Category Archives: theology

Life under Patriarchy: Death by a Thousand Cuts

Part of my journey towards healing is examining the wounds of my past. Wound-care is often messy and uncomfortable. Time to examine more cuts.

I love writing. I love teaching. I love studying the Bible. For years, I considered starting a blog, but because of my arrogance towards the mommy-blogger phenomenon, I never did. (I repent.) Then we left our church. When we left, we assumed we would hide and heal at the local megachurch. Then covid happened. Then the January 6 insurrection happened. Then I got on social media and witnessed the racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and about every other -ism and -obia of Christian leaders I had been taught to respect. Eventually, my husband and I realized we were leaving something much larger than our local church—we were leaving conservative white evangelism. (Categorizing the american church is tricky, but that’s the best phrase I currently have to describe my heritage.) I started writing trying to process it all. Very little of my writing has “positively” explored spiritual tensions the way I originally envisioned. I keep wondering when that day will come. Someday soon, I hope, but not yet. Recently, I read a series of poems by marla taviano, a woman on her own journey out of “white evangelical indoctrination”, that captured the state of mind in which I currently find myself. I have found catharsis and understanding in her words. Allow me to share them with you. (For my readers that may be offended by cursing, please forgive the language, but sometimes cussing is a needed way to express deep emotions.) These poems come from marla taviano’s book jaded, a follow-up to her book unbelieve.

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Language: Labels & Longing

Musings on why I do not love the label egalitarian

I don’t love the label egalitarian. I claim it, but labels are tricky things. Though often necessary to quickly capture complex subjects in easy, accessible language, the very act of simplifying people and ideas into labels obliterates nuance and oversimplifies complexity.

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Rule & Desire Revisited

This article is a follow-up to an earlier post, Age of Patriarchy: Desire of Woman & Rule of Man.

I enjoyed writing Age of Patriarchy: Desire of Woman & Rule of Man. It’s probably my favorite article I’ve written thus far, but ever since I posted, I’ve had a nagging feeling it’s incomplete. In the original, I mixed interpretive layers and oversimplified the connection between Woman’s desire in Genesis 3:16 and Man’s desire in Song of Song 7:10. In this article, I want to flesh out and offer some deeper insights as a companion to my first post on desire and rule.

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The Apostle Paul Led Me Out of Patriarchy

Three influential factors that led me out of complementary/patriarchal theology: the racism inherent in allowing white women to teach BIPOC men overseas but not white men in our own churches, the wake of devastation left in my own church from the vacuum of female leadership, and…the teachings of Paul.

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Love & Submit ≠ Husbands Lead, Wives Submit

Jesus teaches the foundation of Christianity is for all believers to “Love God” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Later, Paul expounds that love includes mutual submission: “Submit to one another” (Ephesians 5:21) before he breaks it down into wives submit, husbands love—NOT wives submit, husbands lead. Nowhere in the Bible does it explicitly state, “Husbands lead, wives submit.” When the church twists the Christian message of mutual love and submission into “lead and submit,” LOVE is lost.

In a recent social media post, my husband captured the corruptive nature of complementarian theology (male leadership/female submission) in marriage no matter how well-intentioned the couple. Thought I’d share.

My wife and I were “healthy” complementarians for a long time, and worked to make decisions mutually, but it’s pretty insidious how the mindset of “Godly women submit” seeps into everything. For a woman, you can’t truly have a voice when you’re taught theologically that your voice is not as valuable.

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Age of Patriarchy: Desire of Woman & Rule of Man

When Adam and Eve chose the rule of humankind over the rule of God, they tragically ushered in the Age of Patriarchy

I fell in love with the erotic poem Song of Songs in the Bible when I was twelve years old. Of all the different ways a young girl could receive her sexual education, I’ll be forever thankful that mine was partially formed by a poem celebrating mutual male and female ecstasy. The Song revealed that sex was a good gift, and the refrain “do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” taught me that it was something powerful to be handled with care. I do not regret those lessons. Song of Songs guided me well during my sexual awakening, so it’s fitting the Song again led me to a spiritual epiphany during my mid-life crisis of faith when I discovered the “desire” of the man in 7:10 is the same “desire” of the woman in the Genesis curse.

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Heaven & Hell on Earth

Would being in heaven with a God you hate be hell?

Before any discussion of hell begins, I want to establish first and foremost I believe God is Love. Goodness, Justice, and Mercy are bound up in the previous statement. I also humbly accept that I see in a mirror dimly. I do know my personal convictions about God have changed how I live this side of death, but I’m ok if my hot take on heaven & hell is completely wrong. There’s no way to know. As has often been quipped, ”The dead tell no tales.” That being said, I know the way heaven/hell has been taught and understood by many of my peers is often a stumbling block to their ability to trust God’s Love, so I think it’s a beneficial conversation to have.

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Holy Tension

The difficulty of holding the tension of seemingly opposed truths create many of the dividing forces between different sects of Christianity. Danger arises when you cling too tightly to one facet of truth, and completely lose hold of its complement. Extremes move away from the truth and love found at the cross.

I wish I could more easily convey a 3D image, because belief systems are complex and a linear spectrum oversimplifies.

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Sexual Healing in the Song of Songs

I wanted to share specific ways I found sexual healing in Scripture as a woman raised in a Christian culture that overwhelming focuses on male sexual desire.

God works in mysterious ways. All references in this post come from Knowing the Bible: Song of Solomon, by Jay Harvey. I don’t overall recommend the study guide because of its patriarchal framework, but God met me where I was at on my journey. I was freed from some of the trappings of patriarchal teaching and found sexual healing during a deep study of Song of Songs.

1. The female singer initiates sex. The poem opens with her desire:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth…
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Song of Songs 1:2-4
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