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

Blog Posts About Women, Gender, & Faith

My Favorite Parenting Advice

By Life In The Body, Marriage, WomenNo Comments

My husband and I cut our chops in vocational ministry by serving teens and college students. So long before we brought home a baby of our own, we saw the kind of parent/child conflicts that can tear apart the strongest of families. Because we paid our way through grad school in part by “housesitting” in some homes that came with kids while parents traveled, we had a solid dose of parenting experience before we ever got started. There was the toddler who cried the entire weekend because he had separation anxiety. There was the daughter who took off to go camping with the boys’ baseball team. And I can’t forget the drug-using son who jumped out his second-story window, broke into his brother’s car, stole it, and took it four-wheeling in the river. The next morning, he swaggered up the front sidewalk as if nothing had happened. Other people’s kids…

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What is Intersex, and What Does the Bible Say about It?

By Gender & Faith, Life In The BodyOne Comment

We see the acronym LGBTIQA, and we might not even know what every letter stands for. To have conversations with people who self-identify in any of the represented categories, we need some basic language for communication:  The acronym LGBTIQA stands for: 1) “L” – lesbian 2) “G” – gay 3) “B” – bisexual 4) “T” – transgender 5) “I” – intersex 6) “Q” – queer/questioning 7) “A” – asexual people and allies (Notice “homosexual” is not on the list—many consider that word “Christianese.”) Recently, I have had conversations with Christian leaders who’ve told me, “I don’t even know what intersex is.” I also hear people quoting Genesis’s beautiful words, “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created” (Gen. 5:2) as a prelude to insisting that the Bible teaches there is no spectrum, that everyone fits neatly into…

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Jesus and Sexism

By Gender & Faith, WomenNo Comments

My post on Jesus and Sexism that ran this week on the Engage blog at bible.org: Do you believe God made male and female different? Me, too (Gen. 1:27). Does it concern you when people turn gender differences into essentialism, saying stuff like “God made women to nurture and men to do the thinking,” and call such binary thinking “biblical”? Me, too. (1 Thess 2:7; Luke 2:19). Does it frustrate you when people say God made it a women’s role (as opposed to a man’s) to cook and serve food (Gen. 25:29; John 21:9–12; Acts 6:2–3)? Me, too. Does it bug you when you see a speaker lineup for a Christian conference that leaves out minorities, including marriage conferences where only men teach? Me, too. (1 Cor. 11:11; 12:22; Titus 2:3). Does it trouble you when people say “submission” is a “female word”? Me, too. (Titus 3:1; Eph. 5:21). Does…

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Author Q&A with Elizabeth Oates

By Blog Interviews With Writers, Gender & Faith, Women2 Comments

Elizabeth Oates served as my intern more than ten years ago. Time flies! Today she’s a multi-published author with a new book out. She took some time recently to answer some questions. SG: Elizabeth, I can’t believe we have known each other for fifteen years now. You came to seminary in 2001, and graduated in ‘05. Tell me what you have been doing since then. EO: My husband and I moved from Dallas to Waco, where we’ve had three biological kids, ages 10, 8, and 6. We also have a sweet foster daughter who is 16 months old, and we are on track to adopt her sometime this spring. In between raising babies and running carpool, I’ve been writing, blogging, and speaking. I wrote my first book, Dealing with Divorce: Finding Direction When Your Parents Split Up, in 2009. And I just released my second book, If You Could See as Jesus…

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Why Peter Would NOT Want a Wife Today to Call Her Husband “Lord”

By Gender & Faith, Marriage, Uncategorized, WomenNo Comments

In Peter’s instruction to wives with disobedient husbands, Sarah, one of the godly woman of old who hoped in God, is singled out as modeling virtue. Her “adornment,” as was true of that of the other holy women, manifested itself in submission to her husband. And according to Peter, in her submission Sarah goes so far as to call Abraham “lord.” But strangely, the only time the Old Testament describes Sarah calling Abraham “lord” is in the context of an off-hand comment she makes in response to the revelation that she will become pregnant by him when they are quite old (Gen. 18:12). She scoffs and asks if she will have pleasure, and then seems further amused at the double impossibility, saying, “my lord being old also.” To contemporary male and female Western ears, the thought of a woman calling her husband “lord” seems absurd. But another text in Genesis…

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Peter to Wives: Put Off, Put On, Watch This

A Question Mark Over My Head?

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, WomenOne Comment

Last year in San Diego at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), I agreed to be interviewed about my experience as a female who belongs to a society that has only 6% women in its membership. That number even includes student members. And who knows what percentage of the female members actually attend the annual meeting. All I can say is that when I go, I felt quite conscious of my femaleness, let me tell you. (Kudos to our friends at IFL who invest in their female employees by sending them.) I asked that my remarks be connected with a pseudonym—and as a journalist I almost never make someone keep my comments off the record. Does that tell you anything? A year later, the results are in, and the report evoked a lot of conversation in Atlanta. The opinions have been quite mixed, with some insisting that anecdotal evidence/stories don’t count in research….

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Lean In ≠ Keep Others Down

By Gender & Faith, WomenNo Comments

Recently the NY Times ran an article titled “A Feminism Where Leaning In Means Leaning on Others.” The author, Gary Gutting, interviewed a feminist who was critical of Sheryl Sandberg and her approach to business in her book Lean In (reviewed on this site). The interviewee was Nancy Fraser, professor of philosophy and politics at The New School. She is the author of Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis. Fraser said, “For me, feminism is not simply a matter of getting a smattering of individual women into positions of power and privilege within existing social hierarchies. It is rather about overcoming those hierarchies. This requires challenging the structural sources of gender domination in capitalist society—above all, the institutionalized separation of two supposedly distinct kinds of activity.” First of all, this interchange provides a good example of how liberal feminists and radical feminists differ in their approaches—as different as Protestants and Roman Catholics. The liberal…

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Do Males “Image” God More Than Females Do?

By Gender & Faith, WomenNo Comments

Do male humans “image” God more than female humans image God? Both male and female were created in the image of God. Recall Genesis 1: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make adam in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule . . . God created adam in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (vv. 26–27). The image of God is male and female. One sex does not “image” God more than the other. And, in fact, male and female are interdependent. I once had a student who wept with joy when she learned this. She was single and thought she could image God only through association with a husband. We need each other. God made male and female to rule together, to multiply together, to use our gifts together, to build up the body of Christ…

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Is God More Male Than Female? Why Was Messiah a Male?

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

Is God more male than female? Of course not. Nor is he more female than male. God is spirit (John 4:24), so God has no sex. Father and Son are metaphors, not sexual identities. The early church never depicted the Father as a male human. But later…well…consider the Sistine Chapel’s “The Creation of Adam.” Michelangelo painted the Father as an old man with white hair and a long beard. But in earlier centuries, it was considered heretical to portray the Father in human form at all. Only Jesus could be depicted in art, because he did indeed come in human flesh. Matt Milliner, assistant professor of art history at Wheaton College spoke about this at Gordon College in 2013 in his presentation, ”Visual Heresy: Imaging God the Father in the History of Art.” In earlier Christian art, the Father’s presence might be depicted by gold that covers the entire interior…

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I Wish My Church Knew…

By Gender & Faith, Infertility, Marriage, WomenNo Comments

Recently Her.meneutics asked people to enter a summer writing contest addressing what they wished their church knew. More than 150 women with ages ranging from 16 to 70+ responded from across the world. Here is the list of topics they submitted.  “I wish my church knew . . .” the pain of miscarriage the importance of female pastors as role models that we don’t have all the answers that singles need ministry too that we can learn something from the LGBT community the demands of women who work the pervasiveness of mental illness to teach us how to argue the forgotten power of reciting the psalms to stop looking for the next big thing the needs of rural women what it’s like to be an evangelical introvert how to talk about addiction the ministry opportunities for adults with disabilities how to make disciples out of senior citizens what it’s really like to be a pastor’s kid…

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The Artemis of Acts 19: Not a Fertility Goddess

By Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Women2 Comments

For years I’ve been studying the identity of Artemis of the Ephesians as the earliest Christians would have understood her. I think a correct understanding of her cult has ramifications for how we read 1 Timothy. Part one of my conclusions recently appeared in the scholarly journal Bibliotheca Sacra. You can now read my first Artemis Bib Sac article online. Photo: Remains of a second-century statue of Artemis of the Ephesians that I saw when visiting Jordan, some thousand miles away.

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Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

By Marriage, WomenNo Comments

My thoughts on: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg I first learned of Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, when she did a riveting TEDTalk on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders. It has now received more than two million hits. She gave some good career advice for women in business to “sit at the table” and pursue their goals with passion. I liked her style of using personal anecdotes combined with hard stats to back up her arguments. Recently, one of my young male colleagues told me I simply must read Sandberg’s book, Lean In. What seemed to impress him most was her 35 pages of endnotes. Again, she has based her arguments on overwhelming research. Thirty years after the USA reached the 50-50 mark of male/female college grads, men still hold most leadership positions in government and industry. Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving…

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