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Priscilla Papers

Book Review: The Private War of Mrs. Packard

Every time discouragement sets in because of the slow progress of egalitarian ideas, we ought to be able to reach over our shoulders and pull from the shelf a book such as Sapinsley's. The story of Mrs. Packard (1816-1897), set in the American midwest, should remind all of us how much has been accomplished by our forebears.

Book Review: No Time for Silence

Chosen as one of ETERNITY magazine's best books of the year in 1987, this book encourages women to use their gifts fully in proclaiming the Gospel. Dr. Hassey presents the significant contributions made by American women engaged in public ministry in past years, and who were enthusiastically supported by such institutions as Moody Bible Institute. She writes, 'The earliest Bible conferences welcomed women preachers and Bible teachers . . .

Book Review: Building Your Family to Last

The secret of building families to last is found in Kari's emphasis on parents modelling the Christian life before their children. If the mother and father— who are responsible before God for what happens in the home—are not walking with God, and not walking in harmony with each other before God, how can they become models to their children? Hence this modelling has to start with choosing a life partner with the same foundation in life and faith and loving obedience to Jesus Christ.

Book Review: Is God the Only Reliable Father?

This small, highly provocative book by a staff associate for the General Assembly Mission Board, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has surprising premises and conclusions, worthy of the careful attention of pastors and serious students of the Bible. Tennis pleads with readers not to abandon the imagery and language of God the Father. Her conclusion is not surprising—but some of her reasons are.

Book Review: Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity

The four-volume Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity (DDL) provides a well-rounded overview of life not only across time periods but also across the several cultures of the biblical world. Thirty-three scholars, including editors Edwin M. Yamauchi (Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University) and Marvin R. Wilson (Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College), have contributed to the DDL.

Book Review: Gender Roles and the People of God

Theologian and author Alice Mathews recently said in a Christianity Today interview with Hannah Anderson, “Satan knows that if he can keep women out of service, in the church and in the world, he will have won an enormous victory.” Mathews’s most recent book, Gender Roles and the People of God, takes back some of the territory gained by the enemy.

Book Review: Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry

Walter Brueggemann dedicates his seminal work, The Prophetic Imagination: “For my sisters in ministry who teach me daily about the power of grief and the gift of amazement.” As he describes the grief and amazement that together shape the prophetic imagination, he also describes the story of many women in ministry—lamenting what is broken in themselves, the church, and the world while also imagining what can be.

Book Review: The New Perspective on Mary and Martha

Recently, as I was listening to a Christian radio station, the female announcer shared that she was feeling guilty about her busy life. She made reference to the biblical “story of Mary and Martha,” typically feeling at fault because she was not taking ample time to “sit at Jesus’ feet” properly. She went on to say that Martha had it wrong because she was more concerned about her chores than she was about being in the presence of the Lord. These two sisters are examples, one positive and one negative.

Book Review: The Message of Women: Creation, Grace and Gender

As part of the “Bible Themes” series within the larger The Bible Speaks Today collection of Bible commentaries and themes, The Message of Women is an exposition rather than a detailed commentary. It explores the life of women in Old Testament times and in the life of Jesus and the subsequent life of the early church. Without actually saying what is suggested by the title of their work, Derek and Dianne Tidball find a message for the twenty- first century church.

Book Review: Her Story: Autobiographical Portraits of Early Methodist Women

Reading Her Own Story is like looking through an ancient, rusty trunk in your great-grandmother’s attic and finding, hidden under yellowing linens and fading daguerreotypes, the journals of a forgotten female relative. The journals make this unheard-of kinswoman come to life in such a way that you feel you know her intimately. She writes of her spiritual journey in all of its joy, splendor, pain, and frustration.

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Volume 11

January 1984: The plane touched down on shimmering tarmac and my heart trembled with anticipation. At long last I had returned to Africa, the continent of my birth! Leaving behind the -30 C. temperatures of my home city in Canada, I arrived to find +30 C. sunshine in Nairobi, Kenya. Read more
In his book, Women Composers and Hymnists, Gene Claghorn lists 356 women hymn text writers who are North American. A few of the most outstanding are Julia Ward Howe (“Battle Hymn of the Republic”), Annie Sherwood Hawks (“I Need Thee Every Hour”), Mary Ann Thomson (“O Zion Haste”), Katherine Lee Bates (“America, the Beautiful”), Mary Lathbury (“Break Thou the Bread of Life”), and Margaret Clarkson (“So Send I You”). Read more
An Israelite woman doing the work of a man is found infrequently in the Scriptures, but Anna is one of the exceptions. Luke 2:36-38 pictures Anna in the Temple court busy with the office, and in the traditional role, of a Hebrew prophet. Her example should be an encouragement to every gifted woman who has been called to lead and to serve by the power of the Holy Spirit in one of the Christian churches or mission fields around the world today. Read more
Debra was attending a Christian conference on evangelism in the Spring of 1996. A black woman in her thirties, Debra worked as the urban staff representative in a predominantly white evangelical youth ministry. Read more
For the past few years, I have been a close watcher of the Promise Keepers movement. This has included assiduously reading each issue of New Man magazine from cover to cover, keeping up with other movement literature, and in a temporary journalistic capacity attending a Promise Keepers stadium rally (Pittsburgh, July 1996). This included an opportunity to ask questions at two press conferences featuring Promise Keepers media representatives and leaders such as Bill McCartney and Raleigh Washington. At the same time I was watching the stadium event from the exalted heights of the press booth I persuaded a woman friend and fellow Christian feminist from Pittsburgh to spend half a day as one of the thousands of volunteers needed to run such a weekend. As well as getting a substantial box lunch and a special blue volunteer’s T-shirt, she was able to take stock of the general atmosphere while taking orders for taped lectures inside one of the exhibition tents. Read more
As the role of men in families is debated in America, since 1991 the rapidly expanding evangelical (Promise Keepers) men’s movement has sponsored conferences filling major sports stadiums. This organization aimed to reach over a million men in 1996, and to sponsor a million man strong prayer rally in Washington, DC, in 1997. Christian bookstores are creating new “men’s" sections for the many new books on masculinity being produced by most of the conservative Protestant publishing houses. A survey of these books shows that the books do not display a monolithic “return to traditionalism" approach to the changing issues of gender and family relationships. Instead there are at least three additional approaches to gender issues: 1) seeking the “essence(s) of masculinity" by the use of archetypes drawn from psychology, 2) helping men to build new egalitarian relationships with their “sisters in Christ,” and 3) a pragmatic approach from family counselors seeking to help men communicate and help families stay together. These alternative approaches provide room for evangelical men to maintain evangelical distinctives yet also cope with changing social realities. The Promise Keepers movement by the official use of their name seems to be endorsing the pragmatic approach rather than a pure return to traditionalism. Read more
The Hebrew view of marital sex, in contrast with Neoplatonism and early church, was not celibate. The Jews were never prudish about sex. The best evidence of this is the high place Solomon's Song of Songs, an ancient collection of poems on courtship and love, holds in the canon of Hebrew Scripture and in the worship of the synagogues, where it is usually read on the 8th day of Passover. Read more
People both within and without the church have been expressing amazement over the rapid growth of Promise Keepers, the Christian men's movement that was founded by former college football coach Bill McCartney in 1990, and which drew a little over one million participants in 22 cities in 1996. Men involved in this movement are finding the inspiration to live righteously as honest and loving husbands, fathers, and friends. They are learning to take responsibility for their families, to be faithful to their wives, to care for their children, to avoid pornography, to be involved and responsible members of their churches and communities, and to regard people of other races as their equals. In all of this, Promise Keepers offers a bracing antidote to the poison of male irresponsibility that evidently has become pandemic in American society. What can one say in response but what everyone seems to have said already, namely, that PK is doing a vitally good work in the lives of many people in the church today? Read more
“Why don’t you attend as a volunteer, and then we can observe the rally from different angles.” This was Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen’s suggestion. She was coming to Pittsburgh to report for Books and Culture on the 1996 Promise Keepers’ rally to be held at Three Rivers Stadium. I wasn’t sure about the plan. Mary would be there in an official capacity, and that seemed more up-front to me. I didn’t want to be a spy. But she proved persuasive, and at the last minute I offered my services for the second day of the rally. Read more
Make no mistake about it: Women want a men’s movement. We are literally dying for it. If you doubt that, just listen to women’s desperate testimonies of hope that the men in our lives will become more nurturing towards children, more able to talk about emotions, less hooked on a spectrum of control that extends from not listening through to violence, and [that they will become] less repressive of their own human qualities that are called “feminine.”.... Perhaps the psychic leap of twenty years ago [when feminists announced that] women can do what men can do, must now be followed by [the announcement that] men can do what women can do. Read more

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