Human beings begin to develop gender identities very early in life as they pick up on cues and clues given off from the sociocultural contexts in which they find themselves. As people and institutions demonstrate socially appropriate ways of being male or female, children become apprentices and learn what it means to be a boy or girl in their culture. Often, the notions of gender1 that are offered to children involve inequality between the sexes and create oppressive limitations for people of one sex while offering unfair advantages and freedoms to those of the other sex.
For too long, the church has not attempted to address issues of gender identity formation in children. While theologians have begun to examine issues of sex and gender, not enough theological thought has been given to the ways young people come to be gendered as they pick up on cultural notions of maleness and femaleness. As a result, some faith communities, unknowingly or not, perpetuate oppressive gender stereotypes and roles as adults teach children—whether tacitly or explicitly—what it means to be a female or male in the contemporary church and world.
Yet, the church is capable of reforming itself as it begins to address these issues by consulting theology and social science for insights into sex, gender, and identity and by critically analyzing the ways in which children form gender identities. In this article, I will do just this. I begin with a discussion of how two significant twentieth-century theologians—Karl Barth and Karl Rahner—have thought of gender. While these two men come from different traditions (Reformed and Catholic), they both offer important theological insight into gender that is useful in developing strategies for correcting harmful gender roles within the church.
After this admittedly brief look into the theology of Rahner and Barth, I will delve into the world of social science in order to draw out important and relevant information about the ways in which gender identities are formed in children. Finally, I will offer ideas about childhood and the church’s responsibilities toward young people that can help those who work with children to subvert harmful notions of gender while nurturing theologically and socially appropriate gender identities.
The future is built on history. What is to come flows out of what has been. Those who seek to transform the church into a place of liberation and equality do well to explore Christian tradition in order to find those elements that are usable and provide hope for liberation, equality, and human flourishing. Through action-reflection, the church can pursue a commitment to justice and hope that involves shared experiences of the struggle for this commitment, critical analysis of one’s contexts, questions about Christian tradition, and further action, reflection, and celebration. Key to this methodology is the ability to talk back to tradition as we seek out a past that is useful for engaging in acts of liberation. In doing so, one refuses to allow patriarchal and dominating tradition to go unquestioned. One challenges, alters, and discards oppressive elements of a tradition and lifts up those aspects that are emancipatory in forging a future of hope and equality.
The Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth (1886–1968) is often heralded as the most important twentieth-century theologian. His work is seen as a significant theological response to the issues of the first half of the century, including the rise of liberal theology, the World Wars, and capitalist/communist tension. His thinking, which is often called neo-orthodoxy, centers on the belief that “the object of theology is not the Christian faith, as Schleiermacher and others had made it appear, but the Word of God.”2 Essentially, Barth was responding to theologians who drew their views from revelation in addition to cultural sources like human experience.3 His goal was to ensure that the claims made about God were not founded on culture, but only on the revelation of God—Jesus Christ. He sought to develop a theology from above, that started with and was grounded in God’s revelation.
While at times Barth’s work appears to be a product of his patriarchal culture, there are significant elements of his theological anthropology that form a usable past. At the time of his writing, the German nationalist socialists (Nazis) were rising to power and many theologians had rallied around Hitler and his ideology. Barth’s major concern was countering this movement by basing theology on the word of God rather than the world or experiences of humanity, which were fallible and subject to error. Although gender was not Barth’s main concern, the fact that he devotes a lengthy section of his Church Dogmatics to gender demonstrates that he was interested in the subject, and he offers some insightful thoughts.
Barth reminds us that human sex is real—most human beings exist as either distinctly male or female4—and this reality exists at the concrete human level. In his words, “[A person] cannot wish to liberate [oneself] from the differentiation and exist beyond [one’s] sexual determination as mere [human]; for in everything that is commonly human [one] will always be in fact either the human male or the human female.”5 Furthermore, one’s maleness or femaleness affects all of one’s life.6 Barth recognizes that the distinction between man and woman is very real and has significant implications for one’s life.
Perhaps the most well-known aspect of Barth’s theology of male and female is the order that he ascribes to the sexes through the metaphor of A and B. Man and woman are like the letters A and B. In their essence, “A precedes B, and B follows A.” In a similar way, man precedes woman and woman comes after man. This, according to Barth, is the divine order of creation. But this divine order, while demonstrating difference, does not imply inequality. In describing the relationship of women and men, he writes, “In inner dignity and right, and therefore in human dignity and right, A has not the slightest advantage over B, nor does it suffer the slightest disadvantage. . . . Man and woman are fully equal before God.”7
Barth believes that the humanity of men and women comes from the fact that they exist in mutual relationship with one another.8 In his words, “Humanity, the characteristic and essential mode of [humankind’s] being, is in its root fellow-humanity.”9 Furthermore, the inherent equality of men and women stems from the fact that they stand in equal relation to God as God’s covenant partners, which also characterizes their relation to each other.10 Thus, the divine order “does not mean any inner inequality between those who stand in this succession and are subject to this order. It does indeed reveal their inequality [they are not the same]. But it does not do so without immediately confirming their equality. . . . It does not confer any privilege or do any injustice.”11 Barth knew that this theological view could be used to support the tyranny of men and the passive compliance of women, both of which he sees as acts of disobedience to God.12 He recognizes that, in this way, his words are “very dangerous words,”13 and he warns his readers to avoid using his theological views to wield illegitimate power over the other sex. Yet, as he realized, when read uncritically, his theology can lend itself to such oppression and tyranny.
Another aspect of Barth’s theology that is part of our usable past involves how people are to deal with their sex and how others see their sex. He holds that the very nature of our sex comes from God and, as such, it must not be discounted, ignored, or denied. As previously mentioned, sex is real; “[One] should acknowledge [one’s] sex instead of trying in some way to deny it, that [one] should rejoice in it rather than being ashamed of it.”14 That is, at the abstract level, one ought to accept that God has bestowed maleness or femaleness on oneself and should seek to live into one’s biological sex rather than suppressing it. Barth’s theology begins with God’s gift of sex and moves into how human beings should respond and appropriately live into these gifts in relation to one another and to God. However, when it comes to concrete living, the equality of men and women is never perfectly embodied. Notions of gender come into play and often hinder the inherent equality of the sexes of which Barth speaks.
Accepting one’s sex does not mean subscribing to human definitions and typologies of gender. When human beings decide what constitutes differentiations of maleness and femaleness, they presume to know the content of the will of God.15
“It is not for us to write the text [of man and woman] itself with the help of any such system. It is not for us to write the text at all. For the texts which we write, the definitions and descriptions of male and female being which we might derive from others or attempt ourselves, do not attain what is meant by the command when it requires of [human beings] that here, too, [they] should accept [their] being as [human], as male or female, as it is seen by God.”16
Rather than prescriptive descriptions of what it means to be male or female, Barth acknowledges that such typologies are human “suppositions and assertions which rest upon impressions and personal experiences.”17 Thus, he “repudiates the claim that gender roles are rooted in nature and given to the creature”18 and warns that human-formulated typologies become regarded as hard-and-fast imperatives. As Vygtosky would say, they become “fossilized” as inherent ways of being male or female.19 Such typologies are to be demythologized; that is, they should be explored as human systematizations of gender differences that are not inherent to what it means to be female or male.
Karl Rahner (1904–1984) is often regarded as the most prominent Catholic theologian of the last century. This German Jesuit priest ingeniously dealt with both technical theology and matters of day-to-day living.20 Rahner’s work focused on the catholicity (universality) of the church, which refers to the diverse ways in which the church is incarnated across the globe.21 His concern was not with imposing doctrine and rules from the top, but with supporting the many ways that the church is taking shape from the ground up. While Barth did theology from above, Rahner started on the ground and built theology from below. His Catholic theology offers significant insights that extend beyond his tradition and offers wisdom to the wider Christian church. When it comes to his view of women, three points surface as important.
First, he believes that women matter and are equal in rights and dignity to their male counterparts,22 yet he recognizes that the church has failed to live according to this egalitarian view. He writes, “No-one, of course, would contest [the equality of women and men] as a general principle. But the actual principle in the church falls away in many respects from this principle, manifest though it may be.”23 Rahner is not content with abstract talk of equality—his theology from below necessitates that the church take concrete and ongoing steps to promote the equality of women and rid itself of prejudice toward and exploitation of females, for the goal of equality is still a long ways off.24
The work of advocating and moving toward gender equality in the church and in the world is not simply the role of clergy and those in power. Rahner argues that women must engage in this important work for themselves by modeling it and defining what it means to be a woman in the contemporary world. Thus, Rahner seems to advocate for a feminism “from below.” While Barth is focused on providing a coherent theological view, Rahner believes that theology is not simply about answers. In fact, he encourages women to ask questions afresh continually and refuse to accept one’s lot without questioning.25 In a similar way, it can be argued that men should not blindly accept notions of masculinity and manhood, but each should define for himself what it means to be a man. As a friend once said, there are many ways to be masculine and there are many ways to be feminine.
A second important point that surfaces from Rahner’s writing is that context matters. He recognizes that all theology, although it may be truthful at the abstract level, is historically and culturally conditioned at the level of concrete action.26 Even these abstract theological conceptions are conditioned by their contexts, for they “always and simply cannot fail to be historically conditioned and dependant on the pre-scientific milieu, on cultural and sociocultural preconception, attitudes, and experiences of life, on the ethos of a society and its life-style.”27 Therefore, theological views of gender involve “a purely human tradition in the church which offers no guarantee of truth even if it has long been undisputed and taken for granted.”28
Since theological suppositions are conditioned by the contexts in which they develop, past views need not be seen as definitive or ideal.29 The world and the church change, so views of the past cannot provide the norms for contemporary situations.30 Indeed, discussions about women in the church must continue and be extended from what has been previously supposed and held up as binding.31 This is precisely what Rahner seeks to do in some of his essays, for one title tells readers that he will be investigating “the position of women in the new situation in which the Church finds herself.”32
Further, Rahner does not confine his theological investigations to abstract theology or official doctrine. He believes that views of gender must be grounded in the experiences and contexts of the everyday lives of real individuals.33 Theologies of gender are not simply imposed from the top; they are built from the ground up. He advocates for research into the social (anthropological) sciences, for they “say a great deal and much that is important about the distinction of the sexes and, thus, also about the peculiar nature of women.” In fact, Rahner nods toward a major shift in theological thinking by suggesting that the social sciences can become conversation partners with theology. Plumbing the depths of theology to investigate gender and sex is insufficient, for it can lead to limited understandings that hinder the emancipation of women. Through information from the social sciences, one can see the ways in which theological views of women are socially and culturally conditioned, which can in turn enhance theology that lends itself to gender equality.34
The theology of Rahner and Barth offer a number of key points about gender. Barth, with a theology from above, reminds us that sex is real at a concrete level and influences all areas of one’s life, that both sexes are equal before God and relate to each other in a relationship of mutuality, and that, although human beings should acknowledge their sex, they need not conform to human-made interpretations of sex and gender. Rahner, with a theology from below, would agree with Barth in the equality of the sexes, but he recognizes that the church has often failed to live up to standards of equality. His theological insights also remind us that all theology is conditioned by context and that it should be grounded in everyday life. Such grounding can be accomplished through conversations with the social sciences.
Over the years, a common question has surfaced in discussions of human development: nature or nurture? Do human persons cognitively, psychologically, and biologically develop primarily through built-in genetic functions of the human body or through social interactions with culture and other human beings? Is development biological or social? My answer is both.
In the past few decades, scholars have challenged stage theories for ignoring the ways in which culture affects development. One such scholar is Barbara Rogoff, who noted that Piaget, in forming his stage theory of cognitive development, was “devoted to examining how the individual makes sense of an unexamined ‘generic’ world, common to the species as a whole.”35 She posited that children, rather than developing in a biological vacuum, develop through guided participation in cultural habits and norms in apprenticeship-like style with more experienced peers and adults. In her words, “the rapid development of young children into skilled participants in society is accomplished through children’s routine, and often tacit, guided participation in ongoing cultural activities as they observe and participate with others in culturally organized activities.”36
In response to the nature/nurture dichotomy, Rogoff holds that culture and biology are not two parts of a dichotomous pair; rather, they are bound up with one another and are “inseparable aspects of a system within which individuals develop.”37 Human beings are biologically cultural; culture and biology are so intertwined that any separation between them is artificial and false.38
Rogoff’s views of human development are indebted to the work of the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who was more interested in studying processes of human development than products or outcomes.39 He affirms that children develop within a specific cultural environment, which affects their developmental processes. In his words, “There cannot be a single organically predetermined internal system of activity that exists for each psychological function.”40
Central to Vygotsky’s discussion of human development is the process of signification, whereby external signs become internalized in the human being: “The use of signs leads humans to a specific structure of behavior that breaks away from biological development and creates new forms of a culturally-based psychological process.”41 It allows human beings to control their behavior from without. Eventually, the external sign or gesture becomes internalized in the life of the human person through the act of remembering.42 Thus, what was once interpersonal becomes an intrapersonal part of the child’s system of thinking.43 As children engage with external signs and “self-generated stimulation,” they develop “a specific structure of behavior that breaks away from biological development and creates new forms of culturally-based psychological process.”44 As children grow, these external, interpersonal signs become internalized, intrapersonal signs that reconstruct one’s psychological functions and behaviors. Eventually, the behavior attached to these intrapersonal signs becomes “fossilized.”45
Rogoff took up this argument and posited that human development occurs as people participate in sociocultural activities within a community; both the community and one’s participation in the community’s practices adapt and change throughout this process.46 Although she argues that, when it comes to cultural processes and norms, “There is not likely to be One Best Way,”47 she is aware that many people fail to recognize this. Particularly in middle-class Western cultures, ways of living and engaging with others become routinized, culturally expected, and normalized.48 As Vygotsky asserted that signs can become “fossilized,” Rogoff posits that cultural habits and processes become institutionalized, and rules and taboos are developed in order to maintain these norms and prevent them from being adapted or dissolved in future generations.
What does all this social science research have to do with gender? In short, it means that gender roles are not biological givens. Ways of being male or female are culturally developed norms for living out one’s sex that become fossilized and institutionalized in human cultures and are passed on from one generation to the next. Thus, ways of being male or female can be adapted.
One way of examining the ways in which people live out their culturally developed gender roles is through the work of Erving Goffman. Human life, according to Goffman, is a show—a presentation or performance that is offered to an audience by individuals or teams of people who cooperate to present themselves in certain ways.49 Teams control those teammates who would discredit their performance by fostering a high level of in-group solidarity, seeing themselves favorably, and casting other teams in inhuman lights.50 Contemporary identity theorists have also stressed that such high levels of identification and solidarity can lead not only to the stereotyping of others, but also self-stereotyping.51 The negative stereotyping of other groups to foster in-group solidarity is seen in children who separate themselves by gender and seek to show that their team is superior or more human; boys may say that girls have cooties, and girls may say that boys aren’t as smart as they are.
Alone or as part of a team, all people project images of themselves, whether performing or observing. Performers project an image to an audience, which projects a reactive image in its response to the performance.52 Through such performances, individuals and teams develop working agreements about which claims on which issues are going to be honored.53 A key aspect of performances is the fact that performers can be completely taken in by their own acts; the ways that they present themselves become real to them and to the audience.54 Thus, performers come to be both those who perform and those who observe their own acts.55 In this way, social fronts are seen as institutionalized or fossilized, and they begin to take on meaning beyond specific tasks—they become factual “collective representations.”56 Goffman reminds us that gender is performative—human beings perform their genders for others. As such, gender roles or performances are not fixed realities and can be changed and adapted over time.
This admittedly brief survey of some recent and classic social science research offers many important points to keep in mind about gender:
Gender roles are established by culturally developed processes that are formed in children from a very early age—even before one is born. Thus, views of gender roles are always in flux and adapting to sociocultural conditions. Indeed, Rahner sought to examine the roles and views of women in the Catholic Church in light of recent changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council; he knew that culture shifts and, as such, past views of women and men should not be pushed on contemporary individuals.
Second, gender roles are performative. Human beings project themselves in certain socially constructed manners, even though most of the time this happens at the level of semi- or unconscious awareness. These performances take place in subtle interaction between people within their social and cultural contexts. Yet, they do not necessarily describe people for who they truly are; rather, they are socially constructed projections performed for those around them.
Finally, gender roles are not factual givens that are inherently and biologically built into each person. Gender roles are socially and culturally created ways of being biologically male or female. Thus, being female or male does not mean that one must conform to a standard or mold that is said to be universal to all males or females. Cultural notions of how one should live into one’s God-given sex need not determine who one is as male or female. Although we need to recognize our sex, we do not need to conform to the ways in which society defines our gender, especially when it results in oppression. Barth acknowledges portions of these latter two points, for he is aware that, while men and women should embrace their God-ordained sex, they do not necessarily need to ascribe to socially constructed typologies of what it means to be male or female. Thus, there is no divine mandate for people to perform and conform to norms of maleness and femaleness that are ascribed by human culture. With these points in mind, we are ready to explore some ways in which Christian ministry can correct harmful and oppressive gender-role stereotypes while nurturing children in environments that allow them to explore what it means to be female or male.
In her research into the religious lives of adolescent girls, Joyce Mercer found that faith communities are vital to the lives of girls and are powerful forces in shaping their understandings of what it means to be female. I am sure that young boys are equally influenced by their faith communities. Yet, churches are not always positive influences; they can liberate young people from gender stereotypes or oppress them.57 Most do both to some degree or another.58 In either case, however, Mercer makes it clear that religion informs gender.59 We who are a part of faith communities are called to embrace the responsibility of shaping the gender identities of young people.
Ministry with children is inherently a ministry of teaching (as, to some level, are all church ministries). Churches offer young people explicit lessons through Sunday school, sermons, and other teaching times, as well as implicit lessons through their language, behavior, and practices. Gender equality can be promoted through both types of lessons.
Bible stories are often a staple of lesson material and curricula for children. They can impart values and raise questions that aid in moral and spiritual development. Yet, they also impart information about gender and religion. Many of the key players in the Bible are men—Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Paul. But there are significant women in the Christian Scriptures from whom we also have much to learn. Focusing exclusively on the stories of men in the Bible can lead to patriarchal assumptions that God chooses men over women and that men are more useful to God, but adding the stories of strong and risk-taking women in the Bible demonstrates that God does indeed love and call all people, regardless of gender. When stories in the Bible are told from the perspectives of women (who are often marginalized), new perspectives and insights are uncovered that offer new ways of seeing God and the world. Furthermore, how one presents Christ to children can affect the ways in which they come to see him as the gendered Incarnation of God. By referring to Christ solely through patriarchal and masculine terms, like Lord, King, and Son of God, one emphasizes the maleness of his work and person. But, Christ is also the Redeemer, Liberator, Child of God, and Prophet, all of which roles and titles are not attributed to his maleness.
There are many ways that churches and those who work with children offer implicit messages and lessons about what it means to be male or female, from having an all-male pastoral staff and an all-female Sunday school team, to the language used to speak of God, humanity, and the world, to styles of preaching and teaching, and the way the Bible is read and interpreted. Since the language used in the church has a hand in shaping gender identities, it is vital that faith communities ensure that the language that they use, especially around children, does not encourage patriarchy, but promotes the equality of the sexes.
In our world of materialism and consumption, children are often seen as consumers.67 They not only consume products and material commodities, but also consume culture. While it may be true that children take in and are affected by culture (they consume it), this is only half true. As they consume culture, children in turn participate in shaping culture. Children are not passive recipients of sociocultural norms. Rogoff holds that “Children are active participants in understanding their world, building on both genetic and sociocultural constraints and resources.”68 Culture is dynamic and is always open to change; children indeed can bring about such change. By being aware of theological and sociocultural views of gender and gender construction, by appropriately subverting harmful stereotypes and roles through ministry with children, and through creating child-hood communities where children are accepted and supported, where they see adults model what it means to be female or male, and where they engage in meaningful conversation with mentors and one another, we can help to ensure that each child’s future is one of equality.
David M. Csinos is completing his Th.M. from Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. He received an M.T.S. in Christian Ministry from McMaster University and a B.A. in Religion and Culture from Wilfrid Laurier University. Csinos has also worked in children’s ministry for a number of churches in southern Ontario.
1 In this article, I will be drawing from Candace West and Don H. Zimmerman (“Doing Gender,” in The Social Construction of Gender, ed. Judith Lorber and Susan A. Farrell [Newburry Park, Calif.: Sage, 1991], 13–17). In my use of the words sex and gender, sex refers to the biological categories of male or female, and gender speaks of the ways in which one lives out one’s biological sex.
2 Justo L. González, The Story of Christianity, vol. 2 (New York, N.Y.: Harper Collins, 1985), 364.
3 Justo L. González, A History of Christian Thought, vol. 3, revised ed. (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1975), 436.
4 Karl Barth, “Man and Woman,” in Church Dogmatics III.4, The Doctrine of Creation (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1961), 117.
5 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 118.
6 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 130.
7 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 169.
8 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 143.
9 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 117,
10 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 116.
11 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 170.
12 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 177–78.
13 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 169.
14 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 149.
15 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 151.
16 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 151.
17 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 151.
18 Katherine Sonderegger, “Barth and Feminism,” in The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth, ed. John Webster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 267.
19 L. S. Vygotsky, Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978), 152–53.
20 González, Story of Christianity, 358–59.
21 González, History, 465.
22 Karl Rahner, “The Position of Woman in the New Situation in Which the Church Finds Herself,” in Theological Investigations VIII (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1971), 81.
23 Rahner “Position of Woman,” 82.
24 Rahner “Position of Woman,” 83. Karl Rahner, “Mary and the Christian Image of Woman,” in Theological Investigations XIX (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1983), 211.
25 Rahner, “Mary,” 215. Rahner, “Position of Woman,” 93.
26 Rahner, “Position of Woman,” 78.
27 Karl Rahner, “Women and the Priesthood,” in Theological Investigations XX (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1981), 46.
28 Rahner, “Women and the Priesthood,” 37–38.
29 Rahner, “Position of Woman,” 77.
30 Rahner, “Women and the Priesthood,” 41.
31 Rahner, “Women and the Priesthood,” 45.
32 Rahner, “Position of Woman,” 75.
33 Rahner, “Position of Woman,” 92.
34 Rahner, “Mary,” 216.
35 Barbara Rogoff, Apprenticeship in Thinking: Cognitive Development in Social Context (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1990), 4.
36 Rogoff, Apprenticeship, 16.
37 Rogoff, Apprenticeship, 28.
38 Barbara Rogoff, The Cultural Nature of Human Development (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 63.
39 Vygotsky, Mind in Society, 64.
40 Vygotsky, Mind in Society, 55.
41 Vygotsky, Mind in Society, 40.
42 Vygotsky, Mind in Society, 42.
43 Vygotsky, Mind in Society, 56.
44 Vygotsky, Mind in Society, 40.
45 Vygotsky, Mind in Society, 63.
46 Rogoff, Cultural Nature, 368.
47 Rogoff, Cultural Nature, 368.
48 Rogoff, Cultural Nature, 85.
49 Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (New York, N.Y.: Anchor, 1959), 102.
50 Goffman, Presentation of Self, 191, 214.
51 Russell Spears, Bertjan Doosje, and Naomi Ellemers, “Commitment and the Context of Social Perception,” in Social Identity: Context, Commitment, Content, ed. Naomi Ellemers, Russell Spears, and Bertjan Doosje (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 62–66.
52 Goffman, Presentation of Self, 9.
53 Goffman, Presentation of Self, 9–10.
54 Goffman, Presentation of Self, 17, 70.
55 Goffman, Presentation of Self, 80.
56 Goffman, Presentation of Self, 26.
57 Joyce Ann Mercer, Girltalk, Godtalk: Why Faith Matters to Teenage Girls—and Their Parents (San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass, 2008), xxii.
58 Mercer, Girltalk, 130.
59 Mercer, Girltalk, xxiii.
60 In his popular book, Faith Begins at Home, Mark Holmen states in the introduction that children are “our most precious commodity”; (Ventura, Calif.: Regal, 2005), 11.
61 Barth, “Man and Woman,” 117.
62 Mercer, Girltalk, 71.
63 Mercer, Girltalk, 31.
64 Mercer, Girltalk, 65.
65 Mercer, Girltalk, 2.
66 Rahner, “Position of Woman,” 93.
67 Joyce Ann Mercer, “Spiritual Economies of Childhood: Christian Perspectives of Global Market Forces and Young People’s Spirituality,” in Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World’s Religious Traditions, ed. Karen Marie Yust et al. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), 458–71.
68 Rogoff, Apprenticeship, 37.
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