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.
In this personal and moving post, guest author Hannah Helms makes the case that the Church needs a better theology to address the grief and pain of unrealized motherhood…
My husband, Ben, and I were living in my parents’ guest bedroom at the time, in the middle of our first year of marriage. We were both in-between jobs and graduate school and not having any idea what we were doing. However, the prospect of a baby-to-be was so grounding – in the midst of our uncertainty was the promise of new life and a goal for us to focus on. We waited until I was all of eight weeks along before we made the announcement to my entire extended family on the first day of our annual camp out-reunion at the Jedidiah Smith State Redwood Park.
The day after the announcement I woke up with a tiny spot of blood in my underwear. I ignored it, refused to give in to the worry that sat at the edges of my mind. I mentally reviewed all the normal pregnancy symptoms that I could think of. Spotting is normal. Nothing to worry about here.
Something I’ve come to understand is that singleness is a high price to ask of people.
I was single for a long time before my girlfriend said yes to my awkward proposal (thankfully), and so I have some realization of what it means to be single in a sub-culture within a larger and highly sexualized American culture. To constantly be fed a steady stream of images and products designed to inflame and provoke and yet maintain sexual celibacy is not easy.
And when Christian culture prioritizes marriage over singleness, we make things even more difficult by unwittingly illustrating that our single brothers and sisters are unwanted, or worse, unneeded.
So how can the church integrate and empower our single brothers and sisters? I offer three suggestions, though many more could and probably should be added.
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.
My son is six months old. He is, in my completely unbiased opinion, a perfect little baby. He smiles and coos and rolls over and puts anything he can reach into his mouth. Delightful. All of my son’s playmates are girls, because all of my friends who live near us have daughters. They are older, and possess such skills as walking, climbing, using words, and eating real food. My son watches them in awe. For now, those little girls have the advantage. They are bigger and more coordinated and can ask for food and know how to call out for Mommy and Daddy. They can move from one side of the room to the other. Some of them are even starting to potty train (oh, what a lofty achievement!). They laugh and play together. Sometimes they cry or hit or take things from one another; no toddler is an angel. On the whole, they are happy, healthy, bright, kind little girls, whom I pray would be blessed to grow into women who continue to be happy, healthy, bright, kind adults.
I am saddened, however, when I consider that this brief window of advantage for those girls will be over before they even realize it existed.
There are many articles written by Christians trying to pick apart why it is that so many women, both in and out of the church, are flocking to see 50 Shades of Grey, after buying 70 million copies of the book (sales divided equally among professing Christians and the American adult population ). Secular and religious experts are discussing the repercussions of rape culture, feminism, the innate need for love, and the search for the divine as explanations for the popularity of the books and movie.
As I look across American culture in general, and American Christian culture in particular, I am left wondering, “What else did we expect?” 50 Shades of Grey is simply a mirror to the experiences of women. Regardless of what side of the church walls they grew up on, women both in secular society and in Christian subculture are consuming the books and film because the underlying ideology of the story is what so many are familiar with, only it has been exaggerated and sexualized in form.
I really don’t like weddings.
They’re just not my thing. For the most part, I don’t like attending them, I don’t like being in them, and I don’t like planning for a hypothetical one that may or may not be in my future. My aversion to weddings stems from my annoyance with the commercialism tied to it, the financial burden placed on family and friends who participate, the focus on the wedding instead of the marriage, and the abundance of patriarchal symbolism intertwined in various parts of the ceremony.
As you can tell, I have strong opinions on the matter, so when The Junia Project admin team talked about writing about weddings for Valentine’s Day, I thought that instead of pushing my opinions on all of you, instead I’d ask you for your thoughts on these very issues. I am very happy with the result, and am encouraged at the varying opinions within egalitarianism. So, without further ado, I give you…
I grew up in the evangelical church, one of the Jesus Girls, one of the ones who was on fire.
I learned quickly that I wasn’t like everyone else. I certainly wasn’t like the other girls. Instead of being afraid of the boys, or even particularly attracted to them, I wanted to hang out with them. At youth group parties, you might find me playing Halo, jumping on the trampoline, or playing spoons with the boys. In their company, I felt like I was taken seriously, I felt a part of something.
It was nice to be different, when it was in that context. We had frank discussions, talking about God, about life, about girls. I grew comfortable with that role: the confidante. I became the quintessential sister-figure, loving every minute of it.
But no one wanted to date that girl, and after a while, I wanted a date much more than I wanted to be myself, so she got lost somewhere along the way.
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.
I have had many conversations about the egalitarian perspective of marriage with friends, family, and others. Some have been great discussions where, even with differing views, there is genuine understanding and receptivity on both sides. In others, this has not been the case.
I often become discouraged, because what I share is met by preconceived thoughts about what an egalitarian marriage is. The things I say hit the anti-heresy wall and slide to the ground without opportunity for consideration. I want to clear the air for conversations to come for both others and myself.
So about a month ago a friend and I got into a debate on Twitter after he mentioned that a woman wanting to hyphenate her last name with her husband was a relationship deal-breaker for him.
Obviously I thought it was ridiculous, which was why we got into a debate over it. I couldn’t understand why something as frivolous as a name would cause him to throw out an entire relationship- especially if that relationship was a healthy one- all because she wanted to maintain an important aspect of her earlier identity.
We believe authority is at the heart of much marriage misunderstanding and debate. Over the years traditional-hierarchical-complementarian marriage-view proponents have described their perceived authority to us in different ways.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME
Some husbands have told us that as the leader they have a 51 percent role in making decisions and the wife has 49 percent. As we listen to these men explain their marriage, we can’t help but wonder, “How is a 51/49 functional authority any different from a husband who has 99 percent authority and a wife who has 1 percent?” Either way, the husband has final authority to make decisions.
In honor of Father’s Day being celebrated this weekend, we are delighted to share this heart-felt post by Brandon Chase. This letter is a great reminder of the important part egalitarian fathers play in the lives of their daughters.
To my precious Daughters,
From before you were born, I have dreamed of you.
Would you be a boy, or a girl? What color hair would you have? Eyes? What would your name be? What would my heart feel when I held your tiny body and beheld your miracle face?
What would your life become? What would you do? Where would you go? What mark on the world would you have?
These are the dreams of the daddies-to-be. These are my dreams of you… and more.
Submission in marriage often comes with lots of negative baggage. In fact, many people refer to submission as the “S”-word. The reality is that there are only a few Bible texts that focus on submission in marriage.
Headship can often become a divisive issue in marriage discussions—especially in religious circles. Various “infallible” headship interpretations and accompanying dialogue could fill a library. Our experience is that people will endlessly argue the original Greek and Hebrew, lexicons, grammar roots, verb tenses, hermeneutical and eschatological anthropomorphisms, and endless jots and tittles until Jesus Christ returns.