Women's Issues

Why I Tell Every Woman I Know To Read "The Gift of Fear"

It seems trite to say, “This book changed my life.” But The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker changed the way I think about how to protect myself and my kids from abuse and violence—which changed the way I view the world, and how I act in it. I have no hesitation recommending this as a Must Read for every woman, and every man who is concerned about the women in his life.

I used to think it was my Christian duty to allow myself to remain in uncomfortable and compromising situations because I needed to be friendly, gracious, and live up to my responsibility to witness to everyone I came in contact with. I thought I had to tolerate behaviors I felt were disrespectful and, at times, downright rude, because I was supposed to ‘turn the other cheek,’ be forgiving, love others as God loved me… Doubts or uneasiness were dismissed as the kind of fear condemned in 2 Timothy 1:7, or just female hysteria.

I felt trapped until I read The Gift of Fear, in which de Becker explores the patterns of violence and gives women (and men) the tools they need to listen to their instincts and predict possible danger: Read more about Why I Tell Every Woman I Know To Read "The Gift of Fear"

Teach Like a Girl

Doris Day in "Teacher's Pet," 1958.

Over the holidays, I took a bit of time away from writing. In a pastor’s family, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are one full-out sprint. There’s all the normal busyness as well as a full calendar of Advent-related activities—pageants, cookie exchanges, evening fellowships, and caroling. Once we hit Christmas Day, though, things tend to settle down, and I have time to visit with family and do extra reading.

One of the books I discovered over the holidays is a collection of vignettes about the women of the New Testament. I was prepping for this year’s women’s Bible study at church and like any good teacher (who is consistently running just shy of deadline), my first stop was the Amazon search engine. I typed in “Women of the New Testament” and one of the first entries was written by, of all people, Abraham Kuyper. Apparently in the midst of reforming turn-of-the-century Dutch society, establishing an entire branch of theology, and pastoring multiple congregations, Kuyper also had time to write on women of the Bible. (Abraham Kuyper: Statesman, Theologian, and Father of the Modern Women’s Bible Study?) Read more about Teach Like a Girl

Who's Afraid of Proverbs 31?

mom

Any woman who has been part of organized women’s ministry knows that sooner or later you’re going to encounter Proverbs 31. This passage is a mainstay for discussions about Christian womanhood; and in our consumer-driven culture, it graces everything from Bible covers to handbags to refrigerator magnets.

But recently, several women have been challenging a typical approach to this text. At the recent Q event, Women and Calling, progressive blogger and author Rachel Held Evans reiterated her long-standing concern that we tend to misuse this passage, making it more of a “Pintrest page come to life” than the poem it is. Sarah Bessey makes the same point in the recently released Jesus Feminist. She writes:

Some evangelicals have turned Proverbs 31 into a woman’s job description instead of what it actually is: the blessing and affirmation of valor for the lives of women… It is meant as a celebration for the everyday moments of valor for everyday women, not as an impossible exhausting standard.

These women have a legitimate concern. How many Mother’s Day sermons or Bible studies have turned Proverbs 31 into a checklist? How many times have teachers used it to reinforce their private applications of gender? How many times have you felt defeated from just listening to such sermons? So let me go on record as saying that I agree with Evans and Bessey. With one caveat. Read more about Who's Afraid of Proverbs 31?

Woman in the Image of God

image

Last month, Edith Schaeffer passed away at the age of 98. Despite the potential to have been overshadowed by her husband, Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer, she held her own as a writer and thinker, delivering a message of joi de vivre and teaching a generation of women that there is power in the small moments, that even things like mothering and domesticity are an expression of God’s image. She taught us that when God takes up residency, our homes will be filled with His nature—filled with art and music and beauty and wonder and hospitality and joy.

But something’s happened to Christian women in the subsequent years—something that I’m not sure even Mrs. Schaeffer herself would approve. Over the last several decades, we’ve flipped the paradigm; instead of seeing womanhood (and all that comes with it) as an expression of imago dei, we’ve come to see our womanhood as an end in itself. We’ve come to believe that our core sense of self rests in our gender and our ability to conform to certain paradigms. And in doing so, I’m afraid we’ve developed a bit of identity myopia.

This idea has been rolling around in my head for a while now, but I didn’t quite see it clearly, didn’t quite have the words to speak it, until one day. It was the same day that I resolved to start blogging. It was the same day that I realized that my daughter was growing up. Read more about Woman in the Image of God

Pages