Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Teacher, Baker

Biblical Women Doing What Needs to Be Done: Podcast with Catherine Caine

Madame President, will you submit to your husband?

Earlier this year I published a little E-book called What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. I interviewed four amazing people about the E-book to see what they thought about it. I didn’t limit myself to Christians: two of my interviews were with women who aren’t Christians. Catherine Caine was one of those women.

Originally I bundled these podcasts with the book, but I’ve decided to make them available on the blog, free of charge. Why? Because of things I keep seeing. First there was the Republican presidential debate where Michelle Bachmann was asked if she would submit to her husband while president. I’m sure all of you saw the firestorm that created on both TV and the internet.

But it’s not a valid question because women are no longer the property of their husbands just like we in the Western world no longer own slaves. Just as the biblical commands to slaves are no longer applicable in today’s world, neither are the commands for women to submit to their husbands. The oldest man in the family is no longer the dictator of the entire family; therefore, the commands to the domain of his dictatorship no longer exists. It’s time for Christians to move on and refine their views of marriage to reflect the truth of marriage today: we choose who we marry and enter into marriage as two equals. Our marriages are no longer arranged by parents to get political and social power, where marriage was a power structure just as the Roman heirarchy was a power structure. There are no longer any Caesars making decrees for an entire empire, and in the Western World, there is no longer the family patriarch reigning from on high over the entire clan.

Tell me sweet little lies

The other reason I’m posting the podcasts this month is because of a horrible curriculum recently released by The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood*called “Rejoicing in God’s Good Design: A Study for Youth on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”*.

(*I’m not sending my people to these sites directly, plus I am not helping their SEO rankings. You want to see it for yourself, Google them. Ditto with Bachmann.)

Suzanne McCarthy and J. K. Gayle brought this curriculum to my attention at the end of August.

Here a couple of quotes from the curriculum itself:

While God created men to be generally oriented toward work, God created women to be generally oriented towards relationships of helpfulness and companionship.(Via Suzanne.)

This is God’s good design.

A design for male headship — leading, protecting, and providing for the woman.

A design for female submission — submitting to and helping the man; a companion-helper ‘fit for him.’

Some will be doubtful … even upset by this teaching of God’s good design for men and women. (Via J. K.)

Yes I am upset about this. But not because it’s Godde’s good design. I’m upset because it’s one big, fat lie. If you want to see a drastically different way to interpret these same verses read this: Does It Really Mean Helpmate?

Suzanne did a wonderful job showing the lie of “a man’s orientation is to work and a woman’s orientation is to helping” in her brilliant series, A Women’s Orientation to Work ( Parts 2, 3, and 4).

Yes, I released this book a few months ago with hype and marketing. And now I’m going to hype it and market it some more.


This is the reason I wrote Women Who Didn’t Shut Up and Sit Down–to show that Conservative and Fundamentalist Christianity is touting only one of the ways to interpret Scriptures. There are other ways (many other ways) to interpret what the Bible has to say about men, women, and marriage.

That’s why I’m releasing the podcasts, and that’s why you’re going to hear a whole lot about both the podcasts and the E-book in the next month or so. Because people are asking women politcians if they submit to their husbands (would a male politician be asked if he loved his wife the way Christ loved the church in a debate?).

I’m doing this because the so-called “Biblical” Council of Manhood and Womanhood are releasing curriculum that is lying to our children and teens about their relationships with each other. Sunday School teachers and youth leaders: if you want to show your kids actual Biblical relationships, buy Women Who Didn’t Shut Up and Sit Down. You only need to buy the E-book once then you can print off as many copies as you need. Make sure your kids hear a different way to interpret what the Bible says: give them a way to defend themselves and present another view when they’re told that Godde made women to be submissive helpers.

Godde made men and women as equals in all areas of life to stand by stand and show people what the image of Godde looks like: male and female working together to building Godde’s kingdom of love right here, right now.

Stop the lies. Learn the truth for yourselves. Then teach it to your children. Buy Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down Now. (Then you can listen to the brilliant podcast of Catherine Caine.)

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Catherine Caine

Catherine Caine is a Magnificence Amplifier. What is that you might wonder. I’ll let her tell you:

Catherine Caine

I help people uncover and amplify their absolutely best work – the work that brings the most profound impact into their lives and the lives of everyone around them. It doesn’t matter what the work IS – the world is still a better place every time there’s another person working to stretch the limits of their potential and create work that matters profoundly to them and to their bestest people.

I do that in three ways:

I translate and filter the jumble of thoughts ping-ponging around in your mind so you can identify and articulate your best work. There are no one-size-fits-all answers – it’s impossible to strive for splendiferous amazing work until you know what splendiferous looks like to you. (And feels like, smells like, tastes like…)

I light the path for you to discover the permission to strive for that amazing work. (Note that I don’t give you permission, I help you find your own permission. I’m not a permission idol: it’s much smarter for you to have your strength in your pocket.)

And I turn the dial up to 11, with effective, brand-consistent, conventional and unconventional, feel-good-in-the-morning, damn fun marketing strategy that focuses on identifying the people who would love the living hell out of your best work, and rocking their worlds until they adore you and can’t wait to buy what you’re selling.

You will find Catherine at Cash and Joy where she helps people like me figure out how to get the word out about our products and services. But that’s not Catherine’s real superpower. Her real superpower is storytelling. She doesn’t give you dried and worn-out facts and datum, she tells stories that help you connect the dots in your own business and make you think about how to go about marketing yourself. She’s one of the most brilliant storytellers I’ve come across online, and even if you don’t need any marketing advice, you should go read her stories.

Catherine is a secular humanist who lives in Australia. Why am I interviewing a secular humanist for an E-book about the women of the Bible? Because traditional belief about women and their place in the world, does not effect only women in the church. For years Western Christian Europe and the USA conquered and colonized most of the world and evangelized along the way. This means the beliefs that women should be subordinate to men and stay at home have traveled all around the world disguised as what the Bible says. The mistranslations and misinterpretations I cover in the book, along with the marginalization of the women in the Bible, effect women whether they’re Christians or not. Many fundamentalist Christians believe women joining the work force and wanting to be ordained and leaders in the church, is killing society as we know it. Feminism is the reason for higher divorce rates and the downfall of the family in the USA according to some fundamentalist camps. There are Christian men in the workforce who tell their female co-workers they shouldn’t be there. I want these women to have a safe place to come and find resources to help them deal with the Christian patriarchy wherever they might encounter it. I want this website to be a resource for both Christian women and non-Christian women. That’s why I interviewed Catherine.

Podcast: CatherineCaineFull.mp3


Find out what strong, intelligent, and incredible women populate the pages of the Bible. See what Godde had in mind when she created women in her image. Buy Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down.

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The Woman Who Didn't Take No for an Answer–Not even from Jesus

I noticed that the Gospel Reading in the lectionary for this week is the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman in Matthew 15. A lot pastors have problems preaching this passage, so here is some help from What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down.

The Syro-Phoenician Woman didn’t shut up and sit down, even when Jesus told her too! I think you learn the most from this passage by comparing and contrasting it to the parallel passage in Mark.

The Syro-Phoenician Woman:
One Story, Two Gospels, Two Interpretations

Mark’s Story

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone (Mark 7:24-30, NRSV).

We don’t hear much about women giving Jesus lip in our churches. In the biblical witness we find two women who talked back to Jesus: Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, and the Syro-Phoenician Woman in this passage. That these two women stood up to Jesus and talked back is usually explained away. In one scene, Martha was tired from cooking; in the other, her brother had just died: of course she’s snippy and Jesus is patient. In this scene, the Gentile woman knows that Jesus is just teasing her, and she plays along.

Martha and this woman’s backbones are covered up, their nerve shoved into a corner. Neither of these women thought silence and submission was the way to go.

“No Violence” by Ray Allen

Jesus had been healing and teaching. He fed the multitude of 5,000. He had been debating (fighting) with the religious leaders. He came to a totally pagan, Gentile area to get away from everything. He was here for a break. He was here to not teach, to not heal, to not fight. No one knew him here. He could sneak in, get some rest, and sneak out again. Or so he thought. Since Jesus was trying to stay incognito, we don’t how the woman knew he was in the neighborhood. My guess is the local grapevine. She found out a great healer was in town, and she decided to act. If she had a husband, he’s not mentioned. This mother acted on her own. She went to the house where Jesus was keeping a low profile, and there she fell at his feet begging him to heal her daughter, who was demon-possessed.

We expect Jesus to immediately act. We expect him to get up and go with this woman to her daughter, like he did with Jairus in the previous chapter. We also know from chapter 5 Jesus has no qualms about healing Gentiles: he healed the Gentile demoniac in the country of the Gerasenes. His first healing in Mark was healing a man with leprosy by touching him. But what we expect does not happen in this story.

Instead he told the woman, “it’s not right to throw the children’s bread to the dogs.” At this point (if we are honest with ourselves) our jaws drop, and we wonder “What happened to Jesus?”

A dog. Jesus called her a dog, a term of derision for Gentiles. They were unclean just as dogs were unclean. But pigs were unclean too, as well as graveyards, and Jesus did not call the Gerasenes demoniac a dog or swine. Why this abrupt change in Jesus? Does exhaustion alone account for it?

But the woman is quick-witted. She let the insult slide over her with this incisive retort: “Yes, but even the dogs get to lick up the crumbs on the floor.” Fine. If he called her a dog then a dog she would be. She accepted what dogs accept: table scraps, crumbs, whatever those at the table deem worthy enough or inconsequential enough to give.

Because this woman did not shut up (or submit to the Son of Godde), because she stood her ground, Jesus changed his mind. He had not come here to heal. He didn’t want to heal this woman’s daughter. But in the end he did heal the daughter. He did because of the woman’s retort. This woman’s daughter was healed because she talked back to Jesus, and didn’t assume her place was one of quiet submission.

Matthew’s Story

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly (Matthew 15:21-28, NRSV).

Gossip, a sculpture by Rose-Aimee Belanger. Photo by Dan McKay.

We can interpret Matthew’s version of the story a little differently than Mark’s version. This is the main reason it’s hard to say this is what Godde meant one time and forever more. The writers of the Bible gave different versions of stories with their own interpretations and for application for their own communities. In Mark’s version the disciples are invisible; in fact, they’re not even mentioned. But not in Matthew: here they are front and center. I always figured it’s because Matthew was uncomfortable with the Jesus in Mark being abrupt and rude (Matthew and Luke “fix” Mark quite a bit). But an Anglican priest I met in 2009 gave me another way to interpret this story.

Reverend Nadim Nassar grew up in Syria and went to school in Lebanon. He now lives in London. There is a very cultural thing he grew up with that explains perfectly what is going on in Matthew if we know Middle Eastern culture. In the Middle East when the eldest son marries, he still lives at home with his parents, and his wife comes to live with the family. This is because as the main heir, the eldest son is expected to take care of his parents in their old age.

When the mother-in-law doesn’t like something the daughter-in-law is doing, or doesn’t think the daughter-in-law is treating her with enough respect, the mother-in-law does not tell the daughter-in-law. She complains about it to a neighbor in the daughter’s-in-law hearing.

“Miriam, do you know how my daughter-in-law treats me? I tell her every night, dry the dishes with a towel, don’t air dry them! But does she listen to me?”

“Abraham, have I told you how my daughter-in-law doesn’t respect me? I told her to water the garden this morning. Bah! Just look at my poor tomatoes withering away in this harsh sunlight!”

You get the idea. Now take this idea and apply it to the story. Jesus is the mother-in-law. The disciples are the daughters-in-law. The Canaanite woman is the neighbor. So what does that mean Jesus is doing in this story? In Mark’s story Jesus is the one who’s being exclusive, showing the members of Mark’s community that even Jesus was corrected when he thought the gospel was just for the Jews. In Matthew, the disciples want Jesus to send the woman away, and he takes a minute to teach the disciples (Matthew’s community) the gospel was not just for the Jews.

Jesus: “Look at my daughters-in-law thinking Godde is just for them. You called me ‘Son of Bathsheba and David.’ You know I can’t take the kids’ food and feed it to the dogs who come wandering in.”

Woman: “Oh you poor thing. Such disrespect. But you know even the dogs get the crumbs the children leave behind.”

Jesus (chuckling): “Woman you have great faith. Go. Your daughter is healed.”

Woman looking at disciples’ shocked faces: “Good luck with those daughters-in-law.”

I said in Mark’s story we could not read any humor or twinkling of eyes into that account. The only reason we can do that in this account is because of the disciples and what we know about Middle Eastern culture. This interpretation will not work in Mark because the disciples are not mentioned in the story. If they are in the room they are silent. The scene is strictly between Jesus and the woman. And yes, Mark’s account makes Jesus look bad, which is why Matthew added the disciples. They can look bad while Jesus appears to be an exasperated mother-in-law, which every woman who heard this story would understand. After all, they were all mothers-in-law or daughters-in-law: they lived this situation out every day.

  • What do you think of the differences in the accounts between Mark and Matthew?
  • Do you want to harmonize the two accounts and read Matthew into Mark, so Jesus doesn’t look so surly?
  • Can you take each account on its own terms and live with the tension?

–Excerpted from What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down, pp. 16-24.

Share you answers in the comments!

Are you preaching this passage this Sunday? How are going to approach it and preach it for your congregation?

The 1st Review of Women Who Didn't Shut Up & Sit Down Is In

J. K. Gayle at Aristotle’s Feminist Subject has posted the first review of Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down.

J. K. is a wonderful advocate of women’s equality and women in ministry. He makes sure we have a voice in the biblioblogger web world as well as telling his readers what feminist theologians like me are blogging about. I’ve also met some incredible women through him like Suzanne McCarthy and Rachel Marszalek. Go read what he has to say about Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down.

Women Who Didn't Shut Up & Sit Down: More than an E-book

Two weeks ago I let my baby out into the world: my first E-book, Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. Now the E-book isn’t by it’s lonesome; in fact, it’s the star of two different packages. The first package is the E-book and four podcasts with Catherine Caine, Sandi Amorim, Lainie Petersen, and Mark Mattison. We talk about why interpretation of biblical passages about women is so important in today’s world. Whether we’re Christian or not (two of my interviewees aren’t Christian), the way these verses have been traditionally interpreted by Western Christianity effects women and their roles in the world.

The second package includes the E-book and podcasts plus two spiritual direction sessions. Have you been trying to figure out your place in the world? Are your dreams taking you into roles traditional views of women say you shouldn’t go? Are you confused about what you think you can and can’t do based on your sex? Then get the third package, and I will be happy to listen and help you discern what Godde might be saying to you. We’ve all grown up hearing that Godde doesn’t allow women some roles because we are women. It takes some doing to undo all those lies. Let me help.

You can go here to find out more about Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down along with the packages. (And don’t worry: if all you want is the E-book, there’s an option for that too.)

I’m available for interviews, podcasts, and guest posts: Email me .

Women Who Didn't Shut Up & Sit Down: Free Sample Chapter

First I have to fess up. I got a little overzealous. I miscalculated how much I could do and how long it would take really to launch a new product. I also did not realize what a steep learning curve launching a new product and doing new things (like podcasts) is. And now I’m exhausted. And I still have a full schedule. I’ve pretty much been working non-stop the last two weeks on getting my baby ready to go and introducing her to the world. I still have an editorial meeting to go to this weekend, and three podcasts to record, edit, and post. And I realize I can’t do it. Two of my potential interviewees are also up to their own necks in work, and all of us need a chance to breathe.

All of that said: I will be doing four podcasts instead six for Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. Two of them are already posted, and the other two will be posted next week. Tomorrow I’m taking off for Ohio to meet up with the rest of the editorial team on The Divine Feminine Version of the New Testament. I come back Monday, and I’m taking Tuesday off (and may be Wednesday). The last two podcasts will be posted on May 26 and 27.

But don’t worry: I leave you a little something to get you by until the next two podcasts. If you click the link below, you will be able to download a free sample chapter from Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. “Bringing the Women of the Bible Out from the Shadows” will give you everything you need to study the women in the Bible on you own. I teach you how to use the technique I came up with to study these women and provide you with a “Recommended Reading” list on Bible dictionaries and commentaries that will help you understand the historical and sociological background of the Scriptures. There’s even a little cheat sheet to keep in your Bible as a reference. I hope it helps you get to know the incredible women who live within the pages of the Bible and helps you to stop putting limitations on what Godde can do through a woman just like you.

Sample Chapter: Bringing the Women of the Bible from the Shadows


Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down is now for sale! Remember, if you sign up for my newsletter, you will receive a 20% discount on Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. This newsletter will only be letting you know about new products and discounts.

Women Who Didn't Shut Up & Sit Down: Paul Was Not an Evil Misogynist

"This archaeological photograph of a mosaic in the Church of St. Praxedis in Rome shows, in the blue mantle, the Virgin Mary, foremother of women leaders in the Church. On her left is St.Pudentiana and on her right St. Praxedis, both leaders of house churches in early Christian Rome. Episcopa Theodora, 'Bishop Theodora' is the bishop of the Church of St. Praxedis in 820 AD." Photo and description from Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

You got your first peek at Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down last week. Here another sneak peek before the book comes out May 17! (The first sneak peek is here.)

Corinthian Christian Women and Paul

How women should act in church gets more confusing the further we read in 1 Corinthians. There were several issues Paul dealt with regarding women and worship: whether or not married women should have their heads covered, as well as suggestions made for women who prayed and prophesied during the service. Wait, you may be wondering, didn’t Paul say women could not speak at all in church? But he also gave instructions for how women are to pray and prophesy?

Before we come to our verses in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul deals with women praying and prophesying during the worship service, and whether or not they should have their heads covered in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Paul does not condemn women for taking an active part in the service, including authoritative prophetic utterance of Godde’s word. There are two different ways to interpret the instructions Paul gives in these verses. Let’s look at this passage from the New Revised Standard Version:

I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head– it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone is disposed to be contentious– we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:2-16)

The first way to interpret these verses is that Paul exhorts the women to pray and prophesy in a manner that will not be scandalous to outsiders. If they are married, they are to keep their symbol of marriage on–their head was to be covered with a veil or worn up, as was the custom for married women in that day. This way they would not be confused with the temple prostitutes who were numerous in Corinth due to the temple of Aphrodite-Melainis. The temple prostitutes were identified by wearing their hair loose or shaving it off. Christian women were not to bring shame onto their husbands by looking like prostitutes, but were to keep their “wedding rings” on, and prophesy and pray in a socially acceptable manner.

The second way to interpret these verses is that Paul is countering a custom in the Corinthian church that he does not consider to be Christian. Now let’s look at these same verses from The Divine Feminine Version:

Now I praise you, sisters and brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.

<You say:> ”But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christa, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christa is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, because he is the image and radiance of Godde, but the woman is the radiance of the man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man; for neither was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.”

But the woman ought to have liberty over her head because after all she will judge the angels. The point is, neither is the woman independent of the man, nor the man independent of the woman, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, so a man also comes through a woman; but all things are from Godde. Judge for yourselves. “Is it appropriate that a woman pray to Godde unveiled?” Doesn’t even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her instead of a covering. But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do Godde’s communities.

When we read the verses this way the Corinthians are the ones who want to impose a gender hierarchy and want to limit the freedom that the women have in Christ. But Paul counters that women, like men, will judge the angels, and that whether her head is covered is irrelevant because nature has given women a natural covering: their hair. Women are free to pray and prophesy however they want because “the woman ought to have liberty over her head.” Paul also counters the argument that Godde created man to be the head of the woman; therefore, women are just “the image of man,” not made in “the image of Godde” as men are. In contrast Paul says that men and women are interdependant on each other because Godde made woman from man, but since the first woman, men come from women, and both sexes were created by Godde. If we translate these verses in this way then there is no contradiction with what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28: There is no longer male or female because we are all one in Christ.

From these verses we know that when Paul later says “It is shameful for a woman to speak in church” he cannot mean all speech, because he just endorsed women praying and prophesying in the church. He not only endorsed women speaking but women as leaders in their congregations.

Edited to add:

For a very insightful overview and explanation of 1 Corinthians 11:2-6, please read Mark Mattison’s “Because of the Angels” at The Christian Godde Project. I interviewed Mark about these problem passages in 1 Corinthians. The podcast will be posted on May 17. The full 30 minute interview is one of six podcasts you get free when you buy Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down by June 1.


Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down is now for sale! Remember, if you sign up for my newsletter, you will receive a 20% discount on Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. This newsletter will only be letting you know about new products and discounts.

Women Who Didn't Shut Up & Sit Down Sneak Peak: Why

photo © 2007 Esparta Palma | more info (via: Wylio)
Why do we need another book on women, the Bible, and women’s roles? Well that’s easy: there are still factions of Christianity that use eight little verses to try keep women out of the workforce, out of having a career, and out of leadership positions in the church. As long as these eight little verses are used to interpret the hundreds of verses about women in the Bible, we need books like Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. Here’s a sneak peak from the Introduction.

Those eight little verses

What are these eight little verses that control how women through 5,000 years of Jewish and Christian history are portrayed? What are these eight little verses that are used to keep women in their proper silent and submissive place in both The Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament? Here they are:

As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church (1 Corinthians 14:33b-35).

Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty (1 Timothy 2:11-15).

If you just went “Huh?” (or even WTF?!?), don’t worry, you’re not the only one. It’s shameful for a woman to speak in church? A woman has to keep silent because of Eve? And my personal favorite: Women “will be saved through childbearing.” (This is my favorite because my husband and I have chosen not to have children. Guess I’m unsaveable.)

So, what are we in the 21st century supposed to think about this? Do Christians (particularly Christian women) have to be held in rigid gender roles based on these verses? Do women have no choice but to sit down and shut up because these eight verses are used to marginalize and negate any Scripture regarding women working, women making their own decisions, and women in authority? That’s the way these eight verses have been used through the 2,000 years of the Christian Church. But I’ve learned that just because something in the Bible has been interpreted in a certain way for millennia doesn’t that interpretation is right. Look at slavery. Over 100 years ago Christians were using passages in the Bible to justify slavery. Now no American is going to use those passages in Scripture to justify slavery today. We recognize, that even though endorsed in the Bible, slavery is wrong. It’s unethical. We’ve changed how we interpret the slavery passages in the Bible. Why can’t we change how we interpret the passages about women?

According to those who want to interpret the Bible literally as the inerrant word of Godde in all things, to do this, would be to undermine all of Christianity. But all of Christianity wasn’t undermined by not literally obeying the passages about slavery. Why are women so different? My answer is: it’s no different. In fact, my challenge to the inerrantists is to take their literalism to its logical conclusion. In the Near Eastern world that is the setting of the Bible, women were property. That’s why instructions to women, children, and slaves were lumped together: they were all the property of the man who was the head of the household, or the paterfamilias. We now believe it is not right for one human being to own another: slavery is illegal. We no longer believe that children are the property of their parents; in fact, children are taken away from parents who neglect and abuse them. In First World countries (like the United States), we no longer believe that women are the property of men. The only way these verses make sense is if you continue to believe that women are the property of men. Women could not have authority over their husbands because they were property. Women had to submit to their husbands because they were property. So why do complementarians continue to take these verses literally when the foundation for these verses is longer valid? Honestly I don’t know. They try to make it sound like they don’t want to make out that women are property. They contort the creation narratives in Genesis into all sorts of horrible shapes to show female submission is the way Godde made things to be. But in the end, the only reason I can see why they hold so tenaciously to these verses is that they believe women are property.

They also don’t admit that there are major translation issues with these verses, and both epistles these verses show up in were written to very troubled churches about very specific situations. They do not want to admit these verses are not as cut and dry as they seem, and they refuse to admit that these instructions were just at that place for that time (like slavery). They want to make these verses universal: meant for all time.

I first want to take a look at these problem verses as they are called. I’m going to give the historical and sociological background to 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy. Then I’m going to show the different ways these verses can be translated. Finally I’ll show there are interpretations of these verses that are true to the Bible as sacred scripture but do not shackle women to be the property of men.

Then we get to the fun stuff. We get to the women in the Bible that show these verses were never meant to be taken for all time, forever, amen. I’ve divided them into three groups: women who didn’t submit, women who didn’t shut up, and women who held authority over both men and women, mainly as religious leaders. We will see that women through the course of biblical history may have been viewed as the property of men, but they didn’t act like. The stood their ground, they spoke their minds, they made decisions that changed the course of Godde’s people, and they were leaders in both secular and sacred circles.


Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down is now for sale! Remember, if you sign up for my newsletter, you will receive a 20% discount on Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. This newsletter will only be letting you know about new products and discounts.

Da-Da-Da-Dum: There is an announcement

The What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School series will make it’s official appearance on May 10 with its first installment: Women Who Didn’t Sit Down and Shut Up. That’s right patient readers: the E-book is coming out on May10! Squee! It’s all written up, in the process of being edited, and with a little desktop magic will be ready to release into the world in a little over a week. I’m so excited! I cannot wait to share with you all of these fabulous women in one place!

There will be special discounts with the release, so you want to make sure you sign up for my newsletter over to the right. The newsletter is only for Announcements and Special Offers, so you don’t have to worry about your inbox filling up with stuff from me. I’ve decided I don’t want to do a regular newsletter, but I do want you to be the first to know about new products and services and get fabulous discounts. So please sign up, so you’re not left out on any of the good stuff. The first newsletter will go out on May 2.

In personal news, I have been well for one whole week! No depression. No sickness. No colds. I feel physically and mentally wonderful, which makes me very, very happy. Another thing that is making me happy is an updated version of Julian Norwich’s Showings published by Anamchara Books. I am reviewing this book as we speak, and I love it. There will be a full review on Friday. It has been a long time since I read Showings, and it plodded along a little because of the antiquated English. This new version, in the English we speak, makes Julian’s visions and theology shine through since you don’t have to stop and wonder what some words mean. And I really needed her visions of how Godde loves us and how unconditional that love is right now. The last couple of months have been rough between depression and illness. Julian’s revelations begin with how much Godde loves us and and never seems to stop.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful week. Tell me: what’s going on in your life?