The Truth About “Headship” –A Podcast Interview with Dr. Philip Payne

The Ezer Group Podcast #1 What Is Headship, Really? New Testament scholar Dr. Philip Payne discusses the meaning of “headship.” Does God intend a husband to be the “leader” of a wife? Does “headship” mean he has the role of authority in the relationship? Does biblical submission require a wife to yield “the final say” to her husband in decision-making? Dr. Philip Payne covers these questions and more. He explains why “plain readings” of Scripture, in modern English, often fall…

Love, Respect, and What to Write Your Valentine

What’s really going on in Ephesians 5? A pastor once preached that Valentine’s Day is a great time to practice gender roles. The words written by men and women on romantic cards have theological significance. “I show love to my wife,” he said, “when signing her card: ‘Love, Dave.’” (name changed) Although counter cultural, the pastor advised, a wife should pause before signing a card to her husband with the popular expression of love. Theologically it is better for her…

How I Met My Inner Ezer

7 Suggestions for Ditching the Past and Embracing Your Truest Self I recently watched a recording of a youth group skit from high school. Three guys pranced in frilly dresses to Aretha Franklin’s iconic song: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Shimmying and flipping fake hair, the guys lip-synced: All I’m askin’ Is for a little respect . . . Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home (Just a little bit) mister (just a little bit) . . . My stomach cringed,…

Merry Christmas In A Messed Up World

“I’ve never looked forward to Advent as much as this year,” a pastor friend recently said to me. With ongoing news of global tensions, abuses, and suffering, many of us feel tired and off kilter. As Christians, we remind ourselves that “God is still on his throne.” But as the world brims with heartbreak, it’s easy to wonder, “Has God has taken a hiatus?” In the weeks before Christmas, many of us set up a wreath and light candles in…

Late Bloomer- Why I Started The Ezer Group

“How about we try you out for a few months before making a decision?” It seemed an odd end to a job interview, especially from a mega-church whose parking lot boasted sections named after the books of the Bible. The advertisement for a position ministering to teenage girls had mentioned pay. “Didn’t the ad include compensation?” I willed myself to speak calmly though I felt like snapping: Do you think my life is an infomercial with a 90-day trial period?!…

Why I am an Evangelical Feminist (Part 2)

It’s time to rethink feminism. Read Part 1. For a long time, I distanced myself from feminism. Mostly, I didn’t want to be labeled by it, or any other human-made category. Growing up in the latter part of the 20th century, I heard more than a few jokes about “women’s libbers” and “femi-nazis.” It shocked me when some heckled feminism for “bra-burning.” It wasn’t difficult to steer clear of a movement that was the butt of so many jokes. Back…

Why I Am an Evangelical Feminist (Part 1)

It’s time to rethink feminism. For a seminary internship, I became involved in a non-profit organization dedicated to building peace and safety in Christian homes. Assisting my professor Dr. Catherine Clark Kroeger, I began seeing shadowy corners that hide horrific treatment many women face behind closed doors. Most of us don’t realize that intimate partner abuse affects Christian homes just as frequently as secular homes. A 2010 national survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 1…

Are Women Taking Over Your Church?

Decorating may not be the sing of a coup. “Women are trying to take over churches,” the man glanced my way. I shifted in my seat, hardly believing my ears. He said it after I introduced myself as a seminary student to the men gathered to plan a non-profit fundraiser. I contemplated ignoring the comment or telling him off. Neither reaction seemed a constructive means of winning friends and influencing the men in the room. The earth swirled as—yet again—I…

Barbie, We Need to Talk

My daughter approached me with Barbie’s plastic head in one hand and her torso in the other. “Mommy, can you fix her?” Growing up, I’d learned to snap the head back on. It didn’t appear that my daughter’s Barbie would fare so well. The rim of the neck had cracked apart, rendering the swivel useless. Short of a neck brace, or miracle glue, Barbie would remain headless. I felt a little relieved. It’s not that I relished the doll’s demise,…

You Don’t Have To Do It All And That’s O.K.

Growing up, my sister and I giggled over a “super-weird” television commercial—A sexy blonde supermodel belted the praises of a perfume that unleashed superwoman abilities. Evidently Enjoli enabled looking glamorous and working round the clock. Shimmying across the screen, the woman exuded energy for bringing home a paycheck, reading to the kids, and giving her husband a great time in bed: “I can bring home the bacon! Fry it up in a pan! And never let you forget you’re a…

Never Worth Less- Women’s Immeasurable Worth in the Body of Christ

In my early twenties, I helped plant a church. At that point in my life, I’d never heard of biblical equality. All I knew was that men could lead men, women, and children, and women could lead women and children, but never men. I don’t recall anyone explicitly explaining those distinctions; it was just how things were. People stuck to their roles, and it didn’t occur to me to question that until I nearly fell off my folding chair one…

Why Your Story Matters

Last week, after #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear went viral, a new hashtag labeled it “a megaphone for bitterness.” #Winsome encourages those who are upset about how they have been treated by churches to express their discontent more positively. The Merriam-Webster definition of winsome suggests that those who are upset should act: 1) generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence; a winsome smile 2) cheerful, lighthearted. The hashtag urges women to work out their painful stories privately. Thankfully women and men…

What Not To Preach About Womanhood

The responses to #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear show the desperate need for Christian communities to end sexism rooted in bad theology and faulty human traditions. With Mother’s Day around the corner, here are some considerations for pastors preparing messages that honor women. “At the heart of every woman,” a pastor once commented on Mother’s Day, “is a God-ordained desire for beauty, marriage, homemaking, and motherhood. If you doubt it, check out the covers of women’s magazines at the grocery store.” I chafed at…

On A Plane and In a Pulpit

“Where are you headed,” asked the man seated beside me on a plane to Philadelphia. I paused, debating whether or not to say that I was on the way to a conference on biblical equality. “Just a conference. What about you?” I felt relieved when the conversation turned to his business trip and he didn’t ask anything further about the conference. Not knowing where he stood religiously, whether or not he had a relationship with Jesus, I hesitated to admit…

The Truth About the First Couple

At some point, on creation day six, God made an incomplete human. It’s odd, really, the way it came together. God created the man in the same breath as explaining the purpose of his relationship with his [soon-to-be] counterpart: “Let us make humankind[1] in our image, according to our likeness; and let them[2] have dominion … ” (Gen. 1:26, NRSV) Until then, God’s words had achieved spectacular design—infinite space, heavenly bodies, the earth, vegetation, land, sea, and animal life. Prior to gathering some dust, and…