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.
“There were zero women pastors in the Bible and no women apostles. There were no women pastors in nearly 2000 years of church history. Therefore, women cannot be pastors.”
This argument has been thrown at me on a number of occasions. There are a few things to unpack here. What does the New Testament say about pastors? Were there women pastors in the Bible? Were there women apostles in the Bible? Can we determine whether or not the early church had women leaders?
What was she doing there?
There, of all places
Why don’t you run, Mary, just run?
Join disciples’ mad dash to self-protection
Bolt…far as you can possibly go
Any reasonable soul
Anyone would understand
Run Mary, leave this harrowing place
No spot, no place in all creation
From which makes more sense to be gone.
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 […]
Reflecting on his contemporary Paul’s theological writings, the apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 3:15-16:
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
There it is: “[Paul’s} letters contain some things that are hard to understand.” And God’s people said, AMEN.
Of course, we’re not certain which Pauline teachings Peter had in mind, but it seems like there’s a good chance he was talking about passages like 1 Timothy 2:8-15.
I remember that Christmas when what I wanted most in the whole world was to be having a baby. We had been hoping to have children for a while, but after some tests we were waiting for an appointment with fertility specialists. It was November when we got the news that conceiving on our own might not be possible, and I was devastated. As Christmas got closer, the last thing I wanted to hear about was pregnancy and babies – and here we were entering a season where a story involving those exact things was all around me.
This is another 2017 Junia Project blog contest winner. We hope you enjoy! Sometimes I still believe the myths. You know, the soft rumblings of that devilish voice that says, “you don’t have much to offer a congregation beyond your work in children’s ministry” or “you can preach, but only at our women’s retreat,” or […]
“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 […]
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.
Few women in the Bible are more interesting, inspiring and the focus of devotion as Mary, mother of Jesus. With the Advent season upon us, she is receiving even more attention. Tomes of theology and vast collections of art have been created in her honor. When we consider the Christmas story, Mary comes a very close second to Jesus himself as a the leading character — and with good reason. This brave young woman was the human vessel in which the God-made-flesh was conceived. It was from her own strong body that the body of Christ was birthed into the world.
“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 […]
Christmas is coming. We are in the season of Advent, a time of waiting. Advent is the story of women. It is the story of infertility, long awaited hopes, unplanned pregnancy, miracles, labor, birth, redemption, and new life. And this story of women is the story of Christianity, of waiting for the Messiah, and waiting for redemption.
The story of advent begins with Elizabeth, a woman who has been unable to conceive throughout her life, and is beyond her child bearing years. Her experience of infertility, and the disappointment of being unable to conceive is uniquely feminine. She lives the story and struggle that only a woman can know. Then God steps into her world.
Sometimes I find it amusing that our churches of today seem to be more anti-women than the Bible is. We doubt women’s ability to preach truth, when the first person to share the gospel – He is risen! – was a woman. We question the idea of women in leadership, when once upon a time […]
They are the verses of Scripture used most frequently to silence women in the church: 1 Timothy 2:11-12. I remember reading them as a 26-year-old when first contemplating my call to ministry. God’s voice had been clear, but those three short sentences were not; “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit her to teach or have authority over a man. She. Must. Be. Silent.”
I’d sat there reading the passage over and over; trying to find something I hadn’t seen before. The black and white lettering seemed so stark, so clear; so… black and white. Why would Paul say such a thing? In my church, Paul’s instructions were taken literally. Women weren’t permitted to speak whenever men were present. They couldn’t lead, teach or even pray. Growing up, those words hadn’t particularly bothered me, but now they smarted like lemon juice in an open cut. No matter how I read them, the conclusion was still the same – I couldn’t follow God’s call. As a pastor today, it’s obvious that my understanding of those few verses has long since changed…
In a recent Christians for Biblical Equality blog post, Kevin Giles showed how people used the Bible to justify slavery in a way that is similar to the justification of gender-based hierarchy. In the 19th century United States, pro-slavery theologians made a comprehensive biblical case for the rightness of slavery. Based on a flat reading of […]