Happy New Year! A great big THANK YOU to all of our readers and guest writers for supporting us in our second full year of blogging at The Junia Project. This was a challenging year for us personally, but it has been encouraging to see that God continues to move forward the cause of advocacy […]
moth·er ship: a large vehicle that leads, serves, or carries other smaller vehicles. The concept of a mother ship also occurs in in science fiction, extending the idea to spaceships that serve as the equivalent of flagships among a fleet. Around here we lovingly call Christians for Biblical Equality “the mothership”. That’s because CBE is the leading advocate for evangelical egalitarianism around the world, having promoted the egalitarian cause since 1987. Here are some CBE stories to give you a sense for why we feel this way:
I have a granddaughter who loves to be read to. When I start reading she pays close attention, but sometimes when we get to the middle she abruptly closes the book, because she already knows how the story ends.
I think we often do the same thing when it comes to understanding what it means to be made in the image of God (Imago Dei) and the implications for gender equality. That is, our understanding has been based primarily on the beginning of the story. In the first pages of the Bible there is true equality between the first man and the first woman. Both Adam and Eve are image bearers who equally reflect their Creator, both are under the authority of their Creator alone, and both are given the mandate to fill the earth and have dominion over it. End of story. Or not?
Hundreds of pages have been written on this chapter, with almost as many interpretations, proving this to be one of the least understood and most contested passages of all time. Yet many Christians continue to cite 1 Timothy 2 as the foundation for their belief in male only leadership in the church. In today’s post Gail shares her “elevator speech” about why we need to stop using this passage in the debate.
Being a Christian egalitarian can be lonely at times. The CBE Conference is a great opportunity to build your support network of like-minded believers. Last week on the CBE blog Naomi Krueger shared 5 reasons to attend the CBE Conference in Los Angeles this month. Her observations are spot on and we wanted to share them with you. We’ve added 1 reason of our own and made some suggestions for extra things to do around Los Angeles while you’re here. If you haven’t decided yet whether or not to come, it’s not too late!
In doing some research on Genesis 3, I came upon this provocative poem by Carmen J. Bryant:
God said to man, “The earth will bring forth thistles.” Man replied, “I’ll weed them out. I’ll develop weed killers and make my garden a paradise.”
God said to man, “You will work by the sweat of your brow.” Man replied, “I’ll invent tools that will make my work easier: the plow, the hoe, the tiller and the John Deere tractor.”
God said to woman, “You will have pain in childbirth.” Man responded, “Yea, so be it, let her suffer so my quiver can be full. It is God’s will. My work was made hard because of her.”
God said to woman, “Your husband will rule over you.” Man responded, “Of course that’s the way it should be. I am to be her master. I was created first.”
And woman bowed her head and said, “I am indeed under a curse.”
The poem prefaced an academic paper on Genesis 3 and was accompanied by this note…
Although the book of Nehemiah has long been one of my favorite bible stories, it was only recently that I noticed an interesting connection between Nehemiah and the story of Esther. In Nehemiah 1 we read that the setting is the “citadel of Susa”. This happens to be the same city in which the young Esther was forced to participate in a “beauty pageant” at the whim of a king named Xerxes (Esther 1). As you may remember, Esther becomes the next Queen of Persia and eventually risks her life to save the Jewish exiles living in Persia from extermination.
Some time ago I was part of a Twitter conversation about marriage ceremonies that reflect biblical egalitarian values. Since my husband is a licensed minister and works on a college campus, we have had a LOT of experience with weddings, and I promised to share some ways we’ve seen egalitarian values incorporated.
As I was going through the notes from different ceremonies we’ve been a part of, I realized that there is more to this than just scripting the vows. If a couple wants their wedding to reflect egalitarian convictions, they must thoughtfully “dissect” each part of the ceremony and prepare some of the “stakeholders” involved. Let’s start with stakeholders – those who may have an opinion or two about the ceremony.
Kate and I are away at a conference and were not planning to write any new posts this week, but then this email came in:
Hi there, I lead a bible study with the campus ministry I’m involved in at Appalachian State. The girls involved want to study women in the bible, which I think is a great idea. Do you have any recommended resources for a topic like that, or perhaps a resource for studying a specific woman like Ruth? Thanks, A. K.”
We’ve had several requests like this recently, so wanted to share our recommendations.
When local pastor Dave Johnson asked if we would be interested in working together on an event to encourage churches that support women in leadership, we jumped at the chance! That was the genesis of “Celebrating Women in Leadership”. This mini-conference and networking event will take place on February 14 from 8:30am -12noon at Azusa Pacific University. Click to read the rest of the story and the scoop on the event.
The Junia Project editorial team agreed completely with Rob Dixon’s thoughts on the use of gender-based humor in the pulpit.
But to be honest, we weren’t sure how readers would react. Would people see this as an overreaction? Being too sensitive? Making a bigger deal out of something than we need to?
Those questions were decisively answered within hours of 5 Reasons Not to Use Gender-Based Jokes in the Pulpit being published.
The 100+ comments showed that most people have negative reactions to this kind of humor. Interestingly, a good number of the comments came from men. Aside from simple affirmations like “Is this something that needs to be said?!” and “I can’t believe anyone in a pulpit would be that clueless”, you shared insights and examples that showed how deep this problem goes.
We learned four things from your comments:
When Thanksgiving comes around we are reminded to stop and take stock of what we have to be thankful for. At The Junia Project, we are overwhelmed with thankfulness for the way God is moving to raise up women in the Church. Here are some examples:
Two weeks ago we attended a meeting with leaders from conservative evangelical 12 denominations committed to promoting an egalitarian understanding of women and men. The Junia Project will be involved in providing training to help their pastors be more intentional about including and supporting women in church leadership.
That same week we met with women clergy from various Wesleyan Holiness traditions as they strategized ways to encourage and equip ordained women in their denominations.
This week a friend who sits on the board of a large church called to let us know that the elders and lead pastor are changing their stance on women in church leadership and are beginning the process of embracing egalitarian theology.
Monday we sat with representatives from the Wesleyan Church and Azusa Pacific Seminary and planned a regional spring event to celebrate women serving in church leadership.
It is amazing to witness these holy moments and to play some small part in them. We got so excited thinking about all of it, that we wanted to share some of these things with you, The Junia Project community, so that you might be encouraged.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are five things we are thankful for…
There is no evidence in the bible or church history to suggest that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute or the wife of Jesus.  The Catholic Church formally rejected this characterization of Mary in 1969, yet this tarnished picture continues to be perpetuated through books and films like Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Passion of the Christ (2004), The Da Vinci Code (2006) and most recently, Risen (2016), a new Columbia Pictures film starring Joseph Fiennes.  Since Mary is not around to defend herself, I’d like to set the record straight.
Friends, we have never asked for money and we don’t intend to anytime in the near future! But Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) has been instrumental in helping us deepen our understanding of the biblical basis for women’s equality. With that said…. Here are five reasons we’re donating to CBE through Give to the Max, an annual […]
After a recent software upgrade your email notifications of new posts were sent out from Wordpress instead of from The Junia Project. This meant that email notifications from The Junia Project may have gone straight to your spam folder, or you might not have opened them if you didn’t recognize the sender – as was the case with two of our own family members!
We think the issue has been resolved, so are resending the links to last week’s posts in case you missed them. If you’ve already seen them, no need to read on!