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

Blog Posts About Women, Gender, & Faith

Women Rule!

By Gender & Faith, Uncategorized3 Comments

A bestselling Christian writer tells men that God gave dominion to Adam and his sons after him. Ahem. Au contraire, mon frere! That’s true, but it’s only half of the story. Write “women rule” or wear it on a t-shirt, and you risk having people look at you askance or label you a femiNazi. But women do rule. In fact, subduing the earth, managing its fish and animals and plants, is a big part of what woman was born do to. The first purpose we see for woman—we find it in the mind of God, even before we read the story about woman being created as a helper—is that God created humans, both man and woman, to rule the earth. That is the ideal. Consider my source: Genesis 1:26–27: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish…

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Quoting a Classic

By Women3 Comments

While we’re on the topic of dead authors, here are some of my favorite quotes from John Steinbeck in East Of Eden: She must have had a pelvic arch of a whalebone, for she had big children one after the other. When angered she had a terrible eye which could blanch the skin off a bad child. He lived in a world shining and fresh and as uninspected as Eden on the sixth day. “There’s a capacity for appetite,” Samuel said, “that a whole heaven and earth of cake can’t satisfy.” The thoughts came timidly up to the surface like children who do not know whether they will be received. Most children abhor difference. They want to look, talk, dress, and act exactly like all of the others. If the style of dress is an absurdity, it is pain and sorrow to a child not to wear that absurdity. If…

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Dan Brown on Gender

By Gender & Faith, UncategorizedNo Comments

The first time I got acquainted with The Da Vinci Code, it was several years back when my friend, Karen, loaned me her CDs of the book. Tonight I finished reading the print copy. And I have to ask this: Is it just my observation, or does Dan Brown seem fixated on sex? Reading the book reminded me of a joke a youth pastor once told us about a man who went to a therapist. The therapist drew a picture of an elephant and asked the man, “What do you see?” and the reply was, “Sex, sex, sex.” The therapist then drew a circle and asked, “What do you see?” and the reply was “Sex, sex, sex.” Finally, the therapist drew a straight line and asked, “What do you see now?” The reply again was, “Sex, sex, sex.” The therapist said, “I think you are obsessed with sex,” and the…

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Are Women Worth Less Than Men?

By Gender & Faith, Uncategorized2 Comments

Do you sometimes read the Bible and get the idea that God views women as having less worth than men? If so, allow me to share with you an email conversation I had today: Question: As I read some of your blog posts, I notice you are in favor of defining women in a good light from a biblical standpoint. This is an issue I have difficulty with. It seems that sometimes the Bible is slanted toward men being the better sex, (such as the Levitical unleanliness of a female birth lasting longer than a male birth) … but that leaves me wondering why I should be happy to be a woman at all. Answer: When it comes to the Levitical law about girls being unclean for twice as long as boys, I think you may have a fundamental misunderstanding that is damaging to how you view yourself as a…

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Mothers of Mystery

By Gender & Faith, UncategorizedOne Comment

I don’t often mention it over here in the blogosphere, but in my other life I have the distinct pleasure of serving as editor in chief of Dallas Seminary’s quarterly magazine, Kindred Spirit. It is available in print format and in an (expanded) online version. Some relatives came from Washington, D.C., to our house for the holidays, oops, I mean for Christmas, and at one point my nephew asked some good questions about male pronouns for God in the Bible. We never got to finish our discussion. But on the topic of the Bible and gender, I think it’s significant that sprinkled among all the long lists of Zerubbabels and Obeds in Jesus’ genealogy, we do find five women. And not just any women. Fascinating women. In the online issue of KS we’ve featured a video clip of one of our grads, an actress, performing a monologue about the five…

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True Beauty Is in the Eyelid of the Beholder

By Gender & Faith, Uncategorized4 Comments

Right there on the AOL news this morning was a headline flashing for all to see: “How did Jessica, Denise and Others Get So Slim and Fit? See Their Secrets.” Yeah, that story ranked right up there with “Katrina Leaves Dozens Dead.” Ya think? Was it just me or have you also noticed that just maybe we have our priorities screwed up? Want more evidence? Americans spend more than $8 billion annually on cosmetic surgery. But it’s not just this side of the Atlantic where we’re forking over cash. The Scotsman reports that four in ten teenage girls in the UK consider plastic surgery. And how about this? His-and-hers and mother-daughter treatments are the latest plastic-surgery trends. And people are giving such “treatments” as gifts. (What do you write on the card? “You have too many wrinkles, so here’s help!”?) The average cost of a nose job is about $4,000;…

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Rethinking Women’s History

By WomenOne Comment

As I was driving home from taking a class this week, I gave thanks for the opportunity to get an education. My great-grandmother was not so blessed—because she was a woman. When I watch “Sense and Sensibility,” I have to remind myself that not so many years ago women were disallowed from inheriting property. When I voted in the general election last year, I exercised a right that my female ancestors didn’t share (and that women in Iraq are only now beginning to enjoy). When I worked for an insurance company, I was paid on the basis of my performance, not my gender. How easy it is to take such blessings for granted. Not so many decades ago, circumstances were much different. And the changes for the better are thanks, in great part, to the Bible…. On the first day of a secular class I took in “Women and Revolutions,”…

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Something about Mary: Truth or Fiction?

By Gender & Faith, UncategorizedNo Comments

The first time I realized there was “something about Mary,” I was taking a Ph.D. course in “Women of the Renaissance.” I wanted to look at some paintings for a project I was doing, and I did a Google search for paintings of “Mary Magdalene.” Strangely, I kept coming up with scenes that showed Mary Magdalene with her sister, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. Huh? I thought. That was Mary of Bethany. I want Mary Magdalene. It wasn’t long before I discovered that most of the painters of religious works during the Early Modern period thought Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene were one and the same. Not only that, they portrayed her as a public-“sinner”-turned-believer, and the “sinner” part was in quotes, if you know what I mean. So I did some further checking and I discovered that the confusion about Mary started about a millennium earlier than the…

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What Does “Workers at Home” Mean?

By Gender & Faith, UncategorizedOne Comment

I’ve been talking to some moms lately who wonder if it’s okay to contribute to the economics of their households. I’m not even talking about being gone from home from 7:45 AM till 5:30 PM. I’m talking about women working from home. A few biblical passages come to mind… The woman in Proverbs 31 had kids and was selling belts and buying a vineyard from her own income. This was a well-to-do woman, but she was still contributing to the economics of her household. When Paul admonished Titus to encourage older women to teach the younger how to be “workers at home” (Titus 2), he was talking about women in a culture in which, to our best understanding, more than 85 percent of the industry happened in the home. There was no such thing as a factory worker and a stay-at-home mom. Both husband and wife were usually stay-at-home parents;…

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