• Helping women
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    Invisible Women

    The other morning at church, I was talking to one of our church leaders as he spotted one of our three-year-olds making a run for the lobby. He called the boy’s name three times, including extending his hand for a high-five, and was ignored all three times. (I’m a boy mom. I get it. The little guy was completely focused on escaping the worship center—no room for any other thoughts!) Laughing, I asked my friend, “Hey, how are you doing with that ‘feeling invisible’ thing?” He was fine with it. But there are a number of people in our churches for whom feeling invisible is no laughing matter. It hurts.…

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    Part I: Every Tribe, Language, People, and Nation

    A couple years ago my favorite seminary professor told me of a women’s mission trip to India, and that I’m going. I don’t consider myself the global missions type. I’m sort of neurotic about international travel. It’s a combination of safety freak plus control freak. (Good thing I’m married to a psychotherapist.)  Plus I have a love/hate relationship with India. But I would not turn down my favorite professor. But as the trip drew closer, my anxiety skyrocketed. Not sure how much you know about the current religious-political climate in India, but a certain group of Hindu nationalists don’t play nice with those who follow the Abrahamic religions. Some of…

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    Are the “Widows” in 1 Timothy 5 Leaders, Needers, or Both?

     One of my students, Corinne Samuelson, has spent the summer investigating what’s happening with “widows” in 1 Timothy 5. At first glance, one might think Paul was simply instructing Timothy about how to handle the many hungry older women in the Ephesian church (1:3). But on closer exploration we see a description of what might look like an office. That's a challenging question. As Corinne notes, “While Timothy would have surely understood Paul’s instructions about widows in the Ephesian Church, 1 Timothy 5:3–16 leaves today’s readers with many questions.” Each of the questions below (most of which she crafted) are worth considering when making interpretive decisions about this passage: Meaning of “to honor” (τίμα,…

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    Contraception, Onan, and Natural Law

    The history of contraception goes back nearly to the beginning. The first and perhaps only overt Scriptural reference to preventing pregnancy appears in Genesis chapter 38 with the story of Onan, grandson of Jacob. The text says, “Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s…

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    Adoption: Ten Course Corrections for Everyone

    I am an adoptive parent. I believe in the institution of adoption, and I thank God we have our daughter. That said, I’ve noticed some serious dysfunction with how evangelicals sometimes approach and/or think about adoption, mostly international. It’s time for some course corrections. 1.     We should be able to assume that Christians have the highest standards of ethics and justice. If we believe Jesus is the truth, we should be zealous about truth telling. Believers have often been so focused on rescuing that we've bent the rules, justifying our behavior by pointing to the kids’ desperation. Consequently, we’ve hurt our testimony and provided incentives for corruption. We’ve exaggerated the…