Can men be pastors? Can Christian men be teachers, preachers, elders, seminary professors, Sunday school teachers, worship leaders, small group leaders, police officers, elected officials, church treasurers, and so on and so forth? How does that line of questioning make you feel? Why does it sound so off, even offensive?
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 […]
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 […]
“Are there really that many hurting women in the Church?” I was a freshman at a Christian college when one of my professors posed this question to our class. Yes, I replied, women were still second-class citizens in many congregations; yet he was unconvinced. According to him, the women in his church seemed happy and fulfilled. We’ve come a long way. Women have the right to vote and work outside the home. Why make an issue out of nothing?
I wish I could tell you that I attended college in an era of widespread, Mad Men-type sexism but, alas, I graduated in the early 2000s. I’ve reflected on his disbelief since then, still saddened by his ignorance. His question taught me something valuable, though.
At times I have been frustrated by the number of churches that claim egalitarian theology, but are not actually practicing it. I’ve been overwhelmed by example after example, and feeling like the church as a whole would never get anywhere. Then a pastor encouraged me to focus on churches that are doing it well instead, and […]
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.
The creation accounts in Genesis are of utmost importance when discussing gender relations within the Church. “Creation order” is a foundational claim of complementarians, who root their beliefs in the idea that since man was created first, it means that men must lead women. But does Genesis truly reveal a God-ordained male headship through creation order? A close look into the creation account will provide us with a fuller understanding of God’s intentions for men and women.
Genesis 1:27 states that, “God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”. Verse 28 goes on to say that God blessed “them” and spoke to “them”. This is the first mention of mankind. It’s important to see that male and female are mentioned, and the blessing that was bestowed on “them”.
The Hebrew word used for mankind in verse 27 is “‘adam” which refers to humanity as a whole .
We don’t see the proper noun, Adam, used until Genesis 4:25, so this common noun refers to the whole human race. One thing that is important to note is that the Hebrew language does not contain a gender neutral pronoun, therefore the word mankind was used.
Many complementarians do not refer to Genesis 1 in the formation of their doctrine, unless it is to make the announcement that God created Adam first, not necessarily acknowledging the fact that the more accurate definition of ‘adam would be humankind. Egalitarians find Genesis 1 to be very telling of God’s heart for equality because these verses make it clear that both men and women were created in God’s image, after which he blessed them.
I don’t really like to identify myself as a feminist. I am – to borrow and slightly modify our priest’s description of herself – an outspoken, straight, white woman with a slightly ridiculous collection of education and degrees. I am somewhat uncomfortable aligning myself with feminism, mainly because feminists have gotten a pretty bad rap from the people in my former evangelical circles. I am, for the record, also still somewhat uncomfortable with saying I have a priest, and that said priest is female.
Saying that I am uncomfortable with those things, however, does not make them less true.
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.
Are you a man who is discontent with just believing women should be treated fairly? Are you ready to do something? Here are ten practical ways to address sexism at work, church, or in every day contexts. Whether you are an egalitarian, a feminist, or simply want to be more inclusive and challenge the status […]
My first official contact with women struggling for equality was as a young reporter. Some women had chained themselves to the front of a government building. I arrived with an open mind, but they refused to talk to me because I was “a man”. So I headed back to the news van. In those days, […]
In doing some research on Genesis 3, I came upon this provocative poem by Carmen J. Bryant:
God said to man, “The earth will bring forth thistles.” Man replied, “I’ll weed them out. I’ll develop weed killers and make my garden a paradise.”
God said to man, “You will work by the sweat of your brow.” Man replied, “I’ll invent tools that will make my work easier: the plow, the hoe, the tiller and the John Deere tractor.”
God said to woman, “You will have pain in childbirth.” Man responded, “Yea, so be it, let her suffer so my quiver can be full. It is God’s will. My work was made hard because of her.”
God said to woman, “Your husband will rule over you.” Man responded, “Of course that’s the way it should be. I am to be her master. I was created first.”
And woman bowed her head and said, “I am indeed under a curse.”
The poem prefaced an academic paper on Genesis 3 and was accompanied by this note…
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.”
Here is the fourth and final installment of “More than Footnotes” a series on influential women in church history.
With the influence of the First Great Awakening of American religion (1730s-1740s) as impetus, women in American Christianity were driven by the experience of conversion to transcend prescribed roles and self-understandings.
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.