April 10, 2012

You can’t do much more in 7 minutes, and no one in the world has been at work on this topic longer than Ben — or at least if there is anyone, he’s among those who have been at it the longest. Ben’s dissertation was on this topic — and we won’t go on to tell how long ago that was. Anyway, give it a good listen and we can discuss here.

We will post part 2 of Ben’s presentation Thursday.

October 16, 2011

From Sharon Hodde Miller:

Women’s ministry, as a form, is in the midst of a massive shift. Many women’s ministries have responded to the outcry and evolved, but the stereotypes have not always changed accordingly. Rather than doing justice to the change, broad stereotypes have remained, further stigmatizing women’s ministry in the minds of female church-goers.

Nowhere has this stigma been more apparent to me than in my efforts to involve young women. In most of the churches where I have served, the 20-somethings have been all but absent from women’s ministry events. This younger generation has grown up hearing about “fluffy” women’s ministries, and the stereotype has become entrenched. Even when change is happening in their churches, many young women persist in the belief that all women’s ministries are inherently superficial.

An additional tension raised by these stereotypes is the attitude that often accompanies them. In the interest of improving women’s ministry, there is a tendency to belittle women who have done it differently. I am guilty of this. In the past, my critiques of women’s ministry were not only unfair but often condescending. I painted in broad strokes and I was ungrateful for the contributions of the women who had gone before me. I did not distinguish form from function, ignoring the reality that in some parts of the country, a tea party is exactly the kind of outreach event that a non-Christian, middle-aged woman might attend.

Women’s ministry is not a monolithic movement. As some women’s ministries begin to change, it is important that our language reflects the complexity of this shift. Old stereotypes and blanket condemnations can be just as detrimental to the growth of a women’s ministry as its own frivolous methods. Prophetic correction is indeed necessary at times, but the line between constructive criticism and destructive cynicism is a fine one. Too often our conversations about women’s ministry have fallen on the wrong side of that divide, so we might consider hope as a categorical alternative. After all, women discipling women is certainly worth getting excited about.

March 14, 2011

February 14, 2011

From a FB friend, now edited just a bit:

Thank you again for visiting our church in San Diego. Your talk was invaluable. Although I am in seminary, I am relatively new to the evangelical world (and the bible in general). Having always been a strong feminist, I was surprised to discover that much of the church culture (at large) left me feeling like I didn’t have a seat at the table (and that I had travelled in a time capsule back to the 1950s). As a never-been-married woman in my forties, I’ve been trying to sort out where I take my passion for the Word that hit me like cupid’s arrow a few years ago.

My seminary is a very pro-women seminary but your stories of stellar students leaving their initial vocational calling made me sad and I could identify on some levels.

So, thanks again. Men need to speak on these issues as much as (and if not more than women) because when women do, they can be viewed as being “over-emotional” about things…


Name withheld

I spoke at Journey church in San Diego and had a Saturday morning session where I spoke about women in ministry from my book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible.

December 6, 2010

From Arise:

I’ve taken this entire post, apart from the questions, from the CBE newsletter linked above. The post is by Alan Johnson (ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) and he is Emeritus Professor of New Testament and Christian Ethics, Emeritus Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics (CACE) at Wheaton College, and editor of How I Changed My Mind About Women In Leadership.

*     *     *     *     * *

I’ve seen folks change views, but this one is a particularly difficult one for many because the issue of women in ministry and egalitarianism have become politicized issues. What are some good examples of people changing views? What are the obstacles of changing one’s view on women in ministry?

I was recently told that to be a member/inner circle of an official organization, whose name need not be mentioned, one had to be complementarian — and any suggestion of being an egalitarian meant one should withdraw. The person who told me this withdrew.

We had a wonderful opportunity at the 2010 Evangelical Theological Society meeting, held in Atlanta, to present some of the stories found in How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership. We were able to secure four consecutive sessions in which three of the book’s twenty-seven authors presented their stories. This was followed by a panel session devoted to reflections on the place of “lived experience” and biblical interpretation as they relate to gender. The presentations were well attended and well received, and I was aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence and oversight in all that took place in these sessions. What follows are a few highlights of the afternoon.

The first presenter was Dr. Alice Mathews (author, dean of Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and Radio Bible Class Bible Teacher). Alice stressed the “fear” factor that keeps us from thinking outside the box in gender issues. Sometimes, pastors’ opinions can be perceived as the word of God and what is “sacred” becomes unalterable. To not obey them (the pastors’ views) is to disobey God and this is often how fear is generated. She comments further, “During the 1990s, denominations that had formerly been open to the full ministry of women as pastors and teachers began tightening down on women. The rhetoric supporting this shift exacerbated the chasm between the camps of those who supported women in leadership and those who denied it. And women wept. In the past two decades, I’ve come alongside scores of Christian women who, like me, have felt trapped between God’s gifts and a church saying ‘no’.” (more…)

December 2, 2008

Another letter about women in ministry … and this letter illustrates a very important point we all need to be aware of in “applying” the Bible: each culture summons us to live in ways appropriate to that culture. But, and this is important too, the Christian will work for kingdom conditions to work like yeast in each culture so that God’s ways of justice and peace and love will become living realities. But, it means beginning in different places in different locations. Here’s a letter from one of our former students, now in Burkina Faso. How would you advise Ben?

Dr. McKnight,


I hope the school year is
going well for you and I’ve been keeping up with your blog as much as I
can here.  I’m still in Burkina Faso Africa probably until May or June
and I’m still wrestling with a ton of issues.  One of them is the issue
of women in ministry and a woman’s place in the church. 


December 1, 2008

One of the arguments of our new book,The Blue Parakeet, is that any church that calls itself biblical must permit women to do now what they did in the New Testament, and that includes prophesying, teaching, praying and founding churches. I was encouraged by the following letter. We want to hear today from those folks who are working at opening ministries to women … what are you struggling about? what gains are you finding? what strategies are helping? why the resistance to do what the Bible permits women to do?


You do not know me, and I can only imagine the amount of email that you receive each day. I want to say this is a complimentary email – as the subject line may cause you wonder.This is in reference to your wonderful new book The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible


May 10, 2007

Here was my question on Tuesday’s post (with comments still coming): ‘Why are some choosing to be “biblical” on this issue and not others in the Western world? And, in light of our lengthy series on women in ministry, why are they choosing to be “narrowly” biblical? That is, why are they focused on 1 Tim 2:11-15 or 1 Cor 14:34-35 and not on “what women did do and making sure that they still can do those things”?’ You’ve had your go at it, and here is my answer — the seven (yea, eight) faces of fear — and I keep thinking of more and other ideas. |inline

May 8, 2007

Michael Krause Kruse, an uberblogger who comments here in such a way that at times he keeps the conversation rolling, wrote this on the blog last Saturday and I want to pick it up today and then ask his question in a slightly different manner. Michael’s comment is in italics: |inline

April 26, 2007

Tuesday morning our “Women, Mary, and Jesus” class listened to the story of Erika (Carney) Haub, whom our school supported to bring to campus for our class. Erika was a legend in my early years at North Park, but I never had her as a student. Not infrequently the observation is made that one of the most compelling apologetics for women’s ministries is the compelling story of a woman. I think Erika’s is one: |inline

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