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What Is Her.meneutics?

The Christianity Today women’s blog provides news and analysis from the perspective of evangelical women. We cover news stories and books related to international justice and evangelism, pregnancy and sexual ethics, marriage, parenting, and celibacy, pop culture, health and body image, raising girls, and women in the church and parachurch.

Her.meneutics was co-founded by Katelyn Beaty and Sarah Pulliam Bailey.

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All posts from “church life”

Disability Is Beautiful: How the Gospel Changes the Way We See

June 18, 2012 9:02 AM

Rick Guidotti had been trained to see and capture a very particular standard of physical beauty. But walking down New York City’s Park Avenue one day, the fashion photographer spotted a girl with albinism. Though her fair skin and white...

I Am Not Charles Worley: The Plea of a Christian Who Opposes Gay Marriage

June 11, 2012 10:55 AM

I’m going to let you in on a little secret I’ve never talked about with anyone. On November 2, 2008, I walked into a polling booth in Glendora, California, and voted for Proposition 8, which sought to add the clause...

How to Smartly Engage with the Young Doubters in Your Midst

May 16, 2012 9:12 AM

In high school, I entered a skeptic phase that eventually led me out of the doors of the church. My parents saw it coming. My dad started taking me out to breakfast at a local diner, the kind of spot...

Time’s Breast-Feeding Cover Adds Fuel to the Mommy Wars

May 15, 2012 8:46 AM

When I saw the cover of the May 21 issue of Time, my instant reaction was “Eeew. That's just not right.” An odd reaction, for someone who has gone on the record in support of so-called “extended” nursing. To parse...

Where Are All the Women Apologists?

May 2, 2012 8:37 AM

Apologists have a reputation for being obnoxious know-it alls. I should know. I am one. An apologist is a person who defends something. I’ve sat next to apologists for veganism and rode horse-back with apologists for fashion. You might sleep...

Voice of the Victims: Sex Abuse Survivors and the Church

April 30, 2012 8:22 AM

The news rumbled like an earthquake through evangelical circles. Tom White, the 64-year-old director of religious-persecution group Voice of The Martyrs (V.O.M.), had committed suicide after allegations that he’d molested a 10-year-old girl. For those of us who have no...

The Wall Builders: A Parable about the Gender Debates

April 27, 2012 8:38 AM

There once was a small kingdom where a good sort of folk dwelled. They believed in honest work, loving-kindness, and mutual sharing, and tried to get along peaceably with each other—though sometimes that was hard. The center of the kingdom...

The Lament of a Black Neo-Reformed Woman

April 26, 2012 9:32 AM

I sat across from a beautiful black female with a modern-day afro. She and I were having lunch and she was eager to speak with me about her personal experience as an African American female in a predominantly white church....

Channeling the Mama Bear Effect to Fight Child Abuse

April 23, 2012 11:12 AM

My friends and family all know I’m more than a little nutty about keeping my children safe. Our friend in France has a 7 foot high locked iron gate surrounding her house--a feature I’ve been jealously remembering since we stayed...

The Trayvon Martin Case: A Moment for Evangelical Reflection

April 20, 2012 8:33 AM

“Okay, before you go out, what do you do if you get pulled over?” The proper response? “Keep your hands on the steering wheel, look straight ahead and answer, ‘Yes, sir’ or ‘No, sir.’ Don’t give them any lip.” This...

No Girls Allowed: Why the Church Shouldn't Follow Augusta National Golf Club's Membership Policy

April 12, 2012 8:44 AM

I remember three things about the afternoon my parents dragged a 13-year-old me to a famous and local golf tournament: 1.) being bored out of my mind, 2.) having to keep very quiet and 3.) learning what exclusive meant in...

Mourning the Death of Family-Friendly TV

April 5, 2012 8:34 AM

It was an opportunity I had dreamed of my entire teenage life. I would stand on a football field, albeit with hundreds of other teenagers, and sing on national television alongside Reba McEntire. Any aspiring singer would jump at the...

What Jason Russell’s Mental Breakdown Shows Us about Ourselves

March 22, 2012 4:08 PM

It was the latest installment in a blitz of headline-grabbing publicity for Invisible Children—but it was a story they never intended. During almost two weeks of astounding success for their new-media publicity blitz, Kony 2012 attracted plenty of controversy and...

My Church’s Lenten Challenge: Get a Tattoo

March 13, 2012 8:42 AM

“There are some things one can only believe singing,” author Lauren Winner told our small writing group. We were gathered in a large, sunny room at Laity Lodge, perched above the prettiest spot on the Rio Frio River in the...

Breastfeeding in Church, and Other Petty Crimes

March 2, 2012 9:08 AM

A Georgia woman named Nirvana Jenette claims she was kicked out of church for breastfeeding, the pastor ordering her to nurse the baby in the bathroom and calling her behavior ‘lewd,’ comparing her to a stripper. As a culture we’re...

Clothing in Church: Why It Matters

February 20, 2012 9:59 AM

My little brother is one of my favorite people. He is patient and gentle and considerate and funny. (Although I would never tell him that.) He is in his last year at Westmont College, my alma mater, and for the...

Why Women Leave the Church -- and Come Back Again

January 20, 2012 10:00 AM

In 1997, Mary Belenky, Blythe Clinchy, Nancy Goldberger, and Jill Tarule published an important book titled Women’s Ways of Knowing, in which they explored how women understand themselves, their minds, and their relationship to knowledge, and considered whether the cognitive...

The Kate Middleton Baby Watch, and Why We Shouldn't Participate

January 11, 2012 9:16 AM

If last year was the year of the Royal Wedding, this year is definitely set to be the year of the Royal Baby Watch. Virtually every tabloid is plastered with some variation of the news that the former Kate Middleton...

Why I'm Okay with Church Failure

December 1, 2011 9:06 AM

Recently a headline caught my eye: God Provides Nearly Homeless Megachurch $5 Million. John Bishop, the pastor of Living Hope Church near Vancouver, Washington, appealed to his congregation and other churches to help raise the remaining money needed to keep...

The Truth about Marriage and Happiness

November 14, 2011 11:15 AM

There is a great need for the church to stop lying to people. That is a critical first step to resolving some of the marital illusions and the rising divorce rate even among Christians. Christian Sunday School instructions to girls—even...

Why Church Matters

October 19, 2011 11:16 AM

Recently I wrote a blog post entitled, Spiritual Abuse: 10 Ways to Spot it. While I'm not an expert on spiritually abusive churches or ministries, I've had my share of negative experiences, some bordering on abuse. As I read through...

John Ortberg Is My Dad, But Don't Call Me a PK

October 5, 2011 10:20 AM

I’ve always hated the term “PK.” All my life, people have felt total license to use it with my siblings and me — a knowing glance, a faked camaraderie. “You’re a PK, too? Isn’t it the worst/best?” Well, yes. And...

When a Midlife Crisis Becomes Serious

October 3, 2011 10:58 AM

A recent study found that there has been an alarming spike in suicides among midlife women. I am neither scientist nor statistician, but I am 52. Some have called mid-life “Prime Time.” but few midlife women in my circles are...

The Sin Behind My Swearing

September 12, 2011 9:20 AM

In my defense, it hadn't been a good afternoon. My 6-year-old had a friend over, so I was watching five kids instead of the usual four. My 4-year-old was crying because the game he wanted to play on the computer...

My Husband's Affair - with the Church

September 6, 2011 10:35 AM

We wait for grief to loosen its stranglehold on our hearts. We wait for signs of hope in the Horn of Africa. News that the economy is recovering. The kids to go back to school. The workday to come to...

The Newest U.S. Mission Field: Women

August 9, 2011 9:35 AM

For centuries, women have been the oft-silent underpinnings of church ministry. Mostly volunteers, these female church members made up a behind-the-scenes force that not only greased the gears of the local church but also functioned as the gears themselves. Even...

Modesty: Still Missing from the Church

August 4, 2011 10:20 AM

“Why does she have on those hooker shoes?” That’s how one of my godmothers began our phone conversation Monday morning. She was disheartened by a woman’s church attire, and that was just one of her examples. I shared my observations...

Doing Authentic Ministry with My Smokin' Hot Bride

July 19, 2011 8:35 AM

I slipped. My husband and I were asked to take on another church commitment. I was trying to decline graciously. In my e-mail response, I wrote, “We cannot help now, but hopefully in another season.” I copied my husband on...

Reading Scripture with Sex Abuse Survivors

June 30, 2011 10:09 AM

Laura survived a rigid and abusive fundamentalist upbringing, then married a Baptist minister who sexually abused her. Now she’s an atheist. Vyckie was a wife and mom in the Quiverfull movement who now also leans toward atheism, believing that...

Why Divorce Devastates Children

May 18, 2011 9:30 AM

I begged her not to marry him. Our family members pleaded — all to no avail. She would have none of it. She claimed we were being negative, blind to all of his wonderful attributes. Only recently, after eight years...

Gender Differences: All in the Brain

May 16, 2011 11:05 AM

Last month author Lane Wallace highlighted two new studies in The Atlantic, both of which offer new insights into the relationship between biology and worldview. In her first piece, “Are Liberals and Conservatives Hard-Wired to Disagree?,” Wallace examines the work...

Obese and Beautiful

April 14, 2011 11:42 AM

The New York Times recently reported that the West is exporting its ideals of beauty and body size to developing nations, including our stigma against overweight people. We are, it is said, globalizing the “fat stigma.” It appears that...

Where Are All the Women City Leaders?

March 25, 2011 10:13 AM

“What can we do together that we can’t do on our own?” The question silenced a room full of local church leaders at an organizational meeting for a city-reaching network. It was a jolt to the thinking of those who...

When Christians Get Divorced

March 23, 2011 9:33 AM

A popular Christian blogger recently announced that she's getting divorced. She knows all the biblical reasons to stay married, and she understands the far-reaching repercussions when Christians divorce. On her personal blog she writes, “I can see why the Scriptures...

Why Your Church Needs a Dr. Oz

February 15, 2011 4:52 PM

Where do you exercise? Your basement? Your backyard? Your gym? Your church? Browsing the list of weekly programs offered at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, fitness classes and weight-loss support groups are now listed alongside baptism and leadership training classes. Warren...

Is Your Church Open to Autism?

January 10, 2011 9:00 AM

It’s everywhere, bursting from our schools and neighborhoods and playgrounds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in every 110 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. But with numbers like this,...

What Celebrity Miscarriages Teach Us

January 7, 2011 10:45 AM

Suddenly, it seems as if miscarriage is everywhere. Famous folks from Barbara Bush to Mariah Carey have recently disclosed previous pregnancy losses. Lily Allen suffered her second miscarriage in November, and Lisa Ling shared her own grief following a miscarriage...

'Happy Holidays' in Church?

December 14, 2010 9:54 AM

Nothing helps us remember the reason for the season like a Walgreen’s store clerk who remembers to say “Merry Christmas” when she hands us change from our last-minute Snuggie purchase. The culture-war frontier has been littered with the debris of...

The Trouble with Confessing in Church

September 29, 2010 11:00 AM

I’ve come to believe that an institutional church is not a safe place for one person’s confession. Several years ago, while we were attending a small nondenominational church, Pastor Donn* announced at the end of Sunday worship that we would...

A New Message at the Strip Club-Church Showdown

September 13, 2010 9:07 AM

“I can’t make out what you’re saying to me. Please have someone call me so I’ll know what you’re saying.” Sitting in her car, Anny Donewald prayed these instructions to God last month. Founder of Eve’s Angels, Donewald ministers to...

An Open Letter to Anne Rice

August 11, 2010 8:57 AM

Dear Ms. Rice: You don't know me, so please excuse the intrusion. I hope you won't think this too forward, but I read about your recent remarks about quitting Christianity: For those who care, and I understand if you don't:...

Church Volunteers: An Oxymoron

July 13, 2010 10:29 AM

If you’ve even spent time at a local branch of the Red Cross, tutored a child at a local elementary school, pounded nails at a Habitat For Humanity build, or picked up trash at a local nature preserve, you’ve probably...

Confessions of a Church-Skipping Mom

June 30, 2010 2:25 AM

Several Sundays ago my kids were playing outside when we called them to get in the car for church. They stalled. They whined. They asked, “Why do we always have to go to church?” My responses became less patient and...

No Right to Rest for Weary Anglicans

May 24, 2010 11:19 AM

Such is the fatigue over the Anglican-Episcopal splintering that two weekends ago, when the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles consecrated the denomination’s second partnered gay bishop, the event didn’t make a blip on many evangelical news websites. Also largely unnoticed...

Christian Female Musicians, Missing in Action

May 20, 2010 11:58 AM

Do you know Becky? If you are a Christian woman in your 30s or 40s and married with kids, you are Becky. Becky, I was fascinated to learn, is what Christian radio stations have named their ideal listener, and most...

It's Mother's Day, Not Motherhood Day

May 7, 2010 8:17 AM

My first Mother’s Day — as a mother, at least — was a bust. It started out well enough: My husband surprised me with a pair of espadrilles I had admired in the (get this) Neiman Marcus catalog. But somewhere...

The Brave Women of the Catholic Church

April 13, 2010 8:53 AM

I love a good story. That’s why I’ve been captivated in recent days by stories concerning the Catholic Church abuse scandal. Not the newspaper spreads with timelines showing who knew what, when they knew it, and what they did or...

Minnesota Man Arrested for Prostituting Wife

March 29, 2010 12:02 PM

A Rockford, Minnesota, man was arrested in Chicago two weeks ago for prostituting his wife using Craigslist, transporting her in a van to hotels in eight states and threatening to take away their 3-year-old daughter should she not comply. Clinton...

Confession: I Stopped Giving to the Church

January 8, 2010 2:13 PM

I stopped tithing a few months ago. Okay, no scandal here. I got married in September, and my husband and I moved to a new area and wanted to find a church. As we slowly combined our finances, it became...

N.C. Court Upholds Sex Offenders' Right to Worship

January 6, 2010 12:04 PM

For evangelicals who uphold both the boundlessness of redemption and the care and protection of “little ones” (Matt. 19:14), having sex offenders in church makes it hard to apply both beliefs at the same time. In mid-December a Superior Court...

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

September 23, 2009 9:05 AM

If you thought navigating the 20-something dating and marriage scene wasn’t complicated enough, former President Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson just put his oar in. In an argument similar to Mark Regnerus’s cover story in the August...

Anne Graham Lotz, the Church, and Me

September 17, 2009 9:25 AM

Renowned evangelist Anne Graham Lotz recently told Amy Sullivan at Time magazine, “Religion can be one of the greatest impediments to finding God.” Newsweek took that as Billy Graham’s daughter “slamming” churches. Actually, I think Lotz is expressing the difference...

Adoption: Single Christians Need Not Apply

September 16, 2009 9:05 AM

National Adoption Month is coming up, and churches are mobilizing like never before to encourage people to adopt. But there is a secret underneath it all: Single Christians need not apply. When I was considering adopting my daughter, one of...

The Lutherans and Twister Theology

August 25, 2009 9:39 AM

When is a warning from God not a warning from God? Or a "we can't tell whether or not it's a warning from God"? This question came up last week while I was covering the church-wide assembly of the Evangelical...

Women Pastors Remain Scarce

August 7, 2009 7:16 AM

Members of the Assemblies of God elected the first woman to the denomination's Executive Presbytery. The Ledger reports that 18 percent of the pastors in the denomination are women (where they have long allowed women to lead), but women...

The Charismatic Alberto Cutie

August 4, 2009 9:44 AM

It's been about three months now since we heard of Alberto Cutie, the former Roman Catholic priest who was caught kissing his girlfriend on a Miami beach. No sooner was he removed from his post than he left the Catholic...

Dancing Down the Aisle

July 28, 2009 3:58 PM

If you haven't seen "Jill and Kevin's Wedding Entrance," the video that's shown up all over the Internet since late last week, I recommend you watch it now. It's five minutes of pure joy as the St. Paul, Minnesota, couple...

Jimmy Carter Speaks Up on Women

July 21, 2009 11:53 PM

Former President Jimmy Carter recently penned dramatic columns for The Guardian and The Age, leading some people to believe that he's leaving the Southern Baptist Convention for the first time. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern...

Building Up Without Walls

July 20, 2009 10:59 AM

Popular Pentecostal teacher Paula White announced two weeks ago that she is taking the helm of the megachurch that she and ex-husband Randy White founded 18 years ago. Paula's willingness to become senior pastor of Without Walls International Church -...

Julia Duin: The Anna Syndrome

July 17, 2009 8:58 AM

Summertime is when weddings abound. No one longs for them more than the abundance of single women in our nation's churches. The dearth of marriage opportunities for most of these women calls forth certain coping strategies, one of which...

Women's Ordination: A Crack in the Cathedral?

July 2, 2009 12:15 PM

After the Anglican Church in North America's (ACNA) momentous inaugural gathering, the verdict is out on whether the issue of women's ordination will inhibit the budding alliance from moving forward. Last week more than 800 men and women gathered in...

Redeeming Twitter

June 17, 2009 8:57 AM

The U.S. State Department asks Twitter to delay maintenance plans for the weekend so Iranians voting in Friday's election can communicate instantly, and defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi uses Twitter to organize protests against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The FBI tracks Twitter...

Schuller's Eldest Daughter to Lead Crystal Cathedral

June 11, 2009 8:53 AM

The Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times reported late yesterday that Sheila Schuller Coleman, eldest daughter of the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, will become "co-leader" with her father of the Garden Grove, California, church. Coleman will replace...

A Weighty Issue

May 15, 2009 11:35 AM

Years of women being taught to develop a positive body image may actually be hurting them. A recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology surveyed 81 Philadelphia-area women who fell along all points on the body mass...

Re: Evangelical Women in Public Life

April 20, 2009 2:08 PM

Alisa Harris, editor at Patrol magazine, responded to the question we posed last Thursday, "Where are all the evangelical women in public life?" by pointing to prevalent beliefs about women and spirituality. Here's her helpful analysis: That's what's interesting --...

Deciphering a Religion Journalist's Deconversion

April 6, 2009 8:52 AM

Former Los Angeles Times journalist William Lobdell lost his faith reporting on both the shiny, happy face of American religion and its cancerous underbelly. I became interested in Lobdell's work when I lived in Southern California and was trying to...

When Serving Makes You Sick

April 2, 2009 8:30 AM

Popular blogger Anne Jackson witnessed hurting church leaders at an early age, when vitriolic attitudes invaded the churches her parents were pastoring. Years later, while working 70-hour weeks at a Midwest megachurch, she re-encountered that hurt — expressed in...

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