I am a part of a Christian tradition that has ordained women as elders since its inception during the American Holiness movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The first church in which I ever served as a pastor was founded by a female circuit rider who planted churches across west Texas and southeastern […]
The other day I happened to go through some old writings from college and I stumbled upon something. It was a reflection I wrote in a Theology class where we had discussed the “texts of terror.” “Texts of Terror” is a term created by Phyllis Trible to refer to four narratives of disturbing violence against women that are depicted in the Old Testament. The class was, understandably, triggering for me. I had never heard these stories before. After the class I wrote a reflection to process.
In today’s post Patrick Franklin presents egalitarian theology in a nutshell. He writes, “In order to understand difficult passages of Scripture, including the parts of Scripture that seemingly place limitations on the full equality of women in the church and in the home, it’s helpful to consider the “big picture” message of the Bible with respect to the equality of men and women. The following 10 points offer a quick summary of what I understand to be the teaching of Scripture, interpreted in the light of tradition, reason, and experience of God.”
1. Genesis 1–2 teaches that men and women were created to be equal. Both men and women were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–28) and both were included in the vocational mandate to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over all that God has made…
When I was looking at the worship life of the American church, I noticed that lament, and something like the book of Lamentations, was absent in so much of our worship life…Why is it that in our typical American churches we don’t want to engage in a very important spiritual practice that we find throughout […]
I am thankful to have a church heritage that affirms and values women in ministry, women in leadership, and female pastors. Yet, I have been embarrassed that this affirmation is often times more in theory or history than current practice. As I work with congregations across Indiana, I find that some have imported a bias against women in leadership from other tribes. I hear search teams say they are not open to a female pastor.
I never thought I would ever write a book about politics! But as my husband (and co-pastor) and I led our congregation through the election season of 2012, we were confronted with the fact that there is no way to NOT be political. We have to live with people and in communities and what happens to those people in our communities, big and small, matters. That’s why we wrote Kings and Presidents: Politics in the Kingdom of God.
Churches have political structures as well. These structures are intended to care for the people and communities living in the Kingdom of God. They ought to look different than the structures of this world. But too often we see the same kinds of power dynamics at work within the church that we see on the campaign trail.
And this is bad news for women in leadership in the church. Advocating for women in ministry has never been more important. Here are my recent reflections on women in church politics:
Today we’re sharing some delightful reflections on the impact of fathers by guest author Sarah Schwartz. Happy Father’s Day!
“Throughout my childhood, people asked me, “So you’re a Daddy’s girl, huh?”
I love my Dad with everything in me; he’s my role model, my confidante, my Pops. But the phrase “Daddy’s girl” has always conjured up images in my mind of a girl who has her Dad wrapped around her little finger.
From the editor: We had so many wonderful submissions that we’ve extended our series of personal stories of Christian women who identify as feminists. Up today, a post by Kim Hunt, Communications Manager for The Micah Challenge, a movement of Christians inspired by Scripture to undertake effective advocacy, passionate prayer, and lifestyles of justice to see an end of extreme poverty.
“My adventure to becoming a Feminist was kind of like one of those silly love stories you read where people say they were halfway there before they even knew they had begun. My mum is a Feminist, though she hardly ever uttered the actual word.”
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.
Today the average Christian looks like a poor Nigerian woman rather than a European well-educated male as in the past.
In 2050, 72 percent of the world’s Christians will live in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and a sizable share of the remainder will be immigrants from one or more of those continents.  Because of this, the Western church must be honest with the reality that Christianity is now a globalized religion, and its Euro-American roots have ceased to be the solely relevant voices.
On Mondays we’re sharing personal stories of Christian women who identify as feminists. We hope that hearing these stories will broaden our understanding of this important social movement and give us a fuller context for our conversations about equality in the Church.
I was having a casual night in with some friends when one of my male friends said something (I can’t remember what), and I responded, “Sexist!”
He responded, “Feminist!” to which I said, “Proudly.”
That was the end of that but our short exchange was oddly similar to two small children hurling insults at each other on the playground.
It’s Monday! Here’s another personal story from a Christian who identifies in some way as a feminist. We hope that hearing these stories will broaden our understanding and give us a fuller context in which to have conversations about equality in the Church.
It seems Hermione Granger finally got to speak in front of the Ministry of Magic.
Well, sort of. Last September, actress Emma Watson recently presented at the (entirely Muggle) United Nations conference, advocating for the organization HeForShe as its goodwill ambassador.
According to the company’s website, HeForShe is “a solidarity movement for gender equality.” Watson emphasized the vital role men must play to help end such inequality, calling for both sexes to work together for the common good. She applauded those who were “inadvertent feminists” in supporting gender equality without realizing that’s what feminism actually means.
Watson’s call for joint cooperation between genders for a greater cause has a resounding Christian theme for backing. It demands God’s body work together to fight injustice and the oppression of its own members.
What would it look like for God’s people to unite in solidarity for one another?
Though there are probably as many conceptions of “primary issues” for the Church as there are churches, a typical list is easily constructed.
We often think of things like missions, poverty alleviation and discipleship as forefront for the Church. Women in church leadership doesn’t seem like a dire need or a “salvation” issue and so it is often pushed to the side or is presented as “optional” depending on one’s interpretation of Scripture. Caring for the widow and the orphan and carrying the Good News to the ends of the earth are mandated and thus, such things should be our focus, we might think.
But evangelism, social justice, and spiritual formation are all blooms from the same seed: the heart-desire of God for reconciliation all of creation.
We spread the Gospel because God’s love-longing is for all of us.
We strive for justice because it is only when people are at peace in all levels of life that they can find, practice and sustain reconciliation.
We pursue spiritual growth out of desire for closeness with God, which comes as the gift of faith from God.
If the heart of God is yearning for reconciliation, then this should be a central focus of the Church.
One necessary ingredient in reconciliation is the abolition of hierarchy, including gender hierarchy.
This task, to make beautiful things, is for both genders. But for centuries the world has given men the entire landscape and limited women to a small canvas.
Will the people of Creator God, the Church worldwide, rise up with a clarion call to women to create their masterpieces? A call loud enough so the world can hear, but soft enough to be received by the ears of every little girl and the wrinkled hands of graying women, to pick up their paintbrush, or stethoscope, or violin bow, or calculator, or spatula, or microphone, or whatever their instrument of choice is to inflict this world with beauty?
Part of a conversation overheard at Starbucks: “You’re a white American male with a college degree. The world is your oyster – don’t ever forget that!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about privilege lately.
Well, not just lately. I overheard that conversation at a Starbucks in Washington, D.C. more than a year ago, and it still haunts me. The Oxford Dictionary defines privilege as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group”. Simply put, privilege has to do with how groups in society accommodate and cater to you.
I think most people are well aware of racial and class privilege, but I don’t see the same level of awareness of male privilege, at least not in Christian circles.
Over the past few months I’ve had several conversations with male friends who disagree that they are “over-privileged” in their communities of faith, even though they may agree that women have often been at a disadvantage. I had been praying and mulling over how to break through this impasse when I came across an anonymous post, “A Definitive Guide to White Privilege”. There are a lot of these posts floating around, but this one had a lot of examples that I think are also true of male privilege. I took the liberty of rewriting the list from my vantage point as a woman in the church.