An argument often used to restrict women from church leadership is that Jesus spent most of his time on earth investing in a group of 12 men.  But a close reading of the gospels shows that his band of followers also included women disciples. I’ll leave the reader to their own survey but offer […]
“Some women were watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women had followed and supported him, along with many other women who had come to Jerusalem with him.” (Mark 15:40-41) We know from all four gospel writers that a […]
In this process of learning to preach it has been important to me to hear what other women preachers have to say. I’m sure that at some point I will read some more traditional books on the subject, but right now I’m hungry to hear the experiences of women. Here are some resources that have been helpful on the journey.
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.
“I’m looking for book recommendations that are egalitarian friendly and address the subjects of manhood and masculinity. I can’t find anything and our men’s ministry leaders are asking me. Please help!! Thank you!!” B.
An interesting thing happened on the way to writing this post. Since I am not a man, I asked eight men for book suggestions and got back ZERO recommendations. Not because they don’t care about the topic, but because 1) they were not aware of any resources on this, or 2) because there has not been much interest in studying “biblical manhood” in their circles. ALL of them told me they were very interested in anything we could find! It is encouraging that manhood and masculinity are not “hot topics” in church circles that support the shared leadership of men and women in ministry and socials contexts. But there is still a need to provide resources for churches that push back against the harmful “authentic manhood” rhetoric that is popular in some Christian circles today. Here are three books that would work well for individual or group study and are written from an egalitarian perspective.
“A man’s place is in the army.”
So starts David M. Scholer’s satirical list of reasons why men shouldn’t be pastors. Most of you have probably seen the list before; it’s been around a number of years. We’re sharing it as a reminder that humor can be very helpful when discussing a hot button issue like women in ministry. (And to do our part to keep this great piece in circulation!).
Keep in mind that Scholer’s purpose here is NOT to put men down, but to use satire to show that many arguments used to restrict women from pastoral roles are rooted in cultural expectations and gender norms. And so without further ado:
10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.
8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.
On a recent tour of Germany I came across the Stolpersteine Project. Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) are small brass-plated blocks or stones embedded into the streets to commemorate victims of Nazi oppression. Each stone is made and laid by hand. They are usually placed just outside the place where the person named on the stone was forcibly taken from their home or business. Each stone begins with HERE LIVED…… One stone. One name. One person. The idea came about while German artist Gunter Demnig was painting a white line through the city of Cologne to commemorate the historical deportation of 1000 gypsies. The line would show where they had been chased to the train station. One day an older woman stopped to scold him, insisting that there had never been any gypsies in Cologne. Shocked, he investigated and found evidence that in the 1930s thousands of gypsies, as well as Jews, had lived side by side with Germans. To combat the human tendency to forget, he designed the first stones. To date, over 48,000 stones have been laid in more than 20 countries. In a sense, The Junia Project is very much like the Stolpersteine Project.
Today would have been my parent’s 61st wedding anniversary. Mom passed away from complications due to Alzheimer’s two years ago and significant dates always trigger reflection on her life and her marriage to the wonderful man who is my dad. Today that reflection centered on the fact that while their marriage was traditional in […]
We often get requests for curriculum that supports the egalitarian view of women as full and equal partners in marriage and ministry. So last year we published 6 Great Studies on Women of the Bible (2015), a post that has become one of our most visited resources. Bible studies on the list met four criteria: a focus on […]
For years I struggled with my relationship with the apostle Paul. On the one hand, as a teenager, I was completely taken with books like Galatians and Philippians and studied chart after chart of the missionary journeys (I am a missionary kid, after all). But as an adult I had trouble reconciling the “clobber verses” often used to […]
From the mailbox: “I’m leading a discussion for our small group at church about the difference between the egalitarian and complementarian views of women in church leadership and looking for a video to show…Any help you can give is much appreciated!” After sending this reader some ideas we set out to find more options. Here are 20 free audio (A) and video (V) resources that present biblical gender equality (egalitarianism) in a clear, compelling way, have high production quality, and are available for free online. You’re welcome!
Recently the U.S. military announced it was in the final stages of opening all combat positions to women and the question of whether or not women should register for involuntary service was raised in a presidential debate.* These developments were met with loud opposition from some on the evangelical right who declared that “any man who would ask his wife […]
Update 1/25/2020 This post was updated to reflect the current status of the resources named. In this post, we provide a list of 40+ blogs that regularly advocate for the egalitarian viewpoint. Some are new voices while others have a long history of advocacy. The groundswell of online support for the equality of men […]
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.