Joshunda Sanders 08-06-2015
Illustration by Jon Krause

Illustration by Jon Krause

AS WE APPROACH A PRESIDENTIAL election in which each candidate’s gender is sure to be discussed, it’s worth evaluating the automatic assumptions we—yes, all of us—make when it comes to women, men, and the meaning we attribute to gender. These assumptions include everything from outright sexism to subtler forms of gender bias, such as the knee-jerk association of men with “competence” and “gravitas,” women with “incompetence” and “emotion.”

“The battle for women to be treated like human beings with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of involvement in cultural and political arenas continues, and it is sometimes a pretty grim battle,” writes Rebecca Solnit in the title chapter of Men Explain Things to Me, a 2014 collection of essays that helped coin the term “mansplain.” “This is a struggle that takes place in war-torn nations, but also in the bedroom, the dining room, the classroom, the workplace, and the streets.”

I would add, of course, that this battle also takes place in the church, our spiritual homes. After all, for women this is a struggle that’s older than feminism, perhaps as old as our faith traditions themselves. So how, exactly, can we end the battle?

The answer, it seems, lies in understanding the difference between explicit and implicit bias, the former resulting from deliberate stereotypes, the latter a growing topic in social science that doesn’t absolve us of guilt but helps us understand how biases of all kinds have been so difficult to identify, name, and change.

Christine Sine 09-02-2011

Each moment is pregnant with new possibilities waiting to be born, alive with new beginnings, God's secrets not yet heard, God's dreams not yet fulfilled. These were the thoughts that lodged in my mind as I meditated on Isaiah 48:6-8 this morning. So many good Christian people I talk to are afraid that their prayer life will become stale, their spiritual disciplines empty rituals. Some make this an excuse for their lack of discipline in prayer. And prayer does become stale and meaningless if we don't know how to stir our imaginations and awaken our creativity to new thoughts, new patterns and new possibilities for prayer.

Tools for prayer are creative opportunities not formulae for success

One of my greatest fears as I continue to share these tools for prayers is that some of my readers will see them as another formula that will make them more successful and more prayerful. Of course that is possible, but what I hope is that we will all see these as tools as ways to stir our imaginations and open our minds to new ways to express the prayers God has placed in our hearts, stimuli that awaken our creativity to the brand new possibilities of ways that God can speak to us, in us, and through us.

Julie Clawson 08-01-2011

1100801-cowboysandaliensAmericans have a hard time knowing how to respond to the sins of our colonial past. Except for a few extremists, most people know on a gut level that the extermination of the Native Americans was a bad thing. Not that most would ever verbalize it, or offer reparations, or ask for forgiveness, or admit to current neocolonial actions, or give up stereotyped assumptions -- they just know it was wrong and don't know how to respond. The Western American way doesn't allow the past to be mourned or apologies to be made. Instead we make alien invasion movies.

Tim Kumfer 07-06-2011

Smack dab in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer, obscured by old translations and otherworldly assumptions, is a radical cry for Jubilee justice

Ernesto Tinajero 03-25-2011
Recently I found a story about a friend from seminary in New York Times.
Julie Clawson 03-15-2011

Whether it was a brilliant marketing strategy or just a sad reflection of the charged atmosphere of Christian dialogue these days, one cannot deny that Rob Bell's latest book

Nadia Bolz-Weber 12-01-2010

In this season in which we find ourselves there is an anticipatory feeling in the air. A waiting, a longing, and yearning. This is a time filled with preparations and signs and symbols. Everything leads to this promised future. With our turkey stuffed bellies, we awaken from a tryptophan-induced coma of carbohydrates to the coming of what feels like the end time -- for there will be sales and rumors of sales. So stay awake my brothers and sisters because the doorbusting shopacalypse is upon us. Yet my heart was glad when they said to me, let us go at 5 a. m to the house of the Lord and Taylor. For on that holy mountain, people will stream from east and west, north and south, and all nations will come. They will turn plastic cards into shiny promises of love in the form of bigger plastic and cloth and metal and wire.  They will go down from this mountain to wrap their bits of plastic and cloth and metal and wire. They will wrap it all in paper, to wait for that day. The day of mythical, sentimentalized domesticity when the hopes and dreams of love and family and acceptance and perfect, perfect reciprocity will come to pass. And the children shall believe that they shall be always good and never bad for Santa will come like a thief in the night. No one knows the hour so you better be good for goodness sake.

Jim Rice 10-04-2010

Ever since Peter and Paul had opposing views about ministry to the Gentiles, there have been divisions in the Christian church. But rarely in the course of church history have differences among Christians been so exploited and manipulated for political gain by those outside the church as is the case today.

Jim Wallis 07-22-2010
The famed Chautauqua Institution devoted this entire week to the theme of nuclear disarmament. It is a sign of the times.
Kathy Khang 03-08-2010

Hollywood isn't real life, but when real life (mine and the lives of the actors) and Hollywood converge it is great fodder for thinking and conversation. Peter and I can't stop talking about a recent date night movie, Up in the Air, starring Vera Farmiga and George Clooney.

Becky Garrison 12-18-2009

I first connected Nick Fiedler at Soularize 2007 and have since followed the adventures of this Atlanta-based twenty-something writer, podcaster, Apple employee, world traveler, and amateur s

Edward Gilbreath 11-20-2009
In case you hadn't heard, Zondervan made a major announcement yesterday regarding the De
Logan Isaac 11-09-2009
Like so many across our country, I have been reeling about the news coming out of Ft. Hood, TX.
Randy Woodley 10-05-2009
Last week Ken Burns unleashed his new series on America's national parks, subtitled "America's Best Idea." The cinematography is incredible and Ken Burns is known as a progressive thinker.
"Ms. Baker, why are you teaching here?" one student, whom I'll call Solomon, inquired during one of our after school tutoring sessions. "You went to college," he continued unabashedly.
Mimi Haddad 08-10-2009
"Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.
Harper McConnell 06-24-2009

It was hard to miss me on the lava-rocked streets of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, while I was working for a locally led organization, HEAL Africa. I lacked the grace of Congolese women who glided across the tumultuous terrain in high heels while I tripped over the ubiquitous black rocks.

Marilyn McEntyre 05-19-2009
I recently found myself in conversation with a fellow believer who asked where I stood on the "non-negotiable" issues that seemed to him definitive for voting Christians.
Aaron Taylor 05-14-2009
A few weeks ago, I read Brian McLaren's post on this blog that caused some intense soul-searching.