Tag Archives: Sarah Bessey

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!

And visit us on Facebook, where we post articles from around the web each day tackling issues of women in ministry, gender inequality, people who inspire us, etc.  Feel free to contact us through FB messenger anytime, if you have a post you would like us to share or if we can help you in any way.

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

Another Abismal Matt Walsh Post – And Some Better Christian Responses to Robin William’s Suicide

My Facebook feed is starting to fill up with Matt Walsh’s response to Robin William’s suicide.  The point of his post is that depression is not just chemical, it’s spiritual, and suicide is a selfish choice.

Here are some more thoughtful and gracious posts from Christian bloggers that are helpful rather than hurtful, and they also come from a heart of solidarity because they actually know what depression does to you.  I would love to see these circulated as much as Walsh’s post.

Ann Voskamp: What the Church & Christians Need to Know About Suicide and Mental Health 

Megan Tietz: the Depressed Christian: why the dark night is no measure of your soul

Elizabeth Esther: Fighting shifting shadows (or what mental illness feels like)

Sarah Bessey: In which depression is NOT your fault

Julie Ann: Christian Response to Suicide

This short piece from Alice Park for TIME is also helpful: Robin William’s Depression Struggles May Go Back Decades

The Work of the People – Sarah Bessey

There are four powerful videos on The Work of the People, each about five minutes long, with excerpts from an interview with Sarah Bessey, author of “Jesus Feminist.”  She blogs here.  These are beautiful and inspiring and tender.  You will want to pass them along!

Lean Into It:

“Author Sarah Bessey talks about the struggle and pain of birth. Literally. In a parking garage. Sarah invites us to lean into the pain and struggle of our lives and not to fight it – New birth is just on the other side.”

Daughters of Abraham:

“Sarah Bessey on female Kingdom identity and vocation.”

Live Loved:

“Are you worn out on religion? Live loved. Sarah Bessey on learning the unforced rhythms of grace.”

You Are Not Forgotten:

“You matter and you will not be forgotten. Sarah Bessey on God’s promise to make all things new.”


Sorry I couldn’t figure out how to embed these!  I’ll keep working on it.  In the meantime, “like” us on Facebook!

 

Linking You Up. You’re Welcome.

I was just catching up with some of my favorite blogs, and thought, rather than overloading our Facebook page (please Like us!) with links, I’d post them all here and let you scroll through for your own reading pleasure.

Kathy Escobar on 10 Tangible Ways We Can Work Toward Equality in the Church.  She gives some great advice for making changes to balance the power between men and women in our churches.

I really liked this post from Tyler Standley : 6 People Who Should be Banned from Evangelicalism (or a lesson in consistency).  He points out that the prominent leaders, or “gatekeepers,” of today’s evangelicalism, who call out numerous Christians as heretics and false teachers for disagreeing on issues like evolution, hell, inerrancy of Scripture, etc., would also denounce C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther, St. Augustine, William Barclay, John Stott, and Billy Graham.  He also wrote this post, The Evangelical Castle, naming some of the current “heretics” under fire.

Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality, wrote The Bait and Switch of Complementarians.  Here’s a quote:

Please do not tell girls or women that they share equally in God’s image; that they are equal at the foot of the cross; that they are equal in the kingdom of God, that they should cultivate their minds equally, unless you are prepared to give them equal authority to use the gifts God has given them. To do otherwise is to bait girls and women with the truth of Scripture as it points to their inheritance in Christ, and then to switch—to deny them the opportunities to walk in newness of life—in using their God-given gifts with equality authority. To advocate for the education of females based on the aims of Christian discipleship is inseparable from God’s aims for men and women created in God’s image—where both shared authority in Eden (Genesis 1:26- 28); and as recreated in the image of Christ who extends equal authority to his disciples, both male and female (John 20:18-23).

I did post this video on our FB page a few days ago, but it is a MUST SEE, so I’m making sure you see it again!  Sarah Bessey message that You are Not Forgotten.  And here’s an interview she did with The Junia Project about her book, “Jesus Feminist.”  Here’s one of her answers:

“Feminism is not simply about the hot button issues in American evangelical churches – should women preach or not.  It is more about the global story of women – maternal health, education for girls, the status of women in the world today. All these major social issues of our time, clean water, human trafficking or even eating disorders track back to our theology of women. The tag line on the book -the radical notion that women are people, too- is definitely more hyperbolic, but it establishes a baseline.”

Love this picture and quote:

from Silvia Ferreira Photography, 1/2/14, www.raspberryessence.blogspot.com

from Silvia Ferreira Photography, 1/2/14, http://www.raspberryessence.blogspot.com

I’ve enjoyed all of Bob Edward’s posts on The Junia Project.  Here is a fascinating and informative video Bob made, where he addresses the question of “Where did we go wrong?  An in-depth exploration of the emergence of male authority in the church.”  He is coming from the perspective of a social worker and psychotherapist and college professor.  He explains how role modeling, instruction and reinforcement socialize people to make the norms of their environment their own internal norms – how they are supposed to function – and how this takes place in regards to gender.

Here is a painting of the Last Supper that includes 12 women disciples, who are not named as being present at the celebration, but are named in the Gospel accounts as disciples of Jesus who travelled with him.  The artist is John Coburn from Australia.

Sandra Glahn explains that Betty Frieden did not start the “woman’s movement” – Christians did, in The Feminists We Forgot for Christianity Today’s Hermeneutics.

This is an older post, but I just read it recently and loved it! Paul’s Masculine and Feminine Leadership, from Margaret Mowczko.

I won a book from Elizabeth Esther!  It’s not hers…it’s “Spiritual Misfit: A Tale of Uneasy Faith” by Michelle DeRusha.  I can’t remember the last time I won something, so I am pretty excited.  I will definitely review the book here after I read it.  But I did want to share this awesome post from Elizabeth, entitled, “A Tale of Mrs. Judge-y Pants and how she learned that being honest is better than trying to be good.”  She talks about the difference between trying to look good vs. be good.

Ann Voskamp shares beautiful pictures and stories and videos from around the web to give you something to wonder at over the weekend: Multi-vitamins for Your Weekend.

“How to say yes to God with safe faith is no longer enough” is SUCH A POWERFUL POST from Kristen Welch, author of Rhinestone Jesus, on how her Christianity was transformed by a trip to Kenya with Compassion International in 2010.

And finally, here is Rachel Held Evan’s Sunday Superlatives – a list of her favorite blog posts from around the web.

Happy reading!

EDIT: I meant to add this powerful video we watched in church today: Dr. Brenda Scott McNeil on Do What You See the Father Doing.

Monday VLOG on Jesus Feminist

Happy Monday, Warriors!  Becky and I wanted to share Sarah Bessey’s beautiful commission with you today.  In the last chapter of her book, Jesus Feminist, she sends her readers out to bring God’s redeeming work to their own communities.  You truly are Christ’s ambassadors to your friends and family, and we want you to go in the power of the Holy Spirit to change the world with His love!  We also wanted to endorse Sarah’s book as a poetic, inspiring and challenging read.

 

And we couldn’t help but read the poem Sarah includes in the beginning of her book, entitled “Let us be Women who Love,” by Idelette McVicker.  You can read the poem here, and find Idelette’s blog here.  She’s a contributor for the wonderful SheLoves Magazine.

 

Quoting the Founding Fathers of Complementarian Theology

There is an AWESOME list of quotes from theologians spanning the ages who have spawned and perpetuated the teachings of complementarianism, on Amazon.com of all places (responding to a negative review of Sarah Bessey’s book, “Jesus Feminist”).  The author of this awesomeness is Bob Edwards, whose articles are frequently featured on The Junia Project.  Here is the link to the actual Amazon page, and here is Bob’s awesome reply to the “Jesus Feminist” hater:

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars In response to a one star review, posted by a reader named “Steve.”, Feb. 7 2014
This review is from: Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women (Paperback)
This is actually a review of a review. It is a response to a critique of Sarah Bessey’s book by a reader named “Steve.”Steve’s Criticism:
“First, Sarah Bessey loves to go after the straw man [i.e. a position that someone doesn’t actually hold]. Even the subtitle betrays this tendency: Exploring God’s Radical Notion That Women Are People, Too. Did Sarah seriously believe her complimentarian [sic] (Biblically minded non-egalitarian) friends would think it a radical notion that women are people too? Who has ever suggested they are not?”My Response:
Who indeed Steve? Here are some quotes from the architects of complementarian theology, and from those who continue to perpetuate it today:

“[For women] the very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame.”–Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian (c150-215) Pedagogues II, 33, 2

“In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell.” –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)

“Woman is a temple built over a sewer.” –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)

“Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God.” – Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)

“Woman does not possess the image of God in herself but only when taken together with the male who is her head, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned the role as helpmate, a function that pertains to her alone, then she is not the image of God. But as far as the man is concerned, he is by himself alone the image of God just as fully and completely as when he and the woman are joined together into one.” –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)

“Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.” –Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century

“As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.”–Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, 13th century

“The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.” – Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)

“No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.” – Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)

“Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.” – Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)

“Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude.” –John Calvin, Reformer (1509-1564)

“Even as the church must fear Christ Jesus, so must the wives also fear their husbands. And this inward fear must be shewed by an outward meekness and lowliness in her speeches and carriage to her husband. . . . For if there be not fear and reverence in the inferior, there can be no sound nor constant honor yielded to the superior.” – John Dod, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition ofthe Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603

“The second duty of the wife is constant obedience and subjection.” – John Dod, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition ofthe Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” — Pat Robertson, Southern Baptist leader (1930–)

“Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture. –Mark Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill nondenominational mega-church franchise. (1970–)
(above quotes retrieved from […])

“It is the natural order among people that women serve their husbands and children their parents, because the justice of this lies in (the principle that) the lesser serves the greater…. This is the natural justice that the weaker brain serve the stronger. This therefore is the evident justice in the relationships between slaves and their masters, that they who excel in reason, excel in power.” (St. Augustine, Questions on the Heptateuch, Book I, § 153, as cited at […])

“Let the woman be satisfied with her state of subjection, and not take it amiss that she is made inferior to the more distinguished sex.” (John Calvin, as cited in Oliphant, J. (2011). AQA Religious Ethics for AS and A2. New York, NY: Routledge)

“It means that a woman will demonstrate that she is in fact a Christian, that she has submitted to God’s ways by affirming and embracing her God-designed identity as—for the most part, generally this is true—as wife and mother, rather than chafing against it, rather than bucking against it, rather than wanting to be a man, wanting to be in a man’s position, wanting to teach and exercise authority over men.” (Bruce Ware, as cited in Taylor, S. (2013). Dethroning Male Headship, p. 109. Auburndale, FL: One Way Press)

Mark Driscoll explains that women are restricted from positions of teaching and authority at his church: “Paul forbids women to teach and exercise authority as elders-pastors…. So at Mars Hill Church, only elders preach, enforce formal church discipline, and set doctrinal standards for the church.” (as cited from […])

“To be a woman is to support, to nurture, and to strengthen men in order that they would flourish and fulfill their God-given role as leaders.” (Owen Strachan of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, as cited from […])

The New Bible Commentary, 21st Century Edition, interprets Ephesians 5 as stating that husbands are to be regarded as the “masters” of their wives, and that wives are commanded by God to “obey” them (Wenham & Carson, 1994).

To summarize, women have been depicted as less than fully human, more evil than men, inferior, less intelligent and born for a life of subjection to male authority. Their place, according to these authors, is in the home to bear and raise children for husbands that they must “obey” as their “masters.”

Does Sarah Bessey really “love to go after the straw man” as Steve suggests? I don’t think so.

Sadly, those with a prejudice—in this case against women–are often the last to see it. That is why they may think that others are arguing against a “straw man.” The straw man isn’t made of straw in this case at all. Some complementarians simply appear unable to recognize the deeply ingrained sexism of their worldview. Just because they can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there:

Sexism
[sek-siz-uh m] noun
1. attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles.

2. discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, as in restricted job opportunities; especially, such discrimination directed against women.
([…])

“Jesus Feminist” is a refreshing contrast to the sexism that is so prevalent in church history and that lingers on in a patriarchal (i.e. complementarian) worldview today. Sarah Bessey’s work is poetic and inspirational. She communicates a passionate view of the impartial love of Jesus with grace and eloquence.