if the church were a basketball court

There’s a wonderful promotional video out for the Harding University Lady Bisons Basketball season. I love the way these athletes are celebrated for the skill, their physical strength, their determination and their team spirit. I love the way that they flex their muscles and glare at the camera and celebrate their victories. I love the way that they are supported by their school and the way they support each other.

I can’t wait for my girls to step out onto the court or the field or the diamond with that kind of confidence in their own skill and strength. And I want them to carry that confidence everywhere else they go. Because it doesn’t just belong on the court.

And that’s an easy sentiment to agree with, until I ask, can’t we celebrate this same strength and competence and skill and desire and effort in the church, too?

(Further reading: if the church were a soccer field.)

What’s New: a report on ACU Summit 2013

For those of you who couldn’t make it, or who, like me, were there all too briefly and missed some of the wonderful offerings at ACU Summit this year, I have compiled a list of sessions by men and women addressing the topic of gender justice in our churches. There were also several classes taught by women on various topics within their expertise (homiletics, spiritual disciplines, child psychology, ethics and racial justice, etc.) and this is, if anything, more exciting! (And, if there are sessions that I somehow missed in this list that I should add, please let me know!)

Recordings of sessions will be available to order here.


“Gender and Grace in the Body of Christ,” Sara Barton & Gary Selby (3 parts)

“How to Preach to Women,” Amy Bost Henegar (3 parts)

“Welcoming Jesus: Moving Children from the Margins and Into the Midst,” Dana Pemberton

“Voices in the Margins: Edges Defined by Race,” Tanya Smith Brice (2 parts)

“Luke According to the Professor and the Preacher,” Josh Graves & Lauren Smelser White (3 parts)

“Women Still on the Margins,” Stanley Helton

“Who is in Charge Here Anyway?: A Personal Journey,” Steve Sandifer (2 parts)

“A History of Women in Ministry in Churches of Christ: Women Exhorters, Deacons and Missionaries,” Lynn Mitchell (2 parts)

“Does ‘All Flesh’ Mean Me?” D’Esta Love (2 parts)

“Pushing Jesus Off a Cliff: The Church’s Response to Women,” Curt Niccum (part 3 of 3)

“Charis Project Presents: Race, War and Gender,” Doug Foster (2 parts)

“Going Out (of Bounds): Dating Violence in American Culture,” Chelsie Sargent

“Dislocated Exegesis: How Where You Read the Bible Influences How You Read It,” Kasey McCollum

What’s New: history & milestones

Yes, for those of you paying attention, this was already announced this via the gal328 Facebook page. But I want to take a moment to mark the importance of these additions to the site, because the history of gal328.org, and the larger history of gender justice in the Restoration Movement and Churches of Christ of which it is a part, teach us something about who we are as a fellowship.

Many of us who are here now became a part of gal328.org when Lance, Katie, Chris, Mary Lou, and Joe first launched it. Those of us who were around back then remember what an oasis the site was–not simply a place to further explore the Bible on issues of gender, but a place to ask the questions we couldn’t voice without trepidation elsewhere. This site exists because of their work. It exists because Chris and Mary Lou continue, as they have since 2005, to financially support the site. It exists because of the dedication and persistent hope of many, many people. Read that story here.

And then read the timeline Chris and others have put together recording the milestone events for gender justice in our churches. This is the larger story that we join our efforts to, and it begins, not 2001, but c. 1810.

This is our story, and we should know all of it.

What’s New: How to Eat An Elephant: Not Just Another Post About Women’s Roles in the Church, by Lauren Smelser White

A wonderful reflection by Lauren Smelser White at the Tokens blog on the complexity of theological discernment, the necessity of reflecting well on all our sources of knowledge of God, and the pros and cons of approaching the issue of gender in Churches of Christ, as we do here at gal328.org, through the language of justice.

She concludes, “I still want to trust that when Scripture-honoring Christians engage issues afresh for the sake of seeking God’s liberating truth, they will discover deep-rooted truths that set all persons free to live into their God-given talents.” Amen.

Welcome to gal328.org!

Our Purpose 
The purpose of this site is to promote gender justice in the Church of Christ by…

  1. facilitating communication and mutual support and edification among Churches of Christ that practice or strive toward gender justice.
  2. offering resources for those seeking insight into the scriptural, theological, and experiential warrants for gender justice in the church.

A Definition of Gender Justice
In general, gender justice means recognizing that men and women are created by God, redeemed by Christ, and gifted by the Spirit truly without distinction or partiality. In Christian community, gender justice means encouraging both men and women to exercise their Spirit-given gifts in the church’s work, worship, and leadership, and celebrating the truth that the Spirit grants such gifts without respect to gender. Concretely, gender justice in the Church of Christ includes opening traditionally masculine leadership roles and activities (deacon, elder, minister, worship leader, preacher, teacher, etc.) to women, and encouraging men to discover and cultivate their gifts for activities traditionally performed by women.