I was recently asked to summarize why I support women in church leadership in thirty seconds or less. This was my response… Deborah leading Israel (Judges 4) Huldah interpreting the law for the nation (2 Kings 22 & 2 Chronicles 34) Esther saving God’s people from genocide (Book of Esther) Miriam leading worship (Exodus 15) […]
When I first heard the story of Pentecost it was painted to me as the Holy Spirit empowering the 12 apostles to step up and speak out. They had been hiding in an upper room, but then the Holy Spirit came. Those 12 men went out and began speaking in other tongues, preaching and prophesying the truth of Jesus.
It’s a great story, and an exciting start for the church. But it didn’t ignite any passion. There was never any place for me within that story. Sure, God can empower anyone to serve… but there was a subtext there. The subtext said God can work through anyone [who’s a man]. Anyone [who is young and able]. Anyone [who fits the right image].
It was the birth of the church I was supposed to be a part of – but it left me on the outside. Anyone became not me. And I know for a lot of people that anyone has become not you, too.
The real story of Pentecost is something different entirely.
Impromptu nativity reenactments are one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
In our home, someone reads from the Gospel account and we bring out a big pile of potential costumes for everyone to chose a part and act it out on the spot. It’s a beautiful mess.
Anika, my 5 year old, wants to be Mary this year. Her personality doesn’t necessarily fit the stereotypical Mary persona, so putting her in pastels and having her sit quietly as a “humble servant of the Lord” feels like a stretch. Anika is bold, mischievous, clever, wild and adventuresome. Not your typical mild and meek mother of Jesus depicted in nativity figurines and Christmas art. Yet I wonder if she resembles some of the characteristics of the real Mary more than tradition would have us believe.
Recently, I heard a sermon preached almost entirely on Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew. I was visiting a church I attended in my youth, a place where I learned a lot of what I’ve needed to unlearn about theology of women. I was delighted to see that the pastor immediately picked out the women in the narrative, a little disappointed to realize that he did so only to point out that they were all foreigners, with the exception of Mary. But this got me thinking in another direction, as sermons so often do. I began to think through these five women, to question what else they might have in common.
Kate Wallace at BIOLA Chapel Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking in BIOLA University’s student chapel. I was asked to come set the stage for their week of “Gender, Faith, and Culture”. It was such an honor to be there and share what God had put on my heart. It is hard […]
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?
Certain passages in 1 Peter are sometimes used to support the idea of hierarchy in Christian marriage, but a closer look reveals that this letter is one of the strongest biblical commentaries on the injustice of such a model. In today’s post, Heather Celoria lays out a convincing argument that “In the same way” that all believers are being urged to submit to governmental authority, wives are being encouraged to suffer in an unjust hierarchical institution for the sake of Christ.
My family doesn’t look like a family in a lot of ways. Meaning, we don’t look like one another. At all. We are a mix of races, disabilities, eye colors, athletic abilities (or in my case; lack thereof) , heights, etc. We were brought together through adoption. Nobody thinks we look alike. That doesn’t stop […]
The creation accounts in Genesis are of utmost importance when discussing gender relations within the Church. “Creation order” is a foundational claim of complementarians, who root their beliefs in the idea that since man was created first, it means that men must lead women. But does Genesis truly reveal a God-ordained male headship through creation order? A close look into the creation account will provide us with a fuller understanding of God’s intentions for men and women.
Genesis 1:27 states that, “God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”. Verse 28 goes on to say that God blessed “them” and spoke to “them”. This is the first mention of mankind. It’s important to see that male and female are mentioned, and the blessing that was bestowed on “them”.
The Hebrew word used for mankind in verse 27 is “‘adam” which refers to humanity as a whole .
We don’t see the proper noun, Adam, used until Genesis 4:25, so this common noun refers to the whole human race. One thing that is important to note is that the Hebrew language does not contain a gender neutral pronoun, therefore the word mankind was used.
Many complementarians do not refer to Genesis 1 in the formation of their doctrine, unless it is to make the announcement that God created Adam first, not necessarily acknowledging the fact that the more accurate definition of ‘adam would be humankind. Egalitarians find Genesis 1 to be very telling of God’s heart for equality because these verses make it clear that both men and women were created in God’s image, after which he blessed them.
Athaliah was the daughter of Jezebel and King Ahab of Israel. Her marriage to King Jehoram of Judah was a political alliance that eased the tensions between the two kingdoms but also brought the negative influence of her family line along with it. Upon the death of her son the king, she seizes the throne and all the young heirs are set to be murdered. In the face of that atrocity, one person stands in the way – the princess Jehosheba. Read more about these two interesting agents of rebellion and redemption in today’s post by Lydia Leigh.
I’ve found that metaphors for leadership and church planting over the last few decades have arisen dominantly out of male narratives. Much of church planting training, coaching and methodology is front-loaded with language developed by what is traditionally the experience of men, often neglecting the common experience of women. This reality narrows our vision for the church and paralyzes our full participation with God’s hopes for humankind.
One of my favorite metaphors to ignite our imagination and widen our paradigm for birthing of new local expressions of church is that of the Midwife in the birth of a child.
After the birth of my second daughter, I would frequently introduce my Midwife Janna as, “my Midwife who delivered my baby.” To which Janna would respond, “I didn’t deliver anything. It was your delivery of your baby and I just got to witness the miracle.”
In Isaiah 66:9 we see God portrayed as the one who gives birth, specifically to the newborn nation of Israel. “’Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the LORD. ‘Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God.”
God is birthing the church and just as the Midwife comes alongside a laboring mother, so are we invited to come alongside God in the miracle of new life.
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.
Like many other children raised in the church, I grew up hearing the famous stories of Scripture. Noah’s ark, Samson’s strength, and Gideon’s fleece colored my childhood imagination. From very early on I noticed that the women of the Bible, with the exceptions of Esther and Ruth, always seemed to have boring, sidekick roles to […]
It may seem strange that I became an egalitarian through the back door of Old Testament patriarchal culture and history. But it worked for me because the whispers of subversion became louder than the voices of patriarchy and oppression. Those whispers sounded like God. My Old Testament studies gave me permission to rethink the New Testament and how its writings might also be subversive to patriarchy. Eventually I followed those whispers into the egalitarian camp. I was all in.
This moment would become the very cornerstone of our faith.
Preached in millions of sermons, proclaimed in every nation and tongue, written about by every theologian and Christian thinker.
But before all that, it was just a woman and the Teacher, the Rabbi, the Son of God she worshiped and followed and knew like a brother.
Deeply grieving, Mary Magdalene wept at his empty tomb, thinking that she’d been robbed of her last opportunity to look upon him, and anoint him. There was a man; she thought, maybe, the gardener. Weeping and distraught, she asked him where the body was.