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Homosexuality

(1,844 words)

Author(s): May, Melanie A.
In the years leading up to the 21st century, one of the topics most heatedly debated by the churches was homosexuality. Some are convinced that homosexuality is forbidden by Scripture. Some see homosexuality as a sign of Western moral decadence. Some focus on it as a threat to marriage and the family. Others, however, believe that the dignity and worth of each person created in the image of God is at stake. Informing these divergent views are varied interpretations of Scripture and diverse under…

Feminist Theology

(4,120 words)

Author(s): May, Melanie A.
Feminist theology is better referred to as feminist theologies. The theological perspectives and ways of working are as distinctive and diverse (culturally, socially, racially, ethnically, economically, geographically, and sexually) as the women writing them. These theologies engage both critical and creative work undertaken within and often across what have been discrete theological disciplines, including biblical studies, church history, doctrinal and systematic theology, ethics, and pastoral counseling. ¶ In most instances, therefore, feminist theologies int…

Theological Education

(2,419 words)

Author(s): May, Melanie A.
Overview Instruction or teaching has always been foundational for the Christian faith. Jesus Christ was himself called rabbi, teacher. Philip ran to the Ethiopian enunch, a court official of the Candace of Ethiopia, who said to him: “How can I [understand], unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:31). In the earliest Christian communities, adults preparing for baptism, the catechumens, received oral instruction (“catechism,” from the Greek meaning “to make to hear,” and hence “to instruct”) on basic Christian beliefs. The pattern of educating th…

Sexism

(2,290 words)

Author(s): May, Melanie A.
1. Sexism and Gender Stereotyping Sexism is the ideology of male superiority and the practice, sometimes conscious and sometimes unconscious, of male supremacy over women. Sexism is integrally related to patriarchy, referring to structures and systems in which male heads of households hold sovereignty over all others—women, children, slaves of both sexes, and other property. Within this hierarchical order of things, women are seen to be weaker than men, in need of male protection and guidance. Even w…

Feminism

(1,895 words)

Author(s): May, Melanie A.
Feminism as a worldwide movement is founded in women’s consciousness that as a group they are, and historically have been, subordinate and that this subordination is not natural but is socially, culturally, and religiously determined. Furthermore, feminism is the conviction that women and men are created for full economic, political, social, and religious equality. Finally, feminism is women’s creation of alternative ways to arrange societies and institutions so that such an egalitarian future may become a reality. 1. History Contemporary feminism, particularly in the Unit…

Prostitution

(717 words)

Author(s): May, Melanie A.
Christian churches are today faced with an escalation of prostitution, a form of the exploitation of women that has many faces and is globally present. Traditionally, prostitution has been thought to be men buying the sexual services of an individual woman streetwalker, who may either be controlled by a pimp or have housing in a brothel. Streetwalkers have often been young women who have run away from home or abandoned women with no other means with which to support themselves or their children. Prostitution and other forms of sexual violence have also long been present wherev…