UPDATE: there is now an ebook available for scot’s talk for $2.99. go here for more info and for links to purchase the ebook.

i try to stay out of the culture wars within our faith, truly i do, although i admit i’m not always successful. but! this makes me livid because it is condoning domestic abuse and i will speak out on it and so should you.

john piper says, and i quote,

“If it’s [the abuse] not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.”

i know i’m preaching to the choir here but this is wrong on so many counts. what piper doesn’t realize is a woman could be killed from enduring one night of being smacked. we need to stand against this sort of “teaching”. there is nothing of God in it. also, verbal abuse is just as wrong as well and women are NOT to submit to it. the power of life and death is in the tongue. as my former pastor, a complementarian, said in a sermon once: if a man ever hits you you call 911 and you call on God!

there is some good conversation happening right now on scot mcknight’s blog jesus creed concerning whether or not women and men can be friends when one of them (or both) is married: can we be friends? (a woman asks a married man). dan brennan’s new book sacred unions, sacred passions: engaging the mystery of friendship between men and women is mentioned in this post. i’ve been eagerly awaiting this book as i have followed dan’s blog faith dance for several years now. he is the to go-to guy for talk about godly male-female friendships when one or either party is married. i haven’t read his book yet but on his blog his reflections are thoroughly grounded in scripture—rather than contemporary church culture—and he even references jesus’ friendship with mary magdalene as a model. how’s that for provocative?

there is also an interesting excerpt on jesus creed of a post by a woman carolyn custis james about how our views of women influence our views of men and vice versa. she boldy takes on the ‘woman as temptress’ notion that is sadly prevalent in some churches today.

here are all the posts, now in one place, that tia lynn (beautiaful) wrote for us examining what scripture says about women’s roles in ministry and leadership. she really did a phenomenal job. i think it is interesting to note that she mentioned when she first started examining the issue of women in leadership she set out to prove that women were not to be pastors or teachers over men. after carefully looking at all of what scripture says on this issue she was convinced otherwise. i encourage you to read the whole series––preferable in order as the OT is quite important––if you haven’t already, and i trust that you will be challenged and exhorted. (fyi: there are links at the bottom of each page to the next article.)

where do women belong?

adam and eve: the first egalitarians?

eve: the helpmeet

deborah: a fundamentalist’s worst nightmare!

huldah: the lost prophetess

miriam: the first worship leader

daughters who claim their inheritance

at least it’s not a woman preaching, right?

woman at the well: the first evangelist?

jesus and women

when literalists ain’t so literal

silent church women part 1

silent church women part 2

silent church women part 3

are women allowed to teach men?

backdrop of 1 timothy

women: more easily deceived than men?

forbidding women teachers or false teachers?

the mistranslation of 1 timothy 2:11-12

the case for junia, the lost apostle

ht: next wave

**if the video doesn’t load here then go here to fora.tv**

Lise Eliot talks about Pink Brain, Blue Brain. Based on research in the field of neuroplasticity, Eliot zeroes in on the precise differences between boys and girls’ brains and explains the harmful nature of gender stereotypes.

She offers parents and teachers concrete ways they can help all children reach their fullest potential.

ht: pc

Encounters with Sexism

November 6, 2009

crossposted from onehandclapping

Every now and then I get that slap in the face reminder that sexism is alive and thriving in our world.  Sometimes it can be easy to think otherwise.  I attend a church that affirms my value as a woman, I have intelligent friends, I participate in emerging church forums, and I live in a progressive town.  So in my day to day life I can pretend that most of the world actually thinks I’m human.   And many of the people I know are uncomfortable taking a stand for women mostly because they don’t see any apparent problems.  Then come the wake up calls.

I started the week at a women’s book discussion at my church where we are reading through Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter.  I love that story of one woman’s awakening, and it served as a significant part of my journey in affirming my worth as a woman. Our discussion this week focused on how language is still often used to demean women.  When the worst insults in our culture are to call someone a girl, when women are still pressured to have sons, and apologize for birthing daughters, when in business meetings women are ignored, or forced to be and dress like men in order to compete – sexism is alive and well.  The constant blows at who we are surround us, and we all lamented that when we point out this stuff we are dismissed as angry bitches.  That whole discussion was reflective and theoretical, but then I went out this week and saw it all in play.

A couple weeks ago I signed a letter to the Presidential Selection Committee for my alma mater Wheaton College encouraging them to consider female and minority candidates for the next President of Wheaton.  Dr. Duane Litfin is retiring after 17 years of leading the college with an ultra-conservative hand.  He was selected to steer the college away from a perceived “liberal” turn in the 1980s.  So he brought his dispensational, cessationist, anti-ecumenical and anti-egalitarian views to the college.  My former pastor, a friend of his, told me as I headed off to college that Litfin’s greatest fear for the college was the growing amount of women entering the biblical studies field.  And while I was there, great efforts were taken to promote “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” and silence the students for biblical equality groups.  But now as he is leaving, there is a chance for the college to break those chains and take a stand for women.  Yet even proposing that option has met with disdain. Responses to the mere suggestion of considering a woman or minority include “You have got to be kidding me. Only in academia and government are such bogus voices funded and stroked. I feel specifically called to buy something with a pink ribbon emblem and then go wretch.” and “This is silliness. And it’s a classic example of what happens when people ignore the Pendulum of Truth” and “I do not think, however, that they should be set on finding a female or minority president. It is very likely that in doing that, they may end up with someone that will lead the school in a very dangerous direction.” Along with numerous assertions that the college should hire the most-qualified candidate, implying that a woman or a minority would not fit that bill.  Sexism is alive and well.

Then here in Austin a couple of weeks ago, the DJ’s of my favorite morning radio show were suspended for using offensive language.  The British radio host had used a phrase that sounded like a racial slur, and they laughed about the awkwardness of what her phrase sounded like.  They were suspended without pay for a couple of weeks and forced to take cultural sensitivity classes.  Since returning they have been very careful not to really say anything about other races, even stopping themselves in the middle of stories.  But the use of women as insults has continued in full force.  They constantly compare people to girls to show how weak and pathetic they are.  They use references to women’s anatomy to insult people – especially the ever-popular term “douchebag.”  Lesson learned – we have to be sensitive to other races but women are scum to be used however we like.

Similar lesson from this whole recent controvery about the Deadly Viper book.  In the promo for the book about men’s intigrity published by Zondervan, the authors made use of Asian cultural references in really inappropriate and insensitive ways.  It was obviously offensive, and a number of us in the Christian community pointed out that offense and asked for an apology.  I fully affirm that an apology was needed to my Asian brothers and sisters, and the Christian community in general.  At the same time, I was disturbed that many of the people calling for an apology were saying stuff like “I think the content of the book is great, I just have problems with the culturally insensitive packaging.”  I think they were saying that to be nice and build bridges, but in all truth the curriculum is full of sexist stereotypes that use women as insults.  The authors even have a video on their website promoting their Mancave series that is simply a series of gender stereotypes where manly=good and girly=bad.  I applaud the efforts to stand up to insensitive racial stereotypes in the church, but wish people hadn’t affirmed gender stereotypes in the process.  And I really wonder if that same group of people would put forth the effort to take a stand for treating women in the church with respect just like they asked for Asians in the church to be treated with respect.  I want to believe they would, but far too often I see sexism protected by the shield of “theology” in ways that racism can never be in our modern world.

Sexism is alive and well.  This week has just been a reminder of how far we have to go until women are respected as fully human and not demeaned for the sake of entertainment.


the books of the bible is a refreshing new bible that is not only written without chapter and verse numbers throughout the text (there is a text range at the bottom of the page) but it is also currently in the gender accurate tniv (today’s new international version). here is some info:

The Books of The Bible project encourages better Bible reading, particularly by emphasizing the reading of whole books. The result is an inviting and clean visual presentation of the Bible that can be understood and enjoyed more easily. The Books of The Bible differs from the format of most current Bibles in significant ways:

  • Chapter and verse numbers are removed from the text(A chapter and verse range is given at the bottom of each page)
  • Each book’s natural literary breaks are shown instead
  • There are no notes, cross references, or section headings in the text
  • Text is presented in one column rather than two or more
  • Books that have historically been divided into parts are restored
  • Books are presented in an order that gives readers more help in understanding
  • here are some sample page comparisons:


    you can find out more at their website and even download sample books.

    if you’re wondering what gender accurate means the following should help clarify:

    The TNIV is not gender neutral; it is in fact “gender accurate.” Gender neutrality suggests the removal of specific male or female attributes. The TNIV does not remove these attributes or “neuter” any passages of Scripture. The TNIV uses generic language only where the meaning of the text was intended to include both men and women. These changes reflect a more precise rendering of Greek and Hebrew words.

    Half of all major Bible translations use some gender-accurate language, especially translations like the NLT (Tyndale) and the NCV (Nelson). But even translations like the the NKJV and the Holman Christian Standard Bible use gender-accurate language.

    The TNIV does not refer to God by using such terminology as “she” or “our Father-Mother”. It is the commitment and firm belief of the CBT that masculine terminology remains masculine when the original texts use the masculine form.

    The TNIV uses gender-accurate language only where the meaning of the original text was intended to include both men and women.

    more info on this topic here

    this ridiculously inexpensive ($6.99) but beautifully designed bible can be purchased directly from the international bible society. it says “while supplies last” so i don’t know if it will be reprinted. i heard julie clawson mention elsewhere that the tniv may not be around for long.

    update:  here is a christianity today article on this very issue. the tniv is indeed being phased out for a new niv.

    ht: frank viola

    (one of our commenters posted this and it’s too funny not to share with all of you. thanks chris. :)

    10. A man’s place is in the army.

    9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.

    8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.

    7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

    6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.

    5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.

    4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

    3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

    2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, change the oil in the church vans, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.

    1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

    Halden on Driscomania

    June 3, 2009

    I sometimes suspect that Halden Doerge, one of my favorite theo-bloggers, only blogs about Mark Driscoll because those posts generate such massive comment rolls and visitor traffic.  But this post hits some really good points about the evangelical press’s reactions to Driscoll, and I figured it was worth cross-posting here.  One of the best bits from why do evangelicals care more about cussing than the treatment of women? is thus:

    Most everyone is talking about the fact that the problem with Driscoll is the inappropriateness of his language. Its just not okay for you to be talking explicitly about sex and cussing from the pulpit. That’s the downbeat of the current backlash, and that’s the central issue that has framed the current debate among evangelicals that run in these circles. To his credit, MacArthur (who I generally despise, at least theologically if not personally) has put is finger on the more troubling issue here. Namely that Driscoll’s sexual explicitness is all deployed in the interest of coercing women to fulfill whatever sexual whims their husbands might have. As MacArthur rightly points out, Driscoll’s regular sermons on what the Song of Song has to say about sex always ends up pointing out “obligatory acts wives must do if this is what satisfies their husbands, regardless of the wife’s own desire or conscience.” This is the real problem, people.

    Lest anyone think Driscoll is being misrepresented here, listen to just a couple quotes from one of these sex sermons: “Ladies, let me assure you of this: if you think you’re being dirty, he’s pretty happy. Jesus Christ commands you to do this.” This is misogyny sexual domination at its worst. From the pulpit we have an evangelical pastor ordering the women in his church to perform any sex act a husband might desire because, after all, Jesus commands this. In the Song of Songs. I guess. 

    I’ve intentionally avoided direct contact with Driscoll’s growing web-presence and other mediated messages because he seems like too much of a polarizer for any such contact to do much good.  I know that on a Christian feminism blog, this is far too easy a target, but it seemed worthwhile.


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