Tag Archives: Jesus Feminist

Audrey Assad and Sarah Bessey on Finding Their Voices

audrey-assadAudrey Assad – Witness

Although women are often excluded from teaching roles in complementarian churches that believe in “Biblical gender roles,” leading worship is one area often deemed appropriate and the hymns and songs written by women are included in complementarian services.  Interestingly, corporate worship through song is a time of powerful transformation and spiritual development.  On the RCA website, they say,

“Through congregational singing Christian faith is not only expressed; to a very real degree it is formed. Since people tend to remember the theology they sing more than the theology that is preached, a congregation’s repertoire of hymnody is often of critical importance in shaping the faith of its people.” 

And in a video entitled Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing? from the Desiring God 2008 National Conference, complementarian Bob Kauflin says (citing egalitarian scholar Fee),

“New Testament scholar Gordon Fee once said, ‘Show me a church’s songs and I’ll show you their theology.’ And it’s true. Or as Mark Noll puts it, ‘We are what we sing’ (Noll, ‘We Are What We Sing,’ Christianity Today, July 12, 1999, 37). Words should be the first thing we consider when we think about what songs to sing when we gather as the body of Christ.”

It makes me happy that through songwriting, women have been powerfully influential theologians even in patriarchal churches.

With that in mind, I enjoyed watching Audrey Assad‘s testimony yesterday about finding her voice and calling from God to public ministry as a singer/songwriter despite being nurtured and formed within a strongly patriarchal tradition, the Plymouth Brethern Christian Church.  I love Assad’s songs and heavenly singing, and I really love this talk:

And now, visit her website, buy her music, and listen to her top tracks, leting her beautiful lyrics soak in and draw you closer to Jesus.

Sarah Bessey – Learning You Have a Voice

I also listened to The Road Back to You: Looking at life through the lens of the Enneagram podcast’s most recent episode yesterday, featuring Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s interview with Sarah Bessey in which she talked about finding her voice as an Enneagram 9: The Peacemaker.  I am also a 9 and found her self-description and experiences to be helpful.

You can listen here.

Bessey’s voice is one I always tune into to learn from.  She’s taught me so much about God’s love and vision for women through her blog and books, Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts.  Or something that is fun is scrolling through her quotes on Good Reads. 🙂


Thanks for visiting The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors!  God can use your voice in powerful ways too.  Don’t be afraid to explore your gifts and calling!

God bless. 🙂

Paulcast: Paul and Women: Episode 1

paulcastkurt-willems
Kurt Willems, founding pastor of Pangea in Seattle, has a podcast exploring the theology of the Apostle Paul, author of 8-13 books in the New Testament (definitely 8, some others are ascribed to him but there are theories of other possible authors) and pillar of of our faith.  He has begun a series on Paul and women, from the position that Paul was an egalitarian, believing “that women have all of the possible skill, gifts, and mandate from God to serve the church in any leadership capacity” and that “women are also called to lead from their strengths in their marriages, family, and anywhere else in society.”

You can listen to episode 1: Intro and Junia here.

Here are some of my favorite bits from the episode:

  • We have perpetually limited/excluded the influence of our daughters in our church cultures
  • Could it be that you have been conditioned by a culture that says women operate this way and men operate that way, that perhaps what you feel about gender roles is more culturally conditioned than it is from Scripture
  • In the ancient world, women were almost universally considered inferior to men – temptresses, weaker, limited to the household, worthy mostly of submission to men
    • Rabbinic Tosefta: man prays in gratitude that he was not born a woman (t. Ber. 7.18)
    • The apocryphal book of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus (from about 180 BCE) states: a man’s wickedness is better than a woman who does good
  • Following the lead of Jesus, who elevated the role of women in his ministry, Paul seems to also elevate women
    • Galatians 3:28 – all are one in Christ Jesus
  • Sarah Bessey quote from Jesus Feminist: “In a time when women were almost silent or invisible in literature, Scripture affirms and celebrates women. Women were a part of Jesus’ teaching ministry, part of his life.  Women were there for all of it….Jesus made a feminist out of me.”
  • Dan Kimball quote from They Like Jesus, but Not the Church, from a conversation with a woman outside of Church – “I feel the Church is very sexist, but I don’t believe Jesus was a sexist.  From what I have observed, women in the Church basically sit on the sidelines and are only able to work with children, answer the phones, be secretaries, and serve the men.  They seem to be given no voice.  The Church seems to only be a Boys’ Club but for adults.”
    • This opinion is highlighted by many who Willems talks with

On Junia: Paul says in Romans 16:7 “Say hello to Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners.  They are prominent among the apostles and they were in Christ before me.”

  • For a very long time, Junia became Junias in the manuscripts because of a patriarchal concern.  The earliest manuscript evidence we have shows that Junia was a woman.  Scot McKnight has an eBook Junia is Not Alone that Willems recommends.
  • Junia is called prominent among the apostles, and many say this means the apostles thought a lot of her, she was great.  But really, she was an apostle!  In the fourth century, we have these words from John Chrysostum:

“Greet Andronicus and Junia . . . who are outstanding among the apostles” (Romans 16:7): To be an apostle is something great. But to be outstanding among the apostles—just think what a wonderful song of praise that is! They were outstanding on the basis of their works and virtuous actions. Indeed, how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle.

  • By this time, women had already lost their place in leadership roles.  The world had already imposed its patriarchal lens on the Bible.  Even John Chrysostum, who did not recognize women in ministry, recognized that Junia was an apostle.
  • It is a curious case that they were so threatened by Junia’s role that they changed her name in the manuscripts.  Chyrsostum is probably just scratching his head, saying, “Wow, maybe this is an exception to the rule.”

In upcoming episodes, Willems will be discussing particular passages in which Paul discusses women in ministry.  Subscribe and give him a positive review so others will come across this great podcast!


tumblr_m6jj46ZG9n1qak0uxo1_500Thanks for visiting The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors!  We love sharing egalitarian resources with you.  Fight the good fight with us by passing along our posts to your friends and followers!

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You are enough, your voice matters, and we love you!

Egalitarian Christmas Wish List

my-grown-up-christmas-list

As I sit in devastated helplessness over the atrocities occurring in Aleppo, I think, what can I possibly do to help?  Beyond giving to organizations I believe in (like The Compassion Collective), I am convinced more than ever that the fight to end oppression of the vulnerable and disenfranchised is where it is at.

And how can the Church specifically address this?  Let’s start with our own disenfranchised–women, who experience varying degrees of oppression depending on their particular churches, but oppression none the less.  Being side-lined from using their spiritual gifts and working alongside their brothers in Kingdom building is oppression.

And who benefits from this?  I don’t think anyone actually benefits.  There are some men who hold inordinate power and influence (check out Malestrom, below, to see how many men are downtrodden by patriarchy), who would experience loss if they were made to share these things, to quiet their own voices to allow room for others’.  But it is really to their benefit as well to be humbled and to become a servant, just as Jesus Christ was humbled even to death.

There is intersection of issues to consider as well.  People of color are disenfranchised in Evangelical institutions of influence and power.  Low-income people are viewed negatively in our Western, wealthy society.  Finding our way out of patriarchal, racist and classist systems that sideline Kingdom warriors will involve a massive shift in the way that Christians view theological issues of authority, dominion, headship, and submission.  Christians have historically led the charge in freeing others from oppression – for instance, early abolitionists and suffragists were Christians.  Let us pick up our mantle of freeing others once again, and pray that the ripples spread throughout the world to ensure the abundant life of all humankind.

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And so, I offer you a Christmas shopping list for the Christians in your family, church staff, close friends, anyone who you buy a gift.  Using your voice and purchasing power to spread Egalitarian Kingdom values is money well-spent.

The links to purchase each book is in the caption.  In no particular order:

 

egalbook1

Excellent essays from influential Evangelicals on their change from Complementarian to Egalitarian theology.  How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership

egalbook3

One of my favorite theologians.  Love this.  Beyond Sex Roles

egalbook4

Beautifully written, compellingly drawing us to Jesus and His daughters.  Jesus Feminist

egalbook6

Powerful scholarship on Paul’s letters.  Man and Woman, One in Christ

egalbook5

A seminal work from Egalitarian theologians on Kingdom gender roles.  Discovering Biblical Equality

egalbook7

Grady looks at patriarchal cultural influences have snuck into the Church. 10 Lies the Church Tells Women

egalbook8

Custis James is my favorite Ezer.  Read her many books!  You’ll be glad you did!  Half the Church

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An excellent treatise on the harm that patriarchal society inflicts on men.  Malestrom  

egalbook11

From the founder of Youth with a Mission on the importance of commissioning women into ministry.  Why Not Women?

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Women are not the subordinate ‘helpers’ – we are co-leaders in marriage and Church.  Together: Reclaiming C0-Leadership in Marriage

egalbook13

Egalitarians do not reject the teachings on submission – just exempting men.  As Christ Submits to the Church

 

egalbook15

A marriage book for newlyweds and marriage veterans alike.  I studied under Mathews at Gordon-Conwell Seminary.  Marriage Made in Eden

 

 

A Response to Girl Defined – Is Feminism Devoid of God???

Last month, a dear friend sent me this picture, which linked to this article, “Why Feminism and Christianity Can’t Mix”, by Kristen Clark:

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That’s a pretty polarizing image that begs for a response, don’t you think?!

The blog Girl Defined has the tagline, “getting back to God’s design,” so my first impression was that Kristen Clark and The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors share a passion for the very same thing, and yet our primary messages are drastically different.  This is a testament to the diversity of thought within Christianity and how beliefs are shaped by personal experiences, relationships, community, cultures, socialization and more.  We are both sincere Christians, passionate for God’s Kingdom and God’s design to reign supreme.  We are also both defensive against what we perceive to be heresy that impedes God’s will.

Fundamentally, the difference between Kristen Clark’s and my ideology comes down to our respective Biblical interpretation of gender roles.  By “God’s design,” Kristen means that in the Genesis narrative, God created man to be “head” and woman to be man’s “helper.”  There is a hierarchy with God over Christ, Christ over men, and men over women and children.  Men have authority and women submit to men.  Though men and women are of equal value, their roles are different.  This is the teaching of complementarian (i.e. patriarchal) theology, which is explained thoroughly in this video by Pastor John Piper (one of the founders of the Center for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  Kristen links to a CBMW review of “Jesus Feminist” by Sarah Bessey in the comments section, with the explanation that she respects the theologians and writers on that site.), in which he says,

The intention with the word “complementarian” is to locate our way of life between two kinds of error: on the one side would be the abuses of women under male domination, and on the other side would be the negation of gender differences where they have beautiful significance. Which means that, on the one hand, complementarians acknowledge and lament the history of abuses of women personally and systemically, and the present evils globally and locally in the exploitation and diminishing of women and girls. And, on the other hand, complementarians lament the feminist and egalitarian impulses that minimize God-given differences between men and women and dismantle the order God has designed for the flourishing of our life together.

Egalitarianism in short.

Egalitarianism in short.

So Piper would lament feminism and egalitarianism (the Christian theology that God created man and woman equal, with shared authority; see this article or this one or this video, all from respected and notable theologians, for summaries of egalitarian theology) as ideologies that “dismantle God’s design.”  Often, egalitarians also identify as feminists due to the shared goal of demolishing patriarchy, which egalitarians see as a heresy in opposition of God’s design and will for humanity.  Egalitarians believe that God created man and woman in His image (literal translation of ezer being “corresponding strength” rather than “helper”), gave both authority over creation, and hierarchy came as a result of the curse in Genesis 3.  Throughout the Bible there are women functioning outside of complementarian gender roles, and in the New Testament we see the Holy Spirit falling on both men and women, and women serving alongside men in leadership in the early church.  Here is a good response to John Piper’s masculine view of Christianity.

While Christians have always held different views on many theological issues from the advent of the Church, it is common for complementarians to treat their view of gender roles as a critical aspect of the Gospel and to besmirch their egalitarian brothers and sisters with accusations of insincerity and rebellion. The Whartburg Watch wrote a post this year called, “Owen Strachan, CBMW, John Piper and David Platt: Gender Whackiness on the Rise” demonstrating this trend of elevating gender issues to be on par with the Gospel.

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But back to Kristen’s polarizing image and characterizations of feminism.  Is it true that at it’s root, feminism is devoid of God?  If so, why are so many Christians identifying as feminists?

First of all, it is true that “feminism wears many hats” and cannot be flatly defined, in the same way that Christianity comes in many forms, traditions and political leanings.  For example, Baptists.  There are over 1,400 Baptist denominations in the United States.  To some who hear the word “Baptist,” there is a visceral, biological response because of their negative experiences with Baptists, who can be judgmental, unloving and legalistic.  I have personally known Baptists to gossip, to be gluttonous and proud.  It can be controversial to bring up the topic of  Baptists.  It can be polarizing to identify yourself as a Baptist.  So it is probably best not to identify with that word.  Just call yourself a Christian!

See what I did there?  I could change “Baptists” to “Pentecostals,” or “Episcopalians,” “Methodists,” “Congregationalists,” or “Presbyterians” for the same effect.  And if I really did believe that Baptists were misguided and I wanted to deter others from becoming Baptists, I could utilize that tactic.  Playing word games doesn’t really prove anything.  The fact is, there are no perfect denominations, political parties, or social movements.  But there are lots of social activists making positive change in the world towards values that I believe are in line with God’s redemption work.  Christians can partner with environmentalists, humanitarians, economists, social workers, politicians, educators, health professionals, counselors, scientists, and even feminists, in the work of redeeming God’s creation to it’s pre-curse state.  A feminist, atheist, Democrat, you-fill-in-the-blank is a person created in God’s image and loved dearly by God…I personally couldn’t call any imago Dei “devoid of God.”  There is common grace among all of humankind.   And has the Bible already solved all of the world’s problems and restored us to God’s design and will for humanity?  Clearly there is much work to be done, and Christ has given us that work to do.  Do I agree on all issues that all feminists tout?  No.  Do I agree that patriarchy is from the curse and has no place in Christ’s redeemed Kingdom?  Yes.

Among many conservative Christians, the word “feminist” is spit out with disdain and horror.  Feminists are accused by conservative pundits and pastors of  ruining our country with their liberal agendas.  They are compared to militants who see their gender as superior – “feminazis.”  I am not familiar with the categorizations that Kristen uses to describe feminists.  Her primary attention goes to addressing “equality feminists” though, so that is what I would like to respond to.

Like Kristen, I was a complementarian for nearly thirty years.  I respected the same theologians and teachings that she points to in her writings.  I won’t go into detail about my change to egalitarianism, as I already posted that story here.  In short, it was at God’s prompting that I began reading about women in ministry and egalitarian theology, and I became convinced that the complementarian theology of gender roles was wrong.

I didn’t come to feminism through a desire to usurp the authority of men.  I came to egalitarianism (I believe through God’s direction) and some of my conservative Christian friends began cautioning me about the slippery slope that I was on, and began jokingly referring to me as a feminist.  Not because I was arguing for abortion rights or burning my bras, but because I was asking questions about gender roles in the Church.  “Feminist” is a slur in the context of my upbringing.  Looking back, I understand that this negative response can be a powerful deterrent to keep group members from challenging the status quo of patriarchy.  It didn’t take me long to adopt the title feminist, as I couldn’t shake it and I was becoming more and more impassioned to see change in the world for women who are marginalized and abused by systems of patriarchy.

Kristen Clark’s term, equality feminism, sounds to me like a euphemism for egalitarianism.  I believe she is using this term, which is considered deviant in conservative Christian circles, to paint egalitarianism in sinister terms.

povertyI began to see that “fighting theological battles” (i.e. blogging) like egalitarianism vs. complementarianism is critical to liberating women and girls around the world who suffer the most from the systems of patriarchy and poverty and war, etc.  Becky and I share articles every day on our FB page detailing the horrors and injustices of the world’s most vulnerable inhabitants.  If it is feminist to care about these issues, then yes, I’m a feminist.  For important reference points on gender issues around the world, here are two excellent articles:

We need feminism – Rachel Held Evans
Christian Compassion or Complicity: The Abuse and Gendercide of God’s Daughters – Dr. Mimi Haddad

e4c2e61dc0186b4ebe317ab0bcc67f33And in thinking about the roots of feminism, which Kristen Clark says are devoid of God, it is a fact that many of the earliest feminists were Christians who were trying to improve the lives of impoverished, disenfranchised, suffering women and children of their day.  The blog Making a Track, by Rev. Jonathan Inkpin, celebrates the lives of early Christian feminists and is an excellent resource for learning about inspiring Beautiful Kingdom Warriors.

I am going to leave off with a comment that I found under Kristen Clark’s article from a wonderful Beautiful Kingdom Warrior who took the time to advise her Christian sisters in the better way, skipping right over the references to feminism (i.e. egalitarianism?) and getting to the heart of the matter–gender roles:

I too used to believe in the headship/submission form of marriage. But now, in my 50’s, I have changed my view. Please understand- I am in love with Jesus more than ever before, am pro-life, am a pastor’s wife, home school mom, been married to the same man for 27 years, teach Sunday school, and lead worship at our church. But I now believe that God created husbands and wives as equals, friends and co-heirs in the promises. After counseling many women who were verbally and sometimes physically abused by their Christian husbands, I studied the verses that cause so much pain. What I learned is this:

1) Eve was Adam’s helper, but this didn’t mean servant or maid. We don’t see Eve helping Adam by washing his clothes or cleaning his house; she was created to help Adam rule the world. As woman, she was given equal status as part of “mankind.” She had equal responsibilities and equal blessings. It appears that as salt is to pepper, peanut butter is to jelly, Eve was Adam’s Helper in that she helped to complete the set: man + woman = mankind. This was God’s beautiful, original design for husbands and wives.

2) At the fall, Eve was cursed, with all women, to be ruled by her husband. Ever since the curse, in nearly every society, women have been ruled by men. In some cultures, women are the legal property of their husbands and can be abused, sold, or even killed.

3) In the Old Testament, slavery is always mentioned as a curse, never part of the blessings for God’s people.

3) Jesus broke that curse, along with every other curse, at the cross. Christian women are now free- co heirs with men once again to enjoy all the blessings and promises of God.

4) In 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, Paul has many rules for women.  They are told to keep silent in church, wear head coverings or wear long
hair, and never teach a man. Paul says women “are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.” But why would Paul, who in Galatians says
that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,” and now “there is neither male nor female; you are all one in Christ Jesus,” and “if you are led
by the Spirit, you are not under the law,” now put women (half the church) under the law? I think Paul was trying to jolt these churches back into grace. This
makes sense considering how in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 Paul tells the people that he can’t talk to them as Spirit filled believers; because of their carnal
behavior, he must speak to them as people still under the law.

5) In Philippians 4 and Romans 16, Paul mentions many women who were ministers, deacons, teachers, laborers, co-prisoners and co-workers for the Lord! These women were anything but silent. It seems these women broke the rules of 1 Corinthians and Paul was very happy for it! Why? Because they lived in grace, not legalism. Remember, the law kills but the Spirit gives life! It is for freedom that Christ set you free, do not be burdened again with the yoke of slavery!!

6) When Paul tells wives to submit, he tells husbands to love (agape) their wives. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that agape love is patient, kind, and doesn’t demand its own way. This is, of course, the very heart of submission. So, in reality, Paul is telling husbands and wives not to demand their own way… submit to the desires of the other, just like Christians are supposed to act with all people at all times.

7) The husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church… How is Christ our head? Is He demanding or patient? Is He angry or loving? As Christ gave us the example of how to agape love, husbands are to usher this kind of love into the marriage. They are the heads in that they are to be the model of agape love for their families. Nabal was “head” by being an angry, demanding
tyrant that no one could reason with (1 Samuel 25). Clearly God was not pleased with Nabal’s behavior!

Solomon, however, was “head” by not being demanding…. When his wife was tired and turned him away one night, Solomon didn’t throw a tantrum and demand his own way, he quietly turned and left. King Lemuel, husband to the Proverbs 31 woman, also ushered this Godly love into his marriage. His wife was an intelligent woman who pursued many interests during her lifetime. Lemuel gave her the freedom, one fellow human to another, to follow her creative desires. He was “head” by being respectful to her, considerate of her needs, and proud of her talents. She, in return, loved him dearly and did him no harm all the days of his life.

My advice to Christian women is to marry a man who will be a friend, not a ruler.

 Amen.

Thank you for visiting The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors!  Please “like” our Facebook page where we post articles every day regarding gender issues from around the world and the church.  God bless!

Jesus Was a Feminist – a poem by Robin Merrill

Jesus Was a Feminist
by Robin Merrill
I’m going to tell you a secret:

Jesus was a feminist.

And yes, I know I just ticked somebody off.

I ticked this guy off just by bringing up Jesus (sorry)
and I ticked this guy off by suggesting that Jesus liked girls
(not sorry)

But I don’t believe in beating around the burning bush
and I’m tired of being bossed around by a church
that bears no resemblance to the one of holy design.

You see, I have a daughter now.  And that girl,
she’s a feminist, because nobody’s told her yet that she’s not
supposed to be.

So I bite my thumb at the preacher who told my
twelve-year-old-self
that I was going to hell for playing basketball
in short pants and short hair
with boys.

Because you know what, mister preacher man?
Nowadays we womenfolk can read
and if you open that Bible you’ve been pounding on,
you’ll find a verse that reads
There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free,
neither male nor female,
for we are all one in Christ.

I know, right?  The heresy!
And did you know that the longest conversation
Jesus has in the whole Bible is with a woman?

No sir, I’m guessing you did not know that.

Because you’re too busy telling entire congregations
not to vote for a woman because she can’t be trusted
even though God entrusted a woman to have your
precious baby Jesus
without a single drop of manhood in sight.

And I know I can’t change your mind.
You will keep telling women to obey their abusive husbands
and every time you do, you will push a woman
further away from her higher power.

But as for this woman?  I know that:
It was women who followed Jesus around, sleeping in caves.
It was women who stayed at the cross when the men grew faint.
And it was a woman who returned to find an empty grave.

So this woman is okay with it
if you don’t find me fit
to touch your pulpit
to teach your Sunday school
to lead your choir

’cause this woman
has found her own sanctuary

right here

in the quiet corners
you don’t even know about
where people read and paint and think …

There is more than one way to worship.
There is more than one way to glorify.
And tradition is never as great
as the woman who breaks it.

And I will break it gently.
Neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free …
I will break it gently.
With a feminine touch.
I will break it gently.
With faith, hope, and love.


Robin Merrill’s poetry has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and hundres have appeared in places like Flint Hills Review, Oklahoma Review, Margie, The Café Review, and Stolen Island Review, and she was the 2013 recipient of an Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation of Boston.  Visit her website at robinmerrill.com. “Jesus Was a Feminist” was posted here with permission.

Listen to Robin read her poem here.


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Rachel Held Evans: We need feminism

Rachel knocks it out of the ball park with this one. Take a look and pass it on! This is a message we need to shout from the rooftops.

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/we-need-feminism

The alternative to patriarchy is not matriarchy. It’s mutuality, equality. This is what feminism supports. Feminism isn’t about hating men. It’s about advocating for the dignity and equality of women, who continue to face disproportionate violence, discrimination, and marginalization throughout the world due to their gender.

For your reading pleasure – favorite links from around the web

Looking for some great reads?  Here are my suggestions:

Carolyn Custis James of The Whitby Forum wrote “Dropping F-Bombs,” her critique of the critique that the Church has been feminized.

Women cannot be who God created us to be as ezer-warriors if we do not cultivate strength, decisiveness, and a readiness for action. And frankly, men will be stunted if they are duped into thinking their manhood is compromised if they are loving, sensitive, and gentle, or if they cry.

“Feminized” and “feminization” may not be four-letter words. But these F-bombs need to be dropped from this discussion nonetheless!

President of CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality), Dr. Mimi Haddad wrote “Egalitarians and Complementarians: One Gosepl, Two Worldviews.”

Egalitarians and complementarians share much in common. We adore Jesus and serve him passionately. We are committed to justice as a biblical ideal. And, we’re both devoted to Scripture as God-inspired. Though we both long to see the world embrace the gospel, we promote two distinct worldviews. What is our difference? Male-only authority. Is it God’s design or is it a result of sin? We are divided by worldviews that we believe reflect the moral teachings of God and our purposes in this world. And, our differing views have enormous consequences….

….If male authority is part of God’s design, we would expect to see society flourish where patriarchy holds sway. Is this the case?

Not at all. In what constitutes the largest human holocaust in history, two hundred million girls are missing from the world, primarily in places where patriarchy is most rampant. The face of poverty, abuse, disease, malnutrition, illiteracy, and hunger is mostly female. Not surprisingly, the international think tank, The Millennium Project, which tackles humanity’s most challenging problems, recognizes gender equality and empowering women (in other words, dismantling patriarchy) as “essential for addressing the global challenges facing humanity.” Patriarchy does not advance God’s justice, but is an injustice that must be overcome.

Dismantling patriarchy will require a worldview that perceives male rule as a result of sin; it distorts the nature of men and women as equals and their intended purpose to use their gifts with shared authority. Justice and the gospel are furthered when superiority and dominance are challenged by human equality—a biblical ideal.

Bob Edwards wrote, “Confusing Sexism with ‘the Gospel.”  Edwards quotes Complementarian leaders Mark Driscoll, David Murrow, John Piper and Owen Strachan on their views on women.  Frankly, what they say about women is disturbing and offensive.

In summary, what are the messages regarding men and women that are being shared by these participants in “Together 4 the Gospel”?

Men are hierarchical,
-Men need sex; it is the cornerstone of their psyche,
-The future of the church depends on male leadership.

Women are not fit to be leaders,
-Women are more gullible than men,
-Women are obligated to perform oral sex on their husbands as an act of Christian service,
-Women are obligated to perform oral sex on non-believing husbands to win them to Christ,
-If wives do not provide enough sex, husbands will inevitably sin,
-A woman’s role is comparable to that of a “helpful animal,”
-Women are not able to share authority with men because of their “characteristic weaknesses,”
-To “be a woman” is to help men become leaders, as God allegedly intends.

Many words come to mind as I reflect on these messages. “Gospel” isn’t one of them.

Morgan Lee on the Christian Post wrote, “Could Christians Opposed to Immigration Reform be Helping Sex Traffickers?”

“A lot of us evangelicals care about human trafficking, but a lot of us don’t realize how much trafficking is tied to immigration,” Yang told The Christian Post on Tuesday. “I would say that a broken immigration system is a trafficker’s best friend, because traffickers abuse the fact that there’s immigrants here without legal status and they underpay them or they enslave them or they abuse them.”

Ben Corey wrote these two gems: “5 Ways We Could Probably Be Better Christians,” and “5 Ways You Can Spot a Jesus Follower.”  Please click the links to read his full posts.  In short:

To be a better Christian, he says:
1. We might want to dial down the arrogance.
2. We’d do well to start assuming the best in each other.
3. We could refrain from attempting to apply scripture to the lives of others we don’t actually know or have relationships with.
4. We could actively look for ways to reconcile “all things” to God.
5. We could spend more time getting to know the “other”.

Corey’s helpful key to spotting a Jesus Follower,
1. A Jesus follower likes to talk about him, but they do it in such a way that it causes you to want to know more, not less.
2. A Jesus follower embraces enemy love.
3. A Jesus follower is the one who is full of compassion for outsiders and the weak.
4. A Jesus follower is the one who is quickest to show others mercy.
5. A Jesus follower is the one who, when they describe what God is like, describe Jesus.

There are a couple new videos from Sarah Bessey (author of Jesus Feminist) on The Work of the People.  These are all sooooo good.  They’re all short excerpts from a longer interview, in which she talks about loss, God’s love, leaning into pain, etc.  Cannot recommend them enough.  Could be great resources for your church, Bible study group, etc. as well.

Christena Cleveland wrote this excellent piece: “Dismantling the white male industrial complex”

The truth is that the battle for justice won’t be won when white men finally join the fight. The battle was already won on the cross. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is at hand. It’s here. It’s happening. It’s already been set in motion.  We’re inevitably moving toward a world that reflects the prophetic reality of the resurrection. Justice will be done. All things will be made new. And Jesus graciously invites all of us to partner with him in that movement. We all can play a crucial role. But let’s never forget that Jesus is the secret weapon. Jesus has already determined the outcome of this battle and he will use whoever is willing to accomplish his plan. The Kingdom of God is at hand, whether white men participate or not…

Turn toward the oppressed –If we’re following Jesus’ Spirit, it will lead us to prioritize the needs and perspective of the oppressed over the needs and perspective of the privileged. The white male industrial complex keeps people’s eyes on white men, but any victory that Jesus leads will significantly involve the oppressed. As such, the Christian reconciler’s eyes should follow Jesus’ gaze to the oppressed – and all social justice efforts should be focused on the oppressed, should benefit the oppressed, and should empower the oppressed.

And Christena Cleveland also wrote this excellent piece: “Tone Deaf Leadership: 3 reasons Christian leaders should especially listen to the oppressed voices”

I’ll say it again: within the family of God, members of oppressed groups shouldn’t have to mount a social justice campaign in order to make their voices heard. In all of these cases, the privileged leaders eventually gave in, but not before initially resisting constructive criticism from oppressed voices and digging in their heels. When the PR storm increased, they reluctantly listened, and finally acquiesced. When the process of listening follows this pattern, the marginalized voices may “win” particular battles, but they remain dishonored and relegated to the foot of the table of the family of God.

Her 3 reasons:
1. You’re leading in an unequal world and Church, and you have a responsibility to fight against inequality.
2. Jesus prioritized feedback from marginalized voices over privileged voices.
3. You desperately need the perspective of the oppressed.


That should keep you busy for awhile.  Until next time, peace!

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