Monthly Archives: December 2012

A New Book on Women in Luke

This book is a little gem shining in the darkness!

But a confused little gem.

F. Scott Spencer, Salty Wives, Spirited Mothers, and Savvy Widows (Eerdmans 2012)

https://i1.wp.com/www.eerdmans.com/Content/Site146/ProductImages/9780802867629.jpg

Engaging feminist hermeneutics and philosophy in addition to more traditional methods of biblical study, Salty Wives, Spirited Mothers, and Savvy Widows demonstrates and celebrates the remarkable capability and ingenuity of several women in the Gospel of Luke. While recent studies have exposed women’s limited opportunities for ministry in Luke, Scott Spencer pulls the pendulum back from a negative feminist-critical pole toward a more constructive center.
Granting that Luke sends somewhat “mixed messages” about women’s work and status as Jesus’ disciples, Spencer analyzes such women as Mary, Elizabeth, Joanna, Martha and Mary, and the infamous yet intriguing wife of Lot — whom Jesus exhorts his followers to “remember” — as well as the unrelentingly persistent women characters in Jesus’ parables.

Mary Ann Beavis tells us that this is a “welcome contribution to feminist discourse on the Gospel of Luke.”

But that’s where I am confused.

Very confused.

Recent studies have not “exposed women’s limited opportunities for ministry in Luke”. Recent studies have shown that Luke was actually the first “second wave” feminist (Jesus was the first “first wave” feminist).

I am also confused by this: “Scott Spencer pulls the pendulum back from a negative feminist-critical pole toward a more constructive center.”

Negative feminist-critical approaches ARE the constructive center.

Or at least they should be.

But what I interpret Spencer to be doing is bringing in feminist criticism to the constructive center to show everyone that, hey, this stuff is challenging but it speaks to us and can touch our hearts as women or men.

In her endorsement, Warren Carter asks: “Is Luke’s Gospel the most dangerous book in the Bible for women and men?”

Oh yes it is.

With bells on.

PS if anyone would like to contribute to radical evangelical Christianity by advertising professionally on this blog, please get in touch very soon because the cost will be going up.

The True Meaning of the Radical Christmas Message

I have heard people claiming that love and goodness is not about Christianity but about human potentiality.

This is 100% right.

And 100% wrong.

And therein lies the paradox of the Incarnation.

When Jesus came to earth she was not an imperial sycophant. No, when she showed up she showed up as a Jew in an oppressed part of the Roman Empire. In reality s/he was probably born in Nazareth to so called “illegitimate” parents, with a peasant-girl mother.

Yes, they really did suffer great hardships.

Don’t believe me? Check out this documentary on Mary. That’s right, the malestream media didn’t like what they saw.

However, while Jesus may not have been historically born in Bethlehem, he was born in the symbolic Bethlehem of our hearts.

And that’s what really matters at Christmas.

Jesus may have looked like a Middle Eastern person. But that’s only reading the radical birth narrative on one level.

Jesus cannot be reduced to white, black or mixed race. On a radical symbolic level Jesus was, and is, black, white and yellow.

But the Bible and Jesus also brought sexual equality between couples, whether LGB or T, something the hard and soft complementarians fail to understand.

And that’s not because we read the Bible with modern eyes, but because we read with radically ancient eyes.

Modern scholarship has shown that Solomon didn’t really compose the Song of Songs. One of the best reasons is that Solomon was probably patriarchal – the Bible doesn’t shy away from a warts ‘n’ all history – and the Song is anything but, contrary to what both the hard and soft complementarians will tell you.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is more likely that Song of Songs was composed by a loving couple (whose sexual orientation we cannot establish with certainty) where both partners initiate the lovemaking. As the loving couple say: “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the wild does: do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready!” (Song of Songs 2.7)

And what’s really amazing is that they composed this beautiful poem of sexual equality 2,500 years before liberal democracy.

But Song of Songs only foreshadows something even greater. Jesus also came along with a message of radical sexuality and she shocked the Jews who had never heard anything like it ever before. Even the Apostle Paul, so often misunderstood by hard and soft complementarians alike, urged couples of all sexual orientations and none, all religions and none, to engage in mutual love sharing. Just read carefully his first Corinthian correspondence, especially chapter 7, and you’ll find it flat out contradicts the misogynist church leaders.

I encourage all Sistaz in the Son who encounter misogynistic exegesis from church leaders and biblical scholars from the malestream to reflect on Rachel Held Evans’ meditations on Christmas and Mary. Rachel radically rescues the Bible from fundamentalism, sexism, imperialism, and racism. Like her reading of Mary, she has so much to teach us.

And she turns the system on its head.

She has capitalized on her hugely popular blog by encouraging advertisers to support her efforts, especially if they have “a long term advertising and branding strategy”. She suggests that “it’s better to purchase your placement sooner rather than later as we occasionally increase the prices as the site grows.”

Have a blessed Christmas and don’t forget to identify with The Poor and The Marginalized for at least this most sacred – and profane – day of the year.

Former Soft Complementarian Embraces Gender Equality: Michael F. Bird’s Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts

Here is some wonderful news! Former soft complementarian, Michael F. Bird. writes on his blog that he has reconsidered what the Bible says about the role of women in ministry. He now upholds “biblical gender equality and the egalitarian view.”

His new book is only available as an ebook:

Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Hair Cuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry
Michael F. Bird (Christmas Day)

Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts, an original digital short by author Michael Bird, offers an engaging, incisive perspective on biblical gender equality and the egalitarian view—a preference for allowing women to hold teaching and leadership positions in ministry.

What makes this book especially interesting for egalitarians is that Michael has based his change of mind on a careful reading of the Bible. Although there have already been naysayers and critics from the hard and soft complementarian camps, this answers those complementarians who are always claiming that they have the only correct view of what the Bible teaches on this matter.

The ebook will be released by Zondervan on Christmas Day. I think that this book is a little Christmas miracle!

Fourth Annual General Meeting of The Society for the Propagation of Christian Egalitarianism

We just spent a great Friday afternoon at the Fourth Annual General Meeting of The Society for the Propagation of Christian Egalitarianism. Among other things it was decided:

1. That we would start a blog. And here it is! We look forward to engaging with Christian egalitarian bloggers such as

2. To actively and constructively engage with opposing national bodies such as the National Association of Hard Complementarians and American League of Soft Complementarians. Each of these respective bodies (which used to be the National Association of Complementarians, before the tumultuous split earlier this year) also commenced blogs following their annual meetings in December. So in part, this Society for the Propagation of Christian Egalitarianism blog is a response to their own blogs.

I hope to hear from you all real soon!