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Priscilla Papers

We as Christians have a responsibility to do our utmost to reach the world for Christ. This mission must be fulfilled through communication, and much of our communication is surely accomplished through language. That is the central issue of the gender-inclusive translation debate. What language is most effective in communicating the true meaning of Scripture? It is the language of the people with whom we want to communicate. We are at a point today where traditional Bible translations, with their male-oriented language, seem to many to be outdated. Read more
Historically, Baptists have pretty well reflected culture on this issue as they did on the race issue. Baptist women, as in most denominations, are vital to the church. Nevertheless, they have been pretty much relegated to a secondary role, To some degree, the movements of the late 1800s and 1900s gave more freedom to Baptist women, though—being mainly in the South—the Abolishionist movement affected Baptists less than the rest of the culture. Read more
It is twenty-five years since my first book, Love, Honor and Be Free, was published by Moody Press. Subtitled “A Christian Woman’s Response to Today’s Call to Liberation,” it offered a thoughtful, if very conservative, place to stand in the midst of the swirl of antifamily—and often anti-Christian—rhetoric that accompanied the second wave of feminism. The book takes its place quite legitimately in a long literary tradition of women taking up the Scriptures in an attempt to find their “place,” but it failed to examine the system of interpretation on which its exegesis was based. Read more
I used to hate the word lonely. Where I came from, to say you were lonely was to admit weakness. Even to utter the word was to confess vulnerability. You were exposed, out of control. And maybe a little incompetent. God forbid a white, educated, middle-class woman from the great American West should be incompetent! Read more
I am from Chicago where a white supremacist shooter went on a rampage in July of 1999. He killed Ricky Birdsong, a friend and a member of my church, whom we called Coach. Coach was loving, jovial, very committed to reconciliation, and deeply devoted to his family. He lived in an affluent neighborhood and he was doing great work with his life. Coach was walking home from the playground with his two kids. The white supremacist had just shot at five Jewish people in the neighborhood where I used to live, and then drove to another Jewish neighborhood. My guess is he went looking for a Jewish person, just happened to see my friend Coach walking down the street with his kids, and decided a black man would do. Read more
I was raised all over the world. I carry a United States passport, but that may be the most American thing about me. I love America, and I am very aware of the heritage that is mine, being born in this great land. But the world in which I have grown up and that I really call my home, is what I call “the real world.” It is a world close to the earth, a world desperate for good news, a world that does not know all that we know and therefore does not engage in all of the arguments that divide us. It is a world in bondage to all the effects of sin and separation from God. The people of this world do not know why they are in the condition they are in. They are just there, waiting for a voice, a hand, a message, an expression, and an answer to their problems. Read more
Jesus Christ wants his body to become one—every church, every person. He wants his body to experience the unity with him and with each other that he experiences with his Father. But this unity is hindered by barriers of many kinds. Read more
I recently had the dubious honor of being the only female passenger in the first class cabin of a crowded jet. As the plane landed and taxied toward the terminal I, like all the men around me, quickly gathered my belongings and stood in the aisle. Apparently the ground crew was having difficulty opening the door, and after about ten minutes of listening to mechanical parts grind back and forth, one man, standing inches behind me blurted out, “Oh, it’s probably some stupid woman who can’t figure out how to open the door!” The other men chuckled, and I smiled like one of the boys, feeling strangely invisible and deeply humiliated by the entire circumstance. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder if individuals would be as inclined to vent racist rather than sexist attitudes? Would they be as inclined to admit they thought Asian or African-Ameicans inept, particularly if one were present? Read more
I almost didn’t hear her. She sat just outside the door, leaning against the weathered wood on a dirt stoop. Her sari was so old it had no color anymore. No one else acknowledged her. Maybe she hadn’t said anything after all. Read more
Chances are that being a male, over 35 years old, ministering in a conservative evangelical denomination, and the product of a “dad-works, mom-at-home” traditional family, I would not be an egalitarian. Chances are that I would be a “New Man,” probably of the Promise Keepers variety, whose maleness has recently been reclaimed and revitalized. I would, as chances go, probably be a man who on the one hand is sympathetic to the feminist cause, listening to and understanding the plight of women throughout the centuries, while on the other hand being a man who has decided to follow “God’s plan” and has taken on the leadership of my family in a gentle but firm way. Read more

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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.

Book Review: Equal to Serve

When I attended the last Sydney Diocesan Synod I was aware that events outside the Chapter House were frequently of greater interest than those inside that hallowed structure. One of the exciting extramural activities was the visit of Mrs.G.G. Hull who spoke lucidly and informatively on the subject of the role of women in the church.

What Mrs. Hull said on that occasion is available on tape from the Anglican Radio Unit and is expanded in this book. The book has as its subtitle, ''Women and Men in the Church and Home".

Book Review: Equal to Serve

"We are to concentrate on the inner characteristics of a person, not on his or her gender." So states author Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, a biblical feminist whose new book, Equal To Serve, comes to grips with the controversial social issues of today. What are the roles of women and men in marriage, parenthood, the workplace? They are to be assumed with complete freedom and shared responsibility, answers Hull.

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