Notable Quotes: On Twisting Words


This quote comes from the comments section on Biblical Personhood.  The post is entitled When Soft Complementarianism is Too Hard: Part II

“Here’s what really bothers me– the way in complementarianism, definitions change depending on who’s doing it. The man in this scenario could decide to listen to his wife– he could say, ‘She knows more than me about this, so I’m choosing her way’ — and when he does that, it will be called ‘leadership.’ ‘He’s such a good leader, he appreciates his wife’s expertise.’ BUT if the thing was reversed– if the husband was the one with greater investment experience, and the wife chose to listen to him– THAT would be called ‘submission.’ ‘She’s such a good submissive wife, she yields to her husband.’

But it’s the exact same action– one partner deferring to the other’s expertise.

It’s a double standard.”

~ Kristen Rosser, writer at Wordgazer’s Words

This is absolutely true:  I see it happen all the time.  What’s happening is that husbands are functioning in the same way as wives by bringing their gifts to the marriage and using them productively.  What makes it “complementarian” is that words are used to mean different things, even though they’re talking about the same exact action.  So why is this being done?  Because it’s not really important what the husband or wife does; it’s where they stand in the hierarchy of marriage.  Husbands lead, wives submit.  So even if the wife is “leading” in an area in the marriage, they have to say the husband “defers to her”, because a wife leading doesn’t fit into the definition of complementarianism.  It’s a disingenuous, insincere, twisting of words to promote an idea.

Should Women be Able to Wear Whatever They Want?


these bathing suits are a little skimpy ladies...

There’s a very good post on Emotional Abuse and Your Faith about Mary Kassian’s teaching at the True Woman Conference(2008) entitled “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”.  You can read the entire post here and listen to Kassian’s talk, which is about how modern women fancy themselves liberated from the patriarchy of the 1950’s, and that somehow this is a bad thing…somehow.

Hannah’s post does a great job of going through each point and shedding light on the fact that while Kassian uses the 1950’s era as an example of “the good ole days” for morals and gender roles, she completely ignores the negative aspects of the times.  It’s a good post and you should read it; it will make you think, and that’s a great thing!

There is one thing from the video that Hannah didn’t comment on, though.  If you take the time to watch the video, let me draw your attention to the section from 3:38-4:00, during which Kassian refers to an advertisement in which a woman is being dragged off a beach by two policemen because she is dressed immodestly.  The woman is depicted as shouting, “Someday, we’ll be able to wear any bathing suit we want!”  (She also mentions women having their own cigarettes, but it’s a cigarette ad, so that part doesn’t concern me.)

What does concern me that is that Mary Kassian is depicting the woman’s desire to wear “any bathing suit” she wants as a bad thing.  What in the world?  Has she ever heard of the Taliban??  How women in Afghanistan would be beaten with sticks by the Taliban if their ankles showed below their burqas?  Does Mary Kassian really want women to follow some dress code of modesty at public beaches and swimming pools?  Is this the kind of world she would have us living in?  Should law enforcement be able to dictate what women wear?  It’s absolutely ridiculous and I just cannot understand the point she’s trying to make here.  There are women all over the world, right now, fighting for basic rights that we take for granted.  Being able to choose your own wardrobe would be one of those rights.  Do we Christians really want to take a stand against women being able to choose what they wear?

This is just one of the problems I have with Kassian’s teaching about the “good ole days”.  There were so many problems during that era, so much denial and pain.  Let’s not pretend it’s a golden era we’ve lost, and if only we’d follow the rules then everything would be rainbows and butterflies.  This is a lie.  It is a lie that women should not have control over their lives, their wardrobes, and their career choices.(Of course, I acknowledge God’s ultimate sovereignty in our lives; I simply believe that women should have the same autonomy that men have typically enjoyed.)  Again, I recommend Hannah’s post, as she goes through all the problems with Kassian’s view that the ’50’s were a superior decade than the current one, another lie.

The Domestic Arts


While reading this article(which is actually a critique of another article) at CBMW’s website, I was happy to see a complementarian recognize the current tendency for some Christians to idolize marriage and marginalize singles, and to acknowledge that women’s need and desire to study the deep theological themes of Scripture rather than only the themes that allude to homemaking and motherhood, has grown.


I must comment on the one little part that stood out to me, and not in a positive way(there are other good and bad points in the post, but I won’t get into them here).  The belief that women who do not embrace homemaking as a career are selfish, prideful money-hoarders appears to be alive and well among some complementarians.  Strachan implies this idea here(bold mine) ~

~”I would note that we don’t want to pit careful attention to homemaking, for example, against pondering the extracalvinisticum. Older women are called to mentor younger women, which clearly calls for biblically-fueled discipleship that will involve both doctrine and the application of doctrine (Titus 2:3-5). With many, I am grateful that the complementarian movement has seen several exemplary resources on godly motherhood and homemaking pop up in the last decade or so. May their number only proliferate. Everywhere women are being encouraged to “lean in” and leave their kids and homes, and yet there are many, many Christian women who have not bowed the knee to Facebook (sorry, Sheryl Sandberg).

Praise God for this, for the scores of intelligent, gifted, creative, well-trained, deeply thoughtful women in our churches who have embraced the scriptural call to the domestic arts. (Our culture foolishly construes “value” in terms of money and career. Did we learn nothing from the spectacular crash of Marxist thought in the twentieth-century? But I digress.)”

Here we have yet another complementarian mistaking women’s desire for a meaningful career with the sinful desire for money.  There are so many problems with this view.  For one thing, are all women who work really doing it so they can make more money and therefore accumulate frivolous material wealth?  Is the prevailing belief in our culture that both husbands and wives should both work so they can buy more and more stuff?  Yes, there are people like this in our society, no doubt about that.  But from my view, most folks I know are just trying to keep their heads above water and pay their bills.  And yes, they’d like a little enjoyment out of life, too(like the ability to get pizza for dinner now and then, not buy a Corvette or anything like that).  Many people today can’t survive on one income, really.  Many, many women work because they need the money, not because they’re bowing to culture.

There’s another aspect this author ignores; Christian women want to do meaningful things in their lives, and that doesn’t always include the “domestic arts”.  Whether it’s volunteering, writing, painting, or working for wages, women crave meaningful work.  Many women don’t enjoy the “domestic arts”, and they find themselves depressed and floundering as homemakers, wondering how they can be used in other ways. Exploring these feelings of depression and emptiness doesn’t mean they’re neglecting their home and children any more than the men who work to provide for their families are neglecting their families.

By claiming that “embracing the domestic arts” is the scriptural call for all women, and that women who don’t embrace it are “foolish”, Owen Strachan has created a divide.  He is pushing Christian women away who don’t fit the mold, women like me who question the “biblical” interpretation that leaves me with one choice(which is really no choice at all) of what to do with my life.  Now that I’ve questioned and studied the idea that homemaking might not be the only biblical role for women, it would seem that in Owen Strachan’s eyes I am no longer following Scripture, and that I’m a selfish woman who only wants to feed my pride and my bank account.  I realize that complementarians and egalitarians are trying to have an open and loving discussion about gender roles, but it seems to me that Strachan’s attitude here doesn’t leave much room for discussion.  It shuts the door in the other camp’s face.

This issue needs to be talked about without folks accusing others of being “unbiblical” or “selfishly valuing money and career” above family.  Some women find homemaking superficial and empty, or they discover hidden gifts that should be explored.  What Strachan says about women who don’t “embrace the domestic arts” isn’t going to help further the discussion; it immediately shuts it down.  This attitude pushes women away who are asking legitimate questions about the Bible.  It’s time for CBMW to get past this false idea that “real” Christian women pursue homemaking, and that those who don’t are selfish and prideful.  Now that we Christian women have been studying the Bible for ourselves, we know better.

Lost Women of the Bible: Mrs. Noah Part I



I was a bit skeptical when I saw the Carolyn Custis James included Noah’s wife in her book, Lost Women of the Bible.  There isn’t much to tell, is there?  The Bible doesn’t say very much about Mrs. Noah.  It doesn’t even tell us her name.  But it turns out that the fact that Mrs. Noah is all but left out of the narrative is what stands out about her.

~ “Mrs. Noah got lost in her marriage.  Among the lost women of the Bible, she has all but vanished from sight.  Her story(which may have been a good one) died with her remains buried to this day because the story that got told was her husband’s.  She was one of eight individuals to survive the world’s worst natural disaster, yet every so-called ‘complete’ list of women in the Bible leaves her out.”

Unfortunately, this can be said of countless women throughout history.  The accomplishments of women have been overlooked and ignored.  For example, has the average person ever heard of these two amazing women?  How about this one?  I hope everyone has heard of this woman!  Many times the female perspective of the story gets overlooked, as it did with Mrs. Noah.  Many times we are even taught that overlooking the woman’s story is the “biblical” thing to do, in order to make it possible for the men to attend to their ministries.  Mrs. Noah’s story ~

~ “remains a mystery, unknown and unknowable to us, buried with her body underneath the grass.  Still, the lack of information doesn’t prevent us from wondering.”

Mrs. Noah’s life brings about a myriad of questions about what her life must have been like.

“Where does she fit into God’s purposes in her specific time and place?  How did she contribute to God’s kingdom?  How did being God’s image bearer change her outlook on life?  What battles was this ezer called to fight?”

Poor Mrs. Noah does seem to get pushed to the side in favor of her famous husband.  But what is known about Mrs. Noah?

“Mrs. Noah lived during terrible times.  Wickedness and violence weren’t news bites about trouble happening a safe distance from ‘respectable’; neighborhoods.  The whole culture was infected.”

“Mrs. Noah could sympathize with women who live in fear of drive-by shootings.  Living in a society of violence, she was no stranger to the kinds of anxieties mothers feel when sending their children off to school where the first test they must pass each day is a metal detector.”

James points out that everyone around Noah and his family were oblivious to God’s disapproval of them, and of the impending doom they would soon face.  Everyone around her thought her husband was nuts.  Noah was in a class all his own(Gen. 6:9).  He stood out because he was devoted to God, and was mocked for it.  What kinds of struggles did Mrs. Noah have in her heart in the face of her husband’s rejection?

We also know that Mrs. Noah was married and had sons, which granted her the highest status as a woman of her time.

“In ancient times, as in some Third World countries today, the culture gauged a woman’s success and value by the number of sons she bore her husband.  Her reproductive successes determined  her husband’s stature in the community, not to mention his survival.”

Mrs. Noah was also one of the only human beings to survive this enormous natural disaster.  How depressing it must have been to lose nearly everything; most of your possessions, friends, and relatives.

“She had a lot to pass on, for she was God’s image bearer and an ezer.  With her husband, she shared the same call to know and walk with God in  a dark and evil age.  This was her high calling as a woman.”

“Mrs. Noah, along with her husband, was  a crucial member of the Blessed Alliance.”

There much that we modern women can relate to in Mrs. Noah.  We struggle in our relationships.  We doubt God, we doubt his love for us, and whether or not He is going to be faithful to us.  We worry about the future and fear the worst.  Whether married or single, we are ezers, and therefore members of the Blessed Alliance.  James defines the Blessed Alliance as the fact that “At creation, God created his image bearers—male and female—to serve Him together as a Blessed Alliance in every sphere of life. The scope of their mission encompassed ‘all the earth'(Genesis 1:26). Therefore God’s special blessing rests uniquely on this male/female partnership both in marriage and everywhere else (Genesis 1:28).  Our world is uncertain and dangerous, and we face many seemingly insurmountable problems in the world and in our lives.” 

We(and Mrs. Noah) were not meant to be marginalized; we are an integral part of the Blessed Alliance, called to work alongside men in every sphere of life.

What struggles did Mrs. Noah face?  How can we apply those struggles to our own lives?  There are many questions we can ask about Mrs. Noah that can directly apply to us now.  We can use these questions to explore our own walk with God.  We’ll explore these questions in the next post about Mrs. Noah.

Can Men Learn From Women?


Should men listen to or read Bible commentaries written by women?  Listen to this podcast featuring John Piper before reading on.

The answer is: a man can use a commentary written by a woman unless he experiences uncomfortable feelings while listening to it.

Piper says the man can listen to the commentary unless he feels like he has come under the author’s authority(even though his feelings have nothing to do with the quality of the commentary, only the gender of the author).  The only reason he has for justifying his refusal to listen to or read the commentary is that it is written by a woman and that makes him uncomfortable.  However, if the man doesn’t feel like he is under her authority, he can use the commentary.

The point of 1 Timothy 2:12 isn’t that a man cannot learn anything from a woman, Piper says.  He assures us that women do have thoughts(I find it interesting that Piper feels the need to point this out).  Okay, so women in your church DO have thoughts.  They are competent, intelligent.  So why can’t a woman have authority over a man if not because of her stupidity or incompetence?  Because of the dynamic of womanhood and manhood.  I challenge you right now to stop reading this blog now and find a verse/verses in your Bible that address the dynamic between manhood and womanhood…

John Piper says that the only way a woman should influence a man is if it’s indirect.  So what he is saying is this: it’s Biblically wrong for a woman to be direct in her interactions with a man.  That is, it’s wrong for a woman to be straightforward or frank with a man, to manage or guide him.  What do you think?  Is it Biblically wrong for a woman to be/do these things?  Does the Bible even talk about these things in regard to the way a woman should conduct herself around men?  For my own part, I aim to be as direct as possible in my communication with both men and women.  Conversely, how would I indirectly influence my husband to  listen to my council or to do things the way I think he should?  Through manipulation(notice in the definition of “indirect”, it uses words like not forthright and devious).  That’s what this teaching leads to; women manipulating men to get what they want or to even share their opinion, because they’re forbidden to be direct with men.

So a man can read a commentary by a woman, as long as he doesn’t get the feeling she has authority over him.  It’s a book, so the woman isn’t right there in his face telling him things he doesn’t know(teaching).  It’s indirect, so it’s okay, since the man can’t actually see the woman.

Piper says a man can quote from a commentary written by a woman during a sermon because she is not “in his sight” and therefore takes away the “dimension of her female personhood”.  This is gender discrimination, and he doesn’t even try to hide it.  If he can learn from a woman, it’s okay, as long as he doesn’t have to look at her female body.  We should be horrified to hear a person of such broad influence declaring such things to be “Biblical”.

The ideas John Piper expresses in this podcast are not in the Bible, and they are damaging to women and the relationship between men and women.  The challenge for us is simple; study the Bible and ask questions about what influential people teach.  Are the ideas Piper expresses in this podcast from the Bible?  Is it possible that his traditional views on gender have influenced his interpretation?

For an excellent blog post on this podcast, go here.

(As an afterthought, Piper also implies in the podcast that a man cannot flourish when he is directly influenced by the authority of a woman.  So what if my husband’s boss is a woman?  Should he quit his job?  What if he is the sole provider for the family?  Should we be thrust into poverty so my husband’s “manhood” is preserved?  It’s something to think about.)

Notable Quotes: Gender Roles and Legalism


John Piper’s view on women defending men ~

~ “Suppose a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.”

 ~  John Piper

A response to John Piper’s “Jason and Sarah” situation ~

~ “The really interesting thing here is that while Piper acknowledges that gender stereotypes do not always line up with reality, and that clinging to traditional gender roles is not always the most efficient, effective way of getting things done, he insists that it is right to cling to them anyway, even at the cost of life, limb, and a competent woman’s conscience. It seems to me that this is because he views masculinity, femininity, and the relationship between men and women as symbolic, almost a Christianized version of Plato’s Theory of Forms. In this paradigm, the individual is subsumed by the ideal, the here-and-now human relationship by the eschatological one it points toward. It doesn’t matter if Sarah has a black belt, and Jason is physically handicapped in some way–the important thing is that they live up to some cosmic ideal of manhood and womanhood, as a way of representing God and humanity’s relationship with Him.”  

~ Jenny Rae Armstrong

And another response ~

~ “The complementarianism of, say, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Owen Strachan and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood relies heavily on demanding that all men conform to rigid, prescriptive standards of manhood and that all women conform to rigid, prescriptive standards of womanhood, regardless of personality, giftedness, culture, circumstances, and perhaps most ironically, the very complementary character qualities that often make a relationship work!

This is legalism, plain and simple, for it  reduces faithfulness to a list of rules and roles that must be maintained…even when maintaining them is absurd or destructive.”

~ Rachel Held Evans

Lost Women of the Bible: Eve Part II


The Birth of Shame. BIBLE SCRIPTURE: Genesis 3:8, "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden."


The chapters in this book are long, but well worth the read!  I’m going to sum up the rest of the chapter on Eve as best I can.

From the book ~

“The Bible’s very first statement about Eve is without question the single most important fact we can know about her.  ‘God created [mankind] in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27, emphasis added).  God created Eve to bear his image – to be like him.  This is the Bible’s starting point for any definition of what is means to be a woman.”

“Eve was created to know and walk with God and to make him known to others by reflecting his character in her life.  This is a woman’s true path to fulfillment and meaning – the only way we will ever discover who we are and find our purpose.  And it is accessible to all of us.”

What is a woman’s purpose?  To glorify God and know Him.  It’s simple, and anyone can do it!  I love it because it’s completely freeing! There have been some who have attempted to define what it means to be a woman of God, but sadly, these definitions are restrictive and promote legalism.

Eve is also created to be an ezer, because, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”(Genesis 2:18)  This used to be interpreted in such a way that the woman’s purpose revolved around homemaking and  childcare.  But,

“Thinking regarding the ezer began to change when scholars pointed our that the word ezer is used most often(sixteen of twenty-one occurrences) in the Old Testament to refer to God as Israel’s helper in times of trouble.  That’s when ezer was upgraded to ‘strong helper,’ leaving Christians  debating among themselves over the meaning of ‘strong’ and whether this affects a woman’s rank with respect to the man.  Further research indicates ezer is a powerful Hebrew military word whose significance we have barely begun to unpack.  The ezer is a warrior, and this has far-reaching implications for women, not only in marriage, but in every relationship, season, and walk of life.”

Oh, how I just love this!  Women are made to be strong companions, not dependent burdens.  The traditional view of what a woman is – physically weak, too emotional, unreasonable, illogical, and in need of male protection – doesn’t sound like a strong helper to me. As James says ~

“God created the ezer as the man’s staunchest ally in the life of faith and in fulfilling the Cultural Mandate.  Together they exercised dominion and labored to advance God’s kingdom in their own hearts and on earth.”

It really is a shame that for so long, the world, including the Christian Church, has viewed the sexes as being at odds with one another.  Whether it was the perception of women as not quite human, as temptresses, or as solely put on earth to serve men, these views have been destructive to the Church’s mission in the world.  I’m hoping that through books and blogs like this one, we can learn just how important it is that men and women work together, not in separate spheres.  We are truly each other’s strongest ally, not opposites fighting for who has the most power.

“God was forging a powerful union between the man and the woman that was essential for the challenges they faced together.  Eve brought to this alliance everything God called her to be as image bearer and ezer.  God’s plan to reveal his image through humanity involved both male and female.  Nowhere does God’s image shine more brightly than when men and women join in serving him together.  This vital interaction between men and women enriches every aspect of life.  Adam needed Eve’s gifts and strengths to fulfill his calling, and she needed his gifts too.”

It’s because of the fall that we have the never-ending “battle of the sexes”.  But it’s not the ideal.  Men and women, especially Christian men and women, should be emphasizing what we have in common so we can work together.  This would mean putting aside the obsession with the “equal but different” mantra I keep hearing.  As Adam did in Genesis 2:23, let’s celebrate the creation and unity of men and women in the Kingdom of God.

Lost Women of the Bible: Eve Part I


The Serpent Beguiles Eve. - Genesis 3:1, "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"

Before I go into Carolyn Custis James’ perspective on who Eve was, let’s get a dose of some early church fathers’ view of her(and all women who came after):

Tertullian (c. 155/160-220 CE):

 Do you not believe that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives on even in our times and so it is necessary that the guilt should live on, also. You are the one who opened the door to the Devil, you are the one who first plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree, you are the first who deserted the divine law; you are the one who persuaded him whom the Devil was not strong enough to attack. All too easily you destroyed the image of God, man. Because of your desert, that is, death, even the Son of God had to die.

(The Apparel of Women, Book I, Chapt. 1)

Tertullian (160?-220?): “Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil’s doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags.”

“God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will. ‘Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error.”Luther

“What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.”
— Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church Father, Bishop of Hippo Regius, 354 – 430

Ambrose (339-97): “Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam… it is right that he whom that woman induced to sin should assume the role of guide lest he fall again through feminine instability.”

These quotes demonstrate the not-so-nice perspective Christians historically had of Eve, and therefore women.  I’m so glad there’s more to Eve than her sin of disobedience to God.  Let’s see what James says about Eve in Lost Women of the Bible.  She begins by acknowledging that we have lost sight of who Eve really was ~

 “The original Eve was lost in Paradise.  Sadly, instead of remembering her in those earlier days, the world’s memory of her was frozen in time at the worst possible moment – back in the Garden of Eden just as she swallowed a piece of forbidden fruit and served some to her husband.”

“A bite of fruit, and everyone forgot God’s stunning sixth-day assessment: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone'(Genesis 2:18).  We forget the woman he created as the perfect remedy for man’s lack.”

It rings true that  Eve has been viewed as a temptress who is responsible for bringing sin into the world.  This view has been over-emphasized and is unquestionably bad for women.  James goes on ~

“On the downside, we’re left with the impression of Eve as a temptress, which leads to the belief that women are morally weak and, if given the chance, will bring men down or seize control.  This is a fallen view of women.  On a more positive note, Eve is remembered as a wife and mother.  Yet even this poses something of a problem.  It means little girls must grow up before becoming what God created them to be.  Moreover, it excludes women without husbands or children.”

So being a “real” woman of God cannot consist of the definitions that have been popular recently; that you must be a wife, mother, and homemaker to be a biblical woman.  So how can we know the true Eve?  We have to start at the beginning with the reason the woman was created.

“If we want to recover Eve’s true legacy, we must begin where the Bible does – with her creation. ” 

God created Eve to be His image-bearer.  He also created her to be the man’s ezer – his strong helper.  She also shared the cultural mandate to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth.  The dominion of the earth was given to her and the man together(Genesis 1:26-28) ~

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

I love reading these verses.  There’s no question about it; God made men and women to work together.  Men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus; we’re from earth, created in God’s image.  There’s nothing in these verses about the woman being easily deceived, more emotional, or more suited to childcare and housework.  What is clear is that men and women were created to work together in what James calls, the “Blessed Alliance”.  James comments on this in her blog post, The Blessed Alliance ~

“At creation, God created his image bearers—male and female—to serve Him together as a Blessed Alliance in every sphere of life. The scope of their mission encompassed ‘all the earth’ (Genesis 1:26). Therefore God’s special blessing rests uniquely on this male/female partnership both in marriage and everywhere else (Genesis 1:28).

This divine mission is much deeper than deciding which view we hold on the role of women in ministry. It goes beyond logistical issues or efforts to figure out better ways of dividing the workload and getting along. The mission is bound up in how well we represent God to our fractured world.”

Eve was made because “It is not good for the man to be alone.”(Genesis 2:18).  The woman is the ezer kenegdo to the man, as in an ezer – strong helper/protector  kenegdocorresponding to/counterpart to.

There’s more to come about Eve in Part Two.

The Gospel and Homemaking


Here’s an interesting quote from the blog Girl Talk on the career of homemaking~

“Homemaking is a vocation often filled with mundane tasks and repetitive chores, most of which are performed in obscurity. It demands a colossal amount of serving and sacrifice. Sometimes between scrubbing toilets and laundering dirty clothes, we can lose sight of the significance of our calling. We look around and perceive everyone engaged in meaningful work. Everyone, that is, except us. And our vision for working at home begins to flag.

What we need is a biblical perspective. For in God’s economy, homemaking is a high and noble calling. By “working at home” we can present the gospel as attractive to unbelievers (Titus 2:4). Our homes can actually be a showcase for the gospel.”

I homeschool my kids.  I prefer to call myself a homeschooling mom rather than a homemaker.  If/when my kids go to school outside our home, I will get a job.  I’m here to homeschool, not to keep house; my husband and I share housekeeping duties.  I don’t view homemaking as my career, but if the Girl Talk ladies do, that’s their prerogative, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

What I take issue with is this statement~

“By ‘working at home’ we can present the gospel as attractive to unbelievers (Titus 2:4).”

When I read this I think, Is that what Paul meant in his letter?  Did he really mean that homemaking is what makes the gospel attractive to unbelievers??  Probably not.  There’s evidence that because of the culture during this time, it would malign the gospel if newly saved women suddenly stopped working at home and went out in public and did whatever was deemed culturally inappropriate for their gender.  If women of the day behaved this way, the new and suspect religion of Christianity would get a bad reputation.

In our culture, it isn’t shocking for women to work outside their homes, to be homemakers, or to work from home.  I’m incredibly grateful to have this freedom to choose the kind of life I want.  But, if  I choose homemaking, I must remember this: homemaking doesn’t make the gospel attractive to unbelievers; love does.  Kindness does.  Gentleness does.  So maybe, instead of attempting to conjure up some June Cleaver duplicate, we should be thinking about what is appropriate behavior for respectable women in our culture right now.  What would make the gospel attractive in light of our modern culture?  That’s something to think about…

The ladies at Girl Talk have made their choice to be homemakers and I respect their right to do so.  What I challenge is the idea that homemaking is the way for Christian women to display the gospel to unbelievers.  There must be more freedom for us women than this statement suggests.

Lost Women of the Bible: An Introduction


BIBLE WOMEN, Old and New Testament: stories, ideas, Bible study activities, historical background

I’m reading an excellent book written by Carolyn Custis James called Lost Women of the Bible.

Here is the book description from the Amazon page~

~”You know the women of the Bible, but you don’t know them like this… It’s easy for Christian women—young and old—to get lost between the opportunities and demands of the present and the biblical teachings of the past. They live in a confusing world, caught in the crossfire between church and culture. Although home and family still remain central, more women than ever, by choice or by necessity, are blending home, career, and ministry. They need strong biblical role models to help them meet these challenges. Building on solid scholarship and a determination to wrestle honestly with perplexing questions, author Carolyn Custis James sheds new light on ancient stories that brings the women of the Bible into the twenty-first century. This fresh look at the women in the Bible unearths surprising new insights and a powerful message that will leave readers feeling challenged, encouraged, and deeply valued. Rediscover and be inspired by: * Eve * Sarah * Hagar * Tamar * Hannah * Esther * Mary * and others”

Each chapter of the book is devoted to one Bible woman.  I’m going to write a summary of each chapter as I read, my purpose being to enlighten, encourage, and challenge us women to look deeper at what it means to be a “biblical woman”.  I hope to get a better understanding of the women of the Bible, whom I rarely hear about in sermons or in books written for Christian women.

In the introduction, James explains why she wrote the book.  To summarize, she grew up in a Christian home, a pastor’s daughter who attended church regularly.  James assumed, that as a Christian woman, she would become a wife and mom; this is what Christian women did, so she didn’t expect it to be different for her.  She would graduate high school, go to college, and find a husband.  But when she graduated college with no engagement ring, and a decade passed with Carolyn finding herself still single and childless, she began questioning her idea of what it means to be a Christian woman.  When she did eventually marry, she was surprised to find that her new husband didn’t want her to be submissive; he wanted a partner, a person with whom he could discuss ideas and make decisions.

James says as Christian women,

“we face a conundrum.  When we look at what the church is saying about women in contrast to the message coming to us from contemporary culture and from circumstances we can’t control, it seems that either we are out of step or the Bible is.  Given the vast opportunities, demands, and realities we face, not to mention our differing gifts and personalities, the Bible’s message for women seems wooden and limiting.  The pattern for women handed down to us in the church simply doesn’t fit all sizes and shapes that women come in these days.”

I can relate to this in my own life and in witnessing the lives of other Christian women.  When my marriage didn’t turn out the way I thought it would(it turned out better!), when motherhood wasn’t as natural to me as I thought it would be, and when I realized that I absolutely HATE cleaning and organizing(homemaker fail!), I thought, what’s wrong with me?  I questioned my purpose as a woman.  I read books, read the Bible and prayed.  I then realized it isn’t me; it’s the limited options I was presented with concerning what it means to be a Christian woman.  I have also seen Christian women’s personalities and gifts crushed in the role of homemaking, motherhood, and submission, as it is a limiting role they don’t fit into well.  The gifts of women are sometimes put to better use outside of the home and motherhood role, they just don’t know it because it hasn’t been presented as an option.

Custis says of women in the Bible,

“Looking closer, I began to see many women who, like me, didn’t fit neatly into the traditional paradigm.  Strong women like Tamar, Rahab, Deborah, Jael, Priscilla, and Junia have always posed problems for interpreters because biblical writers clearly admired these women and held them up as outstanding examples of godliness even though their conduct broke with accepted convention.  They were daring, took the initiative, and courageously exercised leadership, even in their interactions with men.”

I find this statement comforting and intriguing.  Christian womanhood(or biblical womanhood) is more than being a wife and mother(both wonderful things), and it’s more than being a submissive helper.  I’m excited to find out about Bible women who were “daring, took the initiative, and courageously exercised leadership”.  I believe the Church needs more women like this, who aren’t held back by a limited view of what it means to be a Christian woman.

The first chapter of the book delves into the life of Eve.  That will be the subject of the next post in this series, Lost Women of the Bible.