he did without the freedoms he had as a male. So… I guess?” Read more
This recording explores current research on gender differences in achievement motivation and draws implications from this research to the manner in which men and women find their place of service within the church. Read more
Over the past several decades, women have made strides toward equality in the secular world as well as the church. While some claim these changes have happened too quickly and mourn what they see as the loss of tradition, others believe they have been too long in coming and lament that we still have so far to go. While studying certain aspects of the debate, we—this article’s authors—began to craft a research project: Cameron posed a question while a student in Susan’s Gender Studies course, a question which has focused our attention on a related but unexplored aspect of the gender equality struggle. Here is what happened. Read more

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