When we view scripture from the 30,000 foot level we see it moving in the direction of a more equal partnership of men and women, defying the convention of the times. The male-female pairings in the book of Luke are one intriguing example of this movement. In today’s post Gail takes readers on a quick trip through Luke pointing out male-female pairs in the narratives, the parables, the miracles, and Jesus’ public teaching. It is an intriguing look at how Jesus elevated the status of women.
“No one is on the periphery of God’s story”. That’s how the pastor at the church I attended last Sunday started his very well delivered message. And what a great message it was! He went on to explain that no matter who you are, God wants to use you to spread the light of Jesus to […]
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.
Do Not Enter, Employees Only, Faculty Only, Keep Out, Staff Only Beyond This Point, No Entry: Ticket Holders Only, No Trespassing, Members Only. We’ve all encountered signs like these. Signs that exclude. Signs that denote privilege and entitlement. Signs that leave us longing for the right to access the treasures and opportunities which wait behind the doors. […]
A lot of Black women occupy pews in churches that privilege maleness, and even teach and uphold certain cultural norms from an ancient culture that some argue relegate women to “second class” status. Resisting patriarchy and making a different choice about the lens through which we view the Scriptures empowers us to reshape how we think about ourselves. God is a brown girl too, after all.
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.
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 […]
Empowered by higher education and the willingness of thinking people to judge others on their merits rather than their plumbing, more women are moving into senior roles in the corporate world, politics, churches, mission groups, and charity organisations. But there’s a fly in the anointing oil…A mentor is a tremendous gift to a rising leader, but for those in contexts stuck on single gender mentoring, the grim truth is that most female leaders will never be mentored.
Today Dave Johnson, Lead Pastor of Neighborhood Christian Fellowship (a Wesleyan church in Southern California) writes about his belief in biblical equality. His response is an excellent model of how to articulate the egalitarian position briefly but clearly in conversations with friends.
I believe that the bible, the church and even the totality of Christian history affirm the role of women in church leadership.
Although women have made great social and political strides over the years, the church has moved at a slower pace. Yet women in scripture were clearly more than the “helpmate” that my complementarian brothers and sisters would describe.
Here are three reasons I am in favor of men and women serving equally as co-laborers in the Kingdom of God.
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.
This week we are pleased to bring you three Easter reflections on women disciples who were an integral part of Jesus’ live and ministry. Like them, may we follow close despite the cost.
The symbolism of his anointing by Mary of Bethany just days before his death was not lost on Jesus. He understood and said her act “will be told in memory of her.” She poured the oil to memorialize him, but he says to remember her. It is significant that a woman serves as the anointing agent. In this moving account of the anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany we have the chance to reflect in new ways on this prophetic act.
Many Christians have inherited the supposition that the Church has been built on the backs of men. Masculine, courageous, and often oddly wigged men.
When we read philosophy and theology addressing the roles of pastor, apostle, disciple, missionary, etc., we subtly assume a masculine context unless women are specifically brought up. Yet, failing to recognize the essential role of women in Church history is, in my opinion, to wrongly conclude that we should interpret our own story through the broken lens of “he shall rule over her” (Gen. 3:16) in place of humanity’s original commission for partnership (Gen. 2:18). Like the post-Fall curses of death and toil, the curse of unequal partnership is certainly worth fighting as Christianity seeks to understand the leadership behind our historical identity.
In this series I will examine the role of women in different phases of Church history in order to offer a truer picture of Christianity which will benefit women and men alike. In each installment, I will briefly highlight the gender-relevant context of a section of Church history before overviewing important female figures. I will be primarily citing two works called, Her Story(HS) and Discovering Biblical Equality (DBE) for reference. My hope for these posts is to simply offer readers a more complete picture of Christian history which by focusing on the women who are too often footnoted and forgotten.
I really never understood the sister relationship. I grew up as the only daughter and only granddaughter on both sides of my family. But in the past 21 years I have had a crash course in what it means to be a sister through my four girls.
I have learned that sisters can be very similar and still very different. No matter how many times this one may borrow that one’s sweater, she will never know when it was ok to take it without asking. I have learned they may fight with you at home but anyone else will have to deal with them first hand if they speak poorly about you.
I have learned that even the best of sisters try hard not to compare themselves to each other, but often fall into this trap anyway.
Consider the story of Mary and Martha. In the Church we have often compared these sisters to ourselves and others.
Being nurtured in a Wesleyan Holiness tradition, I have not always had a deep appreciation for Mary of Nazareth. Protestants in our world may neglect, either intentionally or unintentionally, the most obvious and powerful example of Jesus treasuring women: his mother. The gospel writers depict Mary in various ways, with the author of the Gospel of Luke providing the most insight.
The gospel writers depict Mary in various ways, with the author of the Gospel of Luke providing the most insight. In Luke 1:28-30 the angel Gabriel approaches the young virgin with these words:
“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”
The incarnation is mysterious in mechanics, but the reality of it is crucial for theology. God chooses to speak with women. God chooses and favors women for crucial tasks and at crucial times. It is directly stated in the bible that Mary is intentionally chosen and given a grand task that includes, but also extends beyond, childbearing.