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Adam’s and Eve’s work, Orvieto cathedral façade, Orvieto, Italy

Blog Posts About Women, Gender, & Faith

The influence of Artemis on the issues of 1 Tim 2:8–15 (IVP Academic Wants My Artemis Research!)

By Gender & Faith, WomenNo Comments

Today I’m happy to announce I have signed a contract with IVP Academic to publish my dissertation work (plus updates) on Artemis of the Ephesians at the time of the earliest Christians. My working title is: Nobody’s Mother: Artemis in First-Century Ephesus and Why She Matters. I expect the book to release in the fall of 2023. Wendy Wilson, the Mission Advisor for Development of Women and the Women’s Development Track Exec Director over at Missio Nexus asked me to write the following for their audience, and it provides a sneak preview of what you can expect when my book comes out.  Many have undertaken to explain how understanding the identity of Artemis, the goddess of midwifery in first-century Ephesus, can shed light on the apostle Paul’s instructions about being saved through childbearing (or childbirth, or the childbearing) (2:15), but fewer have explained how understanding first-century Artemis and her cult helps provide…

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Why Don’t We See More Women in the Biblical Text?

By Gender & Faith, WomenNo Comments

Recently, someone asked me why we don’t find more women in the Bible. Last time, I pointed to translation concerns that hide the presence of women. Today, I want us to consider that sometimes we miss the women who are actually named and featured. Here’s a sampling from some of the earliest stories:  * * * Go back in time with me to the thirteenth century BC in Egypt. The king has issued an order to kill all boys born into bondage, because members of the slave class—your own people, descendants of Israel—have proliferated, and the ruling class fears an uprising. Born under the ban, you lie in a pitch-lined basket that your mother, Jochebed, crafted before floating you in the Nile. Soon, the king’s daughter finds you and raises you as her own. So, you get an education in the royal court of Egypt—some of the best academic training in the world….

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The Bible: Women Are More Present Than We Might Think

By WomenOne Comment

Recently, I heard from a woman who said that since about the age of 12 years, she has attended church weekly, sometimes multiple times a week. Yet in all those years, she heard little teaching that features, highlights, or affirms women. She said, “From a very early point in my journey I would consider whether words like ‘he,’ ‘men’ or ‘disciple’ were intended for everyone or just males. In many instances during my studies, I would replace those words with ‘she’ or ‘women’ in my notes, because it made it feel more personal and applicable to me as a woman. Still, I have pretty much always felt like an outsider or like there was something wrong with me…. I have often felt like the church was the most repressive institution for me as a woman, and I do not think that could possibly be Jesus’s intent, given the way he interacted with women.”    Indeed,…

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Happy 75th, Dolly Parton!

By Arts, Women, Writing3 Comments

I asked my student, Misty, to share with my readers some of her vast knowledge about her shero, Dolly Parton, who turns 75 today. Misty’s mom went to high school with Dolly, and when Misty asked her parents to host us in their home this past fall, they pulled out the yearbooks. That’s Misty’s index finger on Dolly’s senior picture. In the group shot below, we show off the “What Would Dolly Do?” t-shirts Misty (second from left) gave us. So now from Misty Hedrick I give you… Five Reasons to Love Dolly Parton 1. Billboard estimates Dolly’s current catalog at nearly 5,000 songs. That makes Dolly Parton the most prolific living songwriter. She writes poetry, screenplays, and Broadway musicals, and she starred in hit movies like 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias. And Dolly now churns out Netflix specials based on her songs, like Jolene and Two Doors Down.   2. From farm-raised to superstardom, Dolly probably never worked 9 to 5 a…

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Kat Armstrong: The In-Between Place

By Books, Gender & Faith, Uncategorized, WomenNo Comments

Today one of my favorite authors, Kat Armstrong, launches her latest book, The In-Between Place. Kat is a powerful voice in our generation. She’s an innovative ministry leader and sought-after communicator who holds a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and is the author of No More Holding Back and The In-Between Place. She and her husband, Aaron, have been married for eighteen years and live in Dallas, Texas, with their son, Caleb. They attend Dallas Bible Church, where Aaron serves as the lead pastor. I read her most recent book, The In-Between Place, and wrote this endorsement: Sometimes a place in the Bible’s narrative becomes like a character with a voice of its own. Shechem/Sychar is such a place. Dinah was raped in Shechem, and Jesus met “the woman at the well” there. In Kat’s new book she takes readers to this city in Samaria and guides them through a literary, religious, and geographical…

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Shepherd Like a Girl

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, WomenNo Comments

Does your nativity set have any female shepherds? Mine doesn’t. And it’s amazing how much I have picked up unconsciously from art….  I didn’t realize that—without anything being said outright—I had internalized the idea that “shepherd” was a “guy” job. So, if I saw a Christmas pageant with girls dressed in bathrobes holding crooks, I told myself the real nativity story lacked girl roles so the directors were taking creative license. But now I know those girls in bathrobes more closely represented reality than did my misinformed imaginations. My understanding about shepherds shifted radically when I traveled with my husband and daughter to Kenya’s Rift Valley. My husband is a U.S.-based missionary serving national leaders there. And while we were in Kenya, his ministry partner, Joseph, a Maasai warrior, introduced us to some of his friends.   The Maasai are pastoral people—shepherds. Like Joseph, they live in individual huts inside bomas—enclosures made…

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Church History: What Do We Learn about Women in Public Ministry?

By Gender & Faith, WomenNo Comments

“It was the feminist teachings of the past few decades that first spurred Christians to try to argue for [women in public ministry]. Like it or not, the two schools of thought are intertwined.” – Christian blogger “The role of women in church ministry was simply not a burning question until it asserted itself in recent decades in conjunction with the modern women’s movement” – Men and Women in Ministry: A Complementary Perspective,p. 20 When I took some doctoral courses in history, I read numerous primary documents which revealed that the question about women in public ministry in the church has been burning since long before the U.S. Women’s Movement. So, I set out to determine when it actually started.   I thought maybe it began with the American and French Revolutions with the cry for individual rights. But then I read documents like the pamphlet that Margaret Fell Fox (think George Fox…

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On True Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, WomenNo Comments

Beyond Ordinary Women Ministries featured a podcast/webinar in which I talked with host Sharifa Stevens about biblical manhood and womanhood. Lots of teachings floating around on the subject are rooted in stereotype rather than scripture. If something is scriptural, it must be timeless and not bound to a specific culture. Have a listen. Podcast link  

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Artemis of the Ephesians: A Conversation with Wayne Stiles

By Gender & Faith, Women3 Comments

Our understanding of Artemis of the Ephesians at the time of the apostle Paul has, I believe, implications for how we read 1 and 2 Timothy. Recently I spoke with Wayne Stiles with Walking the Bible Lands about my research on this goddess and her influence, especially in the Province of Asia. You can watch our conversation in this video. Right now I’m working on two books right now relating to the Ephesian Artemis and the ramifications for women and our understanding of first-century backgrounds—one a work of fiction and the other, an academic book. My readers can get a free video series on Jesus’s life from Walking the Bible Lands courtesy of Wayne.

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Women and Theological Education:

By Gender & FaithOne Comment

Capitulating to Culture or Historically Rooted? Not long ago, I overhead a female ministry leader noting with some enthusiasm that we are seeing the first generation in Christendom in which women have received theological higher education. But her statement, while well intentioned, was completely untrue. Some of our lack of knowledge about women’s history, particularly in the Protestant tradition, stems from post-Reformation amnesia about women in monastic spaces. About all we know—maybe—is that about 500 years ago a German nun, Katerina, married a former monk, Martin Luther, and religious living spaces were emptied of their occupants, partly in response to the Protestant Reformation. Here’s what we need to know, though: A similar phenomenon happened about that same time in Switzerland. And then in the 1530’s, the emptying-monasteries phenomenon hit England. In his article for History on “The Dissolution of the Monasteries,” G. W. Bernard reminds readers that in the late 1530s, England alone…

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Are the “Widows” in 1 Timothy 5 Leaders, Needers, or Both?

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Marriage, WomenNo Comments

One of my students, Corinne Samuelson, has spent the summer investigating what’s happening with “widows” in 1 Timothy 5. At first glance, one might think Paul was simply instructing Timothy about how to handle the many hungry older women in the Ephesian church (1:3). But on closer exploration we see a description of what might look like an office. That’s a challenging question. As Corinne notes, “While Timothy would have surely understood Paul’s instructions about widows in the Ephesian Church, 1 Timothy 5:3–16 leaves today’s readers with many questions.” Each of the questions below (most of which she crafted) are worth considering when making interpretive decisions about this passage: Meaning of “to honor” (τίμα, v. 3) – (“Give proper honor to those widows who are really in need.”) Does “to honor” imply interpersonal respect, financial support, or both? Is this a parallel to granting “double honor” to elders who teach (v. 17)?  Placement of…

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Interview with Jenny McGill, author of Walk With Me

By Arts, Gender & Faith, WomenNo Comments

Meet my friend Jenny McGill (PhD, King’s College London), a pastor’s wife and university dean who loves to explore countries and cultures. She has a new book out that I endorsed—heartily! Tell us a bit about the book and its intended audience. Written as a series of letters in a conversational tone, Walk with Me: Learning to Love and Follow Jesus is an interactive tool designed to help those in a spiritual mentoring relationship. It summarizes four areas in following Christ: the beliefs of a Christian, living like a Christian, habits of a Christian, and exploring the Bible. As a ministry leader and pastor’s wife, I want to encourage and bolster women in their Christian faith, addressing some difficult subjects in a down-to-earth fashion. Walk with Me is a discipleship guide for all believers, no matter how long they have walked with Jesus. Why a book on discipleship? Sadly, because I see…

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Biblical Womanhood: What Is a Woman?

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, WomenNo Comments

What a woman is. She is an image-bearer. It was the first day of a class I was teaching on the role of women in the home, church, and society. Driving in to the seminary where I teach, I thought through the material I planned to cover, and honestly I feared that some of what I’d prepared to say was too elementary for graduate-level students. Many of them were raised in church and have heard messages all their lives. Did they really need to hear again that Genesis 1:26–27 teaches that both male and female were made in the image of God? Nevertheless, I determined I’d better make sure. So I repeated what I assumed they all knew. And sure enough, a woman present was thrilled when she heard my words! She was made in the image of God? And not only that—she did not have to marry to fully image…

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Biblical Womanhood: Part 2

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Marriage, Women3 Comments

Several weeks ago, I wrote about biblical womanhood. Afterward a theologian posed some good questions for clarification. So I’m using that conversation as a Q/A here to help further explain what it means to be a woman as God designed her. His statements are bold; my explanations follow:  You say of woman that, “She is an image-bearer,” but then argue that because “she” is an image-bearer the female bears that image completely in and of herself. The underlying assumption is that an individual human being, whether male or female, carries the whole divine image.   Woman is indeed an image bearer, completely in and of herself. But that does not mean she expresses the full range of image-bearing. Our humanity is a good parallel example. Are women human? Fully and completely in and of themselves? Absolutely. But do they bear the full range of humanity? No. We need man and woman…

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