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Published Date: July 31, 2017

Published Date: July 31, 2017

Featured Articles

Featured Articles

The Significance of Worldview in Thwarting Spiritual Formation, with Special Reference to Gender-based Violence in South Africa and Beyond

Evangelical Christians often fail to live up to the biblical standards to which they ascribe. Unconscious and inconsistent behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs (recognized and unrecognized) are ever-present. Though striving to follow Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit, our behavior and attitudes fail to adequately represent Christ. This article addresses habitual abusive behavior perpetrated by professing Christian men (and sometimes women1) against women. Many of the men mentioned herein do not seem to think such abuse is inconsistent with their lives as Christians, and often as Christian leaders.2

Rachel is a petite yet stately woman. She is married with three pre-teenage children. However, despite her outer and inner beauty, she is broken. She rarely speaks, and when she does, one has to strain to hear. As a result of our relationship, she revealed to me that certain pastors of the church she worked at were raping her. She felt she had no right to refuse these “men of God.” This seemed like normal church life for her, in part because Rachel had been sexually abused since she was a young child. I have also observed that a man from the same church’s leadership team holds deeply prejudicial attitudes toward women, attitudes that were probably prevalent in the conservative culture in which he was raised.

Though I live in South Africa, this is not a purely African issue. Similar incidents around the world show that such abuse and prejudice cannot be written off as local culture or an anomaly. Indeed, speaking with women around the world I learn of many who have been sexually abused by Christian leaders. Further, there are many families in the church in which husbands, who frequently use the Bible to justify their actions, abuse their wives. The women in these varied scenarios often believe that they deserve such treatment and that the Bible supports it.

Many of these men are respected leaders of evangelical churches; they are people with whom we would fellowship, break bread, and from whom we would learn. They are men who would teach from 1 Cor 6:19–20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit . . . ? You are not your own; you were brought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (TNIV).

A study conducted by the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in North America has shown that twenty-eight percent of church-attending adults had been emotionally, physically, or sexually abused in their congregations and notes that, “Women, more than men, report having experienced abuse of all types.”3 This can be compared with a thirty-five percent rate of intimate partner violence in the general population of the United States in 2010.4 This United Nations data comes eighteen years after the CRC study, and in the ensuing years, according to the organization Human Rights Watch, rates of gender-based violence have soared in the United States.5 Thus it is reasonable to conclude that the rates in the CRC and in the general population are probably not substantially different.

What is wrong with our spiritual formation that this can be so common, and that the levels of abuse in the church, which is meant to be a place of safety, are not substantially different from those outside it? Could it be that Christians have embraced a faulty theology of gender and, in so doing, have not only justified, but have also failed to confront gender-based violence and discrimination? This is my hypothesis.

Contributors to Worldview

Patriarchy, Male Privilege, and the Old Normal

The Bible is set in patriarchal contexts, and patriarchy is often viewed as a biblical model for family life. The Bible, however, never teaches such a view.

Men who are raised in a patriarchal society assume male privilege and power and are often unaware of it. This has been subtly and not so subtly underscored in many ways in the church: male dominated leadership, restrictions on the ordination of women, endless debates on the place of a woman, women as the passive recipients of church teaching, the use of masculine language in the Bible and the pulpit. The Bible has been translated into English almost exclusively by men, and absence of gender accuracy in biblical translation with its use of masculine language tends to portray male as the norm and female as the exception or the “other,” and reinforces common biblical misinterpretations regarding gender relations and gender value (for example, the Hebrew and Greek words for “human” are frequently translated “man”). Fortunately, this “old normal” is being challenged by recent translations such as the NRSV, NLT, TNIV, NIV 2011, and the CEB.

The Fall

Another central contributor to many Christians’ worldview is human depravity, a consequence of sin (Gen 3). The influence of the fall on the church’s views of women cannot be underestimated. Tertullian (c. AD 155–c. 240) said of women, “You are the Devil’s gateway. You are the unsealer of that forbidden tree. You are the first deserter of the divine law. You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert—that is death—even the son of God had to die.”6

Tertullian’s statement, together with numerous others like it,7 raises a number of questions and problematic consequences. Not least is the belief that a mere woman, so to speak, was more persuasive than the devil in leading humankind to disobey God. Furthermore, according to Tertullian, Eve destroyed God’s image and was personally responsible for the death of God’s son! Tertullian also implies Eve was not created in God’s image, in part, because the Hebrew word ’adam was translated “man” rather than “humankind” in key texts such as Gen 1:26–27.8

In Gen 3:14–19, God curses the snake and the ground. He does not specifically curse the woman or the man, but the change in relationships, with God and with each other, is a direct result of the fall. There is no record of man ruling over woman before the fall, in the original perfect creation. Life, as it is after the fall, is not life as God intended it to be. The curse has now been lifted in Christ—the seed of the woman (e.g., 1 Cor 15:45). However, we still live with various effects of the sin of Gen 3. It seems there are certain ramifications that the church does not have any hesitation mitigating—such as drugs to reduce pain in childbirth and the destruction of thorns and thistles in order to grow crops. But the last line of Gen 3:16, “and he will rule over you,” has been exempted from redemption. Indeed, some would portray male domination as a blessing and biblical mandate; however, it is clear that, according to this passage, it is a result of sin. These consequences of the fall reflect a life filled with pain, toil in work and male headship, though none are God-endorsed but a result of human disobedience.

The Patriarchs

The OT patriarchs9 do not have a stellar record when it comes to their treatment of women. Many were polygamous, which led to much pain. It is worth noting that, though God gave guidance to some of the patriarchs regarding whom they should marry, he never instructed them to take a second wife or a concubine. King David’s seduction of Bathsheba could more accurately be described as rape, yet through Christian teachers and media, she is depicted as a seductress rather than a woman who is dominated by immense power in the king who “‘saw,’ ‘sent,’ ‘took,’ ‘lay,’ all verbs signifying control and acquisition.”10 King David’s record with his sons’ behavior toward women is no better. When Amnon raped Tamar, for example, though David was furious, there is no record that he intervened on her behalf (2 Sam 13:21).

Worldviews on Gender Which Have Religious Endorsement

An Ethiopian proverb says that, if you really love your wife, you have to beat her.11 In Swazi and many other southern African languages, the word for wife is Umfazi, which means, “She takes her secrets to her grave.” Violence against women is an accepted part of many cultures. Indeed, the idea that a wife should submit to her husband even if he is an abuser is alive and well in mainstream evangelical Christian teaching. John Piper is a respected and influential US pastor and author. When asked in 2009, “What should a wife’s submission to her husband look like if he’s an abuser?” he replied:

If this man . . . is calling her to engage in abusive acts willingly—group sex, or something really weird . . . that clearly would be sin. . . . [S]he’s not going to do what Jesus would disapprove, even though the husband is asking her to do it.

She’s going to say, however, something like, “Honey, I want so much to follow you as my leader. I think God calls me to do that, and I would love to do that. It would be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership. . . . But if you would ask me to do this, require this of me, then I can’t—I can’t go there.”

Now that’s one kind of situation. . . . If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.12

Piper’s simplistic response, if it were not so dangerous, would be laughable. The church is tacitly approving violence against women by minimizing its seriousness, by often remaining silent, and by frequently blaming the victim.

An American friend recently told me that her stepfather was abusive toward her mother. When her mother went to the church for help, the church leadership turned the problem back on her, telling her she was not being submissive. They then told her husband that she had come to them. She was “forced” to attend church, but when she had the chance she stopped. This situation had an incredibly negative effect on her spirituality. According to Chitando and Chirongoma, “Instead of being prophetic and insisting on justice, churches appear to be signatories to the ‘covenant of violence’ against women.”13

In the case of Rachel, mentioned in the introduction, if her abuse were made public she risks her husband leaving her and taking the children, plus having to bear the shame and blame for her abuse. The perpetrators, as religious leaders, hold all the power of deniability.

Women in Zimbabwe report that the (male) elders within the church council who deal with abuse cases frequently side with the husband.14 A study of women lecturers in seminaries in Africa has shown that seven out of ten women do not believe that the church is a safe place to get help if they are being abused. A further seventeen out of thirty indicate that they think popular opinion agrees that the Bible supports violence against women.15

Such stories and studies reveal some of the reasons for the underreporting of acts of gender-based violence in the church. The church, which should be a safe place, is often not a place of compassion and justice. Sometimes the fact that the church, which should bring justice to women who have been violated, will break their trust is more painful than the abuse itself. “My deepest trust was betrayed, my self-esteem stolen from me—by that man and by the church that let him get away with it. The shame has been almost impossible to bear. I felt that my soul had been burnt out, leaving an empty shell.”16

False Masculinity Formed through Socialization

Christianity and culture cannot exist independently of one another; this is not a bad thing, for the church needs to fit into a cultural context to be understood. At the same time, however, true Christianity is radically counter cultural. Although we are in the world, we are not subjects of this world: “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 TNIV). We are subjects of another kingdom. It would seem, however, that in terms of masculinity, sexual violence, and gender relations, the gospel has become culture’s prisoner and the other kingdom conveniently forgotten.17

Prominent psychologist and egalitarian author Mary Stewart van Leeuwen talks about her early days studying psychology. She noticed that there were entries in the textbook indexes for “women” but none for “men.” She says, “one thing now seems obvious about those textbooks: the standard for optimal human behavior was simply assumed to be male. Women were different or ‘other’ and so needed special mention because they fell short of that standard in ways that were presumed to cause problems. They were, as the title of a 1947 essay by Dorothy Sayers put it, ‘The Human-Not-Quite-Human.’” It is hard for a dominant group to critique themselves or their position. “As the old proverb puts it, a fish in water does not usually know that it is wet.”18

Van Leeuwen also speaks of what psychologist William Pollock calls the “Boy Code.” Although the context for this language is North America, many aspects of the Boy Code are relevant to boys raised all across the world, although there may be cultural variations. The Boy Code speaks to male honor, and it shapes a boy’s worldview of what it means to be a man. It subjects boys to a code of behavior which, if they break, they are seen as being less than male—in other words, female.

The Boy Code first insists, “no sissy stuff,” hide your emotions, “big boys don’t cry.” If a boy acts in such ways, he will be ostracized and mocked. Next, a boy must be “a sturdy oak”; he must be self-reliant and “act like a man.” This is in contrast to a Christian lifestyle, which calls us to be part of an interdependent body and to be vulnerable to one another. Even in cultures where interdependence is a positive value, the male destiny is often to be the person on whom others ultimately depend. Closely related is the need to be successful, to be “a big wheel,” to have others envy you. This may be expressed, for example, on the sports field or in the world of academia. The key is to be at the top of whatever is the measure of success in the specific cultural setting. Finally, the Boy Code calls boys to “give ’em hell,” to defend themselves when under attack, to take risks, to live dangerously.19

A British equivalent of the Boy Code is the “lad culture” seen on university campuses, where sixty-eight percent of female university students in the UK report being sexually harassed.20 Although this refers to university campuses, not churches, the sexist mentality behind it is pervasive, and these young men are  leaders—including church leaders—of tomorrow.21

It is not hard to see that these constructs of masculinity have been imported, typically without question, into our churches. Neither is it hard to see why men often regard themselves as without emotion, tough and needing to have status and power, with sexual conquest and domination forming part of that power. Consequently, women, who are “other,” are easy targets of male status and aggression. They are sometimes easy to wield power over; it is widely recognized that sexual violence is about power, not lust. Maybe this is why Jesus’s instructions on adultery and lust are so easily ignored.

Religion has much to answer for. Many religions, not least Christianity, uphold male dominance as the status quo, including power-based masculinity and a man’s absolute right to rule.22 Given the toxic mix of unbiblical teachings and biased Bible translations,  coupled with the male honor-code, it is not unsurprising that the contemporary quest for spiritual transformation has not had the radicalizing impact that it had in previous generations, including the early evangelical movement. It is indeed difficult to replace a self-beneficial belief in God-given male superiority with the message of equality.

Dualistic Thinking

During the NT era, a Greek dualistic worldview was part of cultural patriarchy. A twenty-first century worldview generally communicates that we are primarily physical beings for whom it is legitimate to seek pleasure. However, there is a popular move today to also see ourselves as spiritual beings, whatever one’s concept of “spiritual” might be. These two ways of looking at life reflect the context in which the early church found itself. Our Christian worldview has been indelibly influenced by Greek thinking, both gnostic and hedonistic. Gnosticism views the created order as evil or inconsequential—what we do in the body does not have consequences in our spirit or in our relationship with God. The goal is to escape from the physical and be restored as pure spirit. Hedonism sees the world as intended for our pleasure.23

If we are unable to see ourselves as whole people, integrating the spiritual and the physical, then the temptation to divorce what we do in our body from what we are in our spirit is both powerful and deceptive. We may so divorce the effects of our actions from our spirit that we believe that we can willfully sin with our body and then repent in our spirit.

Glen Stassen and David Gushee, in Kingdom Ethics, elaborate further on this dualism. Cracks appeared in the church’s theology when the second-century apologist Justin Martyr, in his efforts to curry favor with Emperor Antoninus Pius, applied a dualistic interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’s teaching to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Matt 22:21). Justin tells the emperor, “To God alone we render worship, but in other things we gladly serve you.” Jesus, however, had a different worldview, giving to God what belonged to God meant giving everything to God. Justin, having been influenced by Socrates and Plato, already had an ingrained dualistic worldview. It was normal for him to divide between what is spiritual and what is worldly.24

The implications of this dualism on our worldview today are enormous. We have exchanged a truly biblical worldview for a Greek one. Political and economic structures, empire, colonialism, media, businesses, etc., have exported this dualism and its ramifications all over the world (often with the complicity of the church). Such dualism leaves the door ajar for selfish abuses, leading in some cases to the belief that wielding potentially abusive power over others is, if not fully legitimate, fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

A truly Christian worldview requires that we are whole persons—body, soul, and spirit fully integrated. To be holy in one area of life requires that we be holy in all aspects. In the OT, integrity of character begins with God. John Goldingay points out that the Hebrew word tamim, often translated as “blameless,” is more accurately rendered “uprightness, completeness, wholeness.” According to Goldingay, integrity or wholeness is the first quality of someone who wants to spend time with God:

It is thus an aspect of the commitment God expects of us and assumes it is possible for us to offer. . . . Yhwh expects our lives to be fundamentally oriented to what is right, though without setting up unrealistic expectations about their being sinless and therefore blameless.25

From this we can ask ourselves, does God expect us to have integrity (wholeness) of character? Yes, he does. Does he expect us to be perfect? No, he knows us better than that. Does this then give us a license to abuse, rape, and oppress others? A resounding “no”—to behave in such a way is not tamim.

Following Jesus and being transformed into his likeness means not following our sinful desires and instincts. We need to be retrained in holiness and righteousness. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2 TNIV). This transformation does not happen without effort on our part. We are all so “squeezed into the shape dictated by the present age” that this takes effort and discipline as we learn first to think and consequently to act in a different way.26 Being holy concerns more than morality (our actions), it concerns our heart, our thoughts, and our motivations—ultimately our character.

Correcting our Course

I cannot overemphasize the need to change our thinking. Unless we recognize that there is a problem with our worldview in how we think of men and women, our spiritual transformation will be stunted. As N. T. Wright says, “It is one thing to insist on walking south when the compass is pointing north. But to ‘fix’ the compass so that it tells you that the wrong way is the right way is far worse. You can correct a mistake. But once you tell yourself it wasn’t a mistake there’s no way back.”27

Men and women, even those who are not abusers, need to make transformed thinking a priority. I was once on a small church planting team and the question of women serving communion came up. My (male) team leader’s response was that he would rather “play it safe” and not have women serve communion, for he was not sure about it and was busy with other matters. I consider this unacceptable. At the time, I did not think much about it. At that time, I saw gender based violence and discrimination as a problem of other religions, not my own.

Until we realize we have been trying to “fix the compass,” and it is important rather to fix ourselves, we cannot change. As we learn to think differently and to bring our compass into alignment with God’s, our attitudes and actions will change. It is possible for our worldview to be subject to our spiritual transformation rather than the other way around. This will not happen without effort on our part, but God has equipped us for holiness.

Eugene Peterson says following Jesus and being transformed into his image means, “not following your impulses and appetites and whims and dreams. . . .” Peterson goes on to say that we do not have to do what our bodies or our culture tell us; we have the incredibly liberating freedom to say “no.” “The judicious, well-placed No frees us from . . . debilitating distractions and seductive sacrilege. The art of saying No sets us free to follow Jesus.”28

Jesus as Our Model

Jesus’s Radical View of Women

With Jesus as our model, we must radically change the way we view women and men. When Jesus is told his mother and brothers are there looking for him (Mark 3:32), he tells those seated around him that they themselves are his mother and brothers, and his sisters as well (3:35). This expanded response is representative of the way Jesus saw and spoke of people—he was gender inclusive!

Athol Gill describes Jesus’s attitude toward women and the difficulty the early church had emulating it.

Jesus displayed an outrageously open attitude to women, but the early church struggled to follow his example. They remember the names of the brothers of Jesus, but not his sisters (6:3), they recalled the name of the person in whose house Jesus was anointed, but forgot the name of the woman who did it. . . . Mark seeks to redress the balance of contemporary Christian chauvinism and stresses the faithfulness of the women disciples in the ministry of Jesus. It would be impossible for him to speak about people doing the will of God without making sure that it is understood that women were included.29

How Jesus Handled the Temptation to Power

Power and vulnerability are a dangerous combination. When they intersect, it takes a person whose worldview has been formed by and subjected to God to operate in true humility and resist the temptation to wield that power for their own advantage. Church leaders throughout history have struggled with living a biblical social ethic, while also failing under the influence of their own culture and worldview. This struggle continues today, and the church cannot continue to allow its leaders and congregants to operate out of a worldview that ascribes them power, invincibility, and privilege. “Christian spiritual formation must yield Christian disciples who are absolutely and stubbornly impervious to any temptation or enticement to sacrifice the sacredness of any group of neighbors for any private or public purpose, however compelling it may seem at the time.”30 Women have the right, in Christ, to be seen as human beings, worthy of equality and dignity. Their lives are sacred because they are created in the image of God. Gushee quotes Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” He goes on to insist that, “to hate, or degrade, or demean, or torture, or murder or ignore the suffering of another person is to spit in the face of God.”31

According to David Augsburger, radical attachment to Jesus goes beyond knowing about Jesus or even believing in him. The secret is believing Jesus, believing what he believed, “taking him as a radical example of rejecting dominance, violence or coercion . . . investing your life in him by living out the reign of God on earth.”32 If we are to follow this model, our worldview will become subject to the Holy Spirit, not to worldly or inaccurate concepts of masculinity or femininity.

I come to know myself truly as a spiritual being by knowing God. I come to know who I truly am by being known by God. I come to know others by seeing in them the reflected image of God, the Other. I come to know this Other when meeting God in others, sister, brother, neighbour, stranger, friend, or enemy.33

Henri Nouwen, in his reflections on the temptations of Christ, takes a radical approach. His deep and rich book challenges our corrupted worldview and leaves the impression that true spiritual power is willingness to put oneself “under,” not to wield “power over.” Concerning the first temptation (Luke 4:4), he talks about moving from relevance to prayer. He posits that leaders need to “dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world” so they can enter into solidarity with a suffering world.34 Looking at the second temptation, he reflects on the “temptation to be spectacular,” to be the person who has all the answers, to play the hero or heroine (Luke 4:8). In addressing the third temptation, in Luke 4:12, he talks about the temptation of power and the need to move from “leading to being led,” the willingness to be taken into painful places.35 If our view of power were to be so radically altered, then abuse perpetrated by followers of Christ would be unthinkable.


A change in behavior and deeply held cultural beliefs will not come overnight. Clearly the church has struggled to live a truly biblical worldview for centuries. We are all recovering sexists, racists, and worse. Nonetheless, we are called to be holy.

Although I have largely addressed the attitudes of men here, the change also needs to take place in women, for they are subject to the same influences, especially the teachings of the church—just because they are female does not mean that they have appropriate attitudes towards gender.

Transformation takes time. It took time for the disciples even though they were with Jesus every day. There were indeed moments of enlightenment and transfiguration, and we need such moments as well. The transfiguration itself was a part of the disciples being healed of spiritual blindness, and undergoing a “radical transformation of vision and learning to see the world as God sees it.”36

The spiritual formation of our worldview must redefine the way we do church; a survivor of gender-based violence expresses it this way:

I long for the church to be a supportive community, celebrating life and God. Not a place to hide from, or conceal real suffering, but a community that nurtures the courage to speak out against wrongs. If only the church could see human potential and life as something to grapple with and enjoy. And if only it could be a place where it’s safe to be just who we are—real, flesh and blood and heart human beings, made by God, loved by God and redeemed in Christ.37

An important part of the journey will be having leaders who are willing to openly address this issue from the pulpit, for the voices of those who have been abused to be heard—and taken seriously—and for a robust system of accountability for church leadership to be in place.38 However, a cultural change has to start before that. It has to start with the way parents socialize their children, the way Sunday school teachers treat girls and boys. It is also vitally important that a theology and culture of gender equality permeate the teaching and practice of theological institutions.

The way things stand today, retrospective reeducation also needs to take place, including the use of proven programs such as One Man Can, implemented in South Africa by Sonke Gender Justice.39

It will take men and women, but especially men, who are willing to be unpopular with their peers, who are willing to be counter cultural and choose a path of downward mobility. “Downward mobility puts its emphasis on people rather than possessions, on action on behalf of justice rather than accomplishments on behalf of the ego, and on the God of hope rather than the god of greed.”40


1. Prominent examples of violence by women against women include genital mutilation, human trafficking, and honor killings. See Elaine Storkey, Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women (London: SPCK, 2015), chs. 3, 5, 7 (reviewed by Kevin Giles in Priscilla Papers 30, no. 4 [Autumn 2016]: 29).

2. The men and women used as examples in this article are chosen from a vast number of encounters I have had as director of AIDSLink International. Inconsequential details in the case studies have been changed to ensure anonymity.

3. Committee to Study Physical Emotional and Sexual Abuse, “The Agenda for Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America” (Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1992), 320–21. The fact that there are so few denominational studies which survey congregants’ experience with abuse, and that this one was done more than twenty-five years ago, speaks volumes concerning how low a priority this is in the church. However, The Methodist Church in Britain is to be applauded for its recent release of a far-reaching report which surveys past cases of clergy and church leadership as perpetrators of abuse. The report cites that 1,885 individuals in leadership perpetrated abuse between 1950 and 2012. Jane Stacey, “Courage, Cost and Hope: The Report on the Past Cases Review, 2013–2015” (The Methodist Church of Britain, 2015).

4. UN Women, “Violence against Women Prevalence Data: Surveys by Country” (December 2011), 8.

5. Human Rights Watch, “US: Soaring Rates of Rape and Violence Against Women” (2008).

6. Cited in Godfrey Museka, Morrin Phiri, and Manasa Madondo, “Patriarchy and Gender-based Violence, The Politics of Exclusion in Zimbabwe’s Roman Catholic Church,” in Ezra Chitando and Sophia Chirongoma, eds., Justice Not Silence: Churches Facing Sexual and Gender-based Violence (South Africa: EFSA Institute for Theological and Interdisciplinary Research, 2013), 115.

7. See also, for example, Augustine’s Questions on the Heptateuch, Book 1, §153, and Jerome’s Against Jovinianus, Book 1, §28.

8. Austin H. Stouffer, 95 More for the Door: A Layperson’s Biblical Guide to the Gender Reformation (Winnipeg: Word Alive, 2008), 1.

9. Using the term “patriarch” broadly; Acts 2:29, for example, uses the term for King David.

10. L. Juliana M. Claassens, “Teaching Gender at Stellenbosch University,” in H. J. Hendricks, E. Mouton, L. Hansen, and E. le Roux, eds., Men in the Pulpit, Women in the Pew? Addressing Gender Inequality in Africa (South Africa: EFSA Institute for Theological and Interdisciplinary Research, 2012), 150.

11. Muchugu Kiiru, “You Cannot Catch Old Birds with Chaff: Woman’s Multiple Images in Proverbs,” Wajibu, A Journal of Social and Religious Concern 14, no. 1 (1999): 5.

12. See

13. Maluleke and Nadar, cited in Chitando and Chirongoma, Justice Not Silence, 9.

14. Ingwani, “An Exploration of Gender-based Violence among the Shangaan People in Southern Zimbabwe, A Case Study of the Gazini Clan,” in Chitando and Chirongoma, Justice Not Silence, 84.

15. H. J. Hendricks, “HIV and AIDS, Curricula and Gender Realities,” in Men in the Pulpit, Women in the Pew?, 39.

16. Lesley Orr Macdonald, “A Spirituality for Justice: The Enemy of Apathy,” Feminist Theology: The Journal of the Britain and Ireland School of Feminist Theology 8, no. 23 (2000): 18.

17. Elisabet le Roux, “Why Sexual Violence, The Social Reality of an Absent Church,” in Men in the Pulpit, Women in the Pew?, 53.

18. Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, My Brother’s Keeper, What the Social Sciences Do (and Don’t) Tell Us About Masculinity (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2002), 23.

19. Van Leeuwen, My Brother’s Keeper, 97.

20. A. Phipps, “Lad Culture Thrives in Our Neoliberal Universities” (Higher Education Network, 2014).

21. For more on Lad Culture see “That’s What She Said: Women Students’ Experiences of ‘Lad Culture’ in Higher Education” at

22. Chitando, “Religion and Masculinities in Africa, Their Impact on HIV Infection and Gender-based Violence in Men,” in Men in the Pulpit, Women in the Pew?, 75.

23. M. Robert Mulholland, “Spiritual Formation in Christ and Mission with Christ,” Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care 6, no. 1 (Spring 2013): 12.

24. Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003), 128.

25. John Goldingay, Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Life (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2009), 3:600. Italics added.

26. N. T. Wright, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters (New York: HarperOne, 2012), 151.

27. Wright, After You Believe, 153.

28. Eugene Peterson, “Saint Mark: The Basic Text for Christian Spirituality,” in Kenneth J. Collins, ed., Exploring Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Reader (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 335.

29. Athol Gill, Life on the Road: The Gospel Basis for a Messianic Lifestyle (Scottdale: Herald, 1992), 129.

30. David P. Gushee, “Spiritual Formation and the Sanctity of Life,” in J. P. Greenman & G. Kalantzis, eds., Life in the Spirit (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2010), 215.

31. Gushee, “Spiritual Formation,” 226.

32. David Augsburger, Dissident Discipleship: A Spirituality of Self-Surrender, Love of God, and Love of Neighbor (Ada: Brazos, 2006), 40.

33. Augsburger, Dissident Discipleship, 22.

34. Henri J. M. Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership (Chestnut Ridge: Crossroads, 1989), 35.

35. Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus, 51, 69, 81.

36. Daniel G. Groody, Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2007), 243.

37. Macdonald, “A Spirituality for Justice,” 19.

38. Stacey, “Courage, Cost and Hope,” 22, 29.

39. See S. L. Dworkin and A. M. Hatcher, “Impact of a Gender-Transformative HIV and Antiviolence Program on Gender Ideologies and Masculinities in Two Rural, South African Communities,” Men and Masculinities 16, no. 2 (2013): 181–202.

40. Groody, Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice, 254.