Tag Archives: Bible

My International Women’s Day Thanksgiving

Apparently, some Jewish men would wake up each morning and pray, “Thank you God for not making me a woman.” It makes me incredibly sad to think that like them, there are still too many men today who cannot imagine that being a woman can be just as exciting and energising and amazing as being a man, or react as if being likened to a woman is the worst kind of insult. And it breaks my heart that there are too many women around the world who have been made to feel less than their brothers: less valuable, less loved, less called, less empowered, less worthy. Because nothing could be further from the truth.

This International Women’s Day I am thanking God for making me a woman.

I am thanking God for the delight and privilege it is to embody my life and calling as a daughter of the King. For the exhilarating journey it has been to embrace my calling as a woman in ministry and a woman in leadership.

I am thanking God that on the day of creation He made both female and male in His image and called us to serve and steward this world He had made.

I am thanking God that on the day of His resurrection He invited both women and men to share in and tell of the new kind of life He had made possible.

I am thanking God that on the day of Pentecost He poured out His Spirit on both His daughters and His sons, young and old, empowering them to live out and proclaim the good news of the Kingdom.

I am thanking God that on the day when all things will be set right there will full unity and equality between women and men, from every tribe and every tongue, as together we experience the fulfilment and flourishing of all His good purposes.

I am thanking God that I get to live as a woman at a time when women are raising their voices and telling their stories and naming their outrage and stepping out into their calling and using their gifts and refusing to be silenced, pigeonholed, or overlooked.

I am thanking God that although I have never wanted to see myself as a ‘pioneer’ or ‘trailblazer’, that in my little corner of the world I have had the privilege of being the first woman to take on a number of roles and accomplishments. I am thanking God for opening doors that even I couldn’t see, for breaking down barriers before I realised they were there, for giving His grace to walk the road before I knew how difficult it could be, and for pouring out His joy and delight as I step into all He has for me.

I am thanking God for the many men who are my colleagues, peers, friends, and brothers, who have supported and encouraged, championed and advocated for me, and at times stood aside to give me ‘their’ place, who continue to respect and work alongside me as their equal, who listen to and learn from me, who honour and embrace my calling and my contributions.

I am thanking God for the many women who are my sisters, confidantes, mentors and mentees, who inspire and challenge me, who look up to and walk alongside me, who delight in and delight me, who enlarge my own imagination as they model all the different ways they are called to flourish as women of God, who show me more and more of how thankful we can be for God’s gift of making, equipping, calling, and delighting in us as women.

And I am thanking God that although there is still plenty of work to be done for us to lift up and embrace, include and hear His daughters all around the world, that His heart has always been and will always be towards and for them, and that He has made each of us women according to His will and for His good purpose in this world.

Thank you God for making me a woman.
Thank you God for making women.
Thank you God for women.



Engaging with the Bible beyond merely reading

If you read the Bible how do you do so?

Most of the ways I was taught are primarily individual, visual, silent, private and still.

Part of my PhD looked at ideas of emotion, imagination and embodiment in the Psalms and throughout 2017 I had various opportunities to try putting into practice some ideas to engage with the Bible more communally, orally, vocally, publicly or kinaesthetically.

I wrote an article for Fixing Her Eyes this week sharing some of my experiences and encouraging others to consider new ways of engaging with God’s Word in 2018 …

If you’re interested, you can read the article here …

Thinking out loud about Women, Preaching, the Bible and 1 Timothy 2

As a woman who teaches and preaches the Bible, 1 Timothy 2:12 is a verse in the New Testament that I regularly get asked about. I’ve talked about it many times, but have been a bit reluctant to commit pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Why? Because I love the Bible and want to take it seriously and interpret it faithfully and part of that means reading it as a whole rather than focusing on a single verse out of its wider context.

Because more has been written about that one verse than most others put together and there may not be anything new to say.

Because my thoughts are nuanced and have developed over time and may continue to do so, whereas the written word is ‘frozen’ in time and can therefore be misinterpreted as ‘final’ and ‘complete’.

Because I haven’t wanted to be judged and put in a box based on my thoughts on one single topic.

Because people might think that I am just trying to justify myself.

I could go on.

But in the end, I’ve realised that not saying something can lead to people making just as many assumptions and misinterpretations.

That some people have been told there is only one way to interpret that verse and thus assume my practice must therefore indicate that I don’t believe the Bible.

That nuance and wrestling shouldn’t preclude written conversation.

That the affirmation and encouragement of women to use their God-given gifts for the benefit of the church and the world is just too important to worry about what those who disagree with me will say or think.

Perhaps for some similar reasons, the movement of churches I am part of is holding a symposium in a couple of weeks to articulate our biblical and theological perspective on why we support and encourage both women and men into pastoral ministry.

And so in the lead up to that, I have finally put pen to paper (okay, fingers to keyboard) and written a paper I’ve called “Women, Preaching, the Bible and 1 Timothy 2.” It’s a lot longer than a normal blog post, because how else do you give broad context and provide nuance? It’s built on the work of others but also contains my own personal thoughts. It’s been reviewed by some peers I respect and trust but no doubt contains thoughts others will disagree with.

So for those who have previously asked or those who are interested, you can read or download it here: http://sabaptist.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Women-preaching-and-the-Bible-Cousins.pdf

And if you want to skip to my conclusion, it is simply this:

In the end, we are dealing with a complex matrix of biblical, theological, historical, and cultural issues when talking about women, preaching, and the Bible. We need to put our discussion into this wider context rather than assume that there is a ‘proof text’ that settles the question. I believe that the Scriptures affirm the calling on women and men to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to respond to both the call of God and the need of the world for faithful proclamation of the gospel. I believe we can wrestle with the texts that have been used to limit this calling in ways that are hermeneutically consistent and evangelically faithful and come to more generous conclusions. Let us preach the Word of God that Jesus might be known. And let us raise up the next generation of Marys, Phoebes, Junias, and Priscillas to play their part in the flourishing of the church, the witness of the kingdom, and the demonstration of the new creation yet to come.